An Affair With Wood or a Lifetime’s Commitment?

I wrote ‘woodworking‘ in the square, right after maths, Eng, Geog and P.E. I wasn’t sure what it meant to me, meant for me, I couldn’t see at all, but the first day in that bench-filled, wood-filled, tool-filled classroom was about to change the course of my school life. I felt it, smelt it, touched and every sense inside me absorbed it.

This tool box is one Joseph, and I made jointly when he was 12. We made it over 3 days at a woodworking show in Tulsa, OK. He made a joint, I made a joint. He owns it now.

That first encounter with wood, wood on a workbench beside a handful of hand tools changed my whole psyche irreversibly. Beyond that, school was never the same again. My writing up that timetable for school classes meant almost nothing. The idea of it was that I would know where to be and when so that for each class I would indeed be on time. That rarely happened. I dodged as many as I could and stayed under the radar for the last two years of school life. All except art, craft, metalworking and woodworking. I was about to discover my future and nothing would get in my way. Oh, I could read and write well enough, calculate and such as well as the rest. I knew where the continents were and hated team sports not because I wasn’t any good at them but because they too ended up getting in the way of woodworking. No one else felt the same as I did. You know, hanging around those creative zones before, during and after school. Just me. I loved it. That’s when I first knew I was different to the other kids.

I picked up the soft Malaysian wood on the bench top called Jelutong. No knots, no texture, no colour and no character. I was used to fruit crates cracked apart for fire starter wood at home with an axe. My wood until then was worse than any pallet wood you might get hold of today. This wood was different. A new wood for me to discover woodworking through. I didn’t love the wood so much as the tools, the workbenches, the atmosphere I was newly immersed into. This was a baptism I had never known before. It was visceral even before my hands touched any of the tools or the wood. This I knew would become a lifelong happening. Up until this point, I was going to become a vet. In just minutes that all changed. I didn’t know you could become a woodworker. I’d never met one nor heard of one. Carpenter and carpentry were not part of my vocabulary, and I have never been a carpenter.

Someone asked me when my “affair with wood” began. It was a kindly enquiry but I thought for a moment before I answered “ It wasn’t so much an affair at all”, I answered her. An affair seemed something someone might just, well, flirt with or toy with. You know, be more just casual about. For me, even then, it was more a meeting point by which my whole future might hang on, cling forever to. It was something that mattered and it was my appointment with my future lifestyle. There was no chance encounter or illegitimacy to it. Nothing happenstance or accidental. It was a ‘meant-to-be’ union of right things at right times and no less than meeting the right person you might spend your whole future with. I think few people find such a thing when it comes to working, but for me, it was as dead clear and non-negotiable as an unquestionable fact. I was just 13 years old. That was almost 55 years ago now. Two years later I started an indentured apprenticeship. My ship launched and I never once regretted my decision. I have worked with wood or written, filmed and talked about wood on average at least 10 hours a day and six days a week since that early start.

That being fact, writing the word ‘woodworking meant more to me than just a noun on a page. It meant the unfolding plan of a man’s life. I didn’t want the mere things I had made each week on the workbench—I wanted the way of life of it. I wanted to be immersed in it, to the point that little if anything else mattered. My hands lifted the wood and I felt my life being woven into the grains of different species. I know others feel the same things, but I took that sense of belonging to it as if at last I had found that rarest of things, knowing you knew! I have never lost the sense that my craft is my calling and that my calling made a place for me to occupy. I see now, looking back, that nothing I have done outside the making of wooden things has ever seemed so equally important. Family, of course, will always be on a different, higher plane. I look back on my working as a woodworking man and a furniture designer maker and see how my decision in the early 1960s stood me in good stead to provide for my family as best I could and in so many ways.

74 thoughts on “An Affair With Wood or a Lifetime’s Commitment?”

  1. Mr. Sellers,

    I am 52 this summer. I have always had an interest in woodworking – read books and articles, messed around with power tools – getting this done or that. Building a shed, finishing my own basement, building a bench or bookcase. I figured I knew enough to get by.

    Then I watched one of your videos. Just one. You made a mortise and tenon. Then I watched you take rough wood and with a hand plane, turn it into a usable, finished dead square piece of wood. That was it. I am hooked. I am taking a break right now from building a portable chicken coop for a friend. Instead of reaching for power tools, I find myself grabbing a hand saw or a chisel to make simple half lap joints. I am scouring the world for hand tools and am learning to sharpen.

    Ultimately, I want to build furniture for my five children and their newly formed and forming families. I am blessed to be in a position to just go buy new or used what I need. I thank you for all the written and recorded advice you have given me. I thank you for the inspiration. My only regret is not starting this 30 or even 40 years ago. Hopefully I live long enough to come near what you and some others have created in wood.

    Again, I thank you.

  2. Great read Paul. I felt that same way about organic chemistry. To this day I can’t really describe the pull it had on me (your words the closest to describing it best). I had to be part of it. Not sure why but I did. I didn’t even know if it was a viable career at the time; I just didn’t care.

    I’ve read some stuff about brain development in which the part of our brain that helps us keeps things in check isn’t as developed until we are 30ish (might be been in “The Art of Manliness” blog postings). As such, the passion part of our brain is less held in check till that point. As such, if we find something that really resonates with us, it can be quite the passion and focus. Glad you found yours. Sadly I know too many people who don’t seem to have any passion about anything.

