Moved In!

This weekend we loaded up our belongings and moved onto the Science Park where our new and permanent home now is. It took over a year to complete the outside but the inside will take just a few more weeks. It was a mixed week of sad and happy emotions because we’ve made friends and we needed our own turf to develop our dreams.

This past week we outgrew our Sylva Wood Centre home for a few reasons. This happens with many of us as we grow. The decision to put down deeper roots makes what you do more permanent because, as with many large trees, the deeper the root the greater the resistance to pressure; unless you are a beech tree. Our work is only just begun even though we have been woodworking educational leaders in the field since 1990. In the beginning there were so few schools in the private sector. When I taught my first classes there were only about ten individuals like myself teaching. Of course there were those selling tools that claimed expertise but at the end of the day they mostly sold tools. Persevering on two continents gave me ever-greater insights into the struggles woodworkers had and into what they were often looking for but couldn’t always identify.

Today I think I have identified issues that I’ve striven to bring to a worldwide audience yet without selling a single tool unless you call my best work a tool which was and is Essential Woodworking Hand Tools. The book has been a success for me and I m working on two more. One is done and nearly ready for the editor and proofreader. The other is done in my head and I am working diligently to bring it to pass. The crew has grown steadily and I say crew decidedly because they have added great action in the powerhouse of publishing. Every week I watch the rowing teams train nearby on stretches of the Thames. They power through the water in perfect synchrony with each tip entering the water stroke by stroke at precisely the right time. On other parts of the same river the sailors respond to every wind of change to grab the wind and tack accordingly to best grab the energy they need. To tack is to understand just where the wind hits from when under way—port or starboard— so as to maneuver  between starboard and port to bring up the bow via the wind. It takes the energy of everyone on board to optimise performance. So crew it is.

When we were packing, in the final throes of it, everything was blanketed and skinned ready for the removal team of two. As I thought my thoughts I realised that this was more than likely my final move. Our ambitions are still big, bigger than ever I would say, but the move is a big relief for me. Our new quarters are big but we will be very confined for a few weeks as we develop the working garage to replicate the ones most people will have at home. I took Karla, Izzy, Hannah and Ellie over for the first time just before the move and they are so looking forward to the new workspace. it’s a strange thing to see an empty room where we were once packed like tinned sardines. The last sweep up and window washing closed the deal at one end and the unloading of our goods at the other made me realise the marked contrast—we can fit the old into the new about ten times.

My first UK workshop!!!

Where we are is about a hundred yards from the No5 Cycle Path which reaches 370 miles from Reading to Holyhead and my North Wales former home of Bangor. The Radley Lakes start across the road from us and it’s a two minute cycle ride into Abingdon town. Lots of wildlife with otters, crested grebe, red tailed kites and much more along the way. No more commutes for me although I did like the drive to the Wood Centre. Anyway, this is just to get the ball rolling. From mere on I’ll keep you up to date.

37 comments on “Moved In!

    • Mr. Sellers my name is Danny Gile i live in the U.S. I recently bought an antique plane I partially restored I just found out it’s a #40 sweetheart scrub plane with original iron I was wondering if u could tell me what era it comes from and if they are rare or valuable please email me at [email protected] thank u very much
      P.S. I love your u tube videos I watch them over and overheat stuff you inspired me to go the hand tools route instead of power glad I did much more enjoyable and very satisfying when u complete a project thanks

    • Agreed. Such a job should be for a younger member of Paul’s team. I know of two fall incidents that resulted in fatality though the persons involved had been doing what caused their demises all the time. Shop safety first!

      But congrats for your move!

      • First thing that came to mind was “Mr. Santa”:

        Mister Santa,
        Dear old Saint Nick.
        Be awful careful,
        And please don’t get sick.
        Put on your coat
        When breezes are blowin’,
        And when you cross the street
        Look where you’re goin’…
        And lock down that ladder
        To keep you from fallin’,
        Or better yet just leave it
        For some younger dawlin’…
        (a few lines added, appropriate for the occasion…)

        Have you ever been compared to Santa Claus, Mr. Sellers? I look forward to your blog postings every bit as much as I would for Santa’s arrival (well, unless he has a few nice tools in his bag with my name on them)!

