Monday Begins My New Week

Lots to tell

No doubt about it, people did like my last week’s Vlog. Over 30,000 views in under three days, 2.5K likes and over 500 comments in the same time all gave me food for thought, but more than that it gave me valuable and valid feedback on my efforts. The week before last Mary May came into visit with her husband Steve, which was really nice as always. We spent some time catching up with various goals they had set for their time in Europe and then what was going on currently on each side of the great Atlantic. I’m sure you know but Mary is a career wood carver and teaches wood carving both online and in hands-on courses she offers around the USA as well. She had been in Germany teaching classes at Dictum’s new headquarters in Munich which she said was truly amazing.

Dictum is quite the place with a long history in the selling of equipment, tools and machinery as well as offering hands-on courses too. Mary’s online courses fills the gap  raw beginners and seasoned woodworkers to gain experience and her courses are very comprehensive in a down-to-earth way. If you are interested in learning to carve, look no further, Mary has both the experience and the gift as an artisan teacher with a genuine burden to pass on her craft.

The Airer is Done

I’m looking forward to my week. Last week was filled with lovely surprises as well as much hard work. I finished off my working on the swivelling clothes airer to the final assembly and my prototyping answered several unanswered questions ready for that the week of making the final model. Now I’m looking forward to a new project, I’m considering a baby’s cot, perhaps a crib too. It will be fun as any granddad would find as I have a new grandbaby on its way and I’d like it finished in time for the delivery. Prototyping means I will have two when done and I think the whole experience will be unique as I never built one for my own children and regret that. This one will be different, very different, but safety will of course be pivotal to the overall design so I hope I can pull this off.

Phil working at his bench

Vlogging Uncertainties Unfounded

The Vlogging I’ve mentioned was indeed fun if not a little unnerving to begin with, but I am adding vlog and vlogging to my dictionary. Fortunately I am used to handling the camera for photography at least so it is just an extension of that, but I also have Ellie hovering over me to keep me sane and safe and to make sure I don’t get to overwhelmed. It took some planning to get my head around something I have not done with the same purpose before. And it’s the purpose or the reason that makes the difference. At first my opening thoughts were, ‘This is going to take some time to pull together.‘ Followed by, ‘I’m not sure about this.’ and then, ‘I can’t do this!’ And of course it is a more self-conscious thing too. Also, as far as opening thoughts go, ‘Is it is too invasive? Does it plunge me into too much thinking about what I want to say? and then, How should I be saying this or that? too. But after a few ditched attempts I stopped thinking about how this or that looked and just did it. I have a message, not a political one, not a judgemental one, more a way to convey to others that when you go to work and you work for someone you must give them your best and that you are being paid for that. I have always believed that and always given my best without reserve. It’s when I leave the clock behind that all of that changes and its at this point where I become if you like, ‘self-employed’, (I also tell people that I am, ‘ selfishly employed‘). Here I’m off the clock that belongs to someone else and on the clock of my family, my friends and the additional people who impact my life and who’s lives I also impact. Of course when I did work for others I was working for my family too. It paid the bills and then I had relationships with those I worked with that had deep and meaningful relationships beyond the none to five. What the people I did work for did not realise and never could understand was that I volunteered into my working for them. They never owned me and never could. I was in my mind working for myself and gave from the well of my experience which meant that they only got the bucketful they paid me for. They could never fathom the depths of what drove me you see, but they could never possibly understand such things even though on occasions they did catch just a glimpse of something that sparked me and kept me on track. I came out the other side the better man. Having said all of that, of course I had nothing to lose, I was giving my time to an area of my life that I have always enjoyed on my own. Ultimately I actually found it less invasive than I first experienced. I worked out ways to work the camera without taking a tripod along and I was able to use my photography camera with my bike as a new form of tripod using my Joby gorilla pod.

The storage space is tidy at last.

It was interesting when someone said, “Get rid of the helmet.” on YT as this story came to mind:

I was riding my bike with my camera around my neck as per normal for me, fully set up and switched on but not in use as such. I was not in anyway using it or even conscious of it at a particular moment but in some ways I wish it had been engaged at least. Going in between the narrow passage of trees as I often do, and with my eyes fully opened and conscious of all that surrounded me, my helmet clipped a low hanging branch, a thin, springy one, when a small nub got caught fast in one of those oval holes. The action whipped my head and neck back as the bike was going forward with my body fully engaged adding momentum I didn’t need at that very moment. Now I am an experienced cyclist and have ridden every kind of bike since I was a toddler in the early 50s. Needless to say I was spun round and came off. As I went down I managed to grab the camera and keep it safe and did so without endangering myself. I did plummet to the ground full length though but just ended up with dirty jeans and a little ache. Nothing more.

