Why Change? This Video Will Help You!

In 2018 our plans for continued training must be more efficient so that we can continue unfettered support for woodworkers around the world. We’ve actually been planning for new output for about three years, so as the first piece of the puzzle slid directly into place these last couple weeks, our move evoked a lot of excitement around the office and workshop. I can’t say that it’s been glitch-free, but we’ve become all the more stronger and resilient in our resolve to reach the whole world of woodworkers searching for skills. In the process of leaving the USA, living in North Wales, and now, having returned to my own country of England, we’ve learned that my passion for woodworking has driven an outreach that’s continually gaining a momentum of its own. Setting our course has meant altering our bearings, albeit through mainly minor adjustments and shifts. We’ve continually reinvested as a direct result of your trust and investment and support in our work. If you want to skip the blog here just go to the bottom and watch.

The River Thames across from my new workshop this morning.

 

Our embarkation and now docking just about on the banks of the river Thames here in Abingdon means we are now able to put down deeper roots to make permanent what always seemed like a never-ending journey. I still have not settled on an actual home as yet, but the workshop building is the integral home of our vision for woodworkers around the world. Though I am personally not at all trained in Information Technology, IT has changed my work for the greater good of woodworkers everywhere. It’s the vehicle through which I reach many multiple thousands of people each day. Lone woodworkers in forests and woodlands, mountains and overlooking the seas around the world are sharing in this unique sphere of real woodworking called hand tool woodworking. It’s so amazing!

This image is now out of date as the construction crew are already working.

Though we recently put out a video about our parting from our friends at the Sylva Wood Centre, I cannot help but say that I am more excited than on that first day when I made my first workbench video series in my back garden. Even then, before this latest move, I always felt I was on a journey to here. I didn’t have the coordinates for every step, but I did have encouraging words that supported me to this point. Now that we have our building we can customise the work in the most creative ways possible.

Thrupp Lake is 10 minutes walk into the countryside too.

By now I am sure it is apparent that the quality of our work needed its permanent home; we can’t film in my real home workshop, a brick garage, because the only positioning for my workbench is facing a brick wall with the apron butted up tight against it. Our tenure at the different venues over the past eleven-year span has been both interesting and stimulating. At Sylva, our output increased due to the high demand for the real woodworking we promote to others that you and those like you were seeking. We have grown our staff to double, and we need yet two more to join us. In the different venues, we seemed always to face major and minor interruptions of one kind or another. As strong proponents for the real skill of handwork it seemed incongruous to meet the ever pervasive noise from dust extractors, power sanders, routing equipment, table saws and all the rest, and then, overhead and outdoors, the RAF and army helicopters had their flight path too. Add to that buses with engines running, cattle mooing and sirens we just had to do something. It may seem a small thing to some, and then perhaps unreal for us to create a filming set replicating my garage, but in reality, this will indeed be my new and real creative workspace; a dedicated studio workshop from now until my five-year plan is completed. In the middle of a long shoot, an unplanned sound of any kind can throw off your train of thought and distract our viewers. Because of what I am in the process of making, for continuity and such, some video takes can be impossible to regain if that continuity is broken. If you are a routine presenter following a scripted storyline or even reading it from a teleprompt, it’s simple enough. When you are making and telling as you work, it’s a whole different story.

35 comments on “Why Change? This Video Will Help You!

  1. Thanks Paul and Joseph for the update. Great video. Your excitement and enthusiasm is, as ever, contagious. Looking forward to see your workspace develop over the year. A good time for me to start my own workspace as well I think!

  2. Good luck to Paul and the whole team on carrying forward your dream in your new premises. Perhaps you might want to consider filming the construction of some items to go along with the workbench (like the clamp trolley, for example) which would make the outfitting of the “garage” space applicable to the garage workspaces of all of the woodworking followers. How does Paul convert the blank canvas of his newly-moved-into garage a creative workzone? I accept that it is intensely idiosyncratic, but we all learn from Paul’s experience and approach. Best wishes, Jonathan

  3. Have followed your work for a while now and really enjoy watching your video projects. These have helped me beyond all recognition as a novice woodworker.