  3. I am working through all your video’s . Not done a great deal of woodwork since 4th form at school, 60 years ago. But I have fascinated by your stressing of your fence wall method which must bring the accuracy to work that was never taught to us, and thus the disappointment that lack of close fits brings. I was never pleased with the results. Your method is going to be the real key.

  4. As much as I enjoyed the thought of wood and woodworking my woodwork teacher at school did not understand my interest, focusing instead on how abysmal my attempts at the craft were and deeming me to be not worth the effort of teaching.

    Skip forward twenty-four years and a massive stroke had changed my life drastically. Skip forward another eleven years and another ten strokes and I made a lifestyle change. Oh, I had already done the diet and exercise malarky. No, what I meant was that my GP told me to take up a hobby to help with rehabilitation after the last stroke. As I like a bit of a challenge I decided upon woodwork. So with only one hand working properly I bought a 31′ classic wooden Norfolk Broads Cruiser registered with the National Maritime as being of significant importance to the nation’s heritage and started to restore her, as you do. Did I mention I like a challenge?

    My ability with woodwork has indeed improved, although nowhere near as much as I would like. The boatyard has posted a notice in the boat shed stating that if ‘Tim waves at you he might be being friendly, but please do check he’s not nailed his other hand to deck!’ The cheek of it! But my change in lifestyle has meant an improvement in motor skills and coordination. I did succeed in making tongue and groove jointed bi-fold panel doors the other week, so I suppose the woodwork has improved.

  5. ‘like a duck to water’….

    A recognizable story. I think some children (speaking for myself, at least) feel/know that they’re very different from other children, sometimes at a very early age, and are drawn to something that resonates with them, far beyond their own comprehension as to the why of it.

    Digging in my deep past, I recall some things, such as that boating supply catalog (’79/´80) that I’d perused cover to cover, day after day, for months, studying EVERYTHING in it, loaded with technical details, power curves, etc. Didn’t know what a Newton-meter, volt, ampère, kW or hp were, but feeling strongly attracted to that world, without being able to explain why. Or reading my father’s electrician courses… 3-phase power, star, delta wiring, schematic symbols… Hardly standard reading for a 7 year old.

    I recall making a drawing of our house at age ~5. The outlines of the house were drawn very, very rudimentary, but the central heating system was drawn in great detail.

    I recall, at age 10 or 11, a substitute teacher complaining about how difficult TV’s were, with me thinking in response (but not voicing – who was I to argue with a TEACHER?!) that they worked quite simply…. scanning lines, rasters, AM modulated signals transmitted by RF…. All perfectly logical and understandable, I thought – what could ever be so hard about that? Remember feeling genuinely surprized that other people didn’t feel the same.

    When classmates got excited about soccer matches, a TV program or some other trivial thing, such as the bosom size of a certain TV-personality, I never understood what all the fuss was about. “Why on earth would anyone care about such things”, my usual thought. Actually, still think that quite often.

    Anyway, my epiphany came at about age 8; I had a 10 year older cousin who was ‘in to’ electronics big time. Seeing all those tiny components, old printed circuit boards, schematic diagrams, etc., immediately had me magnetically drawn to them, even if I didn’t understand what most of them did or how they worked. Ever since I’ve been (non-professionally) involved with electronics.

    My luck was my parents realized this at an early age; my father taught me to solder at about age 7, and I was given my first soldering iron of my own when I was 8, as a gift after getting my swimming diploma.

    (As an aside, the immense value of tools were already very clear to me at that tender age)

    Thank you for your recognizable story. Should be obligatory reading for teachers, in my not so humble opinion. And an apology for my long-winded response.

    1. As a teacher who taught children about their multiple intelligences and how they influence our interests and ultimately our choice of career if lucky I agree totally that teachers should be aware of the differences between children and try to accommodate this into the system in which we have to work.

  6. John Finlayson

    Paul, as a 68 year old ex-teacher and lover of woodworking I wish there was some way to instil into the young (and the oldies too come to that) the importance of a simple decision made at a crux in their life such as you described. Every crossroads we come to in life has the ability to be a ‘life changer’ if we allow it to.

    I am sure that we are all very grateful for your choice taken oh so innocently all those years ago. Thank you and keep it up.

    1. Michael Ballinger

      Yeah the thing is what happens for those who don’t stumble upon their dream pursuit? When I did woodwork in school it was good fun but nothing was sharp, and so it was a lot of sanding, which I avoid as much as possible now.

      When it comes to finding your passion a at a young age you need to get a a taster for it from somewhere. The problem being that there is such a vast array of careers that one could go down, most of which aren’t even on the radar of the schooling system, furthermore there are many future jobs that don’t exist today. It’s complex. That said I wish I had apprenticed with a master like Paul. It took a few years to discover my passion but I’m not letting go of it now!

  7. Muito, muito bom, Paul!
    Eu gostaria de ter me encontrado assim profissionalmente também e olhando para traz, vejo que muitas vezes isso se apresentou em meu caminho. Meu pai foi carpinteiro e seu trabalho me impressionava, gostava de estar com ele na construção de casas de madeira. Aos 13 anos frequentava uma escola técnica que tinha uma boa marcenaria e eu gostava muito de estar lá, porém só me permitiram um único semestre deste prazer. Mas vamos em frente, agora com sua valorosa ajuda! Grato!

