Where Should I Visit in 2017?

I receive many requests from woodworking enthusiasts in many countries and regions asking me to visit to teach and inspire and of course many places pique my interest. But it can’t totally be based on the highest number of requests in a given region or just where I personally might want to visit. That said, I feel that it’s important for people to know about my work so I go to where the interest lies. I rely on you, everywhere, and I thought it might be a good to invite your input so here I am putting it out to see who wants me to visit and where, if I were to make a trip this year, to meet my fellow woodworkers anywhere in the world. It can be near or far. I am thinking I will do two such trips in 2017 and, if it goes well, visit other places in years to come too. There can of course be many reasons for such a trip, but classes and/or talks are what we consider the most purposeful right now. I’d like to visit somewhere where I can feel my work will make a difference. You know, where the reason has impact and by such implication, meaning and value that will help others engage in real woodworking. So if you think I should come to a particular place, why not let me know and give a reason or two for it too. Please fill in this form to register your interest. Who knows, we may well meet!

60 comments on “Where Should I Visit in 2017?

    • I’d suggest North Carolina, perhaps at the John C. Campbell Folk School – have you visited them, Paul? It also sounds like Birmingham, Alabama would be nice as well.

    • Paul –
      Couldn’t agree with Dan more – there is a wonderful group in the southeastern united States called NCWW (North Carolina Woodworkers) http://www.ncwoodworker.net/ we are a mostly on-line group, which I think you will understand and appreciate, but we get together for workshops and other functions to learn from people who can help us become better woodworkers – We would appreciate adding you to the list of “professionals” to our list of on-line and in-person teachers!

  1. Handworks 2017 May 19-20
    Amana Iowa, just outside Cedar Rapids

    It is the largest Hand Tool only event we have in the USA.

    It would be Epic if you were to show up.

  2. Paul, I’d love to see you anywhere in the USA. Preferably somewhere biggish or that can hold several classes in a row as it will fill quickly.

    The second place would be in a country that doesn’t speak English so that the language would be more of just the essence of woodworking. Of course, a translator would be helpful. I had a former boss who once gave q scientific speech in Japan. He spoke English and then had to wait for the translator to translate. It was an interesting challenge. He had to prepare differently and use different wording to ensure it was understood. You might enjoy this sort of challenge.

  3. Africa’s calling Paul (South Africa, particularly).

    I’d love you to demonstrate here how you don’t need heaps of money to produce fine furniture. Your “poor-man” approach would open many avenues that have been closed by conventional thinking. Teaching people to make and use their own tools could provide opportunities to many in poverty alleviation initiatives.

    • Now there is an idea worth exploring! There is definitely a need if the folks that need it most could both find out about it and get transportation. There would be many other considerations as well. Of that I am sure

      I, of course support all of the locations suggested by Paul’s supporters. We all would benefit greatly by making his visit to our areas a must do!

    • While you’re in the area visiting Aussie, take an extra 2 1/2 hours to cross the ditch and visit New Zealand (Wellington). Quicker and shorter distance than crossing Aussie. Worth it just for the scenery, not as hot and no flies. I’m sure there are plenty of woodworker here who would make you welcome.

  4. There are a several charities, such as Tools for Self Reliance, sending refurbished old hand tools out to users in Africa. You could follow one of their deliveries, teach a class and probably learn something too from the improvisation techniques developed by local woodworkers who really do have to work with the bare minimum. You might come across some interesting furniture designs too.

    • A great idea. I’m sure lots of people (myself included) would love Paul to visit our local area, but I think something along the lines that you have suggested would benefit those communities, Paul’s curiosity, and could be a source for a brilliant video-log.
      Locally, in the UK, I’d also like to see something to shake-up the Education Establishment.

  5. I would love to see Paul in Canada! I live in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories which may be too small but any major centre in Western Canada would suit me fine and sell out quick!

  6. I know this is not geographically specific, but it would be wonderful to get Paul in front of young people in schools and colleges anywhere. Maybe start local around Oxford? Happy to volunteer some admin time for these gigs.

