Upcoming interest

At last I feel settled in my new workshop and soon I will be posting on what changes have and are yet to take place. In the meantime I am glad to return to the filming for woodworkingmasterclasses and blogging.Paul Sellers' Book

This week we saw the book launch which I think you will understand was a milestone in my work for me. For those who want to see as well as read about techniques and methods and such there is 5 hours of video as a companion set that Phil, Joseph watched with our critic’s hats to make sure their were no glaring glitches. For me I was more than amazed at how everything was edited into such a cohesive package.


Through the move to the new workshop I had shelved some reviews, thoughts on tools and experiences. This group of tools came in as new and secondhand from the usual resource suppliers. Who would ever buy a saw with the name Onion and Co on it I asked myself and I bought it for under £6. How could I go wrong with so nicely a defined beechwood handle, split brass nuts, a brass back and a plate that looked nice and thin with no pitting? It was everything I or indeed any woodworker would want in a dovetail saw. In the same week I bought the Disston 14” tenon saw (bottom in pic) with similar features but with a damaged handle. The seller said something like, “split handle that can be readily replaced.” That’s reasonably true for an experienced woodworker but quite a task for a beginner. At £26 I thought it was worth it just for the component parts like nuts and bolts, trade marked medallion, stamped brass back and a very decent plate. Looking out for such damaged pieces means you can use them to replace parts to other saws or indeed replace the handle with an old one from another saw or make a new one. These two saws in modern terms mean that with a small amount of fettling I have two lifetime tools that will match the best of the best of todays makers for about an hours work and a cost of £40 instead of £250. I can talk about the restorative work soon.


I bought the Narex crank-necked 1” (25mm) chisel because Narex do make solid chisels at competitive prices and also because I noticed that an unseemly about planes called chisel planes have been cropping up in catalogues lately. My view on chisel planes is that they might be cute looking but not really of much real value and are therefore generally unnecessary and far from essential. Think about. If the plane is used protruding past the sole then it must create a step down ,so I am not sure why I would ever want that. Then if it’s flush with the sole I am not sure what value that would be except perhaps to level a protruding plug or surface but I do doubt the validity of that too. In every case a crank necked chisel works great but these are rarely available as old chisels these days. My own crank-necked Marples is as old as Marples the name and is still in storage in the USA, hence the Narex version I bought.


This gent’s saw made by Thomas Flinn came in at £17 from eBay brand new for some reason and even though in some ways goes against the grain for me I thought it would be good to try it out. The reason it does go against the grain is because of the size of the teeth which at 20 PPI are a tad small for resharpening. That said, I plan to show you waht I did to make it work well. I compared the ancient acquisition of the Onion & Co of old with the new Pax and a Japanese saw and it cuts a beautiful kerf with a smooth cut at 14 PPI.

P1160783Here are three kerfs; on the right you have the gents from Pax 20PPI. I found that it drifted and curved in the cut which is fixable. Next (middle) is the Onion & Co I bought via eBay at 14PPI which needed sharpening. The last one the extreme left is the Japanese saw with 20PPI. Without doubt the best cut was the Onion. I will be taking a look at different saws to see if it is indeed a one saw fits all or whether east meets west to offer greater versatility. The kerf on the Onion comes from thicker steel but the set is slightly less so the kerf is smaller and so on and so forth. My tests and experiments are very different than magazines and catalogue advertising for their products and customers you see so we will be looking at some of that for myth busting shortly. It’s really quite interesting all around because we test the tools in real life situations rather than under test conditions, which as any scientist knows can be heavily influenced even with the best will in the world and so results can be highly influenced by the experiment, the experimenters and the conditions imposed at the time.

All in all I am impressed with the quality of the Narex crank necked chisel here. I think that they do replace the need for paring chisels in most cases and are most useful for trimming down plugs, cleaning off semiarid glue lines, paring out channels for housing dadoes and so on. Not really essential chisels because of course you can do most chisel work with just bevel edged chisel, but I think it is nicely finished. The handle feels comfortable and the angle of presentation feels right too.

P1160784If you recall a few months ago I bought a couple of Ashley Iles bevel-edged chisels to see how they held up. They have worked out fine and one of the things I like most about them is the thinness. Yes they do come with grinder marks in them as do many of not most chisels, but this does not affect performance. With a small amount of abrasive work you can of course fettle them. One of the two chisels I picked up I bought as a seconds and added a boxwood handle and `i am glad `i did because i ended up with a very nice 1 1/4” chisel for around £12 including the boxwood handle and the brass ferule. P1160790Both of the chisels got sharpened for the second time today so though I haven’t used them constantly I have used them consistently and I can say that the steel both takes and holds a good edge with no crumpling and no noticeable edge fracture beyond normal wear and tear I might get from my old Sorby’s, Ward’s and Marple’s versions from the 1800-1900’s. P1160786That makes them a reliable lifetime chisel for me and that’s really what I look for after you’ve begun the journey with perhaps something a little more utilitarian like imports sold under big brand names like Irwin and Spear and Jackson that don’t really have the right refinements we fine woodworkers are ultimately looking for long term.

