Why Changes Happen

What might help you understand our relocation all the more is that I have a five-year plan unfolding. I want to continue providing the no-frills and froufrou how-to woodworking for woodworkers we’ve done for years. Furniture making, woodworking and wood turning have always been my great passion and of course that also includes carpentry and bench joinery too. It’s comprehensive hand work that went missing for a season and took quite a hammering over the decades. I think we’ve changed that by leaps and bounds forward.

Putting together the team we have has been as fascinating as the woodworking itself. Young women and men who skilfully develop their individual spheres of creativity settled into place seamlessly. The recent series on building the workbench has established the down-to-earth workbench everyone needed to get seriously into hand tools. Seeing pictures coming in of complete and part completed benches is my great reward.PaulOldWorkbench

In the coming months and years we want to expand our horizons. My work so far has been to simply develop my ideas and give cut lists and drawings as PDFs to work from. How I get to that point is still a mystery to most so the work ahead will be to demystify the processes I go through. Encouraging this new generation that engages everyone regardless of their background, age etc to start doing it themselves to make  every item they might need or want in the average home is a quest we see working. I’ll be designing all the pieces from scratch starting with sketches and working through to the detailed working drawings and you will be there right with me at the drawing board and in the sketching stages too. We’ll be visiting the house, each empty room, measuring the walls and floor spaces and looking at window light, wall configuration and things that affect design. Working alongside those you’ve come to know through our current and previous work, the ones doing the filming and editing, planning, accounting, research and development, writing and such, I see a much clearer pathway for the incredible world of of woodworking worldwide.

As we generate the ideas you will see a massive range of pieces that would include everything you need for a home. Ultimately we will build one piece at a time and show how the design and build evolved. We’ll discuss it as we feel after it, change direction and evolve a design from a prototype to a final piece. In other words, what now happens behind the scenes because of time constraints will become visible to all. From bathroom stools and mirrored wall cabinets to kids stacking bunk beds and adult beds we’ll be walking through every step and stage from beginning to end. In other words, in making a whole houseful of furniture over a period of five or so years, and then other  woodwork alongside that’s not really furniture but essential or decorative to our homes, you will grow into a living education of woodworkers. The types of pieces you make as a mum and dad, grandparent will be pieces you’ll love to give to your children and grandchildren, parents and grandparents. I want an alternative to buying from the big box outlet stores on the edge of town where you have no idea what the true costs in terms of waste and pollution that takes place really is. Ships crossing the oceans with unneeded cargoes to feed consumerism is an unquantified cost as is the 18 wheeler from coast to coast. I know all the more that young people are now looking to consider the experience of developing woodworking skills as they make. They want to replace what they bought in desperation when they first got together with something they created. It’s going to be a definitive training program, one based on my personal experience of apprenticeship, designing and making and then long term teaching on three continents too. Imagine a package like that my friends!

Our making stunning modern designs and then those considered the best of the past too we’ll be investigating the home they are likely to occupy. The work we do in design will be scaleable and adaptable. Up until now, we have been developing pieces to get you started to provide some good and basic teaching and training. Our ever popular woodworkingmasterclasses.com has indeed been a success and from that success we want to take even more steps to make permanent what we began. That alone led to interactive association of woodworkers we might consider our alumni that would never have happened before. We are one of the very few entities that did it without sullying our efforts with sponsored advertising on any of our sites. There is more yet to come too. Read on. Whether you are currently 18 or 60, 70 or in your mid-life years, I envisage three generations getting together once or twice a week to build things alongside one another. Some might take a holiday in a barn in France to make something very lovely with a cousin, with two cousins and an uncle and an aunt. Think viennoiserie with freshly made coffee together and then working for a few hours to build an ash or oak coffee table. Of course, there could be Krispy Kremes too. Think also individuals inviting friends into the sheds on a Saturday morning.

The recent move enables us to develop a more efficient strategy on the one hand and that within a controlled environment unhampered by any and all invasion from elsewhere. You will recall our experiment with the garage and our survey to determine what most woodworkers used for woodworking. One key essential was my book, Essential Woodworking Hand Tools, which was a great hit with woodworkers. Our recent woodworking workbench build series has further progressed in the latest on YouTube and Woodworking Masterclasses. This is about our equipping and strengthening new and seasoned woodworkers in their search for real and skilful woodworking. With new workbenches coming from hand tools on garage floors and sheds around the world we think we are right on track. If you’ve made a workbench with your own hands and your basic hand tools, then it is likely you will be able to join us and thousands like you to make furniture and woodwork for your own home and for your children and grandchildren, parents and grandparents. Instead of buying cheapo non-heritage pieces to become flat pack assemblers with allen keys, screwdrivers and wrenches, you will be working on new designs with design longevity and structural strengths that will become heritage pieces.

