Imagine the days a few decades ago when a man and a boy stood side by side and the man said, “That’s a good question, Paul. Best let me show you!” And he took the plane, flipped it around, end for end, upside down and side to side and taught the youngster all he knew about the Leonard Bailey bench plane. And the knowledge passed from a lone man to a lone boy and the answers remained in the boy throughout his lifetime as a furniture maker and woodworker. It’s different now. Or is it? George couldn’t help himself but to give the answers when I asked. There was something about that rare breed of mentoring craftsmen. I know that I cannot help myself when someone asks a question. I just want to be a solution.

Thank you for sending in your questions and I will do my best to answer them.

Our next Q&A is coming up on YouTube on Thursday 2nd April 2020 at 14:00 BST, you will be able to watch it here:


  1. Graham on 30 March 2020 at 4:07 pm

    Thanks for doing these again Paul, they would be a good testing ground for remote work for you and your team.

    Have fired off a question but as mentioned in it I understand that different buildings and weather conditions may make a definitive answer difficult.

  2. nemo on 30 March 2020 at 4:51 pm

    Under the motto ‘one fool can ask more questions than ten wise men can answer’, I have submitted mine.

  3. John Purser on 31 March 2020 at 11:38 am

    For non-worldly wood workers and blood doners such as myself I have a couple of resources for converting BST (British Standard Time) to your own local time.

    The first is a website:

    The second is a suggestion. Go to your favorite search engine and type in “Convert BST to (whatever your local time zone is called)” and you will be swamped with handy resources. Find one that suits you!

    Bring your A game but don’t be greedy. Paul’s going to be busy. I’ve got a question for him about restoring pencils when the eraser has worn down too far to be useful. Might take the whole session for him to give me a work around to this stumper!

    Good luck and I’ll see you there.


    • John Purser on 31 March 2020 at 4:20 pm

      By the way, the first site I pulled up said “BST” was “British Standard Time” but the next one said it meant “British SUMMER Time”. Or, I got confused. Anywho, I may have messed up or passed on bad info.

      • Bill on 6 April 2020 at 6:08 pm

        I teach navigation and time is very important as you can imagine in this trade (or art). BST was British Summer Time but has now become DST (daylight saving time). Sadly GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) has also gone to be replaced with UT (Universal Time). This was also called, by the military anyway, as Zulu time as in 1230Z.

        • Capt. Walker on 22 April 2020 at 12:05 am

          Zulu Tims is Local Time. E.g. 12:30z

          It would be very confusing if a local flight, say in France (1hr ahead), specified GMT/UTC, or BST/DST, for departure/arrival, when they weren’t even leaving their time-zone, or their country. So local navigations are specified in Local Time, Zulu.

          The same goes for travel itineraries: Trains, Flights, Buses, Ferries… always specified in Local/Zulu time.

    • nemo on 31 March 2020 at 7:44 pm

      ‘Speaking for a friend’, I know someone who’s known to cut little round erasers for the end of a (mechanical) pencil from a large, old eraser, using a cutting punch. I (err, I meant, that person) used one section of an old telescopic antenna that was taken apart. That way you get cutting pipes of various diameters from which you can use the most suitable sized one.

      The eraser they’re cut from is over 30 years old and large, and by now riddled with holes where the small round erasers were cut.

      And to think I used to chuckle at seeing my grandfather use one of those little metal ‘stubholders’, contraptions that you could put your nearly worn-out pencil stub in so you could use it up till the very last bit but still hold it comfortably….

      • John Purser on 1 April 2020 at 12:50 pm

        I’ve been buying artists gum erasers from the arts and crafts stores then working them down with my logier rasps to the correct size. The tricky bit was boring out the old eraser. I made a jig by welding three Lie-Nielson dowel plates together so I could hold different sized pencils in my drill press. But the drill press is down so I need another way to proceed.

        I’m so happy to know there are other craftsmen out there working in the field of artisanal pencil stubs rehabilitation! You’re living the dream man!

  4. Adam Kuczma on 2 April 2020 at 2:37 pm

    Hi Paul. I always get confused on what side to take off when using winding sticks. If the left side is higher than the right, what needs to be corrected? Please help. Thank you.

    • Noel on 22 April 2020 at 12:14 am

      You always take off material from the LOWER SIDE.
      That way, the Higher Side will balance it all out.
      Remember to remove material the whole length of the board, otherwise it won’t be flat & straight any more.
      Glad to help!

  5. Ermir on 2 April 2020 at 11:37 pm

    Planing you can obviously only go lower, so you must plane the high side. The next question is: do you plane the high side under the near stick or the far one, or both? In long boards I check both ends with respect to the middle. I hope this helps.

  6. Jim on 3 April 2020 at 7:18 pm

    Paul, thank you for your answer to my question about sharpening. The issue is that the workmate is too low or I am too tall and as you said I was over rotating. When I checked the angle at the edge of the chisel it was almost 45degrees! I have resharpened one chisel keeping an eye on the angle and it is a lot better. Thank you for all your help!

  7. John Howard on 6 April 2020 at 5:49 pm

    Paul, I really, really think that you can consider yourself in the long line of mentoring craftsmen. The fact that we aren’t individually beside you doesn’t feel like it to us. We do get spared the necessity of getting the tea in and luckily we don’t get to be the butt of jokes from all the other tradesmen.
    Otherwise I feel as though, if I wanted to be, that I could be back in the boatyard at the start of my working life with every possibility of the foreman telling me that my drawing for the galley layout won’t quite work because I have forgotten that beam up there…. 🙂
    Take care all of you.

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