This week seems to have opened with a full promise of good work ahead. With the final episode of the clothes airer completed as a far as intros and outros done I did my usual full sweep, vac and put up. We have also been organising our storage area beyond the office and the garage and Joseph and I have managed to get everything on shelving at long last. This is additional work area we reserve for trialling, in-house teaching and training and such and now it feels quite complete and safe.  The boxes are filled with the tools we have trialled and restored through the years and then too of course the school tools for teaching my courses. This area is good for about six people to work at individual benches. Hannah has her space there and is currently working on a small table in cherry and maple. Izzy practices there too and tests out tools as she makes joints and gets prepped for writing on Common Woodworking, which by the way has been very well received. Phill’s bench and tools are out there too and then we have a couple of spares. My old bench is there and that’s where I take care of the other stuff that goes with owning a big building. Here is the more likely place that I end up cutting out the back of a cabinet made of pressed fibre board or build a plinth for an office fridge. It works. 

The bandsaw is the same as the one I have in my garage workshop. It’s also one that I have owned for a decade but that’s my old one. I have come to the conclusion that almost all of the bandsaws made today are manufactured to the same specs in Taiwan. They all sport the same features with minor tweaks to make a very slight difference.Before anyone comments on the poor stowage of the random orbit sander, that’s not typically how I do it. In this case the thing has a dodgy on off switch and the user thought it was off (that’s me) and as I walked away thinking it was off, when I snapped the shot it had vibrated itself to the floor. I had been using it on refinishing some furniture pieces for my granddaughter and I have no issues in using RA sanders anyway, people just think I do.

And then of course my friends from Russian who teach woodworking in the Russian Federation came to close up my week and we did have fun. They brought me a Russian version of the Stanley 51 that unfortunately is no longer made. I gave them two large Record vises to take back with them and also some spokeshaves for the children to use that we no longer needed. Not sure if the plane would take off with the two vises! The also gave me an enormous Russian Samovar for heating water with wood to make tea so I can now make my tea and/or even coffee using my ever present wood scraps.

19 thoughts on “Monday Begins My New Week”

  1. A very generous gift, indeed, from your Russian friends! A samovar. My great grandfather brought his family’s somovar when he emigrated to the USA during the 1917 revolution. He was a noble under the czar and that somovar was the only possession he took while fleeing from the Bolsheviks. It still sits in my parents dining room and I can still remember playing with it as a small child some 45 years ago.

  2. Would love to have seen you and Mary May working together. You both have that easy manner and sense of humor that endears you to your students. (and the same drive to share knowledge and experience that makes it hard to distinguish the craftsperson from the teacher)

  3. Paul, in terms of future projects, have you ever considered doing a coffin/casket? When my mother died of Alzheimers three years ago, I built her coffin, though not without the proper joinery you are teaching us. I’m afraid it was just glue and nails (partly due to time constraints since we did not have her embalmed–we are Orthodox Christians, and we try not to embalm if possible). Anyways, there is a move afoot in the States toward green funerals, and one way to do that is with homemade coffins that do not use nails. I wondered whether you had ever built one and whether you’d consider doing one for the Masterclasses.

  4. I enjoy that. I can help but ask about the minor tweaks to your bandsaw set up. I believe I have the same or very similar model .(startrite403).i bought it last year and believe it’s the only machine I will ever need or want .

    I do however find the set up very time consuming .for example I the only blade I can get to work with the bottom side bearings is a 25mm blade .any lower and the bearing to remove the set from the teeth as I can set the bottom bearing right behind the teeth. I wonder will you be introducing the bandsaw back into WWMC .?
    Love the idea of a crib that would be a good one.

  5. Back in the 1960’s I used to subscribe to ‘Life’ magazine. The publication used to have some of the World’s best photojournalism as well as articles with a perspective which often differed from the mainstream press – this was especially interesting as this was when the cold war was at its height. I vividly remember an article by a ‘Life’ reporter who had been working in Moscow and who decided to return to the West via the Trans-Siberian express. He made the mistake of getting rid of all his Roubles before boarding the train and then realised he could not use any other currency on the train! There was nowhere en route to change money.

    He need not have worried – Russians passengers fed and ‘watered’ him for the entire journey. ‘Watering’ involved large quantities of vodka. The whole journey turned into an epic party which IIRC lasted for about a week. There was no common language with most of the ‘hosts’ who adopted him but it did not matter a bit.

    I have a Russian friend and can testify to their wonderful warmth and generosity but Russians are by no means an exception. In my experience, most people from most countries are delightfully friendly, helpful and generous. A common language, while useful, is not essential. A simple smile will usually start the ball rolling.

