I try to imagine life without making, but something inside me tells me that that is perhaps as strange a thought to me as it is to those who might find it impossible to think of their making something to sell or use, whether to sell for self-support or not. I can’t even think what it is like not to work making for a living because life for me is and always has been about making to live by and then too, living to make. Some people describe their selling something as, well, making a sale. What a strange thing to say, ‘making a sale’. In my world of making to date I have spent over 16,500 ten-hour days, that’s minimum, making. I find it hard to imagine 165,000 hours standing within a few feet of a workbench, vise and wood, but it is true. It was my choice. No one and nothing forced me to do it. And I loved it.

Today I chose to work for 12 hours. My choice as always! I had something I wanted to achieve so I set myself a goal and I achieved it. Without goals, you rarely achieve much of anything. I enjoyed just about every one of those 720 minutes and it was hard to get me to stop for more than 15 minutes. The fascination of making has never diminished. Making means cutting and harvesting, upcycling and recycling, sharpening, restoring, repairing and maintaining. I take all things dull and sharpen them and in the sharpening add my own nuanced methods you have never seen or heard of and likely never will, unless I tell you. Such are the ways of the craftsman. Recycling takes the abandoned or the waste and changes the course of its destination. This too is what I do.

I don’t have any trade secrets because I have always told anyone and everyone who asked me how I do what I do and then those who don’t ask too. The reason you may never know something that I do is because I am more likely to forget to tell you. The things I pass on to you are the things I have done all of my life. I don’t do reenacted things or copy others because my life is lived in realness and comes from that backdrop. I am only happy when I am living real work. My videos capture parts of my real life as a man that works to make things and nowadays that includes my excursion into including the making of videos about how I make the things I do. I don’t role play or act out the role of someone who wants to be but one who is and one who does and has done all his life. My tools are not decorative backdrops emulating a previous century, or some kind of enhancing feature to make me look like a crafting artisan; my life is a lived reality of craftsmanship. Perhaps this life I have is one of a dying breed. I don;t see too many around like me any more but in my youth people of 70 working as craftsmen were plentiful. My tools are the ones I’ve depended on for 55 years. Were I to come out of retirement working full time to earn my wage I would still be able and apt to work around 60 hours in a six-day week. I could live well and comfortably working the same way I do as you see in my videos on that. More than comfortably. Were I to retire from making I would be a most uncomfortable and unsettled man and that is because making has been who I am for so very long. Retirement to me is the disease of the age but by that I mean I would be ill at ease — dis-eased if you see will. I think too that far more people feel like I do than you might think.

It takes me 8-10 hours to make a shoji panel like the top picture from scratch if I am not videoing and that would be in any wood type. It is exceptionally straightforward with uncomplicated cuts, mostly square but a few forty-fives. I introduced some of my methods that speed up processes and accuracy and then others that might slow things down a little, but they are mine and uncopied for the main part. None of this is the reason for me doing the things I do. I don’t care if it takes me four times as long because I quite enjoyed the making of these two panels but not because they were challenging in any way, more that the components and joints are so symmetrical and repetitive they require only a little forethought once the layout is begun. That said, it is the simplicity that is so appealing.

I have enjoyed using the tools I already own and not buying in any additional kit. These ones are the ones I have used throughout my worklife. That’s a set of basic chisels costing under £10 that gave me pristine cuts as they always do and have done for around ten years. A Stanley plane or two, a chisel hammer, combination gauge and a couple of basic back saws lining up to square lines and knifewalls concluded my making a combination of 30 mortise and tenon joints (including six double tenons) and then 27 halving joints. A Record plough plane gave me four channels in which I housed a panel with raised bevels. Hard to imagine, I likely didn’t pay more than £100 for all of those tools. Mmm, hmm! Don’t you just love that!

