Filling in the Blanks

It was not all easy

Gradually the workshop has, well, fallen into place. The motivating factor all along was to be able to work efficiently and create the extra time we needed to not only make efficiently but film too. Filming pretty much triples my time because not only do I have to make a prototype, I have to make sure you can pretty much see or at least understand what I can see or am doing throughout. I just spent the best part of three full days drawing out the projects I have been designing as well as developing an idea I have that will get woodworkers into the workshop zone at home. Motivation often comes by seeing something and thinking I think this is something I might be able to do. The workbench was important in that because as we have seen since we made the first workbench in the garden a few years ago, people went out and bought wood and made their own workbench in their own back yards successfully and a whole world of woodworking opened up to them. There is never a day goes by without someone sharing something along those lines. Not ideal conditions for building a bench but it was worth the struggle realness brings.

In many ways I wish I had told you of all the struggles it took to get to the point we are at today. I kind of glossed over it really. Well, not glossed over it, more just ignored it. After all, amidst all of the trials of being an organic woodworker lifestyling his way through a lived devotion to his way of making his living, this woodworker had to just ignore what came against him and get on with it. When my life was private it didn’t matter so much, today it’s a lot more public. Few days go by now without me being stopped in the street and someone shouting out my name. It’s nice.

My biggest battle personally was with the building crew. Both in the building of the main shell and then the second crew who built the studio. The building was built on schedule but then some stupid arrangement elsewhere meant that we couldn’t get the keys for over three months. There was the empty but completed building and we couldn’t get in. When we did we crammed into the what seemed like a largish refreshment area that suddenly dwarfed as seven people set up their desks and added in my work area to be filmed in too. What should have taken six weeks downstairs in the development of our new garage/workshop/studio/office to 5 months. It was a draining experience watching the foreman of the company disappear one day with half his crew never to return and not for any reason on our part. The company scrambled for replacements and it was very dispiriting for us all but I could feel my strength being depleted by the politics of the time.

Since then it has been an up and up experience. The garage came together quite quickly and now I just love what I have. Remember that one of my US workshops and studios was 35 feet by 45 feet for just myself. Two separate workshops, one for machines and the other for hand tools. Another was 40 feet by 80 feet and split in two the same as before but now with 8 woodworkers sharing space. Well, this one beats the big spaces hands down. It’s special because every month we reach well over 1.5 million woodworkers who are all learning and sharing my space and becoming very competent woodworkers with hand tools worldwide. This is my dream coming to. It’s a legacy you see.

So today we start afresh. As we progress we will be showing more from behind my own eyes. Helping you to see that it is not always plain sailing and that it takes guts to be an amateur woodworker.

7 comments on “Filling in the Blanks

  1. I think it takes guts to get just about anything done that is non trivial. Force of will and constant, steady pressure are necessary to create order in a universe that conspires against it! Congratulations on the new space.

  2. Dear Paul and Company,
    All of you deserve a round of applause from us during this transitional period! And you do not owe us any explanation. One really would never had been the wiser had you not mentioned it. This is a testament to you and your team.
    I stumbled upon you after Googling (funny how this is now a verb) French cleats, for my garage, 2 years ago. I was so impressed with your presentation and the professionalism of the video, I was hooked and dug in deeper. Since then, I have made your “garden workbench” and many other pieces through Woodworkers Masterclass. Hard work and lots of steep learning curves for sure! However, rewarding beyond words. Pieces that I am proud to have in my home and give to my family as gifts. Items that I never thought I could ever make…and using old hand tools that I tuned! So exhilarating! You, Sir, through your presentation, demeanor and skill, have transformed my idea of what working wood is. I could not be more thrilled!
    You are to woodcraft what Bob Ross and Julia Child is to painting/nature and cooking, respectively. All of you demystify an art and give us the courage and means to execute successfully. I mean this in the greatest respect to you.
    I am happy to see your dry quips and corny humor have come back, as in in your most recent bathroom cabinet video (and I was missing this in your transitional presentations )….I think that was a telling sign that you have finally found home.
    My very best to you and your team (family).
    Thank you for what you are providing us.

    • Kurt I would like to second every word you said about Paul, while I might not be the best in putting words to paper, I love when someone can. As Kurt so gracefully said Paul you have made a lot of people very happy I am also one of them. So from my family to your family Paul thank you for all you do. I would also like to say while you may struggle at times in trying to get to where you want to be, the struggle is worth it as we are all waiting for you at the end.. Thank you Kurt and Paul and family..

  3. This post resonates. Moving one’s operation, with three or more months of delay whilst a constant, and in fact, an unpresidented, series of accomplishments must be accomplished, but such is the challenge.

    At times it seems that when one is at the lowest point, assailed from all directions and appearing the most weak, that is when one does the most important of things.

      • Very nice perspective that. Speaking as an old grey-haired wrinkly would-be woodworker, as regards the challenges obstacles and problems I might encounter, my still fit-as-a-fiddle eldest brother’s wise words from very long ago continue to motivate me to battle on and to successfully work through any difficulty:
        “Nothing Good Ever Came Easy”.

  4. The only people who have never experienced serious grief having engaged a builder are those who have never engaged a builder.

    Once you find one who behaves reasonably, you find that, next time you want to use him, he is fully booked for 3 months either side of when you need him and cannot/will not budge. Either that or he has gone out of business or emigrated to Venezuela.

    Nowadays when my wife suggests we, “Get someone in …” and the suggestion involves a builder, I fein a heart attack- sometimes it postpones the inevitable.

    You all got through the trauma – thanks for enduring it for our benefit!

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