      1. The translation is something like this:
        “Good, very good, Paul!
        I would like to have meet myself this way professionally and, looking back, I see that several times it (finding a passion) was in my way. My father was a carpenter and I was impressed by his work, I liked to be with him constructing wood houses. At 13 years old I was a student in a technical school with a good woodshop and I liked a lot to be there, but they only allowed me 1 only semester of that pleasure. But lets move on, now with your precious help! Thanks!”

      2. This from Google Translate:
        “Very, very good, Paul!
        I would like to have met so professionally too and looking back, I see that many times this has come my way. My father was a carpenter and his work impressed me, I liked being with him in the construction of wooden houses. At 13 I went to a technical school that had a good carpentry and I really enjoyed being there, but only one semester of this pleasure was allowed. But let’s move on, now with your valiant help! Grateful!”

  8. David Lindsay Stair builder 77 years of age Newcastle, Australia

    thank you Paul and may god bless you. Thank you for sharing your God given gift. Thank you for your wisdom

  9. Great to see this side of you once again! I do appreciate the noble purpose for the criticisms and somewhat dark observations you’ve made on occasion, but I won’t lie: this is much better, for me. (I came for a good hobby and recreation, not a crusade 🙂 This entry shows a man inspired and in love, rather than one who’s being made bitter and disoriented by an industry (and indeed world) changing for the worse. I wish you many more days of the kind that inspired this entry, because you deserve them, as a good teacher and good guy.

  10. Paul, your early story reminds me of my own. I loved woodwork at school and had a great teacher, Mrs. Minchington. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take woodwork past the third year and sadly pressure to be academic got in my way (even though my grandfather, who I never met, built wooden fishing boats in Scotland). By chance I recently had a garage built at our house, the carpenter said you could fit a good workshop back here. I suddenly remembered that’s what I always wanted. I just finished building your workbench from your book, I still can’t believe how perfectly it came out!
    Thanks for all your help!

  11. What a nice read. Your passion just seeps from every sentence, with every paragraph your love becomes even more evident. I myself am 20 years old, having been woodworking for the past two years and sure that I’ve found my passion, my path in this world. Hoping I will retain this mindset, reading your article gives me assurance I will. For what is happiness other than greeting every day with a smile, knowing you’ll have another day of losing yourself in the meditative state I’ve come to know as woodworking. Reading your piece was an assignment given by my English teacher but I’m glad that I’m able to say that I’ve acquired a new-found affirmation and for this, I thank you.

  12. Greetings Paul,

    My name is Cedric, I am a woodworking student at hmcollege in Rotterdam (the Netherlands), your story reminded me of the first time my father took me to his work, he worked for a shipbuilding company. They made interiors for big
    inland waterway vessels. I liked it but I didn’t think about a career in woodworking. A couple of years later I was in high school, I joined a project on woodworking and we got classes in it. When I graduated I had to find a college to start the rest of my life. I knew which school I wanted and luckily I got accepted. I’m in my 3th year now and still loving it. Keep up the good work!

  13. Hi!

    What a nice story about you and your passion for woodworking. I am a student for woodworking in the Netherlands. Before this I did two different types of studies. Both weren’t working out for me, but then I saw a study for furniture making/woodworking. Right at that moment I liked it and I applied. I did a lot of furniture making together with my dad, but I didn’t know about the study at that time. I am so happy that I chose for woodworking, even though people said things about it. But I love doing it and I am learning a lot. Thank you for sharing your story.


    1. You are what all we do is about, encouraging people to discover for themselves what they see there future as being and then mapping our the course to get to that end. I would like to cross the channel and come to Holland and give a lecture to students of woodworking because I get so many people from the Netherlands following and participating in out efforts. Set it up with the college and I will come. That may well go for other European colleges of woodworking and furniture making too. While we have open borders it’s just a hop skip and a jump from Heathrow for me.

  14. Merijn van Dongen

    Dear mister Sellers,
    I did like to read the story of your woodworking life and I saw you were in love with woodworking from a very young age. I did click around at your site and you are truly a woodworking master. The way you make ornaments for example is amazing. It is made with such a skill most people only can be jealous about. I am doing an education for being furniture constructer and I have to say, your story and especially the pictures of the things you made truly inspired me. I hope you are able to continue and enjoying your work for many years to come.

  15. Jesse Hoogesteger

    Hi Paul,
    What a lovely story! The way you describe your passion of woodworking and how you started is a great thing to read. During high school, I discovered that I liked woodworking and wanted to follow this study of woodworking. I am currently doing a woodworking education in Rotterdam (the Netherlands). However sometimes I have ups and downs of doing this education and if I want to do this kind of job in the future. Somehow, you motivated me and reminded me why I have started this education. The photo’s you have posted are wonderful. I love woodcarvings, it is something I would like to do as a job.
    Thank you for your inspiration,
    Kind regards,
    Jesse Hoogesteger

  16. Dear Mr. Sellers,

    I am a woodworking student in the Netherlands and I got the assignment to read your blog from my English teacher. I love the way you describe the moment you discovered your passion for the art of woodworking. I have never, in my entire life, heard someone speak so fondly of what they do each day and it is refreshing to hear. I really like the detailed wood pieces you made in the third picture that is shown. Later on in my life when I have some spare time next to my job, that is the sort of beautiful woodworking I want to specialise myself in. I am impressed and very happy for you that you found this passion in woodworking.

