Q&A Part III – Why We Do What We Do!

OK my great friends, Q&A Part 3 is up here for free via my YouTube channel. I think you’ll love what we’ve done. Below accounts for why we do what we do just a wee bit.p1500167

These Q&A sessions on YouTube have been very positive and I am thankful for your questions because others gain so much too from your inquiries into those areas many know little of. In many ways you may not know a couple of things about how I feel. I have been teaching now for 25 years and at first it began with just a small trickle of students in a place that might today seem the middle of nowhere. I remember that something seemed to be moving in me that created a knowing I hadn’t felt before. It was pre-internet for me and indeed for most others too back then. For me it was something that built not on creating imagery on a flat screen but a back bent in the working of planes and saws and many other tools that even then I had worked six days a week year-round as a working craftsman for over 30 years. p1030014At that time I taught for the Texas Arts and Crafts Foundation and in Woodcraft stores in San Antonio and Dallas Texas.My thoughts even then were that I had been given so much and that what I knew in the practice of my craft shouldn’t stop with me. Now I know, to some that will seem arrogant, but I am not saying I was the only one that knew anything, just that most woodworkers coming into woodworking back then were met with power equipment including masses of machines. p1500133The problem I saw back then was that hand tool skills, tools equipment and methods of working with them were so diminished they almost did not exist. Couple all of that with the reality that there were then only six woodworking schools I knew of in the USA and that most schools were closing down the school woodworking workshops and you glimpse my concerns. I decided then that I could take a small sphere on a local basis that would make a difference and indeed it did. Fast forward, I never really was a computer literate person and truth be known I have learned just enough to be dangerous. I do my own blog and I know how to teach having since those days taught close to 6,000 students in around my bench sessions for 28 years now. Up until three years ago I was still a producing craftsman making pieces to sell. I used mostly vintage hand tools from my apprentice days but also vintage machines for the donkey work. p1500134Anyway, that is why I wrote my latest book Essential Woodworking Hand Tools as the book that’s never been written simply because it is a book written by a man, a workman, a working craftsman with no writing skills or abilities and no journalistic abilities either. It has been the internet that created a new way to outreach with ways of reaching people I never would have thought possible. Yes, I do make money from y work. I am thankful for that, but that still has little bearing on my decision all those years ago. p1520804Look what’s happened! Every day I receive dozens of compliments and thank you’s from people around the world speaking only of change that is all-encompassing and inclusive. Yes we get the occasional negative comment but we don’t mind that either. There can be no doubt that we are preserving what I was then fearful might be lost. So here I am, still fearfully confident, exploring new territory to pass on what I have known and been blessed by in the very same breath. I am very grateful to those I work with, for my work, though always leading to more hard work and an ever-increasing workload enables me to equip others in a volume that would never be possible one on one. p1550380

My payback has been the constancy of a hundredfold return which is simply knowing you are all growing. I would never want anyone to think that this is or ever was one way. p1550393Somethings you just can’t can or bottle or stop from spreading. Yes it is a niche outreach but it’s a critical niche to me. You keep at least 5 people working full time plus two freelance film editors and those helping with graphics and photography to make it happen and indeed we pay full wages to boot. Remember that before four years ago it was only Joseph and me struggling to keep all the plates in the air. You so bless me everyone!!!


19 thoughts on “Q&A Part III – Why We Do What We Do!”

  1. That link brings me to some music by Jacqueline du Pré. Your Q&A part 3 is in the suggested section of the YouTube page. Thanks for what you are doing. The music was quite nice too.

  2. Thank you for all you do and thanks for perservering thru the decades to get to where all the teaching and sharing is at now.
    Just bought your book and looking forward to reading it.
    Sincerely, Ted Koester

  3. Hi Mr. Sellers,

    A brief question regarding cross-drilled countersinks from this your 3rd Q&A video: do these countersinks work well by hand? or high-speed use only? Thanks!

  4. Having gone to school for guitar luthiery, I had a very good introduction to some of the hand tools often discussed here by Paul and others. But I always wanted to know more. I wanted to know different techniques of use, applications and wanted to gain a good foundation of knowledge on the tools we didn’t use while in school. Through this desire to learn more I stumbled upon Paul’s YouTube channel. It opened the door to a what seems like a whole new world. Now I’ve developed an interest in woodworking with hand tools and will incorporate that into building guitars in the near future. Its so great to have a craftsman that isn’t throwing sales pitch after sales pitch at the viewer and reader. Thank you Paul and everyone that makes all of this knowledge and education come to light. I tip my hat to you all for your hard work and efforts to share your knowledge with all of us.

  5. Can you give a make/model for those counter sink bits you use? I’ve not been able to find them on the internet.

    1. The one I said I had used for decades is still good but has no maker. It was US made though. The others I showed as a set came via ebay and they are working out fine too. They usually sell under the name “countersink and deburring bits or set“. I prefer the hex shank as they don’t slip under pressure.

  6. Paul,

    Just wanted to say thanks. I’m one of the countless people you’ve inspired. I’ve worked in the abstract (software) my entire career and have always been challenged to create anything you can actually touch. I found you on Youtube by chance, and was hooked by your temperament and your gift of teaching. My collection of essential hand tools is growing to the point I am hitting critical mass. Well, I’m off to unpack my new diamond stones and get my tools sharpened to build your Shaker box. God bless.

  7. Hi Paul,
    Being in the trades for years as a what I would call a production carpenter I was introduced briefly but captively to hand tooling. You took it to a totally different level of participation in the work. The Bailey #4 is now an invaluable enjoyable extension to the work. Thank you thank you thank you.
    I am in conflict now as I become more reliant on antiquities answers to carpentry. The idea of self reliance, local harvesting and skill vrs large scale engineering, production, and current social understanding are in constant tension. I glean from your experience and find riches and an intimacy in the processes you have taught. Thank you again Mr Sellers.


  8. ” … I have learned just enough to be dangerous.”
    Thank goodness you did!
    Your postings show just what a difference can be made to such a large number of people by someone who really *knows* what they are talking about.
    Invaluable information and demonstrations.

  9. Paul greetings and thanks from Oregon. Hopefully this is an appropriate venue to ask a Q &A , I,
    I’ve watched many of your videos and I don’t believe I’ve ever seen you discuss or use a corrugated plane. Could you elaborate on the why’s and when’s of useing corrugated versus flat?

    Thank you for doing what you do. And that’s to the whole team.

  10. Paul, A question for your consideration: I can sharpen scrapers to produce nice shavings (working as you taught us), but the edge doesn’t last very long and I must resharpen frequently. How long will your scraper cut well in oak and maple after a sharpening? What things affect how long the scraper will cut? Would holding the scraper at the wrong angle affect how long it cuts? If you look at a scraped surface with grazing light, will it look like a shiny surface (like a planed surface), or will it also have some fine scratches in it?

  11. Hi Paul,

    Thanks very much for your videos. They are an invaluable resource!

    I have a quick submission for a Q&A:

    I recently had some red oak boards milled with the plan to laminate them into a table top. It turns out that they were imperfectly jointed by the mill, and I’ve got gaps of about 1mm in some parts of my lamination. Do you think that this is necessary to fix? If it is, what’s the best way to fix the gaps?


    1. Usually they will clamp out but this can lead to problems as times and conditions change. As a general rule we try always to remove any and all gaps. If the company milled them with inaccuracy one way they may well have milled them out of square too. So check and replane to get the best results.

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