Many politicians are predicting the future in a way we have never seen before, relying mostly on experts and scientific specialists, health workers and others to steer us through Coronavirus pandemic. With Covid-19 on us, we are many of us distancing ourselves from our neighbours for the common good of all in so many diverse spheres until we get through this. From the early stages, I was unsure what parts would affect who — now we know that all parts affect all of us; I have never seen as many people working in unison to help the vulnerable and those in danger. Personally I am isolated and in my isolation, I set myself the challenge last week to give everyone a shot at a project and now I have come up with the goods.

So I had nine projects but then remembered I had promised a sandbox for my granddaughter so I am including this too. I have included the most very simple and then some a little more challenging.

I wanted short projects and smallish ones that could be made from scraps with just a few basic hand tools. You will need only hand tools to do this and by that, I do mean not to use any machines unless of course you really want to or need to.

Here we are, the majority of us may now have the time we kept saying we didn’t have time for. There is nothing like enforced solitude over a long period to help us take of things we might have not been able to prioritise in our all-too-busy agendas.

So, plan out your days, I will be busy as can be preparing my stock to walk you through the steps and maybe even entertain you for a while. I am so glad Spring brought with it some better weather. At least we can get outside. And don’t forget there is a ton of stuff to make both from my blog, commonwoodworking.com. woodworkingmasterclasses.com, and my youtube channel.

There are a couple of things missing from these shown that I have made but may find time to show them later. Looking at most of these you may think you already know how I made them, and how to make them but some I will reserve making a judgement because some have a few hidden quirks to them. Look to the future. I am hoping to combine blogs and video to create the content.

Closed, it makes an outdoor drinks table
Opened up and you have your sand play station with outriggers for support. It’s big enough for lots of sand and a bowl of water.

33 Comments

  1. Hasan on 3 April 2020 at 7:19 pm

    Hello Paul,
    I’ve read about your tool making course and really wanted to know more about it. So far I’ve made a mallet, a small wooden plane, winding sticks and a plough plane based on your poor man’s rebate plane. I’d really love to make that marking gauge!
    Thank you very much and stay safe.



  2. Richard Harnedy on 3 April 2020 at 7:44 pm

    Dear paul.

    Your positive blog is badily needed by all. Your live q and a went very well i thought. Small projects are great because they build skills. Hope you are doing well.



  3. Richard Harnedy on 3 April 2020 at 7:46 pm

    I forgot to say. I also have a 4.5 stanley usa rosewood handle plane and you are correct. These are a perfect plane and i love to use it. Although you said you were biased you were also correct.



  4. Scott Carro on 3 April 2020 at 7:49 pm

    That sandbox table is a great design! Will it be water tight? Thank you for all you do! Stay well.



    • ap on 16 July 2020 at 10:42 pm

      Seems that it could be close with a few modifications to the design of the lid. E.g., solid pieces instead of slats; extending the edges a bit more; and an overlap with the lid pieces meet in the middle.



  5. nemo on 3 April 2020 at 11:04 pm

    There’s a wealth of information and projects in your blog. Earlier this evening I was wondering why all those oilstones in the picture in your previous post were in a wooden box and how to make one. After a few minutes with the search engine I ended up back again on your blog, where on November 7th 2014 you showed how to make a box for the oilstone (“steps to making a traditional oilstone box”). That’ll be a project I’ll be making in a day or two, after the present project (stainless steel holder of my own design for the double-edge razor and shaving brush; mostly metal lathework, bit of sheetwork, and lots of polishing involved) is finished. And after that, a scrub plane. And a dovetailed tooltote for the garden utensils. Restoring the #6. And the #4 1/2. And the #29. And probably a few more projects that come up unexpectedly…



  6. JohnC - Dorset on 4 April 2020 at 7:17 am

    Snap, I recently made a pair of Toast Tongs, smaller & not as sleek as yours ( my wedge was too thick & very short prong length) but it works & saves putting fingers in a hot toaster when it doesn’t eject high enough!

    Keep up the good work 💪👍 it’s great seeing so many woodwork projects from my favourite YouTubers



    • Coline on 5 April 2020 at 12:42 am

      To keep myself amused I dispensed with tongs and use a fast eject on my Dualit toaster and try to catch my toast and crumpets.

      Hand planing a 150 year old pine floor is going to keep me busy for at least a week but its surface is no longer looking like the sea during a storm.



  7. Legacyroyaw on 4 April 2020 at 3:53 pm

    Hello to all
    In this baffling time, I love you all
    Prize your relations and friends



  8. Philip Thornton on 5 April 2020 at 3:57 pm

    Hello Paul
    Hasve you thought of making a Fold up skittles box on the pattern of
    Steve Daniels on Woodarchivist? I have made one and its well received
    among the fasmilies at church coffee mornings.