    ~ Maxime ~

  17. Dear Mr. Sellers,
    I like to read your passion about wood and the art of woodworking! I am a student on a vocational school of furniture making/woodworking in the Netherlands. I was working with wood since I was 17 years old. I would like to read something more about your stories and blogs about woodworking. I just look around at your website and saw a lot of bits over the video that how you make a half-lap dovetail . I hope that I can make it so good over a couple of years as you make it! Keep the good way up!

    Kind regards,
    Bas Duvé

    1. Hello Bas, “A couple of years.” ??? We teach out students to make perfect dovetails in a matter of a couple of hours. Just set yourself at the workbench with the right tools, well sharpened and you will do it. Just follow my videos.

  18. Dear Mr. Sellers,

    I am Floris van Gulik. I am a Dutch student woodworker. Before getting the assignment from my teacher in English to read your blog and write a comment as practice, I have seen some of your videos on YouTube. What a coincidence! At school we were taught how to make dovetail joints, but with your video I learned how to make them better. It was like an online course. I like the videos because you explain every step slowly and with clarity. I wondered what kind of person you would be. Now that I have read your blog I know exactly how passionate you are about woodworking. I hope you keep on doing what you do in sharing this passion with the world and keep on making videos to teach others about woodworking.

    Cheers, Floris


    Hi Paul Sellers,
    I realy like youre story.
    you said i felt different as a kid, I (and many other woodorkers here) felt the same. i I think We ”woodworkers” have a different mindset, we just want te create thinks!
    For me it started at a jong age. just looking different on things, wood or even a white empty wall or paper and thinking “i can make or dram something with that”. Other kids where like ” just no haha”.
    Thanks for youre story and i hope just like you to have a life full of woodworking and being creativ 🙂


  20. Dear Mr. Sellers,
    I am Sven Wenting. I am studding as a woodworker in the Netherlands. I really like your story about wood working. I was 14 years old and I just knew what I wanted to do with my like I want to work with wood. I just have the same reasons, it smells good I love the feeling and when I stared on a project and I see it growing every week to something beautiful that hits me and that is the reason for me every morning to get out of bed. Just do what you like and do it with passion.
    Kind regards,
    Sven Wenting

  21. Hey Paul Sellers,

    I enjoyed reading your life’s story. But I have to admit that I’m a little jealous of you. I, just like you, never thought or heard about woodworking before. I had trouble finding my purpose in life, until a few years back when I was 25 years old. I always had a love for nature and especially for wood. I started doing some research on the internet and it suggested that I should find a creative job. So, my love for nature and the creativity became woodworking. And I must say, I am not disappointed! I enjoy working with wood, and I don’t think I can ever stop. I only regret that it took me so long to find my passion unlike you. That’s why I envy you. I will check out your video’s soon, I bet there is a lot I can learn from it.


  22. Dear Mr. Sellers,

    I am Imke Noordman and I am studying woodworking in The Netherlands. It was such a beautiful story about how you discoverd woodworking at such a young age.

    I discoverd woodworking when I was 14 years old and I had to chose diffrent
    subjects for school. My teachers learn me the small things around woodworking. When I finish my secondary education I knew it for shure that I want to become a woodworker and choose the study woodworking.

    Thank you for sharing your passion about woodworking.

    Kind regards,

    Imke Noordman

  23. Sander van Staveren

    Hello there,

    The way that you describe your passion for woodworking, is the same as when i had my first boat being repaired and play with it as a kid, it was wonderful. I’m still studying woodworking and hopefully becoming a boatbuilder in the future. I kind of question myself how to stay a boatbuilder, like you describe you make furniture without any powertools. It will not pay out the labour. It is almost the same in the boat industry here in holland. You won’t be able to make much profit out of it. Unless you add teaching to your business program. If your willing enough, you’ll succeed eventually.

    Sander van Staveren

    1. I use machines as well, but mostly to dimension wood and never to make joints. My joint making by hand, because of my skills and hard work, usually come out faster than machinists who generally are machinists and not particularly woodworkers. The modern woodworker is unlikely to use a hand planes and hand saws so the work is critically different. You can make a living boatbuilding but there again most boat builders rely on hand tools to accomplish much of the work if they are not on too high a commercial end of the market. It is a matter of choices. I never pursued profit, just the life of woodworking and went mostly day to day with no extras. I have never had a savings account for instance, yet always have provided for me and my family. I am beyond retirement age at almost 68 yet I would never dream of retiring as almost all of my peers did or want to. I love working and have good health so that makes for a happy lifestyle for 53 years to date. I never hear my peers say the same thing nor those of any age group younger than me. It’s because they never found their calling or if they did never pursued it.