    The visit will be fondly remembered both by Russians and the Sellers family long into the future. What more could anyone want?

  6. I should have added to my comment in your vlog post, that I should tell my son who has the same helmet as you, to watch out for low-hanging branches. . .

  7. Paul,

    Just a few quick comments…
    I like your vlogging efforts. It is another way for us to get to know you and your woodworking lifestyle. I find your words of wisdom relevant and meaningful.
    Thank you for the referral to Mary’s online carving classes. I am very excited to expand my woodworking skills into the area of carving.
    I am looking forward to the drier project. The joinery on the base looks very interesting. The drier reminds me a lot of a blanket rack I have (made by a craftsman from Kentucky here in the states).
    As always, thank you for sharing so much of your knowledge and experiences with everyone!

  8. “It was interesting when someone said, “Get rid of the helmet.” on YT as this story came to mind:”

    Paul DO NOT!!

    It is a fact that as we get older, we are more likely to experience significant brain injury during a ‘bang to the head’
    after a certain age, the brain naturally and slowly begins to (how should i say?)-
    ‘take up less space within the skull’ – the space is taken up by fluid so that when the head is hit, the brain is now able to ‘slosh’ about causing much greater damage (It actually has the consistency of a well set blancmange so you can imagine how delicate it is)

    I wouldn’t ever suggest that you are ‘losing your mind’!! 😉 just the brain’s volume

    Happy cycling, and as we Bikers like to say “Try and keep the rubber side down”

  9. Very enjoyable article; and congrats on the forthcoming addition to the family.

    A cot project would be really nice to see, and the time constraints remind me of a quote by the late great Sam Maloof (noted for having quite long lead times with his chairs) – when asked to make a cot/crib it would always take priority because “babies don’t wait!”

  10. Rodrigo Fuenzalida

    Good to see i’ts been a good week already. Looking forward to see it in the vlog.

    It’s really good to know you’re building a crib, because I’m having my third child on February so I might be in time for the third crib. It’s exciting because my journey into woodworking started when I made my first child’s crib, which was a single bed with a big blanket chest/ dresser/diaper station at the feet of the bed with the slats between that and the head board. I made it so that the height of the cradle matress was the same as our bed’s, so we put them next to each other and my wife could breastfeed her during the night without having her to stand up and lift her from the cradle. It was “jointed” only with screws and dowels and is now really below my current standards, but it was made with love and it’s my daughter’s actual bed since I removed the dresser and left it as a single bed.

    Now I’m just crossing my fingers hoping you build a cosleeping cradle or at least a side cradle so I can borrow the design…


    Rodrigo F

  11. Ok, I think we all want to know more about the Samovar there. Great post, I look forward to your posts all the time.

  12. I cannot imagine the sheer number of comments, good and bad – that have to be sifted through every time you or one of the crew post something online?!? It reminds me of an old saying, “Opinions are like armpits – everybody has at the least two and everybody always thinks the other persons stink!” One of THE wisest things I have ever heard from you was this – “Its not what we make ….. but how we make it.” Great advice and certainly it applies to your new vlogging venture. As for your bike helmet, being an older motorcycle rider I remember a time before helmet laws and I always hated wearing a helmet anyway. Head injuries from something as seemingly small as your accident the other day can indeed be a problem. I say wear your helmet and be on the look out for “Murphy’s Law” at every turn – if something can go wrong … it usually will. Keep up the good work and continue to Be Safe!

  13. Martin 'Ginge' Taylor

    During your working life did you ever find yourself working for a company that made the several items repetitively? Did you ever get bored with the process? If you did, did you move onto another employer?

  14. Hi Paul,

    I love these little insights into the quintessential Paul. Your comment about the RA orbital was insightful.

    After following you via your books, youtube, and WW Master Classes I find myself turning to hand tools more and more often. Sometimes the machines are just more efficient but I find at every turn I ask myself if I could achieve the next step without a machine just as, or more easily.

    Using hand tools or sanding by hand is soooo much more pleasant but sometimes for repeats or little production runs it just has to be. I don’t have to like it though. Whenever I’m not in some rush I turn to the chisel and the plane.

    The good news is that often hand techniques as you teach are amazingly fast and we can dispense with the hazmat suits while using them.

Comments are closed.

Privacy Notice

You must enter certain information to submit the form on this page. We take the handling of personal information seriously and appreciate your trust in us. Our Privacy Policy sets out important information about us and how we use and protect your personal data and it also explains your legal rights in respect of it. Please click here to read it before you provide any information on this form.