Imagine how dead and empty my day would have been today had I decided not make a simply shoji frame. My days are all about the reality of making. I don’t need or take much rest because the engagement of making is something to live wholeheartedly for. This is my lifestyle. I choose it. As long as I can start and stop when I choose, take bike rides and walks into nature, listen for the still, small voice to tell me what to do when and how, I am a contented being a workman, an artisan and a man that designs and makes things that enhance life. To lay on a beach without children might well be the most dull and boring thing I could ever do or imagine as would be being forced to watch some kind of ballgame or play golf. I am an activist, a writer, videographer and a newborn 20-month-old vlogger. I blog, and make and cook and grow and my life is still, still, evolving. Oh, I am also a YouTuber. At the end of the day, who knows what I will yet become. I am just grateful that I was given the opportunity to choose my future and constantly emerge into it. . . and then too that I was able to make it this far.

61 Comments

  1. Chris Sims on 10 June 2020 at 7:15 am

    Excellent

    • Michael D’Antonio on 10 June 2020 at 3:09 pm

      This is very interesting and is very good for my mind. I love this information!
      Regards,
      Michael

  2. steve on 10 June 2020 at 8:44 am

    Sadly many people long for retirement who are in jobs that are pure drudgery and hope it will give them the one thing they never had – choices.
    I was fortunate never to be in that situation but I see it everywhere..

  3. Ermir on 10 June 2020 at 10:19 am

    I am greatful to have come across your youtube videos some six years ago! I have learnd so much from your teachings, videos and writings. You are an inspiring mentor. It is not only the technique, it is this life force and will and joy that premeate your actions and thoughts that is so helpful in guiding me towards making.

  4. Alec Garner on 10 June 2020 at 11:24 am

    What are two tools on the far right of the forth image, next to the marking knife?

    • Shaun on 10 June 2020 at 12:36 pm

      Paint can openers.

      • Sylvain on 10 June 2020 at 1:56 pm

        paint can opener indeed
        used to remove waste from the mortises while chopping them.

      • Donald L Kreher on 10 June 2020 at 2:14 pm

        The narrow end opens the paint can the wide end opens the beer bottle. We (U.S.A) call them a church key.

      • Paul Sellers on 10 June 2020 at 4:02 pm

        They were, but now they are chip extractors for removing waste from deep and thin mortise holes. Essential kit. I file, sharpen and harden them and the sharpness is like my chisels.

        • Alec Garner on 10 June 2020 at 10:14 pm

          Thanks Paul and others; I couldn’t understand their relevance in the image, but it all makes sense now.

        • Ed Baedke on 15 June 2020 at 8:44 pm

          Hi Paul, have you made a video on hardening of the paint can opener / mortise cleaner? If not, please consider it. Alternatively, you could offer a written description on the best method to accomplish this. Thanks!

          • Larry on 20 June 2020 at 12:01 am

            @ Ed Baedke – See Paul’s video “How to Make a Poor Man’s Spokeshave” starting at 29:39 for a demonstration of hardening. If you’re equipped at home to grill meats over charcoal and to blow-dry your hair, you’re practically all tooled up.



    • Gary on 12 June 2020 at 6:43 am

      They are for opening paint tin lids or similar

  5. Hans on 10 June 2020 at 12:45 pm

    Paul,

    This is one of the most inspiring blogs you’ve ever written—thank you, so much, for everything you do, and for sharing it so generously. You have a big impact: on my life, on how I go about it, and how I relate to what happens every day.

    I can’t compare to what you do in hours of making, but, when I am at my bench, using the methods you taught me And helped ne develop, I do enjoy every minute of it, and I don’t miss anything. Life is good, and you are so much to be deeply grateful for.

    Thank you, from my heart.

  6. Tim Coles on 10 June 2020 at 12:49 pm

    Keep going Paul. Your articles and videos are an inspiration to us. Thank you!

