My woodworking has always been at the forefront of all that I do. Waking in these present days makes me realise how much things have changed in the last few weeks and even days. Riding my bike (in self-isolation) and seeing the world so differently than even two days back made me realise that we should try to pull together all the more, serve the vulnerable and do what up until now we may well have neglected in our relating to one another. Today is the UK’s day of Mother’s day when most children will want to keep their mother’s safe by not seeing them and spending that lovely day of thanks for mums with them.

There is such kindliness surrounding where I live. People delivering food and cleaning goods to the elderly and vulnerable. Health care in Britain has radically shifted and I have always been amazed and appreciative of what is a remarkable achievement in health care provision on a national level. Our NHS (National Health Service) began in 1948, so it has now given us over 70 years of constant service. Where would we be without it?

With a few rebel or stubborn pockets here and there, most of us are keeping safe social distances from one another. Doing things differently is part of our ability to adapt to change and this change will have long-term consequences with many things remaining even for years. Currently, we’re accepting the responsibility we have to volunteer into our individual self-isolation, caring to reach out for and to others and supporting our health care army who are also volunteering themselves into caring for those who have contracted the coronavirus whilst still taking care of those already in need of care. Rather than relying on more draconian measures, my hope is that volunteering will continue on both a national and international scale. I would hate to think that harsher measures would be necessary to steady control because we are unwilling to do what we can from voluntary effort.

Over the past few months, we here in Britain at least have faced many changes, some natural, some self-imposed and some we have had little or no control over. We have had many months with some of the most severe flooding and rainfall ever in our history, we’ve had the General Elections, and then, of course, our separation from mainland Europe with Brexit. Any one of these is more than anyone ever envisaged and comes over and above anything we expected. The important thing now is to stay healthy and that can be hard without work. It’s more important now to eat healthily, exercise through physically working, work where possible from home and then too, love one another.

My mixed workday always involves a higher percentage of physical work because I cycle and don’t drive much, and nor do I sit for longer spells than an occasional hour at a time to write. Today is Sunday and I have had a long cycle ride which I always do first thing, With good long rides on my bike, control of my diet and eating right, I keep better control of my diabetes. I started a little outdoor work in my garden in areas that are as yet new to me. It involved a little outdoor woodworking which never goes amiss. With s sack of growing soil delivered to fill my new raised bed, I am preparing plant dahlias and it will mark the opening period for the coronavirus for us here. The bright flowers of dahlias will brighten our outlook from the living room window. It’s such a bright and sunny day it is hard to believe this hidden enemy is so near, but believe it we must.

Please, my wonderful friends, do your bit and stay well!

23 Comments

  1. Mike Gauthier on 22 March 2020 at 9:46 pm

    Thanks Sir for what you do. Stay safe. : )

  2. Steve P on 23 March 2020 at 5:38 am

    I haven’t seen my mom for a couple weeks, and not sure when I will. In her 80s so I am staying away, i guess I won’t feel safe seeing her until I know i have gotten tested positive for it and overcome it completely. The not knowing is the hard part.

    Did have a nice long hike today out in nature. The 2 rattlesnakes had no idea about social distancing, almost stepped on one, didn’t rattle i at all it was coiled part way in his hole. The other one came out of a boulder a couple feet away. Life goes on in nature…

  3. RODNEY MAGEE on 23 March 2020 at 12:06 pm

    I do what exercise I can, I’m getting ready for a knee replacement and another round of injections in my lower back. I’m getting into the shop almost daily though and it helps and I’m sure that before I go under the knife I’ll get a couple of things done in the garden, needs to be squirrel proofed.
    You be well and stay well also Paul!!! By the way, I exercise to help control diabetes also, our love of wood isn’t the only thing we have in common.

  4. Gav on 23 March 2020 at 12:06 pm

    Some recoil in horror when presented with earthworms. Others see the validation of living soil, which without we are in a deep world of hurt. Here’s to life and everyone being safe and looking out for each other any way we can.

  5. Hasan on 23 March 2020 at 12:54 pm

    We are also working on our garden, preparing the soil and planting new trees and such, it’s giving us hope for the future.
    I’m sure many of us are thinking about you and wishing you well being. Stay safe master Paul.

  6. Anneke Cox on 23 March 2020 at 1:08 pm

    Good to see you’re doing okay. Hope the same for everyone. We’re all looking forward to some sense of normality! So taking things on board. It’s good to see you are continuing to share your woodworking advice and tips. I see from your post that you’re in the garden and so look forward to seeing some projects relating to the garden perhaps.