    • Paul Sellers on 5 April 2020 at 8:05 pm

      I have never copied someone else’s designs for copyright and intellectual property reasons, Philip.



      • John Gallo on 6 April 2020 at 5:44 pm

        I understand your respect for others’ designs and intelectual property. But, you must realize that many many people copy your work all the time.

        It is not so much the design, but more the techniques and craftsmanship that we copy and learn from.

        I consider you to be the Bob Ross of woodworking. Thanks, and I look forward to learning much more from you.



  9. Marc-Andre P. on 6 April 2020 at 3:43 am

    Hello Mr. Sellers,
    I was about to make a french style marking gauge but with a wedge instead of a dowel. I’m very intrigued on how you make a dowel work instead, cutting a wedge shape into it near the stock mortise?

    I wonder, does the inlay can pop out a little with wood movement and become a problem overtime? just wondering!

    Thank you for those beautiful pictures, Have a nice day and stay safe!



  10. JohnM on 6 April 2020 at 11:23 am

    Part of the fun is deciding what you can make from the materials you have available – no going down to the woodshop for more materials.

    I am working on a screwdriver for attaching my tripod mount to my camera. The screw is of odd proportions so I am making something like a gunsmith screwdriver. Materials are a 15mm copper pipe coupler, a piece of brass rod and a piece of ramine dowel for the handle. As much metalwork as woodwork but that applies to a lot of tools.

    i’ii put some pictures on my website when it is finished.



  11. Brian Smith on 6 April 2020 at 2:08 pm

    Paul, thank you so much for the dedication to the craft! I’ve learned so much. The handiest thing I’ve ever made was the oil can. I reach for it often and wipe down the tools at the end of the day. It shows that there is almost always a simple solution to a problem and the most useful tool is between our ears. Stay safe.



  12. Robert Brunston on 6 April 2020 at 2:42 pm

    Awesome projects Paul!
    Thank you for sharing, I especially like the drink table.



  13. Terry C on 6 April 2020 at 6:12 pm

    I see you have a marking gauge pictured. Any chance you are planning to teach how to make a mortise gauge?



  14. Tim on 6 April 2020 at 7:21 pm

    A couple of good projects there that make good use of small pieces of wood. I have a box about 24″x18″x12″ almost full of tiny bits of good timber which I haven’t found a use for but can’t bear to dispose of.



  15. Simon on 6 April 2020 at 7:53 pm

    Your heart’s in the right place. It’s just a shame that all the things you make are so old fashioned and out of date looking.



    • Ben on 6 April 2020 at 10:06 pm

      So design your own stuff, and keep your unhelpful comments to yourself.



    • Francis Anderson on 7 April 2020 at 10:20 am

      ‘It’s just a shame that all the things you make are so old fashioned and out of date looking.’ … Quite apart from the tautology – ‘out of date’ and ‘old fashioned’ – you’ve gotta laugh at the priorities! No mention of ‘Fit for Purpose,’ ‘Simple but Effective’, Elegant Solution’, or ‘Great Improvement.’ Hmmm. Clearly a thoughtful response. 🙂



    • nemo on 7 April 2020 at 8:08 pm

      Simon, that’s an odd way of saying you have a different taste in design. Plus you make ‘old-fashioned’ sound as a bad thing.

      There’s someone in the White House who disagrees with your remark.



      • David Hutchins on 9 April 2020 at 2:12 am

        This is the problem with Paul’s blog and website in particular. Simon was just giving his opinion, like everyone else here is, but gets ridiculed because he isn’t in lock step with what Paul says or designs. I find this ironic because one of the reasons I’m such a big fan of Paul is because he questions the expert opinion and the accepted norms. It’s ok to not agree with everything he says or not like every single one of his designs. It doesn’t mean that you’re criticizing him or that we aren’t thankful for his teachings.



        • Paul Sellers on 9 April 2020 at 1:57 pm

          David, He, you, everyone passes on their opinion freely here on my site and I host it freely to that end. You say, “This is the problem with Paul’s blog and website in particular.” This seems a funny way to say something when there is no problem at all. Some people see this as a criticism which is what it was, is…and then too an opinion. For me, it was legit, I read it, though not too much of it and it went in one ear and out the other. It wasn’t of much consequence really. I like people’s opinions good or bad. So where on earth does this mean what you say in: “This is the problem with Paul’s blog and website in particular.”? The fact that he missed the whole point entirely is just unfortunate.



