A Future Starts With a Single Cut


I so want to be a woodworker but I don’t really see how to do it. Every where i turn it’s not really what I am learning the way you show it. Any help would be appreciated.


Ontario, Canada



His hands were gnarled, veins rose in periodic knots beneath a parchment skin where bones peaked and troughed, leading to uncut, nicotine-stained fingernails. He pulled up the saw he bought “new in 1895”, sliced its teeth into the wood and I watched in silence as the Beatles sang “She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah!” somewhere off in an insignificant background. A perfect dovetail emerged by sight from the strokes. For the first time in my life and by this one act of supreme power and control, an old man made entry into a world that determined the course of my life with the same progressive power.

By this we charge the future of young lives–acts like this take the ordinary and make the extraordinary happen!

Since then I have never listened to those who say contrary things to the way I choose to make the things I do. Opinions are nothing more than opinions. They often interrupt a clear path a man or a woman chooses. When you learn to master the true art of working wood the doors open to pursue any course into the future.

Nothing offered today lures me like the man cutting a dovetail 52 years ago. It was a pivotal point in my life and I have lived by it throughout a wonderful work-life every day. So don’t care too much about what others might say you can or can’t or should or shouldn’t do, choose your future and make it happen as best you can!


  1. David R on 14 January 2017 at 12:18 pm

    Thanks, Paul. Just what I needed after a discouraging encounter today.

  2. Will on 14 January 2017 at 4:48 pm

    He practices what he preaches. ‘Nuff said.

  3. Howard on 14 January 2017 at 5:46 pm

    You certainly inspire me, at just 63

  4. mark cherry on 14 January 2017 at 6:32 pm

    it started for me when a was drawn to a old stanley #6 plane sitting in my grandfather’s garage,that his father owened,i own it now,and built a business,starting with a small tool box left by them.the work goes on

  5. Michael on 14 January 2017 at 7:34 pm

    I got started when I found a magazine article on a stunning platform bed. Went to rocker for the hardware and discovered pen turning. That was it, took a few classes and away I went to work wood. If I could only make money working wood

  6. HB on 14 January 2017 at 8:28 pm

    I understand you so much Alex. Not an easy path to follow
    In this world of mouse and software. Mostly alone , even with the extraordinary videos of Paul! Please do not stop : hopefully you will have the chance to meet Paul one day.

    Hugo , Quebec

  7. Matt on 14 January 2017 at 9:00 pm

    I remember hearing old timers on job sites that took me under his wing was an older electrician his brothers carpenters back in the 60s. His brother would quote a new home and do all the calculations on a framing square. I shared with him what I wanted to do be a craftsman and he looked me in the eye and said you’ll never become one in this outfit but never let anyone tell you tou can do it. Each path is different but keep focus on were you want to go you may vear left or right but keep looking a head. After following this blog and masterclass and anything that has to do with Mr Sellers after 10 years I’m now on my own after making a simpler life. Starting a line with a comercial cabinet shop on piece work doing handwork which this company will not let me go. Develop skill build confidence and know we’re your going and you will be fine. There a lot of hidden craftsmen in Canada I have come across many from all over find one had build a relationship with most are more than willing to pass it on

  8. BrianJ on 14 January 2017 at 9:45 pm

    Really big question. At least with the environment created through Paul (wwmc) you will find like minded people who share the learning curve, although each at our own rates.

  9. Anthony on 15 January 2017 at 2:55 pm

    It all started for me when I moved into my first and only house. I did some renovations and liked it. For some reason shortly after, I started to watch the Woodwright Shop. I wanted to do what Roy did but couldn’t because my chisel and block plane were not sharp. At the time, I thought it was the tools. So, I gave it up. Out of no where in a brutally cold winter during January 3 yrs. ago I thought to myself, “Ya know, I never gave myself a fair chance to succed at woodworking. I need to start to learn how to sharpen correctly.” Determined, I sharpened a couple chisels in my basement with wet/dry sandpaper and experienced better sharpness. From there I made a couple of dovetailed boxes but knew I needed more help. This is when I surfed the net and discovered small clips of Paul’s Artisan course. They blew me away. When I saw his chisels cut the wood like butter I realized I did not have true sharpness. I looked him up on youtube and found his chisel sharpening video. I did the same with my chisels and handplanes I bought on ebay and FINALLY I had success. I discovered what a burr was and my tools did what I wanted. What a feeling! I remember saying out loud when the first silky ribbon rolled out of my Stanley #4, “Ahhhh! That is soooo cool.”