    • “Not specific” seems to be a good starting point!
      Paul, don’t get me wrong, but you are one of the elder one’s. After you’ve spread so much effort to train us – you should now make your decision on our own interests: What country/region would you like to visit? You and your team know good enough where your “fans” are located, where your courses will be filled up rapidly.
      I think, Steve Dawson hits the nail: Why not go, where your engagement meets people with only a few contact to your recent work?
      Everybody in this blogging community here gains enough from your work.
      There might be regions/countries where there were handtool woodworkers once – and where the youngsters and the people in leading roles need to come in contact with some basics to see how much influence handtool woodworking can have for personal growth, cultural identity and economical horizons.
      You set the needle on the map – and I am sure you will find a lot of helping hands to make your journey an unforgetable trip.

  7. Paul. NEW England. Near to, but not in Boston. (Driving is terrible there). Anywhere to the north and west (or just west)of Boston would be great. Even southern New Hampshire I’m being selfish here…I live in Lowell.

  8. I’ve been doing further thinking about the USA. If this were one of the spots, how about you reach out to Habitat for Humanity (ex president Carters foundation) or Mike Rowe Works foundation? Both may have interesting ties and opportunities for you that would even better extend your impact in the USA.

    • I thought the exact same thing with regard to Mike Rowe! What he is doing and Paul’s philosophies seem made for each other. Someone else mentioned Paul making the biggest impact possible with regard to education, and I can’t see a much better way to do that than with Mike’s foundation. He is the epicenter of pushback against academia and tirelessly promotes the development and dignity of skilled trades and working with your hands.

      Otherwise, I would certainly be all for an appearance in the Southeastern US. The Atlanta area makes for easy travel for folks to centrally convergence from anywhere in the Southeast.

  9. I would second Handworks, The place to be every second year. Not only those showing their wares, but just so many woodworkers enjoying the craft.

  10. Paul,If you ever want an interesting challenge and your on the US East Coast, come to Full Pocket Farm. We are opening our doors early this summer and will be providing day support to individuals living with disabilities.

    One of the Therapeutic activities for the attendees will be Woodworking with hand tools. It is without doubt that many of the techniques and skills that we will teach are directly from Paul’s YouTube videos and MasterClass series.

    Paul, thank you for your teachings. They go much farther then you can imagine.
    Don Dillon

  11. Well Alabama would present you with a challenge. We have acres of Chinese privet of which we would be delighted to find a use.

  12. Of course Paul,…we New York & Vermont wood lovers would appreciate having you back to our part of the world and from where I personally had the distinct pleasure of meeting you at a demonstration in Saratoga NY several years ago.

    Where to travel to next should be to your sole discretion. Anywhere you go there will be new eyes opened wide by your genuine ability to relate and communicate the beauty and skills of ‘handmade’ with ‘hand tools’.

    Hard to pick up a plane or chisel these days without the name Paul Sellers coming up in conversation. I’d say that’s as big an endorsement as any man can achieve in his lifetime.

  13. Hi Paul
    What about a place with limited resources – including wood that needs to either use one wood or recycle what they have. Like Kiribati in the middle of the Pacific, you get to use Coconut or recycle!
    Or somewhere like Fiji – out of the resorts and in the villages where the chief system still works but some skills are being lost to ‘new’ but limited tools.
    OK – these places would take a bit of organising – but it might be worth it.
    (Or come to Western Australia in February for bit of warmth so I can get to a show)

  14. Please come to Charlotte Michigan at LL Johnson’s workbench/lumber manufacturing. There is also a local author, John Wilson, who has written a book, Making Wood Tools, that is the perfect companion to your book. Of which I am now the proud owner of both. Charlotte is a small town but close enough to larger cities that I think you would get a good audience. Cheers!

  15. Birmingham, Alabama (the other Birmingham) would be a fine place for you to visit, Paul. We have an active woodworking community and the Alabama Woodworkers Guild is a wonderful place to hold classes & seminars. Plus, you can’t find better Southern cooking than B’ham.

  16. As much as I’d like to spend a day with me in my basement shop, I think Ken posted on 12 January the best idea of all.

    Teach people who may not even have electricity how to make a living and improve their lives. That was done by giving cell phones to entrepreneurial people in isolated villages. It was wildly successful not only, for instnce, the woman who started a telephone business, but also for her fellow villagers who used the communication channel to grow market for their own businesses.

    You could easily crowd fund such an effort.

  17. Paul, come to Austin, Texas. We are teaching the homeless your woodworking methods. They have learned to make candlesticks, furniture, and timber frame buildings with hand tools using your techniques. Their skills are growing and are providing modest incomes, community, and dignity. Amazing how it has all started with learning about a “knife wall” from you. 🙂

    It is Community First Village and can be found online here: http://mlf.org


  18. Another vote for the Midwest. Maybe you can work something out with Marc Adams in Indianapolis, IN. He’s already got space and benches.