    • My thoughts are the same ….to reach out on steps, to the side is naughty Paul ….it’s down to physics …the law of equal and opposite reaction in other words if you reach out your body pushes in opposite direction, tending to topple steps OR get someone to steady them.
      On a brighter note love your blogs ….always seem to come with advice at the right time……..CONGRATS ON YOUR NEW HOME

  1. Congratulations on the exciting new move! Here in the US for many years public TV has shown UK police mysteries set in the Oxford area. Consequently, I have the impression that the beautiful scenery there is littered with crime victims. Never mind ladder safety, please be watchful for professors furtively looking at the hatchets, deans plotting mischief, or students playing malevolently with the silver hammer!

    • Yes. We see the film crews in Oxford from time to time filming different scenes off in the distance. Oxford is a most remarkable city too, always busy but then somehow tranquil too.

  2. Paul, How far are you from Reading? My wife and I will be starting ba bike tour from Heathrow to Reading then to the coast before heading to France.

    • From the text here it’s the Science Park to the East of Abingdon. A good cycle ride from Reading station (~25 miles, though some of it may be on heavily trafficked roads), but in the opposite direction to the coast!

  3. Like the totes. Googled the UPC numbers in the picture but came up with nothing. Probably good only in the UK.
    Anyway what is the manufacture?

  4. Congratulations on your move, change can be good but can also add stress so I am sure you are feeling a little of both. You and I are about the same age so I can appreciate both sides of this move. I look forward to more videos, my machines continue to roar and produce dust but my use of hand tools has increased substantially since I began watching your videos, especially the chisels and hand saws. I appreciate greatly that your not in the tool business, I look to you as an educator and mentor.

  5. That first photo looks like my front room till I get my little shed up and running. And as for standing on those ladders on your bench, you’ll have H.S.E. on your back if you don’t watch it.

  6. Congrats on the new digs, however, I do miss that castle!

    I too gasped when I saw that picture on the ladder. Please be careful!

  7. Congratulations Paul and crew on the new workspace! Looking forward to many more blogs and tool and project videos.

    I shuddered when I viewed the photo of yourself on the ladder. A fall off a ladder many years ago left me with two cracked ribs and 6 weeks worth of healing. Anyone not reading the comments may not decipher the ladder is screwed down and could interpret it to be acceptable to use in such a way. As a mentor and role model please continue to show us the safe use of all tools including ladders.

  8. Hi Paul. Congratulations on your move. I think the idea of filming in an environment that is similar to lots of your viewers is a great move. I watch videos of some other woodworkers and they have huge machines and vast workshops and it makes it very difficult to translate that into a home 2 car garage diy environment. Since watching you for the last couple of years and reading your book I must confess my skills are developing along. When performing a task now I frequently feel as if you are watching over my shoulder and I find myself thinking “what would Paul do?” Or “how would Paul tackle this?” It’s like having your own personal tutor. Thanks and keep up the great work.

  9. Hi Paul. Congratulations on your move! Can you explain your reference to Beech trees? Just curious. Thanks, from Western New York.

  10. Hi Paul!
    I live in Texas and was introduced to woodworking by my father who was a cabinet/furniture maker by trade. Unfortunately I became interested in it after he had a stroke and he is not able to provide much guidance now. I was wondering if you ever hold classes for the newbie like me? In Texas would be ideal but I’m so eager to learn the art of hand tools I would even travel to England to attend one of your trainings!
    PS – climb the ladder if you want to. You’re only as old as you feel!

  11. Glad to see you’ve finally moved in to your new place. I am sure you will make many new, meaningful memories here.

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