We did move two weekends ago, lock, stock and barrel. We are yet again in a small and cosy space with a temporary set up, but the builders moved into our space downstairs this week to put in a mezzanine floor that in an instant now covers and insulates our studio and workshop office area from the rest of the world but then reaches to the whole world too. From there, along tubes, wires and wifi too we will reach the world of woodworkers and you too will be able to connect with your fellow woodworkers everywhere at anytime.

The gang will be working together there so that will mean about 7-10 of us making hundreds of films, writing blogs and books and how-to’s too. I will be writing as usual as this has become my second craft alongside photography and drawing and design.

What do you think—good idea?

53 comments on “Why Changes Happen

  1. “What do you think—good idea?”
    Yes 🙂
    Bring it on Paul…
    Just at the moment keeping my glue pot warm!!!
    Looking forward to seeing your workspace develop, and new projects come to life.

  2. It’s a brilliant idea and I look forward to getting started. I’ve always been good at following plans, whether it’s a recipe or a cutting list. Developing my own design skills to create worthy heritage pieces would be a wonderful thing.

  3. Sounds fantastic. I am most interested in the design process and putting the design down on paper. I already have the making ability thanks to Paul’s instructions over the past few years.

  4. Brilliant idea. What could be considered once lost will be refound by generations who knew of a little and now gain a lot. Who knew the internet of things could help facilitate a thing such as this when first developed?

  5. Looking forward to this. I’m in the process of renting some land from the council to put a shed on it’s a fair size, but then so will be my shed. Then I will be playing catch up with you, starting with making my own bench.

  6. Yes, I feel you are definitely on the right path. I love the idea of the 5 year plan and I am privileged to be along for the ride. Onward, my friend, onward!

  7. How wonderful Paul …fantastic…let’s all go forward
    I recently sold a couple of planes on ebay ….one bidder from Denmark, we have swapped pictures of our workshop and YES he is building Paul’s bench!!
    I recently swapped ideas with Alex on ‘comments’ re beading tool…….all goes to show we are out there and your comment of coming together would be great.
    I had the privilege of meeting you at the book signing in Oxford and talked then about meeting up with other members…..it just needs your young gizmo staff to get this working….thanks John

  8. Uau, I can’t wait to see that happen! Your passion for woodworking really transcends you. Please stop doing what you love, it inspire us to follow our own dreams. Thank you for doing what you love and teaching us how to do it.

  9. Well done Paul I wish you all the luck and success.
    I was very lucky to been at a secondary school in the nineteen fifties and had three years of woodworking, metalwork, and technical drawing. We all left school able to make and mend things around the house.
    I have a nephew who is a CDT teacher who has just been informed that next year the school will no longer run the classes , so what future does the next generation have , call it a man to fix a shelf!!!
    Paul make the new venture a magnetic for all those did not have the opportunity that I had , your enthusiasm and passion is what our country needs.

    Regards Frank

  10. Yes good idea and a monumental step forward!! Paul, I feel lucky to be alive at the same time as you on this Earth. To be a witness, participant, student of your work I a live way so to speak as you post these step by step videos of knowledge on YouTube. I got into serious woodworking at a later age in life and ish I would have discovered the “hand tool” way of woodworking 10 yrs. before starting to acquire the power tools that I have. I don’t regret owning them or acquiring them, as they too have their place and use. But THANK YOU for showing me the world of the Stanley hand planes and such, because now I know what can be done with them, or should I say reminded. I have always been one to say, “well, they did it 300 yrs ago without fuel, motors, etc…..”. So there has got to be another way, and I believe so.e thing we’re even made better than now, without the luxury of those tools, etc we have at our disposal. I believe that we are living, witnessing, learning from a modern day Michaelangelo, Da Vinci, etc……and as I said before I feel lucky to be here on Earth at the same “live” time as you. We look back to the great builders, engineers, woodworkers, of the world and admire their work. One thing they all have in common is their work has been shared with the world. I admire and thank you for the fact that you want to pass on your knowledge of your woodworking life to the rest of us. Men like yourself are seldom made anymore, simply dying off and the virtues, traditions, and ideology is lost……people like my grandfather and many others……..it is a rare combination that someone like yourself has gone to social media and taken advantage and made use of technology to share their knowledge so it is chronicled so that others can learn and again I thank you. You my friend are a rare bird!!