Anyway, that’s Paul’s thoughts for the day.

10 thoughts on “Upcoming interest”

  1. Paul,
    Throughly enjoyed reading this article, once again. Thought we lost you to your new environment & book sales promotions. I finally got over the fact I can’t get a signed copy, being I live in the USA. Guess my grandkids won’t know the difference reading your work of art & humor for sharing hand tools proven techniques!!!
    Your friend,

  2. Paul,

    Perhaps sometime you could present a blog and brief history on the two very big jointers sitting atop the workshop roof beam in the new shop photo.

  3. I do have to say that your videos are always well done. Also your website is clean and well laid out. You have some very talented people working for you.

  4. Just curious, anyone have any experience with Henry Taylor chisels? Is the steel good? The grind, and flatness? Are the handles axially straight? Etc. Thanks

  5. Nathan Guideau

    I am a beginner and as such, I decided to invest in a new set of chisels and a new jack plane for two reasons. One, so I could simply get working with wood instead of rehabbing the tool. But two, so I could know what a (generally) properly setup chisel and plane would function like, which I figured would make tool maintenance, sharpening, etc. much easier for me going forward.

    I ended up choosing the Ashley Iles bevel edge chisels, and have been very happy. Now, as a beginner, I’m sure that right from new there were things about them I didn’t realize that experienced folks like Paul would’ve noticed and improved right off the bat. But I took them to right to scraps of pine, red oak, white oak, and maple, and was incredibly impressed — even on the maple the chisels right from purchase shaved, chopped, and cut with more ease than I knew was really even possible.

    Paul, thanks to your videos, I have chopped some mortises, pared a few tenons, and done a few other things with these chisels that I never thought was possible for me. Patience, sharp tools, and a willingness to make something with your hands (including mistakes) goes a long way.

    I’m about to embark on my first bigger task where I will be chopping 8 mortises in QS white oak that I’ve squared and planed to about 3/4″ with my jack plane. The planing was a wonderful experience, the feedback from the plane in your hand tells you a lot that you just don’t get from a router table or power jointer or power planer (and I have immense respect for the power tools and what they do for us, that’s not a knock).

    So now it is time to use what I’ve learned from your chisel sharpening video, get my edge tuned up, and start chopping.

    It’s a wonderful craft and hobby (as it were with my lack of experience). I can’t recommend it enough. For people like me that work with a keyboard all day, there is something refreshing about making time to use your hands to craft something in the physical world.

    Paul, I’m sure there are countless people around the world like me that have found your blog and YouTube channel a revelation. One of the toughest things, in my experience, as an adult trying to learn a new craft, is that there are often barriers to entry — people look down on you or don’t have welcoming attitudes. Your writing and your videos are the opposite — you’re advocating that people at any spot in life or any background dive into hand tool woodworking. It’s liberating and encouraging to hear your voice in a world where there are plenty of elite/snob types that will say you need this tool or that.

    Other hand tool bloggers like Chris Schwarz and Shannon Rogers provide similar takes and it is a breath of fresh air, they deserve a shout out as well.

  6. I very much enjoy the videos. I feel like I am sitting in the first row while you are giving a class. I like the pulled back view that shows the camera and stuff. Wow, those folks are quite close to you. I didn’t realize that. Did it take some getting used to talking into the camera for your teaching and having them that close to you while doing your work? Also, this view shows how cramped and small your bench is. It looks much bigger on film.

  7. Steve McGonigle

    Hello Paul, it’s great to see that your back up and running. I too love buying old tools, and there is one currently on ebay in Australia. It’s an ‘All Slack Sellers & Co.’ panel saw. It looks like it was made for you 😉 Joking apart,it’s Sheffield made and in reasonable condition, however the costs from Australia might be a bit prohibitive. Regards, Steve M.
    PS Hello also from the Hazel Grove Woodworking Club in your home town of Stockport.

  8. Hi Paul, another fan of yours and anxious to see your new shop and enhancements you did. I can’t wait to get your book and DVD’s hopefully they will arrive soon as I am getting anxious after spending the last 3 months in the Hospital.

    You and your crew are top notch and please keep up the good work.


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