    • Hugo on 16 January 2017 at 5:29 pm

      Oh! Yes i know the feeling! And honestly, for me, it was because of my grand father and … Paul. I discovered an old Stanley 45 that belonged to him… Never thought about it until… 2 years ago… And all of sudden, i wanted to make it work, to feel the ”spirit” of my grandfather. Then Paul arrived with is book and videos… Can not tackle dovetails yet but maybe one day.

    • Jeff on 16 January 2017 at 7:41 pm

      Brilliant. I remember the same reaction. What a eureka moment. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Danny on 16 January 2017 at 4:17 am

    Hi Paul do you have a picture of the chair you made for the White House? I would like to look at the design and if you can also write about the wood selection and the thought behind the design. There is so much that goes o. With a chair.

    • Paul Sellers on 16 January 2017 at 4:56 am

      I never made a chair for the White House so ‘fraid not.

    • Arjan on 16 January 2017 at 8:15 pm

      Maybe you’re confusing Paul with Sam Maloof?

      “Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan have both owned Maloof rockers.”
      – Wikipedia

      • Paul Sellers on 16 January 2017 at 8:27 pm

        Now hold on there, President Bush has three of my rocker designs now.

        • Arjan on 17 January 2017 at 12:53 am

          Ha, didn’t know that… congratulations!

  11. Ken Moffett on 16 January 2017 at 12:43 pm

    I am 55 and staring retirement in the eye. Your classes have reopened and a love I had as a youth but I did not have the money or time. Well things have changed and I have found a lost love of creating things with my own hands. I started with your saw horses and am now working on my workbench. Can’t wait to get it finished and start on my first dove tail box. I have also found a fondness for old tools. This has made going to antique shows and flee markets with my wife much more enjoyable. Thanks Paul for giving me a boost into the second stage in my life.

  12. Mark on 16 January 2017 at 5:20 pm

    Great advice and very timely

  13. Capt. Charles "Turk" Cross on 16 January 2017 at 7:07 pm

    Paul, I have enjoyed your blog, and classes immensely. If for nothing else, reminding me of the old adage, “You are never too old to learn”, and “You CAN teach an ole dog new tricks”.

    I’m a retired merchant marine captain. I started learning metal and woodworking skills from my father, at six years old. He was a master wheelwright, and blacksmith. My first experience was cranking the blower on my dads forge as he worked shaping metal tools, and parts, to build wagon and buggy wheels. He peaked an interest in me to work with my hands that has lasted all my life. That interest never faded, and has had untold value to me in as a captain. Those skills he started me learning, ended up making me one of those “go to” captains for when everyone else said “It can’t be done.

    Now I’m a retired, crippled up, ole fart. Getting out in the shop and making things with my hands keeps me from going stir crazy from boredom. I recently came across your website, and check it regularly. Thanks for adding even more to my 60 year repertoire of skills, and vastly adding to my enjoyment of life.

  14. David Lindsay Stair builder 76 years of age on 16 January 2017 at 10:55 pm

    thank you Paul. After a life time of working with wood, I am as excited today as when I began at school, tutored by an Englishman whose love for craft was never ending, and I have carried on as a self employed stair builder. God bless you Paul.

  15. John Cadd on 16 January 2017 at 11:03 pm

    I was surprised and impressed once by a film about Irishmen with their lightweight rowing boat .They made an alteration in the wooden criss cross frame and while the glue was oozing out just cut it off flush right through the wet glue . Asked how they would make it waterproof they said just cut the tail of your shirt and smear that with something like bitumen. It was totally outrageous but the boat was not delayed .
    Cutting through the wet glue shocked me .

  16. David Benwell on 17 January 2017 at 4:23 pm

    Paul , you haven’t answered Alex’s question (and i’m sure the question many youngsters in the UK are asking) where do you go to get on the right path to a career in woodworking/cabinet making?

    • Paul Sellers on 17 January 2017 at 7:27 pm

      I think through the many dozens of blogs and woodworkingmasterclasses surrounding workmanship, apprenticing and training I have many times over, but I am working on more right now.

  17. John Cadd on 17 April 2018 at 12:13 am

    Here`s an outragious idea for anyone looking to make money working wood. There is no such thing as a Hurdy Gurdy factory . They are all handmade. An ancient musical instrument with a combination of guitar and violin but a wheel instead of a bow . All operated with a winding handle and notes played with the left (guitar ) hand. Even when hanging on a wall it`s decorative and an object of curiosity . Just up your street .The top string recomended is a Pirastro Eudoxa which is one of the best violin makes. Slightly harder than a cuckoo clock I would say . Check one out on youtube . They seem to be quite popular with modern viewers.