  7. Barry Spiers on 10 June 2020 at 1:25 pm

    It’s great to spend your day doing something you love doing, many rarely get that opportunity. Like you Paul I love to make things and you give us all the inspiration to improve.
    Whilst I don’t have a the “Bells & whistle” Tools And only have a small workshop I enjoy figuring out how to do things And I have moved to working primarily with hand tools – that’s down to you! Thank you and keep doing what you do!
    Barry

  8. Ian Jefferson on 10 June 2020 at 3:15 pm

    Hi Paul,

    Funny you mention making. Frequently I hear from people that family is the most important thing for humans. Perhaps oddly I do not although family is enormously important it isn’t what defines us or sets us apart on this planet.

    I think our ability to create, to take and idea and with that idea and energy transform the physical world. Without that we really could be ants or jelly fish who also have families 🙂 . What an empty life it would be without a creative outlet.

  9. Thomas in Vermont on 10 June 2020 at 3:33 pm

    Even in the hustle and bustle of the construction world I found there weren’t enough hours in the day. I worked so relentlessly that I was often ridiculed for it. So glad now that I can work without dealing with some of the negativities associated with the trade. For me it’s always been about the way Paul so beautifully describes it. Thank you.

    • Paul Sellers on 10 June 2020 at 3:59 pm

      So refreshing to hear, Thomas. Thanks!

      • Gary Mosier on 10 June 2020 at 5:31 pm

        Always a pleasure to hear from you.
        I have been wondering about the Aldi chisels, are they still in use?
        I was unable to find them here but would like to try them.

  10. Antonio Vargas Sotelo on 10 June 2020 at 5:55 pm

    Estaba suscrito y recibía, con asiduidad, sus comunicados. Pero algo ocurrió y los perdí. Ya están otra vez aquí, en mi ordenador . . . Ahora todo vuelve a estar bien. Gracias, Sr. Sellers

  11. James Maeding on 10 June 2020 at 6:14 pm

    We are lucky you share so much. 20 years ago there was no youtube or method of sharing videos like now. Glad you were born when you were, perfect lineup of internet and wonderful love for woodworking. You are changing real people with your real lifestyle Paul! Don’t stop.

  12. Wayne in Canada on 10 June 2020 at 7:41 pm

    Good talk Paul! I just sat down after spending most of my day building a Moxon style vise using wedges instead of a screw. Works like a charm and i set the top of it at 43 inches from the floor. I am six foot one inches tall and found if i cut my dovetails at that height i am able to get the accuracy on the vertical because i am not hunched over. I just used 2x discards that are probably well seasoned sitting in my shop for a few years. I hate throwing out wood and the longer they hang around, the dryer they get and the more stable they become. The vise cost me nothing but my time. A gentle tap upward on the wedges releases the work but the wedge gravitating downward has enough weight to keep the work piece from inadvertently dropping to the floor. A gentle tap down on the wedges secures the work piece snuggly for sawing. Have a good and keep planing with grain 🙂

  13. karen on 11 June 2020 at 9:09 am

    Hey Paul thank you so much for your blogs and tutorials. They have helped me to overcome my nerves about my ability to learn and take up woodwork. I made and sold my first ever table for some friends to use in their garden. So once again thank you for all the little tips that you share with us

    • Paul Sellers on 11 June 2020 at 10:27 am

      Hello Karen, Selling your first piece is the most energising encouragement of all. My first commissions were a series of bar stools. Of course, I sold them for way under their real value to the man who drove a brand new Lamborghini but beat me down to what was an unfair price (juicing up a Lambrghini is expensive), even so, though, I enjoyed the fact that I designed, made and sold them.

  14. Brian on 11 June 2020 at 11:03 am

    Hi Paul. I discovered you videos and channel a few months back and really enjoy your work, and indeed clever insights. I have been doing DIY for years but have realised woodworking is a different skill level totally and I hope to get somewhere closer to that level in the future. I also restored 3 planes after watching you video. However I do also play golf and must say that golfers are real people too 🙂

    • Paul Sellers on 11 June 2020 at 8:52 pm

      And who one earth said that they weren’t, Brian? Let’s not take this to place I did not nor would ever go. I simply don’t particularly like most sports, that’s all–they are not for me.

