A Week’s Work Progressing Real Woodworking

1: The poor man’s beading and marking tool went up on YouTube

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2: My next ‘aged’ workbench nears completion

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3: We launch yet another video series on woodworkingmasterclasses.com

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4: We filmed a new series on making brackets to hold the tool cabinet we built on the last series on cabinet making (shown later down), the series of which I designed as a very comprehensive Cabinet Making Course. that covers everything from the cabinet carcass construction to door and drawer making, sizing, layout and fitting and much more beyond.

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A week’s worth of woodworking

The week started with a variety of different things that needed progressing not the least of which is a rustic workbench from some old pine joists and some ‘odds-and-sods’ leg sections that look very ropey altogether on the outside but inside they are solid. I am making two rustic ones. One I am making is bought in wood and the other is snatched up wood scraped from anywhere I could find it yet not so crude it won’t do what I want it to. Some pieces look like some Malaysian wood we used in school when I was a boy in the early 60s. Anyway, aside from filming and writing and still trying to make my workshop home it was indeed a full-on week.

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The gang all work in the workshop opposite to me where I have set up until the new studio is created and indeed the new school is built. As we have developed our ideas for future craft training and apprenticing through distance learning we have needed more involvement from a variety of people with different skill sets most of which are not technically transferable. That means training to task. It’s an exciting time for growing a business of this type and of course I am learning too. Hard to imaging I never touched a computer until ten or so years ago when I bought my first digital camera. Joseph keeps upgrading me and gives me mini seminars on how to use various apps and software and such but he knows I am most at home when I am doing one of two things—first making and then teaching. DSC_0405I take my craft more seriously now than ever before and still have to remind myself that staying focussed is the only way forward in a quest to make real woodworking as real for others as it has been throughout my fifty years of pure craft work. Living in a world ever-destined toward speed, consumerism and disposability is one thing, but then the dumbing down of skilled and meaningful workmanship is entirely another. To me, being a craftsman, skilled by experience and dedication as well as capable is everything that matters in that I can rest in my abilities and I haven’t needed to prove much of anything to anyone for along time. It proved for me to be a simple way out of commerce through the decades I worked as a producing craftsman and though I am now what some might consider to be old or older I would have no difficulty continuing to make a good and profitable living for the next 50. What do I base that on? DSC_0192Well, you reach point where you understand people are generally looking for qualities hand made brings to the table in a design-build. People that want a good design, a good designer and a good craftsman don’t shop in a high-street furniture store. That creates the unique dynamic between a designer maker and a customer who want’s custom built pieces to match their demands.

A week’s work done
DSC_0225So, that’s what lies behind my week’s working this past week. I have completed two training series this past month or so, both unique and specific showing the building of the mirror frame using fox-wedging and staggered shoulder lines to tenons, some chip carving and then the carving of the Lone Star for my Lone Star State friends. We moved to the second project with the dovetailed shelf bracket with slope shouldered mortise and tenons to hold something as heavy as the masterful wall hung tool cabinet or merely a shelf.P1180731

This coming week

Next week I start on inlaying and veneering for beginners. I’m looking forward to that. Oh! Don’t forget the YouTube channel this month either. We’ve launched more fundamentals about saws and saw sharpening and what saws do you really need there. It takes a lot of work to produce these how to’s and I would hate for you too miss them.P1180562

11 Comments

  1. Daniel O'Neill on 7 May 2016 at 9:44 pm

    Hi Paul thanks for the hard work you put into showing young potential craftsman to proper way to do things. Also very true a disposable world we now live in.

    On the picture above the tool cabinet as a bead on the doors was the cut using moulding planes. Looks very nicely done.

    Many Thanks



  2. John M on 7 May 2016 at 10:08 pm

    Hey Paul,
    Went to the health-shop this week to get something for a lingering head cold and got a new type of tea called pau d’arco – taheebo tree wood tea – it makes a lovely ,light refreshing brew. Imagine that – you can work wood all day and drink it in the evening.

    Thanks for all you do, John



  3. Joe on 7 May 2016 at 10:52 pm

    Hi Paul,

    Whew, I got tired just reading about your week!

