Grass Needs Mowing

It’s a long and narrow garden. Straight lines, squared off. No imagination, easy maintenance. I really like gardens with secret corners and surprises to draw your interest. It was a quick and simple thing to mow the grass.

Coming out of retirement

The new house presents additional work but it’s a mix of work I have always enjoyed. But then I enjoy all work. I ripped out some plywood shelving from one part and was thinking, well, it’s a low grade shuttering plywood, looks 25 years old, I should just get rid of it.

Dismantling each part, I found great difficulty parting off the parts because the plies were holding so well. This shelving stood seven feet high and seven wide, had a zillion screws holding it together with those ugly angle brackets and was anchored to the wall with a zillion more 2″ 10’s screws into plastic rawlplugs. But the important thing was that the plywood plies were still in full adhesion with no bubbling and no apparent degrade.

I took out the belt sander, ideal for scrubbing off rough surfaces, and belt sanded through the 25 years of crud, grime and black dust and cobwebs down to clear wood. Now I have ten perfectly good pieces for shelving the storage shed I have yet to build when I get to it.

More gardening

Gardening begins. I like growing vegetables and having chickens. I also like a burn barrel, a compost pile and a garden bench which I now have.

Double digging my first of four veg beds in my new garden turned out better than I could have hoped for. It was clear virgin soil with none of the usual bricks and half bricks, concrete and mortar so typical from builders who always bury over their discarded rubble at the end of the the original build of the house. Monday I bought my onion sets and seed potatoes to get them in first. Weather permitting I will get them in this week. I also mowed the grass at the weekend, but knowing this part of the UK it will need doing again in a week or so.

The house needs work too

Now, what you really want to know! There is a lot to do to the house but remedial work on the building proper is not really part of my remit. Structural building work, building improvements, rewires, replumbs and structural maintenance and such, even decorating will be contracted out, mostly. My work is really the furniture and different areas of woodworking; items most people would not leave behind if they moved house. I think over half of our followers live in rented accommodation, so it’s important that what we build will be removable so that they can take it with them. That said, I have a couple of tricks up my sleeve to impress you (I hope).

Questions for you

From here on my blog and vlog will include the new opening developments as I design and make the first pieces of furniture. To that end we are putting together questions we feel need answers to from different woodworkers in different parts of the world. Compiling these will help us in the campaign for real woodworking.

I’m currently working on a simple yet sturdy moveable support table. I have used two of them for about 8 years now and see no need to change anything. It’s a great Woodworking Masterclasses project and some might prefer it to the workbench build because of its simplicity as it would make a good bench too. I use mine in two ways. One I use it to extend the narrow bench to a wide one and then as a support for my material and tools should I need extra or want to clear my workbench to use the whole top for supporting a larger piece I’m working on. I can also use it as an out-feed for my bandsaw as my bandsaw table, workbench and moving support table are all at 38″. My two current models are set up differently but a combination of functional options can be incorporated into one support table. The combination comprises, drill-driver holders, clamp racks, socket outlet and cable. The lower shelf will hold a wood lathe, tools and equipment.

45 thoughts on “Grass Needs Mowing”

  1. Wow ….stop me!!! So many areas of interest to me…….the rear elevation shows a conservatory and single pitch tiled roof to its side…….I’m sure yours is a upvc facia and soffit……I’ve had jobs where facia is 6″X 1″ softwood needing painting, I would put my ladder at a really low angle with a 3×2 whacked into the ground or my mate footing bottom. He was left handed so would reach out over window I did right side.
    How will you get to clean out gutter Paul??
    Picture shows right hand down pipe to garage stopping short by18″ with a shoe discharging to ground……I thought ” not good”. Then you show inside of same wall by ply shelves ….what do I see? White mould caused by damp……you need to sort out soak always
    That’s a very tall slender chimney stack……A really nice house, has lots of scope….luck you
    Such a totally superb idea Paul. Thank you John

    1. For some it’s a glass half empty, for others a glass half full. Some people see beautiful ships, others only hardships. Its shameful the amount of plastic cladding homes and then too plastic conservatories. The makers promise a “lifetime guarantee” but never state what length of lifetime a lifetime is.