    I must say however that I am wary of big corporate organisations; and I fear you may be heading this way. It would be good to know that this is not the case.

    There is something about watching you work on a small scale; the man in his workshop, like many (most) of us; collecting old and interesting hand tools and bringing them back to life in our work. having watched your latest video. I must say that I for one feel less a part of that.

    I also acknowledge that you are trying to reach the widest audience, however please beware not to grow too big in the process.

    Wishing you and your team all the best

    • I’m not sure where that came from, Neil. All I ask is that more people watch what we have to offer as we offer a counterculture to what you describe as fear we might be heading towards. Nothing could ever be further from the truth. We just have to make it easier on me as I am 68 years old and I am still working 10-12 hours a day, which very, very few people do. I wanted only to get away from being cramped in with tripods and cameras. I wanted the best possible working environment for the friends I work with. It meany a decent office space with good equipment. It’s what all people should want for all the people they work with.

    • I think it would be classified as a small to medium enterprise not a large corporate. Large corporates have huge budgets and you’re talking millions in turnover. What large corporate still has the main guy replying to people on a blog and creating most of the content?

  4. Well guys, I started watching you in your backyard. You’ve moved up from there. We, your subscribers and supporters, are with you all the way.

  5. I have to echo prior comments. I’ve been watching for years and I am so grateful for what you have been teaching. I shall add that it is nice to see a father and son working together toward a shared vision that’s serves the community. I’ll also note, Paul you are one of the hardest working people I have ever seen! I do hope you take care of yourself so we can all learn from you for a long long time to come. I recently gathered all the tool projects I’ve made from your videos in one place for a photo of my mini-Paul Sellers home starter kit. I will have to share it soon! I am truly glad so many people are responding positively to the work you are doing. I am glad you get to do what you love and make a decent living. And I am glad I stumbled onto to your youtube work bench all that time ago. Even then what set you apart from every other youtube woodworker was the taking the time to show everything! That’s what I love the most. I want to see every chisel tap and saw stroke that makes sense for me to see. Keep up the great work!

    • Thank you. It does seem a long time ago since the reps from Bosch, Dewalt and Delta used to walk past my little ten by ten demo booth mocking and laughing. The difference twixt them and me is they knew nothing about woodworking and I was in love with. They will be long gone and I am still in the driving seat.

  6. I am excited for you and your team. I look forward to participating more thoroughly. However, I must confess that the first bench video you made in the garden remains the best in my view. I don’t know whether it was because that video was the first time I watched someone who could actually teach woodworking or just the ambiance of the environment of which you were working. Regardless, congratulations.

  7. Hello Paul,
    My son-in-law introduced you to me just a few months ago. I’m just finishing up a very long stint having my body rebuilt. It went great and visiting my Daughter and newest granddaughter I was admiring the beautiful and creative furniture he had built for their new home. Upon inquiring more into where he learned this art, I learned that he built a grandfather clock as his high school senior woodshop project. He shared with me that he has always loved working with his hands. But the furniture that I was admiring he made following instruction on woodworking from Paul Sellers online. I took note of your name and for 2 months now I have been attending daily the most eye opening view into the world of a Craftsman, Teacher, Artist, Actor and the joy of working with tools. I have viewed the first 8 videos on Building the workbench. In doing so have invested much time in learning from you Sir, the tools one should acquire to begin building and ultimately completing said workbench as it will be my first project beginning in hopefully just a few weeks. I’ve already acquired many of the tools and all the sharpening stones, strop and continue searching for that nice Tenon saw. I had early woodworkving in 8th grade and loved it building a chess board for my father, I have it to this day. I’m really looking forward to learning this craft with your tutelage.
    Thank you, your Son and Family for sharing your passionate gift with so many.

