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Yesterday

I had to stop working on my project after my prototype was completed and half way through the real one because we had work being done on the building and the noise levels would have sounded like a violent horror movie. It’s funny that I enjoyed making both, even though there is no difference between the two at all; both are made of oak, same identical joinery and component parts, but the break was welcome because I could catch up on some of my other non-filming things.

The new design gave me great satisfaction even though when I design a piece I design the whole in my head before any pencil touches paper or a plane to the wood and I feel then that I have already made it. I think perhaps it was because it was more out of keeping for me. I think too there are elements of it that are transferable and I have never seen anyone do what I did by hand using only hand tools only. On both of the two projects it all worked so perfectly. I am sure you will like what you get and no, sorry, there’s no birch plywood this time.

At the conclusion of filming comes a period of thought. This thoughtfulness is intrinsic to all that I do including writing blog posts, and working out the video production, teaching and training. Knowing I am about to enter into a new project, I strive to make it educational and interesting. There is overspill too. My apprentices get to see the work ahead of time. Currently I have three people in training one on one and that’s especially important to me as well as to them. Many of the things I teach came from striving to find answers for my students in the classes I have taught over the past three decades. Currently I am working in new spheres to develop new curriculum that’s unwritten anywhere. I test things out on myself first. It’s important to know how I feel by any extra sensory way I can. Firstly I feel something is so, so I try it without knowing the reason why I think that. Usually it is right, though I don’t know why. There’s a tightening of the key known senses in the sense of magnification that develops and creates additional information behind or beyond what I see and feel. This somehow confirms my ideas. Confirmation like this is the magical perception I need to take my experience on into the future developments. It’s this that opens the doors to understanding and knowledge.

What excites me at the moment is thinking through current designs and looking to the future with designs for the forthcoming house full of furniture. It’s a blank sheet for me. I have no plans to copy other styles like Shaker or Arts and Crafts, Ball & Claw feet and such. Colonial styles, Regency, Victorian periods belong back there in the pretentions of their eras but the methods are still pertinent for us today. The styles I might leave out but the adoption of principles and methods should never be discarded. My view is that they were created for that margin of society bound up in socio economic advantage. I like working furniture, nicely made for working people. Imagining Adam and Hepplewhite styles? Nope! We’re not copying others, though I have no doubt influences will influence.

24 Comments

  1. Mr Chris on 8 June 2019 at 1:51 pm

    Hello Paul
    Why did you put wood inside your clamp rails?

    • Mike O'Connor on 8 June 2019 at 2:17 pm

      Mr Chris… see his Youtube video “Clamp Retrofit | Paul Sellers”. Partly it’s to stiffen the clamp which is otherwise a bit too flexible. But also he sometimes puts the clamp in the side vise, which would flatten the aluminum were there no wood filler.

      • Evan on 18 June 2019 at 7:44 pm

        The wood inserts make the cheap aluminum sash clamps work amazingly well. The dont flex as much, and it makes the clamp 8n vise method super solid.

    • Francois Lafaix on 8 June 2019 at 2:21 pm

      The wood in the rail reduces flex considerably in these lightweight clamps… it also makes them more substantial without them being too heavy… It’s a great ‘ugrade’ for very little cost.

      • Sylvain on 8 June 2019 at 2:46 pm

        They also sound nicer when you bang them.

        • Gav on 8 June 2019 at 3:22 pm

          Agreed, the sound of aluminium striking anything hard is awful to the ears.

    • Richg on 8 June 2019 at 3:49 pm

      Thanks for asking this question as I was going to ask as well. Thank you to all who took the time to provide and answer. It makes sense..
      Richg

      • Paul Sellers on 8 June 2019 at 5:07 pm

        Yes, what an amazing crowd of friends.

        • Tracy Sanders on 10 June 2019 at 11:18 pm

          How tight for the wood inside? Just enough to touch the edges but slide through easily? Thanks.

    • Kent HANSEN on 9 June 2019 at 3:02 am

      I have done the same…when tightly fit, it increases the rigidity by a bit and, more importantly for me, makes them sound so much better.

    • Peter Akhurst on 10 June 2019 at 7:31 am

      Hi Chris,
      I think this may explain what, why and how Paul does this. I believe there may also be a video or two as well.
      Enjoy
      https://paulsellers.com/2017/01/screwfix-sash-clamps/

  2. jay gill on 8 June 2019 at 2:05 pm

    Zen and the art of woodworking! Thanks as always for reminding me of where my priorities should be.

