The Rebate Plane Series and More of My Work

Essential Woodworking Hand Tools by Paul Sellers

Book DVD Case and DiscsWriting my book and indeed seeing it published a few short weeks ago stirred many deep feelings in me. More than almost anything I’ve done in any literature work to date at least. In fact, it impacted me so much I recently went on to complete a companion manuscript I started alongside the Essential Woodworking Hand Tools book and I completed all of the photography and drawings last week. This is yet another skills building workbook designed to provide the essentials and further solidify the foundational work I believe was instrumental to my finding fulfilment as a working craftsman. Spurred on all the more, as well as my next book being prepared for publishing, I have two more books in progress right now and these of course enhance the work we do as filmmakers and educators for the new genre woodworker I chose two decades ago to invest the remainder of my life in.  It seems to me from the number of emails and comments I’ve received (and a big thank you for that too) that everyone who bought the book was stunned by the quality, size and content including the “amazing photography and graphic work.” It seems it was way more than anyone expected and this is what happens when you keep your finger on the pulse to make certain no one dumbs down the content by poor editing, poor print quality and low-grade publishing work. I think the fact that there is no padding, no fluff and stuff and then no fanciful imaginations from unqualified inputters made the real difference. We picked the best and the most highly skilled and then the most knowledgeable in their field. For me it did do exactly what we wanted to achieve no matter what aspect of training it brought to our now worldwide audience. I hoped to convey how my hand tools had served me for 50 years and more, I tried not to be too philosophical without good reason. With almost 500 pages and the 3 DVD package as support, we are doing the same to our future books too.

Tools for Honourable Mention

P1190025 In a book like Essential Woodworking Hand Tools there are limits as to how much you can put into it without making the book massive and content overwhelming. There are many tools that I love hanging around that didn’t quite make it into the pages. These tools are not lesser tools at all. In fact used in the context of a particular task they can indeed be indispensable but if you use them only once every two years it might be hard to qualify them as essential. A compass plane might be such a tool, or a compass saw. It might be better to consider a tool’s value according to how much you rely on the tool and how often you reach for it in a given day, week or year. That was where I drew the line in the sand for some of the tools. naturally this can leave gaps in a persons education so this current series and some I plan on releasing here via my blog will fill in those gaps over the upcoming months. Of course it’s not the same as having a real book in your library, but who knows, we may find a block of time to add another volume when the current works I am completing are published in the upcoming months and years. I have no plans to stop writing books, blogging and making films content. In some ways, although I still work 12 hours in any given day, these are indeed my retiring years. What does that mean? I retired from working for a living in my mid 20s. I decided then that doing what you love is retiring from the monotony of working for a living. I still love working with my hands. making and making videos for teaching and training others. I have no plans to stop. P1190054

The book has indeed gone beyond my imagination and of course you can now buy it just about anywhere in the world directly from us at Rokesmith and via Amazon. In North America Lee Valley Veritas now has it in stock though I understand it is yet to go into its catalog and so too Highland Woodworking has the book on its shelves and online.

The Current Series on Rebate Planes

P1180019 Having just started the rebate plane series with the initial ones published I will be working through the ten or so plane types to bring you the working knowledge i have gained through the years.This will take a few weeks as the category is quite massive. We just completed the Stanley #78 series and we discussed other makers in that range too. The bullnose plane went up yesterday and I think you will enjoy that one also. This is where the blog is ideal. I can post information and even update it or edit it later to keep things current. That means clipping of years on your learning curve as you put into practice in expanding your knowledge and vision by the physical using of them.


  1. How ironic–I was just at Highland Woodworking/Hardware today and was so glad to see your book in the shelves. It can be hard to wait for something to arrive in the mail when I can buy it locally and have instant gratification. I concur with your comments–your book is amazingly well put together and I am eager to dive in!

  2. Hello Paul,
    I’ve just finished reading your book a few weeks ago and found it fascinating, informative and enjoyable, even if the print was a little small for my eyes. When it arrived in mid April I held it and thought that this copy was one of very few that had travelled further than any other to reach me here in New Zealand. The next thought was how prefect the print, photo’s and quality of the pages were, but then what else would we expect from yo
    As a qualified Joiner from the 1970’s I found the subjects covered a wide range of knowledge for me. From the basic that I’m well familiar with, like marking and measuring. The thought provoking, as with sharpening saws to a rip cut and using them for crosscutting. Then forward to learning new knowledge on preparing and the use of hand routers. I’m well familiar with those electric versions.
    This book is a resource for any woodworker of any skill level to treasure and to have as a reference for many years to come. I look forward to reading any follow up books you intend to pen in the future.

