Recovery I

Before we move into this, my heartfelt thanks go to the most wonderful woodworking you’s out there who were able to send in every video and comment surrounding my birthday.. It was truly gratifying and very humbling; I felt so encouraged by all that was done and said. Thank you

c. 1300, “to regain consciousness,” from Anglo-French rekeverer (13c.), Old French recovrer “come back, return; regain health; procure, get again” (11c.), from Medieval Latin recuperare “to recover” (source of Spanish recobrar, Italian ricoverare; see recuperation). Meaning “to regain health or strength” is from early 14c.; sense of “to get (anything) back” is first attested mid-14c. Related: Recovered; recovering.

I snatched the above paragraph to help everyone understand what the actual root of the word recovery really is. In my world of words and woods I already knew that the two words could readily unite inextricably by a natural association and that that’s because my whole world has been that association throughout my life.

In my world, whether I am in the city or the countryside, Europe, Asia or anywhere on the American continent, I see nature and woodworking, people of any and all backgrounds, interrelating seamlessly for the benefit of good. We are all recovering from something and how much quicker the RECOVERY when we are making. In my world the ax and a handsaw, a drawknife, spokeshave, plane and the world of trees and wood draw each entity into the creative union of making. A tree dropped 300 years past yields reclaimed wood for me to make from. First it lived its life in the forest, providing clean air for life’s breath and hosting endless life and even greater growth by other creatures ranging from complex fungi to flying squirrels, apes and snakes. The converted tree provided wood for a hundred pieces of extremely diverse work and then beyond in byproducts. Secretaires, dining chairs, coffee tables and baby cots. millions upon millions of pieces that stood serving people everywhere for a hundred and two hundred years and more. Imagine pick ax handles and ladders, farm wagons, coaches, car chassis and bodies and then too planes, gliders, windmills and so much more. Then from damaged pieces came the era of restoration with recreation — RECOVERY if you will –wherein lies the true beauty of our choice word, RECOVERY. Here a rite of passage continues that speaks of rejuvenation, recreation, revitalisation, recuperation.

Now then, let’s look briefly into the the thread I saw woven throughout my YouTube comments on my birthday Saturday when so many so beautifully used words as follows:

I got into woodworking whilst I was suffering a serious illness. I found your You Tube channel and haven’t looked back. Many thanks for bringing the joy of woodwork into my life”

And: “Paul did the same for me. Good to know that he’s reaching so many people all over the world. Hope you’re recovering now.”

Pick out words like, “suffering” and “serious illness“, “Hope” or “recovering“.

Here’s another: “Paul, and thanks for the huge inspiration you’ve given me since I took up woodwork. I’ve been off work sick for the last five months, so you’re videos have been a massive help in keeping my mind and body active while I recuperate. Cheers..

30 thoughts on “Recovery I”

  1. Happy Birthday Paul. I just had mine on 21 Dec and turned 69.
    Don’t you wish you were that age again.
    All the best mate from Aus

  2. Hi Paul……I’m pleased you like your pen and thank you for your card.
    The making took a while to perfect, learning to turn to exactly same diameter as each end and centre, believe it or not they are gold plated
    ( so I read??)
    I made four for the grandchildren….using dear departed aunts draw front
    1 each for daughter and husband…….using broken oak toilet seat!!
    1 each for son and wife using their wood from ……dismantled settee!!
    1 for 85yr widow using her husbands ex furniture repairer wood
    2 for friends 1 for my mate Tom (oak from skip)
    I asked Izzy not to tell you where your wood came from.

    Happy new year to you and yours Paul…..can I join all others and thank you for all you have taught me……John

  3. I just had my birthday 11 December I was 73 and still looking ahead for many more Woodworking projects to come.
    Thank you Paul and Team

  4. Recovery. Paul’s wisdom again. My precious moments in my little shop are indeed when I “recover” from all things difficult. I am currently working on Paul’s bread stow and loving every minute.

  5. Stephen Harris

    Hi Paul,

    I have only just discovered your YouTube channel and would like to thank you for all the lessons and demonstrations that you have put up there. It is of immense relief to be able to watch a video by someone who is obviously very skilled and passionate and who doesn’t feel the need to shout at the camera at every opportunity. To this end I have already spent several pleasurable procrastinating hours watching your video’s over the last week or so.