    • Thank you for taking the time to write and encourage us. It does feel as though we have crossed the once great divide to firmly plant new seeds on the reality of hand work. Many people started out but followed the wrong path only to discover the one less travelled. I’m just glad I was still here to point them in the right direction.

  8. Delighted with the prospects of the new home for Rokesmith and all that might mean going forward. One line popped out at me, though.

    “…a dedicated studio workshop from now until my five-year plan is completed.”

    I hate to think that all the wonder and joy Paul and the whole team has brought to me could come to an end in five years. Best to make the most of it while we can, I suppose….

    • Oh, it’s not that I am planning on stopping in five years, just that the next phase is five years. I have no retirement package and no pension plan. I never want to stop working and though I have been a diabetic for two decades at least I still have good health, strength, eyes and hands.

  9. Thank you so much for the time and effort you all invest in this endeavor, it has really sparked the desire to be a better wood worke and to slow down from he fast pace of everyday life an relax and create something that will last a lifetime. Thanks again for allowing us to be a part of your journey!
    Best of luck

  10. It is wonderful to have such enthusiasm engendered by your new facility. I think we are all looking forward to your first project in the new place.

    May I ask that you make a short video introducing your entire staff to us. It seems better to at least have some connection with everyone who has a hand in your projects.

    Thanks for all you do for us.

    Rob Morrison

  11. I have only recently discovered your work and I have found great pleasure in watching and learning from you. I have long believed that the loss of important hand skills and knowledge in a wide variety of trades is detrimental to society as a whole.
    I, like everyone else here, wish you success in your new building and for the future and admire your aims and ambitions.

    Kind regards
    Ian Lait

  12. Like a lot of people who post I have a only recently discovered/rekindled my interest in woodworking.

    My path to your work started in one of the many other sources of woodworking knowledge on YouTube however once I stumbled on your work it stuck a cord with me as I find it memorizing. Your authenticity and enthusiasm is infectious and I really buy into your lifestyle philosophy.

    Anyway to my point, fueled by your enthusiasm I had decided to try to build myself a tool chest for the new (old) tools I have collected. I made the mistake of doing a quick search of the internet for an example and picked one that looked what I wanted and settled down to view it………

    The nice man on the video proceeded to use planers, jointers, band saws and bought templates for cutting dovetails with a router. I could not believe my reaction to this as after many weeks of viewing your videos and absorbing your philosophy I was almost taken aback that he would do such things an felt uncomfortable to be looking at it (strange I know). So whilst I acknowledge that everything has its place in the world this has really made me sit up a recognize I am a convert to the true worth of what your do and the way you do it.

    So good best wishes and luck to you and your teams for the future in your new home I look forward to many more memorizing videos.

    (ps 2nd reaction to the above is i have now paid the fee to view your ‘premium videos)

  13. Congratulations on your new place to work. You look like a young 68, so I look forward to many more episodes. After all you are responsible for my woodworking addiction.

  14. Karma – means action, work or deed of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect).

    Paul for years you have been dedicated to passing on your knowledge, enthusiasm and love for woodworking with hand tools and many people around the world have benefited from it, not just enriching their lives but but also for some, changing their lives completely. So, it is only fitting that your dreams should also come to fruition…that’s Karma.

    As one of those lucky people who has crossed your path, I am sure I can speak for all of us when I say, that we are just as excited as you, in starting this next part of yours, your great teams and of course our journey.

  15. Congrats on the new space, if anyone deserves it you do! Always have a bright perspective on things that always leaves us feeling inspired! Always enjoy your videos, you always do things the right way, and it shows that you have a great passion for woodworking, and it is infectious! 🙂

    Glad to hear everything is going well, and excited to see where this journey takes you next!

    Best of luck!

    Zack

  16. Great to see the journey to a new space, full of opportunities and endless possibilities. Please keep up the good work, from early days of watching Paul make the first bench in the back garden to the new setup, I thoroughly enjoy watching and learning from your videos.