  3. So pleased to have discovered you recently, while doing a Google search for sharpening garden shears of all things. I’ve always hankered after doing more woodworking but lack of a workbench has held me back for decades. Definitely aim to remedy that now with your video series on making a workbench. Must say your instuctional videos are the best I’ve come across on the web, on any topic.

    Couple of queries:
    1. Couldn’t see any plans to help with making the workbench. I suppose everyone’s need for height, width and length is different but it would speed me along if there was a drawing with dimensions for a bench you’ve made for yourself, which people could scale according to personal preference or space constraints. Is there already a drawing online that I’m missing?

    2. I’ll definitely be buying your Essential Woodworking Hand Tools book but dithering over whether to buy the DVDs too. The discount to buy both at same time is attractive but what do they add to the book and is there duplication with your YouTube channel. More details about the DVDs and a couple of sample videos would be very helpful.

    Thanks for all you do to inspire a novice woodworker.

    1. Hi John,
      If you go to the menue then select Blog Series -Building a Workbench you will find many detailed had-drawn illustrations by Paul with dimensions of his workbench including an overall plan. I printed out the whole blog about building the workbench, put the printed pages in clear punched sleeves and then put them in a ring binder. Takes a bit of time and printer ink but what a useful reference/instruction manual you get. The printed out instructions go well with the on-line U-tube work bench video.
      As regards Pail’s Essential Woodworking Tools book and accompanying video set, well I purchased the whole package and have not regretted it. There are techniques that become a whole lot better to understand when watched on the videos. Inevitably there will be some things that are repeated from the book but to actually see the work being done makes the whole thing make sense.

    2. Mostly they take out the guess work of what can be difficult to describe regarding techniques where seeing needs less interpretation than say reading or listening. We add the DVDs for that reason mainly. If a picture paints a thousand words then a DVD paints ten thousand and more. That’s what seems to be happening anyway. I have no regrets entering the world of videography as it clears up many ambiguities.

    3. Hello Richard.

      I just wanted to mention that I built a bench from the description in Paul’s YouTube videos and blog posts. It was the very first handtool-only project I have ever done and it came out great. It is rock solid and does everything I could want. If you dive in and build one, you will end up with a great bench. Paul’s instruction and your own efforts will get you there.

  4. I purchased the Essential Woodworking Hand Tools and accompanying videos when they came out and even took a trip down to Oxford for Paul’s book signing. Since then, I have read the book at least twice all the way through and dipped in and out when I needed a reference for specific parts. The same for the DVD’s watched again and again; so for me as a beginner they are simply invaluable.

    Any further publications Paul produces you can be sure I will be snatching up just as quick, because I’m eager to learn and there’s nobody better to learn from.

  5. Well I am another fan of the Book and DVD’s, haven’t seen any better anywhere. I bought the 1st book Paul came out with and found that very helpful also, especially the bench build. I love my bench and will build another one a little bigger.

    I will be looking forward to any new books that will be on the horizon. Also glad to here Lee Valley and Highland Woodworking in Atlanta ( my favorite “Tool Candy” store ) where I have spent many an hour there will be selling these books as well.


  6. Paul,
    Loved your book. I’ll buy every book you write. Keep them coming. You are writing about basic subjects, yet your opinions and voice make the writing interesting. You have a gift.

    Suggestion: Your publisher seems to my eye to be changing font size from page to page (e.g. page 359), which I would hope not. I might be mistaken, of course.

    Generally, the font size was presumably made small to keep the size of the book under control, but this small size comes at a cost to the reader. I would suggest readability be placed in higher importance.

    1. The font size is an 11 and is consistent throughout the book. It’s true that the book would have suffered by oversize had we not taken that call.

  7. I just ordered the book and DVD set. I waited this long waiting for an opening in my budget.
    I want to give kudos to whoever takes the photos on your blog and other sites they are exceptional shots and I know the photos in the book will be just as good.

    Thanks for all you’ve taught me,

  8. Please re-send emails # 7 and 15 as they were blank on arrival.
    Thank you

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