      • Brian on 15 June 2020 at 8:54 pm

        Apologies Paul. It was never my intention to offend. In hindsight it was a poor attempt at a joke. I guess my jokes are like my woodworking at the moment. And probably my golf too in that they all need improvement.

        • Paul Sellers on 16 June 2020 at 6:28 am

          Ah! I see, Brian. Thank you and I often think that I should be less defensive anyway.

  15. Maury Lee on 11 June 2020 at 2:29 pm

    I have studied Zen and enlightenment for forty years. Your Maker blog is as close to a Zen master’s talk as I’ve ever read. Listening to the still inner voice and following it in freedom is the key to the good life. Woodworking puts one in the present moment with one’s entire being. No worries in that.

    Love your videos. I am a poor craftsman, but love making the effort. I can always strive to be better, which is the blessing of looking forward to the challenge.

    God bless and keep up the Zen of woodworking.

  16. Sally Polowski on 11 June 2020 at 6:36 pm

    Tools not a decorative backdrop? Even that wooden hand brace you had on the wall? The bowsaw, panel saws, the moulding planes, trio of routers in every shot… all in daily use? You’ll be telling us next you’re not filming on a stage. With illuminated “On Air” Sign. How many times have you driven a car through your ‘garage’ doors? Are those rafters still holding up the garage roof? It’s a studio! You’re the Player. Complete with photos of Fibonacci shavings, the backlit workshop as you sketch and contemplate the days work while the sun goes down… Its not ALL real Paul.
    We like your work and appreciate your skills, but let’s not lose sight of the promotions; the Stanley marking Knife, the Thorex Hammer… Its an Internet website, Pintrest, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube… business.

    • Shung on 11 June 2020 at 9:19 pm

      Spot on comment Sally.

      Wait for the backlash from the lickspittle acolytes.

      • kayvan on 11 June 2020 at 10:47 pm

        @Shung He – is working 12 hours a day to provide free learning resources for woodworkers around the world, many of whom are locked up in their houses, struggling with stress and depression, and financial anxiety, and some with bereavement and loss, and you – have gone to the trouble of signing up to his site in order to leave gratuitous snide comments about him and the people who appreciate him. Be better man.

      • JEAN CLAUDE PEETERS on 12 June 2020 at 9:41 am

        @Shung

        Lickspittle acolytes … (how smug)

        We were all trying to learn and have fun.
        Until the Pharisees came… ; )

        • Paul Sellers on 12 June 2020 at 10:47 am

          Shung and Sally seem partnered?

          • JEAN CLAUDE PEETERS on 15 June 2020 at 1:49 pm

            And if they aren’t, they might as well…



      • David Laurie on 18 June 2020 at 2:44 pm

        Shung Fat and Sally NoClue…

        Two drugged out trolls too strung out to even realise what fools they are making pf themselves with their idiotic and nonsensical rants..

    • kayvan on 11 June 2020 at 11:17 pm

      @Sally Apart from gratuitously venting spleen, I’m not sure what your point is. He embodies the simple, honest life of a traditional craftsman, and generously helps other people who aspire to the same. He is not a caveman, so why should he eschew the use of motor vehicles and assorted other of the amenities of modern life? You complain about his studio, his On Air sign and his use of the internet – but surely you are using that very same internet to avail us all of your vexatious comments. As for the “promotions”, they are nothing of the sort. They are recommendations. Nobody is obliged to buy these products, and even if they were, he makes no money when they do so. I did a full year’s long-distance apprenticeship using only his free Youtube videos. I felt guilty about it quite frankly, since he had given me so much, and I had given nothing back. I eventually signed up for Masterclasses, because I wanted to make the bookcase project. I made that, but remained subscribed because I’m entirely addicted to the work. I spend 4 or 5 hours a day making projects from that site, and it costs me 50 pence (63¢) a day. That’s 10 pence (13¢) an hour. Have you ever heard of anybody teaching anything for an hourly rate like that? And it’s even less than that actually, since I still have the privilege of reading his unbelievably informative blog and watching his youtube content for free. As for the knife and the hammer etc, I don’t use a Stanley knife, I use a Ninja folding one – I like the colour. I don’t have the Lidl chisels or drill he recommends because I can’t find them. I did buy the Thorex hammer after a year of using a simple wooden mallet, because I was unhappy with my mortise technique and thought a heavier hammer might help. It did. I was grateful for a master craftsman’s recommendation, as opposed to buying something blindly on the internet and being disappointed. So what is his sin here exactly?