  11. Brilliant 5 year plan, Paul. Over 3 years after coming to one of your courses at Penrhyn Castle I may actually make the time to tackle some of your projects. Your work methods and approach to work have stood me in good stead for all the other stuff I have been doing. Woodworking has taken rather a backseat to the many other things I do in my so-called “retirement”.

    Will you also be able to update us on how your ex-apprentices are doing as it would be great to see how they have used the skills you have taught them? It would be particularly good to know how John is getting on back in Patagonia. It could be really inspirational for us.

  12. Wonderful idea! I have armed myself with the tools you have suggested so I am glad to be strapped in and ready to go.

  13. That is great news Paul!

    I too need to offer congratulations on your journey to this point and willingness to continue your vision into the future for the benefit of all woodworkers.

    We are living in a Video/Information Age with so much ‘how-to’ just a few key strokes away. To share that knowledge is a wonderful thing especially from the point of hand technique, that is, how something is performed such as a dovetail being cut or the sharpening of a plane blade or the build of workbench! To see photos or read it in a book is one aspect but to view (stop/rewind/play) the how-to videos is how many are able to learn.

    At 50 years old, I’ve spent many hours in my mediocre garage workshop building, mending, repairing, sharpening, and honing but to visually see the videos on layouts, builds, and sharpening using techniques from those of previous generations is truly inspiring for the feel of how furniture building took place before power tools were introduced. I built my maple workbench in my early twenties and so glad I did. It has and still is provided many hours of hand tool enjoyment. Although I had pursued full-time woodworking in my early thirties, I did have to give it up by the time I was in my late thirties primarily due to health issues caused by the fine dust while using power tools, even with dust masks. It was a big turn-off for myself as I became reluctant to build anything if it meant breathing in any amount of fine dust for hours on end. Since discovering yourself and your hand tool and furniture build videos roughly a year ago, I’ve once again become inspired to build using just hand tools, although I still use the occasional power tool for bringing rough stock to size. It has become such a treat to use hand-tool woodworking using super sharp tools, including hand saws. I had never sharpened a hand saw prior to watching your videos and it is with joy I reach for them now, knowing what a truly sharp hand saw is supposed to be like. I’m currently building a hand tool cabinet, primarily by hand and will post a photo or two once complete.

    All the best to you Paul and your staff and looking forward to watching your future vision unfold!

  14. Super idea! We were so close to loose the knowledge and skills of handcrafting because everything got electric, electronic and computerised. Well, that’s reality and regrets don’t help at all – we can’t escape from reality – at least not for very long time. And so it’s quite funny to think that electronics, computers and internet now help us to save these skills for posterity. That’s not to regret either – it’s just Paul Sellers way to save woodworking by hand. But how else would that be possible? What can the world do but be grateful?

  15. Fascinated to discover the ins and outs of the design process. In particular how you handle walls and floors that aren’t straight (which they never are). This is a brilliant evolution. Thanks Paul & Co.

  16. I love the direction you are taking. I too am building my first workbench. I have been working many hours on it and I often return the thinking how grateful I am that you taught me so much over the last few years as I have been watching your videos and acquiring my hand tools with eager anticipation of building something worthwhile. THANK YOU, Mr. Sellers and all your staff!

  17. Yes Paul.

    Thank you for the information and inspiration! I can’t wait to join in on your new projects.

  18. Paul,
    Thanks to your sharing your wealth of very practical knowledge, my woodworking has gone to a new level. I rarely want or need to use my power tools anymore. I think they are getting lonely.

    I love your masterclasses, but this new vision even has me more excited about learning the creative aspect along with the hand skills.



  19. I think what you plan to do is great, but it is similar to what was taught in high school woodshops 60 years ago.

    • I doubt that they could do what we are planning and I never heard of that, especially with just hand tools. Is this a global thing then or are you talking local to a country? I think that some countries tend to think what they have, do or did is what everyone else does and/or has access to in all other countries. I certainly never heard of schools offering a house full of furniture as a goal for students to aspire to make and there has never seemed to me any evidence of it either here in the `UK or the USA when I lived there. The 60s was when the demise of woodworking in schools took a nose dive I think.