      1. True Paul but it can be said it’s how one looks at life.
        I was self employed for 30-40 years carrying out all types of work on places such as the one you have bought.
        If I were asked to paint facia and soffit, decorate all or part of inside, fit a new bathroom or kitchen including plumbing and tiling….and I would say my colleague and I would set ourselves a good standard.
        If I saw a damp patch, as in your garage, I would look for cause of. Then to further my income and help customer I would point out incorrect down pipe……in a polite way.
        You might say that is a “half full/ half empty ship”
        I would rather it be seen as a constructive observation and we all move forward.
        Having said the above I would not be anywhere near your standard of stand alone units but have made many built in units …..after giving constructive advice, if needed, to customer.
        Thank you Paul for all you have taught me….best John

    2. Paul, I enjoyed your entry, welcome to the new place.
      In the garden, I hope your using a self propelled push mower.

    3. Thank you, Paul. Your bench has given me ideas! I’ll have to post a finished bench.

  2. Hi Paul, take a look at Charles Dowding on YouTube. He is a proponent of the ‘no dig’ method of vegetable beds. I have three 5 x 1 metre beds using his system and they are great. No digging at all and just made with layers of organic matter. The point of not disturbing the soil helps maintain the fungi structures in the soil. Plants seem to do better using this method. Charles compares the traditional method with the no dig and he gets higher yields with the no dig. It will give you more time in the workshop!

    1. I was going to post exactly the same advice! Charles is the Paul Sellers of vegetable growing; simple, calm, no-nonsense knowledge.

      1. I was, too. Since switching to market garden/Coleman style (which isn’t exactly the same as Mr Dowding’s style, but they’re similar) my production has precipitously increased while at the same time the amount of time I spend on the garden has greatly decreased. But to each his own; I’m sure Mr Sellers’ veggies are just as nutritious and delicious.

      1. You’ve obviously never lived in Northern Virginia where three to four inches below the surface is the high carbon steel clay layer. But I understand what you mean, I love chopping firewood–it’s like meditation.

        1. We have very heavy clay and huge chunks of chalk and flint here. Bent many a prong on them, which is why I prefer the no dig. My father however is a firm proponent of double digging, though he was a gas mains layer in the 1970’s so is rather handy with a spade. He probably has a many variants of spades and shovels as there are variations of Stanley planes!
          There are many ways to make the world work, and to each his own.

      2. David Dunnison

        Raised beds!

        Intersection of woodworking with gardening and you can still dig all you want. 😉

        Switching topics: a belt sander? And here I just gave my last one away.

        1. YES, wholeheartedly YES! I’d love to see some WWMC garden projects, including perhaps: a cart to move around seedings and such; a standing garden box planter, about waist height or so.

  3. collin Gallagher

    When you say support table, are you referring to the Assembly Table in master classes?
    I used your assembly table design to create a bed frame for my children.

    Submitted a picture for the gallery but never heard back.

    1. No, it’s the one I have on wheels behind me and at the end of my shop there’s another.

      1. would love to see that build! the whole project is exciting, Paul. Thank you so much for the sharing.

  4. The remark about the steel angle brackets… you’ve said exactly what I’ve always thought about them. When my father built stuff he used proper joinery. When I saw other people use those steel brackets it always screamed incompetence/lack of making an effort to me, even as a child. Funny thing is that even without joinery there’s no need for the brackets in that wall-mounted rack if you simply stagger the vertical sections of plywood (like brickwork), so they can be screwed from the top and bottom through the horizontal planks. Stronger and cheaper, and more rigid too if you throw a bit of glue in there as well before screwing. More visually pleasing too than those uniform pigeon holes. And no rusting metal. On the other hand, the previous owner could’ve also installed a pre-fab IKEA rack…. so compliments for at least building it himself, even though it may not be up to my personal standard.

    As for removing the zillion screws… I’d have whipped out the Stanley Yankee. Happy happy joy joy!

    I bet you saved the screws as well (at least, I would). My parents, though baby-boomers, were always careful to not waste things – whether it was food, toys, tools, sticky-tape or whatever. Funny story: a few years ago I was helping a machinist friend unpacking a parcel and cutting tie-wraps. I told him he was cutting them the wrong way. He looked up at me as if I was from another planet… “the *wrong* way?!”, he asked in disbelief. I replied that if he cut them the other way he could re-use them (even though they were a bit shorter now). He remarked how a pack of tie-wraps were so cheap. Ah well. So yes, I have a jar with pre-used tie-wraps. And am not ashamed to admit it. And a fair bit of used screws. I’ve also saved more than a few pair of expensive but damaged quality brand pliers from his waste-bin to repair (re-grind) over the years. They still serve me well. I guess it’s a habit that has formed over time – just like my grandmother and mother used to remove the buttons and zippers for re-use from old clothes before they were torn to be used as rags. Not a lot got thrown away in our house….

    1. If I’m careful I can often lift the tab on zip ties with the point of a knife and then save the entire length. It is a bit tricky though.