  7. Steve Harper on 23 March 2020 at 1:11 pm

    Bless you, Paul, for all you do. Helping to lift others spirits during difficult times is noble and wonderful!
    All my best to you, your family and friends.
    Steve

  8. Tom Bittner on 23 March 2020 at 3:10 pm

    Been keeping active myself, walking, cleaning out the gardens and doing some spring cleaning. I’m always amazed at how doing different work uses different muscles and tires you out faster than you would ever think. Physical work has a calming effect and I feel sorry for those who have to access or are not able to get outside to do things.

  9. Gordon Clark on 23 March 2020 at 3:36 pm

    Great post. Stay well too, Paul, family and friends — and the entire Paul Sellers community around the world. While we already knew we were connected through woodworking, the pandemic reinforces our sometime-forgotten shared humanity. Stay safe everyone! Thank goodness most of us are already great at self-isolating in our workshops.

    Gordon Clark
    Vancouver, Canada

  10. Vivian Parker on 23 March 2020 at 3:54 pm

    May you all be well, may you all be free of suffering, may you be strong, may you be healthy, may you be at ease, may you be happy, may you have thriving families and gardens, and peace and harmony in your woodworking.

    I’m learning something new every day, thanks to your great service here, Paul and team. Yesterday I learned how to create a beautiful finish with your shellac method. At last, I have found a traditional way to finish wood that fulfills every requirement that I have for my ideal of what a finish should be. Despite coronavirus, this put a smile on my face that can’t easily be erased! I sawed, carved, spoke-shaved, planed, scraped and sanded a hand mirror out of California manzanita wood I had salvaged. It is surely one of the world’s most beautiful woods and deserving of a naturally beautiful finish. The shellac finish method was perfect in every aspect. Good bye polyurethane! The coronavirus is a reminder, we know not when our demise is coming, and there is no escaping it. So it is good that we busy ourselves creating some beauty to leave behind. Many, many thanks, and good health to all.

  11. Joe on 23 March 2020 at 3:56 pm

    Stay safe!

    In California, we are staying home. I see a lot more folks woodworking. The hardest part is not seeing my 81 year old father. I have for years spend one night a week with his home. We talk on the phone so that helps.

    With my free time on my hands, I went even slower on woodworking. I am making a small box to hold chisels in my mid size tool chest. The wood was dimensioned and squared in every dimension. I just cut a 1/16″ depth rebate in the long pieces to help register the eventual dovetails which I will start this weekend. I have a feeling this will be my best box yet in terms of squareness and dovetails.

    There have been a number of little projects I had put off (have a kit to make a spokeshave, want to add “boots” onto the bench to raise the height, etc) that I will get to soon.

    Also, spending more time with my wife and daughter at home. A lot more reading to my 8 year old. The dog gets to play more fetch, etc.

  12. John P. on 23 March 2020 at 5:54 pm

    Hi Paul,

    Glad you are well. Yes to volunteering, it helps us combat the isolation as well as providing a helping hand to those in need.

    A possible additional benefit to outdoor work is showing those who live around us that not all is bad. That in turn can provide a level of comfortJohn P. and encouragement. If nothing else it lessens my neighbors wondering about my condition.

    Hope you and all here in comments stay well and healthy.

  13. paul oram on 23 March 2020 at 7:10 pm

    Self isolating in my woodworking shed at the end of the garden. Thank heavens (and Paul!) I took up this hobby a couple of years back! It’s keeping me sane.

  14. Jay Gill on 23 March 2020 at 8:45 pm

    Reading the comments and your blog, I’m always awed by the inherent good that’s around us. While I certainly want this to be over, and truly feel for those who are struggling to survive without jobs or worse sick without health care, perhaps we’ll take some lessons away.
    Our “normal” way of life is simply not sustainable. IMO we need to return to a slower pace where quality is rated more important that profits, where there is time to create things (for yourself or your neighbors. You know act like we listen to Paul.

  15. Steve L. on 23 March 2020 at 8:50 pm

    Thanks for the words of encouragement Paul. Wish I could get out to do some yard work, still a little cold for yard work here in my part of the U.S. Thanks for all the videos on YouTube it’s making this social distancing a little better. Hope you and your family stay safe.