      1. Sander van Staveren

        With building a boat you’ll have to use machines of course (mostly dimensioning) but, when it comes to assembling a boat. You just need those extra hands. And second there aren’t many people who want a wooden boat like the ones I want to build (think about up to 10 meters).
        They want the cheaper solutions like, polyester for example. For woodworkers here in Holland who have something with (building) boats, there is for the most part; interior building on large cruises or small boats. There are small yacht builders, but the ones I’ve seen they do a lot of repairs and not building boats anymore. But what I want to do is building from the bottom up to the top.
        I don’t want to pursue profit, but I do want to make a living out of it. And I’m not that of a risk taker. So I’m a bit cautious putting all my money in a business so I can work happily. But if I get the chance I would of course.
        I like the view on your lifetime’s passion, though. Hope I’ll be in the same position in the future.

  24. Dear mr, Sellers
    I Read your story with pleasure. And i also can relate to your experience. It´s just amazing that we can make any thing we want out of a piece of tree. And for what I saw on you site you make some pretty good stuff. And yes tools those play a big roll to. I love to work with chisels cause you can really focus on detail and precision.

    I never had problems at school like skipping classes but I can understand why you did it. lastly you found something you liked and were you can put your feelings.
    and you did reminded me of my first internship. that was at my uncles shop and at that place I fell in love with the craft.

    Thank you for sharing your passion with the world.

    kind regards,

    Floor Veldkamp

  25. Dear Mr. Sellers,

    I´ve read your story, and it´s beautiful. Especially the moment when you discovered your passion for woodworking. I´ve seen some of your videos, and they were very useful for me. For example, the video of the dovetail joint, was very useful for a project at school. I´m a woodworking student from the Netherlands, and I also like to make things with wood. Just like you I also like to make detailed things and for myself it should be perfect what I make. The most things you do by hand, and it´s beautiful to see that. Thank you for sharing your passion!

    Kind regards,

    Jack Persoon

  26. hello my name is Kane, I am nineteen years old and from the Netherlands. For school a have to do an assignment to comment on blog’s. As aducation i do woodworking/carpenter. I love youre passion for working whit wood. the way you told it in your blog was really entertaining. Some of the thing in your blog about yourself i see it in myself to. working whit your hands starts in the early years of your live.

    greetings Kane den Otter

  27. Hi!

    My name is Ove d’Hooghe and i’m also a student from the netherlands, and yes also i’ve got the assignment to reply on your beautiful blog.

    You’re story was very nice and fluently to read, i really like the way how ur talking abour ur ‘work’, it is full of passion and commitment. Me myself i like woordworking to, not as mutch as u do but i surely like to work with wood. I think its nice how happy you are you found a job where you can make money with and what’s also your passion is. Everyone should do that! becouse there is nothing better then making money and having fun with it!


    Ove dhooghe

  28. Robin Noorlander

    Dear Paul,

    What a great story about your experiences in furniture making so far. Especially the moment when you discovered your passion for woodworking. For me, woodworking is something I could do all day. It’s just amazing what you can make out of a tree. Before I read your story I saw some video’s on your website. Very impressive, and very usefull. At the moment I am still studying furniture making. For so long I have never had problems with skipping classes like you had. But I can understand why you did. Sometimes you’re just bored being in class again and you just want to build stuff. But at the end I hope to be very skilled so I can make furniture of my own.

    Thank you for sharing your story, it was very enjoying to read!

    Kind regards

    Robin Noorlander

  29. Hi,

    What a lovely story to read, I see clearly your passion for woodworking. Before I read this story as a school assignment I have watched some off your videos on YouTube. The video about dovetails was really useful and I build a beautiful jewellery box with your help.

    Just like you school was not a strong suit for me, it was easy, but not really what I wanted to learn. When I decided to go to a woodworking school all that changed. It is beautiful to design and make a piece of furniture from scratch. And I am happy with my choice to become a woodworker.

    Kind regards,


  30. Michael de Bruijn

    Dear Mr. Sellers,

    My name is Michael de Bruijn and I am studying woodworker in the Netherlands. I like your passion for wood, you are a inspirator for woodworkers. I am discovered when I was 15 years old. I always had a love for nature and especially for wood. I started doing some research on the internet and it suggested that I should find a creative job. We can make anything with wood, that is amazing. I like your videos on youtube. They are very useful for me. You have inspirated me.

    Thank you for your inspirational story. It was nice to read.

    Kind regards,


  31. Dear Mr. Sellers,

    My name is Hans de Graaf and I am studying woodworking in The Netherlands. It was a beautiful story about woodworker making. I was 12 when I came in contact with wood. When i like this so and I make more and more with wood. I love your passion for working with wood. In some things in your blog I see mij self back. Be pround of your passion! Thank you for your story.

    Kind regards,

    Hans de Graaf

  32. Dear Mr. Sellers,

    My name is Kath van Walraven and I’m also a student at the woodworking school in the Netherlands. Most of the students I know fell in love with woodworking on a very young age. For me that was different. Three years ago a teacher told me that if I wanted to look for a school where you can work with your hands and still make something beautiful that I should take a look at the HMC (wood and furniture college) in Rotterdam.
    As I went there for the first time with no idea what to expect I fell in love with it immediately. When I came in the school smelt like wood and everywhere I looked where beautiful art works and furniture. After that day I came back for a few times and took an introduction class on furnishing and furniture making. After a month of thinking I chose furniture making and now I am in my thirth year already!
    Thank you for sharing your experience with wood. It was a great read.