    • High school woodshop in America is not even close to what Paul is doing. I have a podium that was built by high school woodshop students a long time ago and the only quality type of joinery that was used is tongue and groove on the outsides of the desk-area where a book or maybe paper would be placed. It was done to keep the the top section of the podium from bowing or cupping, but see if bread board ends were used now the students could have taken that skill and applied it to the end of a table top they made. It’s old and has served its purpose and has lasted a long time, but the way it’s made really can not be related or connected to other projects that does something really important: build skill and knowledge of why to use certain joinery for specific parts of furniture. The skills used to make it was turning a screw driver for screws, drilling holes for dowels, beveling edges (kinda of a skill), and cutting the stock to length and width. Dadoes could have been used, bread board ends could have been used, and through mortises could have been used. This summer I’m remaking it with the joinery I just mentioned along with some other minor additions. I never thought I could do this because before I became a masterclass member, I thought I needed a table saw and chop saw that I didn’t want to buy because of price and the sheer violence of these machines.

  20. Paul,

    There is a saying that goes…

    ‘Why reach for the moon when we have the stars’

    What a fantastic vision and what a journey it will be.

    You can count me in!

    At 59 and only just started woodworking, it might be a little late for me to replace all my house furniture with anything good enough and made by my very own hands. Still, I recon I could make at least one piece for each room as a start. Then who knows?

    A big thank you to you and your team and the best of luck. I believe the success of this vision, will play a big part in ensuring the ‘Paul Sellers woodworking with hand tools legacy’ will endure and be there, for generations to come. And rightly so!

  21. Very excited to your process of sketching to prototyping to final piece. I’ve been sketching for a almost year now for what I make. Personally, I’m finding that I like to sketch, make, modify my sketches, and then make again if I need another one of what I made. One thing I’m very interested in is learning why a project had a specific design. Not neccessarily from a joinery perspective but more from a shape prerspective. For example, the leaning wall shelf has large, curved sides. I haven’t watched all the episodes yet so maybe it was explained but I’ve been wondering why the sides could not just have been squared or maybe the front courners cut at 45 degrees.

  22. I am looking forward to seeing your groups approach to expanding into this new concept of passing design info onto your audience. Your level of skill in woodworking is duplicated in your teaching skills and by what I consider your great writing skills that I see continuously displayed in your blog. It has become a major source of enjoyment for me to read. Keep on with the great work.
    Your energy and enthusiasm is a constant source of amazement and encouragement. I had backed off my woodworking because I was so discouraged by the need for dust control and noise levels. Your techniques and instructions have reenergized me even in my 70s.
    Keep it up! There are so many people you are helping!

  23. Creative and unique! It’s a fantastic idea whose time has come. I’m very excited to be and experience this wonderful idea Paul. Thank you, and we’re with you all the way.

  24. Bully for you, Paul, and your team you have formed!

    I have been along almost from the beginning. I started out as a free viewer on You Tube marveling at the creations appearing from the knife walls and plane strokes. In the beginning I never really thought I could do any of this. Now have built a five foot version of the garden work bench. I’m proud to say it has many dents dings and scratches as a properly used work bench should. I have built several things following your step by step instructions, and now I am beginning to create (at the moment I’m creating my own micro adjustable router plane due to the shortage of the LV stock, and a drum for my teen drummer) so this evolution is perfectly timed for me.

    I cannot begin in this short space to tell you all at WWMC how much you have changed my life, but I suspect you may already know.

    “Thank you” doesn’t really seem enough, but I am at a loss for a more appropriate expression, so thank you.

  25. Hello Paul,

    As others have said, this is a great idea and a wonderful way to get more people involved.

    I am particularly pleased that you will be looking at some new contemporary designs alongside those traditional ones – as each person’s home has a different style, and whilst it can be good to mix old and modern designs, it is not always the case.

    I am also really interested in seeing how the design process is working, and will certainly share this part with my wife. In our household she often has the idea – and then I get to turn it into something tangible…. if she knew more about the design process, this would help in an earlier appreciation of feasibility … although this might mean we get even more ambitious, but what is not to like in that.

    Eagerly awaiting the journey onwards …

  26. It’s a wonderful idea. Already hand tool use has bridged the gap between me and my 8-year old. Finally we have away to work together on things that don’t involve me being terrified of him doing serious damage with a machine. I love the thought of over time moving from boats fashioned by spokeshave and wooden rings fashioned with brace and hole saw, to a set of projects I can do with him that he will take to his own home one day.

    Paul you are a shining light in a increasingly mechanised world.