      • Paul Sellers on 12 June 2020 at 8:10 am

        The inference is that I get some kind of kickback from Thor hammers and Stanley knives etc which of course I never have, never do and never would. Also, that those tools are staged and unused but every single one of them is placed carefully for my use, angled for quick retrieval, and then picked for the task. But no need to be defensive. The last word offered was, “Business!” Well, there are none busier than bees and ants and they work for the common wellbeing of the whole community colony and not the sole worker. We too, all of US, have a common goal working for the common good and we do get a few interruptors along the way that we take little time for but our work is always for the greater good of ALL woodworkers. so I can sleep well without thinking of sponsorships.

        • Steve P on 12 June 2020 at 2:10 pm

          Don’t let them get to you Paul. I think some people can’t take the pressure of the pandemic and lockdown. I’ve seen it causing a lot of irrational behavior all over the place. Though I am kind of surprised she didn’t accuse you of being a shill for “Big Paint Lid Opener Business”, lol. Just ignore them so we can learn.

          • nemo on 12 June 2020 at 6:28 pm

            Perhaps some readers suffer from a mild case of router-envy. Am not immune myself. Seeing those three routers hanging so cozily next to each other in every video, almost tauntingly, is bound to irk some of us. No man could possibly have legitimate need for three router planes, after all, you only have two hands. Good thing he’s leaving the infill-planes out of view. Things could get very nasty very quickly. Rioting mobs of woodworkers demanding whether you have a license for those.

            The dogs bark but the caravan moves on.



          • Paul Sellers on 12 June 2020 at 7:33 pm

            I do keep the routers there because I have a 1/4″, 3/8″ and 1/2″ cutter in each different one. I acquired my tools over the years and so have thousands of hand tools. What has troubled me the most is that there are actually four hand routers hanging there and not three. I do recommend that anyone has a second router as I do a second number four or jack plane too. That’s what I have for large planing areas.



    • Vidar Fagerjord Harboe on 12 June 2020 at 7:46 am

      This is just silly talk, and the accusations provokes me a great deal! What you so totally fail to understand, is the fact that Paul has created his studio based on certain needs, for instance needs dictated by the needs of filming. But the setup is very much like what you will find in a lot of home shops, which I believe was the goal. Paul creates a setting familiar to most of us who doesn’t have a shop as big as a two-car garage.

      Furthermore, when Paul recommends a tool, it is because that tool WORKS. Not because he’s been paid to make a commercial or the tool was given to him. Most of the tools he recommend CANNOT BE BOUGHT NEW anymore, at least not everywhere. Here in Norway I cannot source a Stanley No.8 plane if my life depended on it – not used, and certainly not new!
      He recommends a set of chisels that sets you back a good eatin’ at McDonalds. He recommends the Thor hammer, which is a hammer made for those who bangs on car bodies to remove whoopsies. It is NOT a woodworking hammer, yet it works so beautifully. The english woodworker, another chap worth following, also recommends the Thor.

      Every tool I’ve bought based on Mr. Sellers’ recommendations, has proven to be very good tools doing exactly what I hoped they would do. They are also cheap!

      Almost everybody else that works with wood (because not all of them should be called woodworkers, feeding wood into a machine… Maybe jig makers, but not woodworkers! – in my very little humble opinion), has huge shops with loads of space, several years worth of income in expensive, professional tools. They place old tools on the walls as a backdrop, but I guess most of the tools never see use – or the owner actually can use it (they may very well know the theory, but do not have any practice worth mentioning). It makes a wood machinish look like a woodworker when you see row after row of wooden planes, moulding planes, the full Stanley plane set x2 laid out like a friggin’ pipe organ… (that last one is a bit unfair, as Stumpy Nubs seems to be very up front and honest – you know what you’ll get when he does a review).