  33. Dear Paul,

    My name is Deveron a student from the Netherlands like a lot of others here. I really like the way how you are talking about your profession, it is nice to read a story what is told with that much love for what you are doing

    I just fell in love with wood working a little later, when I was 17 a part of my other study was woodworking and I totally loved it so I quitted and started a full time woodworking study. Now 2 years later I still like it every day and started my own company beside my education. I really like the creativity and working with customers and combine their needs with their style and tastes.

    I hope you have a lot of lovely years of woodworking remaining and keep on being passionate like the way you are!

    Kind regards,

    Deveron Verloop

  34. Hello Paul,

    big shock, I also am a woodworking student from the Netherlands. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed reading your story about woodworking and how you came in contact with the profession. I personally think it is funny to read that the decision to become a carpenter is a snap for most persons instead of a gradual slide into the profession. for me it was also a snap, a sudden turning point. In my case it never even came to mind that being a furniture maker is considered an actual profession and a good way to earn a living. I still get a lot of surprised faces when I tell people that I am following a full study on becoming a furniture maker.
    I honestly wish you all the best and a lot of good luck with your woodworking, and please keep sharing your knowledge with other people!

    with kind regards,


  35. Hi Paul,

    My name is Boy. I am just like you, because my love for wood is endless. The way you handle problems with wood is what inspires me. Nothing is impossible and quality stands forward.

  36. Dirk van Dusseldorp

    Dear Mr. Sellers,

    My name is Dirk, 19 years old and I’m one of the many students studying woodworking that has read your story.

    Your story took me by surprise, how you came into contact and fell in love with woodworking at an age like that. I was also introduced to the wonders of woodworking at an early age as well, what wonderful pieces of furniture you can make from such unrefined pieces of wood. I found that very interesting and wanted to learn more and more. So I joined the HMC at Rotterdam, the Netherlands so I could learn all about woodworking.

    I intend to read more about you and your stories and maybe even comment on them.
    I hope you will be able to keep on doing what you love to do for many years to come.

    With kind regards,

    Dirk van Dusseldorp

  37. Dear Mr. Sellers,
    I’m Rick van Oers and for my English teacher I had to read your blog. I found it very amusing to read about how you discovered your passion for woodworking. I discovered woodworking on school, when I was 13 years old as well. I saw my grandfather working with wood at our home. He was making a walk-in closet. At first I was learning for stairs maker, even worked in a stairs making fabric for two years. I was making luxurious stairs in some really big houses. I thought I knew everything, but now I am learning to be a furniture maker and I am still learning new things.
    Kind regards,

    Rick van Oers

  38. Yelmer Spreeuwers

    Dear Mr. Sellers,

    I really enjoyed reading such a touching story of a fellow woodworker, it is so nice to see how it all started for other people. For me it wasn’t so easy unfortunately, I dropped out of high school because it just wasn’t working for me, so when I found my passion for wood I immediately signed up for a woodworking school, and since then it all worked out, even now when I was reading your blog and making a little dove-tailjoint box at the same time.

    I hope you continue making your videos and following your passion.


    Yelmer Spreeuwers

  39. Hello Paul,

    My name is Mika Groen and i am studying at the HMC in Rotterdam. The story you are telling reminds me of my first internship at a woodworking company. The smell of wood in the morning, to work every day what i like the most and ofcourse making the weirdest things you can think about. I am now working at a interior builder almost 2 years and when i go there i like it every time again and its never boring. In 2 years i hopely graduate and become a real woodworker like i want.

    Greetings from the netherlands,
    Mika Groen

  40. Dear Mr. Sellers,

    What a coincedance to find another Paul thats also a great woodworker!
    I really enjoyed reading your story. I found it very interesting to read about how you discovered your passion for woodworking. It’s just amazing what you can make out of a tree. i discovered my passion for woodworking when i was around 5 years old. my parents showed me what i could make with my hands. from that moment i knew that i wanted to work with my hands. i like to read the stories of other woodworkers.

    Thank you for sharing your experience with wood. It was a great read.
    I hope you continue making your videos and share your experiences.


    Paul Melief

    1. Sometimes we do forget the sacrifice our parents make to open our eyes for the future we are born yet to understand and be a part of. It is good that you had parents to guide you in your formative years. Parents have love that nurtures us if they listen to nature and look for what happens beyond just school. It is important for parents too to have a vision for their children and to be involved in their development. It is important for children to always understand that their parents have love that protects and preserves to future of their children if they are sensitive to hear. Teachers should always remember never to try to replace or displace parents as having responsibility for their children and their education nor be dismissive of their ideas for their children’s future as parents may well have insights a teacher may never have. It is a sad thing that teachers and parents rarely get to discuss vision for the individual child.

  41. Hi Paul,
    Damnn, I really love the way you talk about your passion.
    It reminds me of myself. I also love to work with all different kinds of wood.
    My love for wood started when I was 12. My school asked everyone what they want to become later. First I had no idea, I did this online test to see what should fit me.
    My results where, decor builder for entertainment and theater, designer for websites and furniture maker.
    I had never heard of something like carpenter or furniture maker/designer.
    I was so curious, so I took 5 days of a internship by a little company.
    It felt so good and real, that I wanted more.
    This was where it all started, and I still am so happy that I chose to do the study in furniture making. I’m in my 3th year now, and I’m still enjoying all of it.
    I wish you all the best.
    Enjoy every moment of it!