    You mention building the new school, will you be able to offer any 9-day foundation courses later this year?

    Best,

    Joe



  4. Saqib Mahmood on 8 May 2016 at 12:39 am

    Very much looking forward to the inlaying and veneering!



  5. Steven Massie on 8 May 2016 at 5:15 pm

    Sounds like you had a very busy week, and so looking forward to your up coming projects and tutorials. Also looking forward to seeing your new shop and school, hopefully you will be showing pictures from start to finish.

    And again Thank You to and your team for offering the best on – line woodworking I have ever seen.

    Steve



  6. TonyW on 8 May 2016 at 11:49 pm

    Really looking forward to the new rustic & recycled workbench builds. We’ve recently put on an extension & there was so much lumber, including pine, jarrah, merbau, pacific maple & spotted gum, left over that the builders were just going to send to the tip (dump) that I told them to leave it otherwise it would be wasted. So far, I’ve used it to make a couple of bow saws, jigs for guitar building & both a smoother & a jack Marples style plane but there is certainly enough extra for another workbench & maybe a garden or wood storage shed.
    I must also congratulate everyone responsible for the quality of Paul’s latest book from the high grade paper, superb colour photography throughout but most of all, for preserving the extremely useful information it contains.



  7. Steve Newman on 9 May 2016 at 12:43 am

    Have a wee bit of a problem in my shop. back pieces for a rocking chair are 48″ long, and are round in profile. The problem being my lathe will only go out to 36″ or so.

    Been using drawknives, and a spokeshave to round them into shape. Whew. Stock was resawn down from salvaged 4″ x 4″ x 48″ board. With a few hard knots, boards are not of the treated kind. Just plain old Pine. maybe show a better handtool way?



    • Paul Sellers on 9 May 2016 at 8:21 am

      I have removed the tailstock and bolted it to my bench top to give me the extra length. It works fine. Hard knots and draw knives don’t make for easy working.



  8. Danny Ku on 9 May 2016 at 6:02 pm

    Among all the woodworking handtools owned so far, saws might be the naughtiest ones to handle. They require my full concentration when I’m sawing a kerf, deep or shallow, and no matter what angle it is. Bought a new sevenish British pound Stanley 24″ panel saw, made in Asia I believe, since it’s the only handsaw available in Taiwan as I can find. It still works, satisfying enough after using the method mentioned here to sharpen.
    Made my second framesaw with some hardwood from my unused wooden floor pieces. And just got a 8″ brass-backed Spear & Jackson tenon saw today and it’s 20tpi. Already filed out the original mis-sized tooth, made the template (a good and fulfilling practice of saw-using), and will cut and refine the new tooth soon. Removed the original finish of the handle with sandpapers. It stank when I was doing so. Didn’t know what the previous owner do with it. And then applied with flaxseed oil. During the restoration, I started to understand that such a process is the way to get to know more about the tools. And so I started to understand what the ‘enjoy sharpening them’ means.
    Under the invasion of Japanese disposable saw blades, which is even worse in Taiwan since most people use pull saws here, I chose the sharpenable saws which will stay with me for decades. It might be a benefit cause no one here will want to use my push saws.

    Have a nice busy week Paul.



    • Evan on 10 May 2016 at 5:15 pm

      Danny-
      Welcome to the addiction. I find I enjoy restoring the tools almost more than using them. That feeling you get when you first lay a restored and sharpened tool to the wood is so simply satisfying. You are quite right about learning about the tools as you restore them.



  9. Ronald Kowalewski Jr on 17 February 2017 at 5:24 pm

    Thank You for your blog and all you do. I’ve recently began working in wood and hand tools. I’ve been a plasterer for years and have maintained houses since childhood. Certified to teach carpentry i’ve used tools for a means to an end as long as i can remember. Now i can apply an artful attitude to all i do. Your ethos on woodworking and craft speaks to me. As a musician i’ve spent 10,000 plus hours on studying and practicing my accordion. Ive learned more from your videos in 3months than i did in 4yrs of study in High School! I can’t believe that i just discovered a knife wall 2wks ago.
    ” Living on the knife-wall” is my new mantra..