      You are being both rude and obnoxious, and I cannot let that go unanswered. You take what Paul says way too literate. No, I doubt he uses ALL of his tools every single day. I’m guessing the router planes you mention might not see work for days or even weeks on end, at least for all of them.

      But there is a difference when you look at videos 5 years back and find the exact same plane in the exact same spot in the exact same position as yesterdays video! THEN you know what’s a backdrop and what’s not.

      Try to understand what Paul tries to accomplish, and you’ll regret making such comments. I’m not holding my breath, but I will keep the hope.

    • JEAN CLAUDE PEETERS on 12 June 2020 at 8:47 am

      Dear Mustang Sally,
      Maybe Paul likes to have some of his tools around as a backdrop like other people like to put up pictures, have flowers…? Isn’t half of what surrounds us backdrop, no matter what we do? Anyone of us has a wooden jointer plane, a frame saw or a beat-up block plane we use as a paperweight somewhere. Do we need it? No. Is it nice to have it around while we’re at work? Yes. It’s an expression of who we are.
      Maybe he wears the exact same shoes every time he goes to work because that makes him feel better. Who cares? I know he likes his Dixon pencils…
      The goal is to reach people like us, to make it recognizable and to show us that it IS possible to do what he does in a setting like this. (if only we had the skills, that is…)
      Is it staged? YES. How do we know? Because Paul explained to us exactly why he did set up his shop like this. However, what he does and what he teaches us is not staged. Here is a man with half a century experience who tirelessly explains how to make a simple dovetailed box, a spoon (!), coaster, and even cute little Xmas trees… That is like Mozart teaching note reading. But he knows that only by teaching us the fundamentals we can become a great craftsman. Besides, he enjoys making them. When making his poor man’s rebate plane he was genuinely thrilled such beautiful shavings came out…
      Three joints, ten tools.
      Oh, no car ever stood where his workbench is. True. My car stays on the driveway too. I have a workshop in my garage. Now it smells of wood…
      And if you didn’t yet: buy the Thor 712R mallet: it makes a huge difference.
      I am sure you will discover that, like the Thor mallet, you have a softer side too…