    Here are some design thoughts you have inspired-
    – Projects that are eco friendly – use material that is easy and eco friendly to supply
    – Project that can scale with user skill – By this I mean projects that can be made by beginners but can also be enhanced by an expert. For example A joint could be a simple housing dada for me, and a sliding dovetail for someone else.
    -Projects that spur the imagination- ones that inspire us to modify them to become purpose fit

  3. David Watson on 8 June 2019 at 6:56 pm

    Yes and by doing so you have a cramp that’s as good as one several pounds dearer,and if you are like me-“you can never have enough cramps”- that can be quite a saving.

  4. David Pawson on 9 June 2019 at 8:57 am

    Ergonomics Paul?
    Try putting your cup of tea down on that edge? Oops.
    I wonder why we never see tables with such edges

    • Paul Sellers on 9 June 2019 at 9:08 am

      I don’t like tea and I don’t drink it. And I have 20″ by 36″ open top dead flat to place my water so at my age I can work that out.

    • Nick Mikash on 10 June 2019 at 3:33 pm

      It’s never a good idea to put your cup of tea (or water) too close to the edge of the table anyway.

  5. Danny Roberts on 9 June 2019 at 10:42 am

    I have to say that I saw the same thing as David Pawson:

    Your table is beautiful, Paul – the grain of the wood ‘sings’.

    You may be much more observant of every move you make than I am of mine, but:- 1, I’d definitely put something on that edge at some time – then over it goes, and 2, those corners are beautifully made, but could be painfully sharp – I’d eventually get bruised at thigh level.

    This does not detract from my great admiration of your teaching and making.

    Danny (Sheffield, UK)

    • Paul Sellers on 9 June 2019 at 11:07 am

      Thanks for the input but sorry, guys, it’s a hallway table so not likely with cups and glasses on. This is something that gets too silly. Even a desk would be no problem! Who is it as an adult that leaves cups of hot tea so close to the edge of any table type? Surely we can get beyond this type of ergonomic consideration. “those corners are beautifully made, but could be painfully sharp – I’d eventually get bruised at thigh level.” Surely you can work this out for your body in your home on your piece of furniture??? I take criticism just fine as long as it is justified, but you getting “bruised at a thigh level.” I am sorry but this is a bit silly. Surely not? How many times before you learn. I have walked around the two tables I have just made and am unused to in my currently cramped workspace for a month now and not come close to damaging myself with ‘bruising at thigh level’. Experience tells me that when we exaggerate risk possibilities by phrases like this the criticism is indeed invalidated. I think we should be real here. The design stays as is. It’s perfectly safe. It’s nice!

      • Trinity Too on 10 June 2019 at 2:58 pm

        The cup and glasses thing is something I thought of too, when first looking at this table, which I thought was a dining table. On reflection I thought how much more comfortable this easing of the edge would be for elbows. In Canada the restaurant trend seems to be to have tables too high for chair height and one feels like a begging dog when eating. So I notice any attempt to make dining better. (Of course my mother would be horrified if she saw my elbows on a table – sorry, Mum!) Since the bevel has such a noticeable effect, unlike a gentle sloping, I’m sure people would notice and not put breakables on the edge.

  6. Steven Newman/Bandit571 on 9 June 2019 at 5:07 pm

    Have used that beveled edge on tables, before. Mainly because a top would look too thick and “clunky”….so, I beveled the underside to where a 1-1/4″ thick top LOOKS like just 3/4” thick from the edge view. Shakers also used this, to “lighten” the piece.

    • Paul Sellers on 9 June 2019 at 6:14 pm

      I think it really predates anything the Shakers did in that ‘thinning’ this way goes way back. Thinning the top with a top bevel in no way would cause any more injury than just thinning the under edge, which has been done for centuries to lighten appearance without compromising strength.

  7. Jason Martin on 11 June 2019 at 5:31 pm

    It looks great, Paul. I’m excited for the video series!

  8. Lyle Hough on 14 June 2019 at 3:41 am

    I can understand the point about sharp edges – it does not seem so long ago when my children were small, full of energy, and always bumping into things. I can also understand the point about adults being responsible for not walking into tables. It is a beautiful table.

    Many thanks for what you are trying to do for young people.

  9. Martyn on 15 June 2019 at 6:52 pm

    Hi Paul
    Do you ever use a circumstance plan?
    Only ever seen one once when I was an apprentice at Leeds collage of building in the 70s
    PS
    I served my time as a joiner but came out of the building trade (my heart wasn’t in it . Ended up taking another apprenticeship in print)
    But I’m sure if I would have had you as a tutor things might have been different

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