Guides to Equip New Woodworkers

In order to best help new and beginner woodworkers to get the right foundation they need to progress their craft, we are providing a core series of beginner guides to bring clear focus on the basics of woodworking. We will explain more about the tools we consider essential to getting started, how we use them and then provide access to projects we consider best suited to building skills and mastering techniques for beginners.

New and beginner means those who have recently started on the journey or have wanted to take the first steps but found themselves hesitating and perplexed for whatever reason. We plan to equip new woodworkers as they develop their skills in the most powerful way possible. We also use the most inclusive levels by reducing the overall expense to near nothingness.

If you consider yourself to be fairly new to woodworking or a beginner, take a look at our beginner site Common Woodworking.


  1. Mike Van Hove on 9 November 2017 at 3:40 pm

    I thought I was somewhat experienced, but after watching several of your videos, I’m convinced I am still a beginner.
    I have followed your instructions on saw, plane, and chisel sharpening, and my tools cut like they never did before. Almost like they were never sharpened before. Thank you for that!
    Looking forward to the journey back to using hand tools.

    • Paul Sellers on 9 November 2017 at 6:06 pm

      That’s great, Mike. Having realised through the years that most woodworkers are first exposed to machine-only methods to work wood it’s no surprise that they often place themselves in an intermediate bracket as woodworkers after even a short time. That’s logical. The problem is that whereas most all woodworking done by machine can be accomplished using hand-tool methods very efficiently, not all hand methods can be done so readily by machine without gobs of other support equipment and the construction of wide range of jigs that go from simple to highly complex. For me, personally, that is what makes the journey less attractive and of course many people do not discover the enjoyment and fulfilment skilled hand work brings to the true craft of woodworking until they have “wasted too many years” with machine-only methods. Of course there is a place for the use of machines, but when you discover the reality of sharp-edged tools, that’s the game changer. So the problem comes when you have not experienced what you are now experiencing there is a tendency to class all those who advocate hand methods and hand work as Luddites or worse still Neanderthals. Both terms can be initially funny but then both terms can become quite insulting.

  2. Alfred Wood on 9 November 2017 at 9:56 pm

    The cost and complexity of “simple hand tool carpentry” was offsetting. Then I found your posts and videos, and tried your methods. I recently reviewed demonstrations from other teachers and can see why I was turned off and wasted years not getting started. So, woodworking is becoming fun, simpler, and not a paralysis over which expensive tools to purchase and which complicated steps to take in using them. I look forward to having the distillation of your methods help organize and simplify further what I’ve already picked up from you.

  3. Mark on 10 November 2017 at 1:19 pm

    Your commitment and generosity to others is much appreciated. I’m about to embark on a carpentry/joinery/woodworking adventure at the tender age of 49 and your knowledge is priceless.

    I only wish I had done this 30 years ago.

    Thank you again.

    • Paul Sellers on 10 November 2017 at 2:01 pm

      Well it is never too late. I used a computer seriously for the first time about 12 years ago. I don’t altogether care for them too much but they are the vehicle to reach an audience that grew up with them and then those that didn’t too.

    • Mark on 11 November 2017 at 12:08 am

      Hi Mark,
      Not only do we have our names in common, but also the journey ahead. At 53 I am playing with wood and have more fun than i had before with many other things. But boy how frustrating reality is compared with Paul’s videos.

      Good luck to you!

      Mark V

      • MarkR on 13 November 2017 at 8:43 am

        Hi there another Mark, here starting the same journey – with a bit more delay – as I am 57 already.

        I enjoyed woodwork lessons at school (40+ years ago) and have always dabbled with small projects at home, but have been really disappointed at the quality of finish left by ‘power tools’. Since the discovery of Paul’s work on the internet, I have been really motivated to try to go back to traditional ways of working. So before I can even start – I have been tuning up a couple of planes, honing my sharpening skills (pun intended) on shome chisels and those planes and I am waiting for my ebay tenon saw to arrive. In the meantime I have been practicing on some scraps of wood I have at home – and already I can experience the satisfaction and simplicity that a sharpened hand-tool provides. I have fished out a few interesting pieces that will be for my first real project – making my version of Paul’s Winding Sticks.

        Looking forward to this journey with my fellow ‘woodworkers’.

        Good luck and a steady hand to all.

        Mark R

  4. P.R. Gaffney on 10 November 2017 at 5:00 pm

    I have recently discovered your YouTube channel and instantly subscribed. I was always tentative about woodworking because of the machinery involved. I didn’t think that people still used the tools I saw in antique shops! How wrong I was. I am planning on making the spoons from your Working Wood 1&2 for Christmas gifts this year!
    I was wondering if you have a dedicated post somewhere on the Masterclasses site (of which I am now a proud member) on that wonderful sawing technique I see in your videos. I always seem to have a little bit of wander from side to side or slight raggedness to my saw cuts and would like to know if there is a specific series of things to practice to improve my technique. From one teacher to another thank you for passing on your wisdom and knowledge to a new generation of woodworkers!


    • Evan on 16 November 2017 at 6:13 pm

      I you have not checked the great FAQ the web team put together, I highly recommend you do so. The team grouped most of Paul’s posts and youtube videos about common questions in to an easily navigated outline of answers. It has become my first stop for tool and technique questions

  5. John C. on 21 March 2018 at 5:59 pm

    Hey Paul,
    I’ve been been a subscriber to both your YouTube channel and blog for a little over a year now and can’t begin to say how inspirational your work has been. My great grandfather was a furniture maker and while he did use some machines a lot of his work was done with hand tools, we have many pieces he made and I’ve always been fascinated by them, by both the history and the beauty, but it wasn’t until finding your videos on hand tool methods and seeing how easy you make it look, that I thought I too could that. While my work so far isn’t quite as nice as yours, I’ve enjoyed every moment of it.

    Thank you for all that you do,