  16. Eric SAulay on 23 March 2020 at 9:48 pm

    It’s always so wise the way you say things. I ‘m a teacher in France. Schools are closed, and we are on duty more then ever because we have to tell the kids what to do to answer this or that through the internet. We thought we were talking to the computer generation. It was all wrong. They think they are using a machine, when the machine need them or even use them.
    It’s confusing as hell !
    I selfishly thought I shall at least finish the honing of my gouges. But I couldn’t. And maybe i won’t. Too much to answer to the kids.
    Just like your post upon the the efficiency of power tools. Interntet was meant to be the power tool. Now I know that we are human tools. Depending on nothing but intercourse, talking, speaking, manual practicing and guiding.
    They miss me like lumber 🙂 .
    Thank you for your sharings. I am a true follower and i’m always inspired by your experiences.
    Keep safe.

    Eric

  17. Andrew on 23 March 2020 at 11:48 pm

    Friends, relatives and neighbours are offering to look after us well, by getting us shopping. We’re 70 plus you see, with underlying health problems. We also received a scruffy form through the letter box, offering to provide this kind of service, from strangers. We’d advise anyone receiving unsolicited offers of help to treat them with the greatest caution, because there are always those longing to make unfair profits from the distress of others.

  18. Nath Jones on 24 March 2020 at 12:21 pm

    For now the measures taken by government should work to curb the cases of the C-19.
    I wonder how long for, because eventually we have to start over.
    Stay well fellow woodworkers.

  19. Howard Tuckey on 24 March 2020 at 1:08 pm

    Thank you for the reassurances, Paul. Nearing 79, I’m just getting started in the real woodworking that I’ve never had (made?) time for before. Always had other things to occupy my time.
    Now I’m taking the time to learn, from you, and from guys like Rex Kreuger, that with a bit of guidance I can do this, and you’ve been one of my greatest motivations.
    I appreciate your teaching methods, as they seem to awaken something in me that says, “With a little direction and a lot of practice, I can do that – Rex has a slightly different approach, but between the two of you I’m learning things that I should have been practicing years ago, and, as someone already mentioned, it’s keeping me sane in these strange times.
    Please stay safe and healthy, we old “newbies” need you!

  20. Paul Bouchard on 24 March 2020 at 1:18 pm

    Stay safe and well Paul!

    Just a note that you can maintain social distancing and still visit a blood donation center (in a lot of countries). The need for blood continues through this crisis.

    Paul in Toronto

    • Paul Bouchard on 24 March 2020 at 1:20 pm

      …and by “you” mean “we” – us younger people without health issues.

  21. Erin on 24 March 2020 at 10:03 pm

    Diabetes? The book “How to conquer type 2 diabetes with the Ketogenic diet” available at Amazon is what got me off of 2 shots a day. Please consider for your health.

  22. Franz Zimmermann on 25 March 2020 at 12:29 pm

    Hi Dear Friend Paul. Sorry to hear about your Diabetes. Hope you can live comfortable with your disciplined living style. I am 81 and do so much appreciate your Mastermind to your huge apprentice community. What mimpresses me so much is not only your unbelieveable professional knowledge in woodworking and wonderful teaching ability , but more and more your human wisdom you allways communicate in your lovely wise(not vise) philosophical comments which contribute to make our new hobby a great event everytime. Great thanks to a great Master
    Franz

Leave a Comment





  • Anthont on Edge Sharpening Under £10I found the 240 grit plate I have seemed to wear very quickly. I wonder if that is normal for them to wear for the first few sharpens, unless I’m unlucky?
  • Marty on MisnomersI'll be 61 this month and it astonishes me just how much the world of work has changed over the years. I started out as a commercial artist, but that occupation soon gave way to co…
  • Marty on Working AloneNot long ago the Mrs. and myself put an old metal cart in front of the house out by the curb with a sign: Free Stuff We were able to get rid of quite a bit of items we no longer ha…
  • Adrian Gamble on Working AlonePaul not only are you a bright star in the passion of crafting wood to your will, you have a wonderful philosophical view of the world around you. Please keep on inspiring others a…
  • Wayne Whalen on Working AloneLoneliness is mans greatest fear. Even as he grows older and looks for solitude he can't overcome loneliness. He goes into his workshop and he plays his music and has his dog to ta…
  • Bram on Why Suggest Economy Tools?I have a newish disston that I made a new handle for and for some reason thought it would be fine to hand grind a full length taper on with a vernier, some old stones and sandpaper…
  • Bill Webb on Branching outThe song is "Both Sides Now" by Joni Mitchell, a multi-talented Canadian.