    • Kerry on 18 June 2020 at 10:16 pm

      To Sally: I presume you are new to hand tool woodworking, based on your comments. I have not been doing it as long as Paul, but since the early 1980’s I have been doing hand tool woodworking in what is a garage in every sense of the word. I too have more braces than I really need, and more saws, wooden bodied planes and spokeshaves. Much of this comes from the love of working with these century old tools-we develop a real affection for them and when we run across one which has been abandoned or mistreated it is a great temptation to restore them and put them back to use. So most of us are somewhere between being a woodworker and a collector. I, like most of us, have built tool cabinets which are built partly to display these tools, but also to make them easy to grab and use. Building the tool cabinets themselves is a training ground for the skills and techniques we can then use to build fine furniture. On mine I practiced my first large-scale dovetails, first sliding dovetail, first hammer veneering and cockbeading drawers, etc. I think they look nice, and could have used plywood/pegboard instead, but I’d rather have tried these things the first time on my shop cabinet before a piece for my daughter’s front room. I do not need every tool I have every day, but when I build a dining room table, a jewelery box, or Windsor chair I have the tools close to hand. And every tool in my cabinets is sharp and ready to use, as it is in Paul’s. I like to work in a pleasant environment and my workbench is in front of a north-facing window to take advantage of natural raking light which is helpful when planing the face of a board. I suppose you could say that creating a pleasant environment for my hobby/recreation is “staged” but it is generally just for my own enjoyment as visitors are not common. I do have several dozen wooden moulding planes on shelves in my shop, but although I like the way they look they are not there for display. Using these moulding planes, which include hollows/rounds,I can recreate any moulding ever made, or design any moulding I want for my furniture pieces. I don’t use them every day, but when I get to that part of a furniture project they are there and ready to grab. Paul, like most of us, has a bit of a weakness for acquiring more tools than we use every day, but unlike most of us Paul has multiple sets of tools because he teaches classes. But I don’t think woodworkers are alone in this-my mother sews and has acquired 3 sewing machines and boxes of cloth. My friend who works on cars has an engine hoist he has used only a few times, and another friend who paints has dozens of brushes and several easels. But this is not “staged” except to make it functional, and this does including maximizing lighting and angles for the films he makes. If you watch Paul for long, which many of us have, you have seen him work in simpler environments, even building a workbench in his back yard. He works at the same type of bench from which he has built furniture for 50 years, and has on occasion grabbed and used the wooden bodied planes and most of the other “props” in his shop-these are all sharp and ready for use. We are not “syncophants” but are grateful that a craftsman has allowed us this look into his work, and eagerly teaches the multitude of small observations and variations in techniques which are part of any hand craft. Too many crafts which built the world we enjoy have either died or are on the brink of extinction. Paul is not the only one preserving hand tool woodworking but he has made a great contribution. If this craft is to survive it will do so because of us hobbyists, trained and sustained by craftsmen like Paul. I think you are too quick to jump to the conclusions you made-Paul is not someone who learned a hobby last week and put up Youtube videos teaching it this week. Stick around with an open mind, and learn something. Maybe someday you too will have more saws and planes than you really need, and a shop where you long to spend your free time.

    • Hasan on 19 June 2020 at 11:08 am

      Thank you Paul, Really enjoyed the post and also the comments.
      I want to add that in my opinion it’s totally OK for a teacher like Paul with a worldwide audience to have that many tools, He is teaching us about the different tools and their history and even about their existence (those really rare tools), He also is teaching us that it’s not necessary to use all those tools, just a minimal set of tools is enough and that’s what he uses mainly and this is every important for a beginner woodworker who wants to start whit little investment. Paul may have many router planes but when he uses a chisel in a block of wood or a screw in a piece of wood as a beading tool, it is so encouraging for a new woodworker that he can do it too.
      He also reduced the number of tools in his background when he moved out of the castle and also when he came to the new place. I for one miss the cabinets specially the one he made in one of the masterclass series, but I guess this is what he thinks is best for now.

  17. Thomas Taylor on 11 June 2020 at 6:47 pm

    You’re a wise man Mr Sellers. The still small voice, that voice that wasn’t in the whirlwind.
    I very much enjoy your content, thank you.

  18. Vidar Fagerjord Harboe on 12 June 2020 at 8:06 am

    Some play golf, some play croquet, some bangs on chisels. It is all hitting something with something on a stick hoping to get something in a hole or a slot, really. 😀

    If I get to keep my health when I retire, I’ll have my woodworking. Even if my health should decline a lot, I’ll still be able to make things. If I cannot make furniture, I can make knifes or small things. But I’ll still make!

  19. JEAN CLAUDE PEETERS on 12 June 2020 at 8:59 am

    @Brian

    You have been DIYing for ten years, I have been making acoustic guitars for over twenty. By hand.
    I thought I knew a thing or two about working with wood. Until I found Paul Sellers…

  20. Steve P on 12 June 2020 at 2:05 pm

    When I first saw the picture on my mobile device, it looked like a panel saw. And I thought “uh oh, what is Paul doing with a panel saw?” First the plywood bench, now a panel saw, whats next. Interesting to see how this turns out.

  21. Wayne Whalen on 12 June 2020 at 8:44 pm

    I sense that there are more then a few here that have a relationship with the Lord and the draw to the peacefulness and quite of working wood with hand tools is a vehicle that deepens that relationship that is impossible to achieve in a noisy and hectic environment this world offers today. It seems to me the spirit of working and learning and sharing with a simple focus on doing your best at whatever level your skills permit is just fine. I taught my kids and grand kids competition is about winners and losers but they need to focus on doing their work contentiously to the best of their abilities with integrity expecting nothing in life without effort and sacrifice.