    Kind regards from The Netherlands,

    Vera Pullens

    1. Well done Vera, You should always remember that college is good to equip you and motivate you for becoming what you plan for in your coming years. It is not the end but the beginning. Then, as you grow and mature, you should keep your mind open for ideas to develop with your maturing into artisanry and entrepreneurialism. You will then inspire and be inspired by the flow of information from you and to you. As the bee receives nectar so too she gives life to the plants she pollinates. So it is with our work and our studying to be approved.

  42. Dear Sellers,
    I liked to read your blog. I also love to work with wood. When I was around the age of 14 or 15 I needed to choose what I wanted to do. I chose woodworking because when I did it I was so happy and I could do it for hours. There, in those 2 years, I made all kinds of things. A toddler chair and a toddler table and many more things. After that I want to a woodworking school. It is called HMC. It is a furniture making school at Rotterdam in The Netherlands. I am know a third year student.

    1. Thank you Evelien, There are so many ways to search for your future but when you find your path and step onto it you must always stop from time to time to make sure you feel you are in control of your directing, flexible in your negotiation of planning and thoughtful to the needs of those who give of their time to the best that they can. Some teachers can be lazy and choose the easiest path. This is not common but they exist. Most however are overloaded with too much work and they keep giving. Students should always be supportive of their teachers and help them to do what they do best. Having the support of students by always being on time, keeping the environment of teaching clean and in order and then listening and paying attention is the best thing a student can do for their teacher.

  43. Hello Paul,

    It was nice to read your story and I love how passionate you are with woodworking. I also find the other subjects that have nothing to do with woodworking really boring but did you graduate the woodworking school or just moved on?

    I’m a woodworking student and I would also like to say that your YouTube channel is a nice addition to school because you really dive into the details. That way I can prepare myself with extra knowledge before I work on my school project. We have to design our own furniture piece that we have to build but because everyone has something different there is too much for school to teach us. So in the end it comes down to asking your teacher but there is only 1 teacher for the whole class and he doesn’t always have time. On top of that I just really enjoy watching your video’s. I heard you may be coming to our school so I look forward to that if that’s true.

    Greetings from the Netherlands,

    Koen van Gulik

    1. I am not sure about your question, Koen. Graduation in my day didn’t exist as such as I was working from day one as an apprentice and went to college one day a week, which was good to be with other students and hear their stories about their work and how they did it. My lecturers were quite good, I found, and put effort into broadening our knowledge and way of looking at issues we might not see in the narrower spheres of a company. The certificates were just bits of paper I never had need of and found that they never left the bottom of a cardboard box. I think that that’s true for most people who graduate and it has become difficult to get a job without these bits of paper. Employers have become very lazy and use the evidence of a certificate as a filter before they interview. This is a sad reflection of our time because for every certificated person there is one who has no certification who might do the job far better. Of course that’s not always the case but I think this should be reviewed so that people can study and expand their knowledge through college if they so desire rather than be qualified by their certification only because it should be a combination of both working and college.

  44. Dear Paul Sellers,

    I’ve read your blog and I really like your opinion about woodworking. It’s nice to see someone that loves his passion so much as you. I have seen your YouTube page and I really appreciate it that you make tutorials with all your experience about some constructions. It’s really nice to look at them. I saw that you have a lot of subscribers that is really nice to see. I am a woodworker as well but I am just a student right now and I haven’t got so much experience as you but I hope one day I have.
    Greetings from,
    Bob Ansink

  45. Nice story you tell, it was lovely to read your blog, you can see that you have a passion for woodworking, the way you speak about how you work with wood inspires me. Unlike you for me it wasn’t clear to choose this profession on an early age, though I just decided that I would like to make furniture and do woodworking just a few months before I passed my exams.I was planning to follow an economic study when I visited the wood and furniture college in Rotterdam. I was so impressed with all the furniture that I saw was so beautiful and well made, and that by last year’s students, I was so impressed, I certainly knew this was what I would like to do and what I still enjoy to do with a lot of fun.

    With kind regards,

  46. Dear Paul,

    My name is Denzel and I am a student at the woodworking college in the Netherlands. And I enjoyed reading your blog. It reminds me of my first time working with wood, which was when I was about 13. Now 5 years later, I am in the 3rd year of my education, and I am working towards my graduation which is in 2 years.
    And up to this point I still enjoy every hour spend on sharpening my woodworking skills and making awesome furniture.

    I wish you the best of luck and keep up with the amazing content.

    Greetings from Rotterdam,


  47. Dear Mr. Seller,

    It is fun to read how you changed your mind from becoming a vet, to becoming a woodworker. I changed my mind too when I went to the woodworking class. After I got my diploma on the secondary school I did not have a clue where to go. My old drawing teacher advised me to go to the school were I recently received my woodworker diploma.

    Right now I am going further in the woodworking’s area and keep on learning the way of old woodworking. I am only nineteen-years-old and still excited to learn new tricks and constructions from old furniture.