          • David Hutchins on 9 April 2020 at 7:55 pm

            I’m not criticizing you or your site, I said I was a big fan. You obviously read the comments so you must see that anytime someone has anything minutely negative to say, the defense team comes out in full force. I love your site and what you do, I just find it ironic that people feel the need to defend any questioning of you when you yourself question the experts and the accepted norms. I guess my wording may have been off, I wasn’t implying that I don’t like your site, I am here reading your blog and wood working masterclass.



          • Paul Sellers on 10 April 2020 at 6:01 am

            David, I didn’t at all suggest that you didn’t like my site either. I am glad that you do. I was simply addressing the fact that you introduced a nonreality as a problem and, that being so, pointed out that there really wasn’t, or didn’t seem to me at least, to have been any problem there in the first place. I think that “the defense team” saw fit to counter things said because it seemed worth a nudge away from the negative connotation when someone, myself, in this case, was simply providing projects as a vehicle for people to develop their skills by and at the same time making projects that would be interesting, useful and enjoyable to make and that without claiming designs worthy of design awards in any way. Everyone including you enjoyed the freedom to pass their opinions and that is how the famous oft-quoted quote goes. You say you find it “ironic that people feel the need to defend any questioning” yet here we are doing just the same. Therein is the irony of many things. I hope that you, and all, have an enjoyable holiday weekend over the Easter break. Thank you for saying you enjoy my blog. I hope that you will always find it mostly enjoyable.



  16. Carl Rogers on 6 April 2020 at 9:14 pm

    Paul. The sand box is a very good idea. But while on the track as a drinks table. If one were to fold up a square trough from a sheet of Aluminum or Galvanized Steel you could have an ice bucket for holding bottled beverages in the heat of summer.

    I think that would make a good addition to this.



    • John Besharian on 7 April 2020 at 8:37 pm

      Well, Mr. Rogers, as Yul Brynner as Ramses in “The Ten Commandments” said: “So let it be written. so let it be done”.



  17. Tom Stenzel on 7 April 2020 at 1:44 am

    When I thought I would have time it still fills up. My daughter works at a fabric store where they’ve been making face mask kits. She’s brought several home. So it’s been sewing tools instead of wood working tools for me.

    Everyone, stay safe!

    Paul, that carved snake looks really cool. The birdfeeder looks a lot like one my father made 40 years ago, except he made the roof out of cut and soldered copper. Unless that’s a birdhouse. I’ve just never seen a birdhouse with that many opening before.

    Tom Stenzel



  18. mark snyder on 7 April 2020 at 2:42 am

    Simon , Personally I find your comments not only ignorant but tactless and insulting. Where might we find your contributions or are you only limited to negative critique ? Have you no manners ?



  19. Bob Horstman on 8 April 2020 at 4:07 am

    Hello Paul, I am 73 years young and just starting woodworking. I was wondering if you recommend a list of basic tools to purchase for a beginner like myself and where may they be purchased? Thank you for sharing your craft with us.
    Bob from Ohio



  20. Richard Misdom on 17 April 2020 at 2:06 am

    I have know Paul for 25+ years, and made a good number of the projects he has presented here. However, much as I select an author’s writings to read, I don’t necessarily select all he has to offer. I plan to make the sandbox, and the latest tool tote, should plans be offered. Keep up all the great work Paul, and give my best to Joseph. I still find the tools he made me years ago very pleasurable to use and remind me of the courses you afforded me when you all lived in Elm Mott, Texas. Blessings on your whole team now and in the years ahead.



  • Hank Merkle on Vlog #18 Went Up Today!Thank you again Paul for more insight into your work and your life. I find it funny that you have created such GREAT balance in your life. I wonder though when you were younger if…
  • Trinity Too on Hannah, Sketches, Life, WorkLee Valley has copies.
  • Raymond Bensen on Making My WayLiving in California, most all Construction is new by English standards. It’s hard to imagine the difficulties an English carpenter must overcome with centuries old architecture, c…
  • john cadd on Vlog #18 Went Up Today!The current craze for getting Married at First Sight throws up a weird topic quite often. The ladies always complain that the men do not show their feelings and have "Deep and Mean…
  • Ed Bourgoine on Hannah, Sketches, Life, WorkWell done Hanna! That piece is stunning, I think you may have found your own "George" in Paul. Keep it up girl, you are going far.
  • JohnM on Making My WayA long while ago I was told by a traditional hand carpenter that the first thing that you did when you arrived on site was to make a pair of matching saw horses. Nothing special ju…
  • Bob Wallace on Making My WayGreat blog Paul. I still have the two I built in 1964 when I started working in a cabinet shop. One for hand tools and one for hand held power tools used in installation. Neither w…