    I also like the fact that your videos feature basic tools which we can all afford and I am looking forward to actually getting round to building my first wood working bench in my home workshop (garage).

    You can also add me to the recovery list, I suffer from Bi-Poloar depression and going into the garage to potter and create, learn is what keeps me together.

    Many thanks

  6. Peter de Lacey

    Happy birthday, Paul, and welcome to the ’70s club’.
    You helped me to recover from the blow of being made redundant; you inspired me to recover my few 50-year-old hand tools from their retirement and taught me how to make beautiful things with them. I would like to thank you – and so would my wife.
    Best wishes from Perth Western Australia.

  7. Thanks Paul. I was recovering financially when I met you. I had spent money on remodeling the garage so I could do woodworking. It would have been all machine tools but I needed to recover financially from the remodel so I could afford these expensive machines. As such, I started to research on which ones to purchase. I saw one of your YouTube videos within a week of my research and the hand tools completely made sense. In an instant (literally) I went from a machine tools only to hand tools only. Thank you.

    1. PS Had I found you sooner, I could have saved literally thousands. Two big expenses I did but don’t need involved significant electrical upgrades for the machine tools and cabinets to hold all of the machine tool jigs. At least I found you before I bought the machine tools themselves.

  8. Happy Birthday Paul. I thoroughly enjoy all your videos and blogs. I read every blog and comment. While I am primarily a wood machinist I definitely see the value of hand tools to get the precision for accurate joinery. Thank you Paul for all you share and do.

  9. Happy Birthday Paul and thanks for showing me that while in Recovery, yes another person helped by woodworking, your calm and settling voice has helped me realize there are many things I can still do.

  10. Jeannie Grassi

    Happy Birthday, Paul. You continue to be an inspiration to me. When I was a young girl I was neither encouraged nor allowed to try my hand at woodworking and yet something pushed me to do it anyway. I stumbled my way through until I have reached a point in my life where it is truly my passion and my solace. I always appreciate what you have to offer and only wish I had been able to grow up learning from you. Thank you.

    1. I’m glad you did press through Jeannie. I never understood the specificity of male and female roles altogether. My craft is made more beautiful by breaking down archaic social barriers. If we can keep encouraging one another towards inclusivity we will discover new lifestyles and designs we never thought possible.

  11. Happy Birthday Paul, many happy returns ????, it’s my 60th this April. Thank you for all the information and videos you share with us. Woodwork was my favourite subject at school, my work of art was a refectory style oak coffee table made at the age of 14, all using hand tools. I gave it to my Nanna, Mum & Dad got it when she passed away, now they’re gone, it’s back with me. I hope that when me & my wife are no longer here, one of my kids will take it. As it turned out, I got an apprenticeship with the gas board and became a pipe strangler (amongst other things), I still love my woodwork though. All the best Paul.

  12. Aloha Paul,
    Though we have a world between us, our working wood aids us both with ‘recovery!
    With each curl of wood planed away from a piece of wood. we make adjustments in our life to what ills we face.

  13. Paul,
    Happy Birthday to you and I’ll also celebrate the birthdays of the people on your team. Not to take your day away from you but to thank your family for giving me the opportunity to let others at work and home use my workbenches, shelves and other items. My day shift coworkers tell me that aircraft cleaners eat their lunch during the day others sit and take their breaks and I continually improve and practice when I have a chance during the night shift and in my garage I have a place to sit, relax and draw up sketches of my future projects. Happy Birthday Paul.

  14. Hey Paul,

    We here in Tennessee hope you had a great birthday and many more. One guy sent a video saying that he felt like you are a friend and that is how I feel. I wanted to say so much more and I wanted to show a picture of my work bench but honestly it is so unorganized and I was embarrassed. I get a little overwhelmed by it. I guess I don’t know how to fix it quickly but I know I eventually will and these frustrations are so very small compared to the joy each of your videos bring and thoughts of designing and working on projects. By the time I get home from work it is too dark to work but that doesn’t always stop me. Often times after a hard day at work I will watch the Paul Sellers videos. It relaxes me. One of my favorite videos is how to restore a bench plane and of course all of them are so valuable for learning. I like the blog videos too. I am building a table for a lady I work with. She is a good person who is recovering from her mom’s passing and she is having me make her a round coffee table for her daughter who wanted to base this on a table she found on Pinterest. I am using many of the processes I have seen in your videos and some ideas are mine and i am not sure it will work but I can always try again. More and more I am using hand tools and less power tools. You are my wood working teacher and I want to join the master classes. Your wood working is the cure to every day boredom. That is my recovery. And the need to make people happy with the work of my hands. When my friend begins to heal and enjoy her life again, maybe she will appreciate giving this table to her daughter. Paul, I hope you are feeling joy from the impact you have on the world and on me a friend.