      1. To easily release the ratchet on the tie-wrap/cable tie.
        First apply a bit of tension to tighten. This lifts the tab, so is easier to catch with a knife point, the release.
        Keep pushing the knife under the table and withdraw the ratcheted strap.

        1. Reassuring to see I’m not the only cheapskate…. There’s a reason the Dutch have a similar reputations to the Scots….

          Yes, I used to do that too when possible, but nowadays I simply clip them. When I did what you described, I used a very pointy X-acto knife to lift the tab. A bit fiddly work, with the knife wanting to slip out and often still resulting in damage to the tab so it doesn’t tighten properly anymore. And it only works if the tie-wrap isn’t installed in an awkward space or direction and hasn’t been tightened too much. Don’t ask how I know all this.

          Irony is that I hardly use tie-wraps anymore: in electronics I prefer to use proper cable-lacing techniques, using waxed lacing tape. Takes much more time and effort but is better and looks much nicer. Still doesn’t mean I don’t save every tie-wrap I come across though….

  5. This is truly an exciting project Paul, thanks for pursuing it. I’ll happily follow along

  6. The late, great Geoff Hamilton wrote a book called ‘Old Garden, New Gardener’ ( it was also a TV series). Addresses changes in perspective to create features and interest. Wonderful read like everything he did.

  7. A ceramic tile under each bench foot might delay rot.
    I have done this for my latest picnic bench and it seems to work.

    1. Agreed …said that earlier, I have mine on a paving slab with a couple of galvanised screws ..No 12 to each foot
      Keeps bottom dry ….ish

    1. Plywood for the haters would be probably be alright if hand cut veneers were glued with hide glue.

  8. Robert W Mielke

    As I read your posting today the rain is coming down in a torent. Spring rains can be so blissful, bringing an urge to roll over in bed and get an extra bit of sleep.

    Last night was the very first time this year that I slept with the windows cracked open an inch or two. The resulting breeze cleared out my tiny apartment and made for a delightful sleep.

    Today is Patriots Day here near Boston, MA when the running of the Boston Marathon is supposed to be run. Lots of luck with that in this downpour. All these happenings tell me Spring is indeed here with Summer just a month or so away. It’s also a sign that it’s project time. Good luck your list!

  9. I love your garden bench Paul. Anyway of you doing a video on that build….love your work, you’re an inspiration…thanks Danny//

    1. It’s all filmed, edited and into a series that’s out on

  10. Jerry A. Olson

    I always like to save items like screws and wood in case they can be used in some creation later. Sometimes these items get re-sorted time and again. I always chuckle about my friends experience when cleaning out his dad’s garage. He came across a box labeled “String too short to use.”

  11. Paul, “I Write, Therefore I Am…” Yes someone’s not else’s quote that I have made into my own meme. I read all of your posts and sometimes I write. Most of the time I cut my comments and post them in my notes for my self motivational notes. Thank you for that. Gardening, I’m hoping to take down my garden planters that are taking up space, reusing items, my spare 4”X4” blocks have been requested from my Stores personnel to retrofit as push blocks for their forklift. And contracting out my automotive repairs. My wife knows better than I that “I cannot do it all…” so I have paid for repairs that’ll take me more than two days where the technicians can do in. Three hours. Thank you Paul, Liz and everyone else on your team because I could only imagine how busy Paul would be if he was doing this himself. Also yes exercise has been helpful since I’ve picked up Woodworking.

    1. I forgot to say that in taking down my planters I will be planting directly in the soil.

  12. ” I really like gardens with secret corners and surprises to draw your interest.”

    The rectangularity of your yard seems to call for the ‘formal English garden’, such as a hedge maze. But that will take a while to grow and not soon offer much in the way of secret places. Trellises with fast growing climbers (clementine?), and some ivy to catch up, perhaps. Live willow fences may also be an option.

      1. Susan Johnson

        How about a couple of ducks? They would never leave your side as long as you are double digging your veggie beds. My ducks keep my yard and garden beds slug free.
        And since many others are suggesting different projects, I would love to see what kind of a chicken coop you will build. You will be building one right?

  13. This house looks like ours when we bought it 19 years ago – it had been lived in but was never actually a “home” to the revolving door of people through its doors over the years?! What a difference a bit of time and tender love and care could make. The nice straight lawn looks nice to a yank who thinks the entite goal is a golf course type lawn, but the garden next door looks more like what I think of when I see this now and it seems like that is what could be nice. Keep up your good work, it will all fall in to place with a bit of the Paul Sellers touch I do believe, and a garden plot seems to be a good start anyhow!

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