    Yours Faithfully,


  48. Dear Paul,

    What a handsome thing that you would like to write this story and share it with the whole world. The way you has write this story is interesting to read for a lot of people I think.

    By myself I have a story that like at your life. Almost 3 years ago I knew nothing about woodworking or something like that. I didn’t even know that there was a study for woodworking. I was more interested in childcare and I wanted to teach them more about a lot of things. When I graduated, I met a people that like woodworking. At this moment I am following a study for woodworking at the HMC in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. But I also work at the childcare in my neighbourhood.

    I chose a completely different direction for my second study and I thought there are not many people that make a similar kind of choice. But I was wrong. You have made a kind of equal choice. Vet or woodworking are to totally different things.

    Yours sincerely,

  49. Maartje Schutte

    Hi Paul,

    My name is Maartje and I am a woodworking student from the Netherlands. I have never read your blog before, but I kind of wish I had! You have a passionate way of writing, and it is inspiring to read. I don’t think I have had the same experiences when it comes to falling in love with wood. I guess I just always liked it. Thank you for sharing your story and keep on doing and sharing the things you love!

    Kind regards,

    Maartje Schutte

  50. Dear Mr Sellers,

    Like many of the other commenters I am studying to become a woodworker in the Netherlands.
    In many ways I can relate to your story. Three years ago I visited this school for the first time. It was during an orientation and information day. As I walked around the school I could see students working on their furniture but I had no idea what they were doing. I had never heard of the profession furniture maker even though, looking back, it is pretty obvious someone built our tables and chairs. Even when I signed up for this education I wasn’t sure if I was going to like or regret it. Two and a half years later and I know for sure that this is what I want to be doing for the rest of my life. I feel very lucky to have found something I can enjoy every day of the year and also make some money out of it.
    Thank you for sharing your story with us.

    Kind regards,


    1. Good to hear from you Luka and glad that you are discovering what you want your life to have in it. I hope that you can pursue this as I have with no regrets, ever!

  51. Hey Paul I’m a student woodworker from the Netherlands from. I’m am doing a four year study on carpentry. My first encounter with woodworking and wood in general was when my grandpa booked a trip for the family to a shipyard called the delft in the haven of Rotterdam. In this shipyard they are building a replica of one of the old V.O.C. ships called the delft this was so mind blowing for me as a twelve year old boy. Just the smell alone could convince me that I wanted to work with wood. So when I was finished middelschool I decided to try and get me in at the HMC. After three years at this school and some internships later I am convinced that this was a good choice and I hope to one day inspire some younger generation just like my grandpa did for me.

    With kind regard Richard

  52. Hey Paul,

    It was a wonderful story on how you have found your passion and it still is. It kind of has been the same for me. I never knew what i want to become and even now that question hasn’t been fully answered yet but I when i found out that a desk job wasn’t going to cut it for me I knew i had to search for something different. I stumbled upon a student of the HMC Rotterdam who told me about his education and showed me some of his work. That was the seed for the idea of becoming a apprentice woodworker but it had to grow a bit bigger to convince me. Then I started noticing how often I tried to find something to work with. To shape and mold to something i wanted it to be. Thats how i chose to become a woodworker.
    I’m currently in my third year and as happy as ever and one day I hope i will be as passionate as you about this.

    Best wishes

  53. Dear mister Sellers,
    Great that you found your passion for woodworking so early in your life and I am happy to hear that you haven’t had any regrets.
    The woodworks in your pictures are looking very nice.
    I am a woodworking student from the Netherlands and my teacher assigned us to read your blog.
    When I was 15 years old I really enjoyed working with wood at school.
    So much so that I decided to look for schools that works with wood for my further education.
    I really enjoy the thing I learn and I wish you all the best with your future projects.


  54. Dear Mr. Sellers,

    My name is Olivier, 19 years old

    I just loved reading how you came into contact and fell in love with woodworking at an age like that. I was also introduced to the wonders of woodworking at an early age as well, what wonderful pieces of furniture you can make from such unrefined pieces of wood. I found that very interesting and wanted to learn more and more. So I joined the Wood and Interior making school in the Netherlands so I could learn all about woodworking.

    I look forward reading more of your story’s

    With kind regards,

    Olivier de Klerk

  55. hi Paul,

    i kind of feel the same about woodworking, i never really was a school person and would regularly be late to class and wouldn’t really be motivated. after i came to the furniture school my whole point of view on school changed. i fell in love with the furniture making and will do it for the rest of my life

    yours sincerely,


  56. Dear Paul Sellers,

    My name is Rico. I’m 18 years old and I’m studying at the HMC in Rotterdam. My educational programme is mainly about wood, furniture and interior. I always have had an interest in woodworking. In my spare time I often look at some books and websites to research and gather more ideas and information. The moment I saw your video’s and I instantly was inspirited. I really like your video’s because of the originality and the precision.

    Kind regards,

  57. Dear Mr. Sellers,

    I really enjoyed reading such a touching story of a fellow woodworker, it is so nice to see how it all started for other people. For me it wasn’t so easy unfortunately, I dropped out of high school because it just wasn’t working for me, so when I found my passion for wood I immediately signed up for a woodworking school, and since then it all worked out.
    Franc Bink

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