    With Love;


    1. Vidar Fagerjord Harboe

      Robert / Bob, I read your comment and it struck a note with me. NEVER be embarrassed by an unorganized workbench! The best advice I can give you – and everybody else for that matter – is this:
      The workbench often is a physical representation of the worker’s mind. Do you want your mind to be cluttered or empty? 😀
      Do not look at it as an embarassment, but focus on the opportunity for improvement. A good practice I’ve found is this: remove EVERYTHING. Then grab one piece at a time, and before you put it somewhere ask this question: Do I really NEED this? Does it NEED to be there? Could I put it in a better spot?
      Keep the essentials only, the rest goes to a better spot for it.
      Some of it may be put in a box with today’s date on it. If you haven’t used the thing for a year or two, you sell, give away or dispose of that item.
      Be very strict and hard on this subject. It is like cooking: you can easily add, but it is next to impossible to take away…

      Good luck, my friend! And show that WORKspace of yours proudly!

    2. I think it best to see woodworking at the bench as working in swathes. Every project has natural break points, mortising, tenoning, fitting tenons and so on. These natural breaking points are the ideal to take charge of things. This is simply a question of personal self discipline. After a while you will see clean up and tidying as a therapeutic brake but equal in importance to the making in that it connects the phases. The two realms then work symbiotically to a positive end. Remember that becoming a craftsman or woman is not about self condemnation but always about creating order. When to sharpen, when to sweep, how much pressure you apply, angles of presentation and so much more. Becoming takes time as does the self discipline I speak of. My bench is often over full but not for long. It works.

  15. Paul, I have just subscribed after watching you with great interest on youtube. I found the word recovery to be of great interest since I just finished recovering about 200 bd’ of lumber that was given to me about twenty five years ago. The lumber came from a chicken coop and it was all the boards used to side the coop and was painted on one side with red paint. The boards were all half lapped and only had nail holes in the half lap areas. I must admit that I used a table saw to rip all the half laps off and then proceeded to use my planer to take the paint off. The boards started off to be 3/4″ and they ended up being 1/2″ in random widths. The biggest reason I took the time was because the lumber was all chestnut. It came out beautiful and the majority was clear. I now plan on making boxes out of the chestnut for all my family members and inscribing on the bottom the history of the wood. Hopefully they will be able to appreciate how beautiful the chestnut lumber is and what a lose it is to the woodworkers of the world. There are many people working on restoring this once great tree so that we can once again enjoy the pleasure of not only viewing, but harvesting it for food and lumber. Happy belated Birthday and many more. Oke Meyer

  16. I don`t remember seeing a Rotary Tool Rack in your excellent videos. This was a home made design that kept everything tidy while I was working. Chisels just get put back in the same place. There are open
    flat spaces for smaller items but that is very shallow and will not bury anything. There is room for a few small drawers to use the “inner circle “. All the chisels are on the outer edges . Sharp edges are covered
    . The rotation is from a wheel bearing and a simple fixture at the top to keep it from tilting . A felt “brake” lets it stop when I take my hand away .It never freewheels . So that is within arms reach for anything chisel sized or smaller . The large drawers in the photo above containing chisels would become a problem very quickly . You won`t be offended by some slight deviations from your system I hope .

  17. Jacquelyn Griffin

    Mr. Sellers, I add my birthday greetings somewhat late, but no less sincerely for it. I have been recovering my wits with your help, so it is you who is doing the gift-giving!

  18. It was an illness for me that drew me to woodworking as well. I have to stop consuming food at 6:30 at night but have limited stomach capacity. Working on your plans is the best way I’ve found to forget about my hunger, and to then lapse with weary arms and shoulders into the sleep of the righteous. I’m still clumsy but dogged. Bless you!

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