    Currently embarking on my own bench build, with elements taken from Paul’s bench and also another style. Very excited to see what your new space will be like.

    Even better that you are now back in my birth County 🙂

    Best of luck for all the future endeavours and I look forward to watching and learning more!

        • I felt it was the same in some ways, familiar, but then totally different in others. Many things wrong, few improvements but felt always like a band aid, duck tape or bailing wire was holding most things together in the various systems of culture. The young people have a tough future following in the boots of the baby boomers owning so much in terms of property wealth. I think the young are pretty amazing and resilient whereas generally my generation seems more likely to feel they achieved something more than they really did without realising their wealth was handed to them on a plate. You don’t have to look too far to see where things went wrong and still are very much going more wrong than right. Just my thoughts from listening to those younger than me and then those too around my age.

  17. Dear Sir,
    Not only you give us the pleasure to use hand tools. And in my case all my great grand father’s planes, chisels and so on from Preston or old Stanley tools. But your beautiful works and pedagogical lessons help me as a French guy to improve my English language and put a fantastic bridge with the culture and « savoir-faire » of my Britannic ancestors.
    Thank you so much for your wonderful project.
    Matthieu

  18. Paul and company,

    Congratulations on your success. It is wonderful to see the many blessings poured out on you for the work you have done and will do for others. Thank you all for your teachings.
    Many years to you all.

    Andrew

  19. Hi Paul, good luck on your new venture with your team. Your skills with wood have helped and fascinated me ever since i found your blog. If it makes your life easier, then go for it, make the back drop for your video blogs the same as your old workshop with all your tools. The tools you had on shelves and hanging up fascinated me too. I am a retired electrician and was talking to ex fitter and turner working in a timber and hardware store, I ask him if he liked working with timber, which he did, I then asked him if he knew of Paul Sellers and your blog, he sure did and loved your work. You have touched so many people in this world, keep up the good work and thanks a million.

  20. Thank you, Paul for giving your time and energy to help novice woodworkers, such as I am. From the time I started watching your Youtube videos a couple of years ago you have given me inspiration.

    In high school I wanted to learn the craft for my own purposes. However, my shop teacher only taught the machinist techniques. I later learned how to build houses using power tools, dabbled in rustic furniture, ruined a lot of wood, and failed to satisfy my desire to design and execute something that I thought would be of lasting value to my family.

    Now, with your inspiration, having watched your garden-built workbench, I feel like I am well on the way to accomplishments that I had dreamed of and searched for most of my life. Two years ago I built a workbench modeled on your design, and then I built many other lovely pieces that are utilitarian, simple, crafty, and loved. Thank you, Paul.

  21. Hi, Paul. What a beautiful place! The Thames has a lot of history and beauty!

    I know how the problem is with the noise of planes and buses. I live near an international airport here in Fortaleza – Brazil.

    Good luck, Paul! I’ll be watching from here. But maybe one day I can be a student in your class in England.

    A hug from Brazil.

  22. What a wonderful, humble and gentle man.
    I am so glad to have found your channel, it has taught me loads and I now laugh at the guys with huge workshops full of thousands of pounds worth of machinery.
    I have always been a modelmaker, but never dreamed making large scale stuff could be so simple.
    I have a very small workshop, but I get by. Planning to build a cut down version of your bench soon.
    If there were more like you, we might be able to call ourselves Great Britain again. Most people under 40 yrs old have few practical skills these days and many tradesmen have no right describing themselves as such.
    Thank you for what you do, and keep doing ALL of it!!

  23. Paul, good luck for you and your team in the new workspace!
    I have to agree with some of the posts above, that I neither felt distracted by your well-filled tool cabinets in the background nor did they make me feel as if I had to have them.
    For me they were part of the “salt in the soup” as a german saying goes and it felt a lot like coming into a well-known classroom every wednesday.
    You’ve come a long way as a craftsman and so have the tools. No need to hide them.
    All the best,

    Florian

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