  27. At age 64 and with six grandchildren 6 years old & younger, I need to build a woodworking hobby & skills to feel relevant after decades of work in fields far removed from hand tool skills.. Getting started is daunting. Thanks for what you do!

  28. I think it is a great vision and a good mission.
    Executing the very best you know and presenting it with passion and with great effort to make us feel as an including group of woodworkers. I like the way you and your son presents the whole idea.
    Looking forward to upcoming moments of enjoyment.

  29. I love the vision and idea. I plan to be one of your virtual apprentices and someday begin teaching woodworking craft to others myself. I also love that you want to see this craft passed from generation to generation. This indeed has been lost and needs recovery. Thank you!

  30. I came to woodworking later in life at a community college class I took to learn to build some shelves for the garage. I was very impressed with the machinery, but had none of that, or the understanding of it, or a place to put it, so could do very little making at home. I did buy a chop saw, but when I would use it, there seemed to be a lot of passer-by attention, and after some things went missing around the place, I was reluctant to use it much. Then I discovered your site and knew that was for me. I have invested in some nice hand tools, and can work even in the house when it’s too cold to be in the garage, and need no knowledge of machinery. I have learned to love wood, and how my tools can work it. So, as everybody else seems to be saying, ‘Thank you.’ I also appreciate that you recognize that working wood can also be for us women.

  31. I could use some QUALITY furniture. This is going to be a great ride. Thanks for picking up this new hitchhiker.

  32. This is fantastic and I will be looking forward to every episode you make. I am primarily a machine woodworker but I am incorporating more hand tool into my projects thanks to you. While every project you do may not speak to me I thoroughly enjoy watching the process.

  33. I’m definitely excited about this one, Paul, so I am writing my first post after a few years of following you and being on Woodworking Masterclasses.

    As well as stand-alone furniture, I wonder whether you can shed some of your light on the more architectural aspects of wooden furnishings too? From my point of view, that would mean library style built-in shelving as an alternative to Ikea style crates, perhaps some internal doors and architraves, maybe even a staircase! As well as being inspired by you to build a fair few pieces of furniture, I love it when in your blog you talk about your years of rounding over stair treads with a hand plane, or cutting traditional wall plugs with a jointer’s axe. Whenever it comes to doing bits of house carpentry, I want to resist the biscuit jointer and endless MDF!

  34. This sounds great, I’m very much looking forward to seeing this develop. Coincidentally I’m just finishing building my own first home as an owner builder. I’m new to woodworking (a year ago I didn’t even know what a hand plane was), but I am planning on slowly furnishing the house with things I make myself. I’ve also recently finished (with help putting it together) a mezzanine platform with rough cut timber I prepared by hand. Time consuming but very satisfying.
    It’s only myself living there, I don’t have anyone else to worry about and so I am in no rush to get it all done.

  35. What a fantastic five year plan! My wife and I just purchased our first home, and I am setting up my workshop in the basement. I am following your new bench build on wwmc, and making progress on my first workbench. Once that is done, I will be starting on furniture for the house. Thanks for everything you do Paul and team!

  36. I am in the back of the classroom. Thanks for everything you have done and the Team you have put together. Great past and fantastic future,

  37. One of the best ideas I’ve heard. I certainly didn’t need any additional motivation to follow your blog and woodworking masterclasses, but I’m even more excited to see this develop.

  38. I’m just as excited about your journey now as I was back in 2011 when I bought your first book and videos – because now it has become my journey too. I watched those videos over and over in the course of dozens of evenings while alone away from family – when by day I was immersed in my career-pinnacle job of successfully helping to build a public company. You sparked a fire within me – just as you did and continue to do so for thousands of others. I made my bench almost five years ago in the midst of a day-job world that almost consumed me. Now, retired at last, I wait expectantly each year that passes to see what grows through your vision – and it has already been miracle-like – kinda sorta like “through all the world that all may know”. Keep dreaming, designing, planning and birthing your grand but not grandiose vision. Bill in Kerrville.

  39. Excited to see this plan unfold. I built the bench, learned some skills, ready to build some furniture. Thank you.

  40. Paul, It sounds like a no-brainer to me. I’m looking forward to it.

    So have you made all of the furniture etc in your house? with the odd piece from other makers?

    I like your vivid imagination… barns in France… Krispy Kremes… i’ll settle for a brew and a couple of ginger-nuts (don’t panic non UK readers, they are biscuits/cookies) in my garden shed.

    I like your 5 year plan/vision and love the sentiment/thought that supports it. Let me know if you need a hand, I don’t live far away : )



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