  19. Please come to Tasmania; we are an island state south of mainland Australia and are renowned for our native timbers. Tasmania became separated from mainland Australia about 12,000 years ago and because it is so far south a host of species of trees evolved that are unique to us and are some of the most beautiful and interesting timbers in the world.

    The best known would be Huon Pine; not only is it a nice looking wood but it is also pretty much rot resistant. The resins in the wood protect it and once it was discovered and the early settlers realised it’s rare properties it was harvested almost into oblivion for use in boat building. The timber industry is more controlled now so even rare species are still available, like: King Billy, Leatherwood, Myrtle, Blackwood, Sassafras, Celery Top, Horizontal plus the Eucalypts like Blue Gum and the mighty Swamp Gum (second largest tree behind the Californian Redwoods).

    This link is to a company site that is salvaging these species from flooded lakes: http://www.tasmaniantimbers.com/tas-timbers.html.

    Tasmania has a rich history of wood crafts and is home to many fine woodworkers so there would be no shortage of eager students, plus, you can stay at our place free – we live in a large house with heaps of room on a semi-rural property just outside Hobart (the capital city).

  20. Paul , My first thoughts were all about me. LOL! That said I am a member of the MNWG second largest woodworkers guild in america. We have a seminar for a weekend in Mid November. Minnesota cold (almost LOL!) and you would be preaching to the choir.

    Africa is closer than the US and maybe less expensive, more interesting? But their are countries like Spain and Brazil. Even Mexico?

    A bunch of wonderful suggestions presented here.

    Where ever you go you’ll spread the knowlege.

    I remember first seeing the workbench build many years ago and saying “Who’s that guy!?”

    • Yes, when I first came back the the UK people said, “Who is this guy Paul Sellers but in the US I had become better known more gradually as the internet was still developing. hard to imagine but facebook was only started in 2004 and youtube in 2005. We began videography in our company with the sole intention of changing the views of woodworking with hand tools and we did it successfully only because at the time there was very little other than machine only woodworking and almost no craftsman-led training anywhere and that’s still true now really.

  21. Quite a few folks would be more than happy if you were to visit Slovenia for a lecture or a course. Though the population is rather small (just 2M), there is a growing interest in woodworking and I’m sure there would be enough attendants for a course. Also while I don’t want to brag, we do have some pretty nice forests and other natural attractions 😉

  22. Hello Paul,
    I just thought, why not take a chance… for Belgium!
    After a career in ICT that ended due to health problems (that are luckily gone now), I started a business in woodworking at the age of 50 (www.crea-mani.be), it is starting to take shape after a year and a half , thanks to your inspiring books & video’s I learned a lot.
    We are now starting up a new project for Artisans in Leuven (beautiful city in Belgium with its University dating from 1425).
    ArtisanHub will be a place where different artisans will work together (inspired by the Wood Centre on your YouTube channel). We will have our workshops there and there will be courses given by the artisans and also a physical shop where we will sell our products. In march we start a Pop-up workshop & product shop in Leuven together with a friend who is ceramist (making pottery http://www.maanpotkeramiek.be). The popup will be for 4 months, after which we will start on a bigger location with more artisans.
    I can imagine you will get an enormous amount of requests, but anyway, it would of course be great to invite you for a day or more. Belgium is a great country, you would be most welcome, and we could organise an interesting gathering of Belgian Woodworkers.

    Thank you so much for your inspiring courses & books! This is definitely the new learning and the right way to inspire both young & older people.

  23. I’d love to see you here in Francisco, IN – just for selfish reasons really. There isn’t anything here to see except maybe the 3 tools in my barn. I’ll smoke a brisket for dinner though and let you fish in my lake.

  24. Dear Paul,
    There is a continent and an Island far away that you have not visited in your lecture series.
    Please join with us and set up a Life Style Chapter in Australia/New Zealand.
    Roger Karrasch

  25. Hi, Paul. I’m sure you will have a warm welcome in Brazil. I wish I could go to the UK to take classes with you, but other tasks keep me from doing it. I’m glad we have the Woodworking Masterclasses.

    You changed my life.

    Thank you.

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