We are just about concluding the series on the Craftsman-style rocking chair I have been making for the past 25 years now. It has been popular with most whether that is to make it or just watch how I made it.
I am a most fortunate man. I have spent the whole of the life I have lived so far making and building furniture of all kinds. I could never afford to spend $18,000 on a dining table made from wrought iron and mesquite but I designed one and sold it with 10 dining chairs to a customer in Houston. So many other pieces I have made, but it wasn’t the selling that I considered any kind of success but the weeks of building things like that from a tree I may well have cut down. In this case, yes, I cut the trees on the lady’s home ranch in Medina, Texas, slabbed the boards and cut my parts from it and then of course dried it too. I say all of that to say what a diverse life being a lifestyle woodworker has given me. Today my work is a sort of hybrid in that though I still design, build, sketch, draw, write and such as I always have, I no longer meet with customers to sell my work. I no longer attend craft shows or own a studio for visiting customers to see me work at all. After nearly 40 years of that I must say I am enjoying the shift but remember that through the various dimensions of working my c raft I enjoyed each phase. Who can deny the joy of meeting with Karen and designing her table and chairs? Presenting an option she might like or reject. Felling the trees and harvesting wood is an amazing relief from the more mundane things. In the latter years of designing and building for people I didn’t really have to do much selling in the end. People came with the intention of buying so there was no sell as such and this Paul Sellers could get on with what he knew best which was designing from the inside out pieces he felt prod to make. My work is still high demand work but it’s a new phase. I am sure the changes into the new year will evoke strong emotional changes. The past few days I have been enjoying time developing aspects to my design. Mostly it has not been the overall appearance but developing joinery that then presents skill-building opportunities for my students on woodworkingmasterclasses.com.
The emails that come in about changed lives are too many to show, but my work has and will always be about changing lives for the better. The way we work will always affect the outcome and more and more of you are seeing the significance of woodworking with hand tools. The highlight of the past year for me was my book Essential Woodworking Hand Tools. My friend said to me last week, and he’s and English teacher, “What I love about the book is you can dip into it any time and any point and always find something interesting to follow.” The book was written as always from a lived life. Thanks to all of you for keeping me and my work living and vibrant. I wrote it for you as I have the next one coming out in the new year some time. It’s written and in the edit phase now.
Oh, I should tell you also that the bookend above is the next project on woodworkingmasterclasses too. Join up and see what we do there. You’ll be amazed. The Shaker dresser follows this project too but there is much more yet to come this year.
See you next year now. Have a Happy and prosperous New Year.