  22. Samuel on 15 June 2020 at 3:07 am

    I’m glad that u love what u do and are focussed on the integrity of your work as a whole; and share it with us freely.
    I wonder tho what your wife etc thinks of u spending so much time with your work…however valuable u may think it is?
    Anyway that’s not my business…only that of course this is more than a woodworking blog — it’s a lifestyle blog.
    I know u say u are a lone operator in many respects.
    I was recommended a book called “A Sand County Almanac” about the ecological history and observations in Wisconsin, i read slowly but I reckon u may like it.

    • Paul Sellers on 15 June 2020 at 8:17 am

      Thanks, Samuel,
      Nothing has changed in my life since I first married. Long hours and long days. It’s unreal for most lone woodworkers adopting a lifestyle of woodworking using the various methods that I use to think that they could possibly work the modern-day 35 hour week and make it–seventy is more realistic. I have always worked these hours to provide for my family. My family is now full-grown but I always make time for my children and grandchildren. Now it is my time to leave the legacy of my own life to the next generation of woodworkers and this is the continuation of my life into the end of it whenever that may be. I don’t think it is realistic to put our expectations onto the lives of others because we think we have it right and they think the other needs to change. I see many retired couples who seem to be most miserable because they are retired together living in the day to day illusion that retirement means spending more time doing nothing or indeed all things together. I also see very happy ones too, don’t get me wrong, it is different strokes for different folks. Over familiarity is often the main cause of conflict. Combining these two spheres mostly results in unhappiness. Personally, I feel that there is nothing worse than to think I might leave this life unfulfilled. Thus far, if I did pass tomorrow, I can say my life is fulfilled to overflowing, but of course, it’s not over yet. My wife and children and now grandchildren have always been first in my life and that has meant working diligently to provide financially for them. Also, this has been core to my life and that has never changed. My life has been very different to most–almost zero commuting, working for others, shunning factory production style, mass-manufacturing and such. This is very different, but it has been and still is the very good life I felt in control of.
      There is a suggestion there that I might merely “think it may be important”, well, it is extremely important! I don’t just “think” it so. I think carefully about the whole of life.

  23. Keith Perry on 15 June 2020 at 4:47 pm

    Hello Paul from San Marcos TX,
    Your instruction has helped my greatly – I was able to tune up a Bailey 5 1/2 that has sat idle for 50 yrs + from my Great Grandfather and put it to use making a bench from Red Oak. I’ve really enjoyed learning these methods and that plane is my favorite.

  24. Nik Cheeseman on 15 June 2020 at 6:56 pm

    Hi Paul,
    Where are you getting your Rice Paper from? I have had to order mine directly from Japan and it was expensive.

  25. Joe Renta on 15 June 2020 at 7:22 pm

    It is interesting. As my wife and I are packing up to watch 3 of our grandkids (8,8,&5) our focus has been on how to keep them busy.
    After reading Paul’s comments I believe I will load up a tool tote with some saws, bits & brace, marking gauges and more. I have no doubt we can have a day long workshop of wood easily enough with them. The next day will be a painting workshop.
    It will be just fine.
    Joe

  26. Paul Boegel on 15 June 2020 at 8:05 pm

    I totally understand where you are coming from Paul. I feel the same way and have been doing this since I was a child. Sadly we are a very small part of the population. I cannot imagine not working with my hands and at 70yrs old now I still derive great satisfaction with either making something I need because I am either unable to afford it or unable to buy it. I am asked frequently by mystified people “what do you do?” The answer is invariably “whatever I want”. I am so easily bored so my workshop has many opportunities to deal with that. Make a new tool rack, fix a broken piece of furniture someone has left in our back alley, clean up, sort mysteries and on and on. Worst case is I can always sweep the floor. Life is good. I feel for those that have no hobbies. Life must be really boring for those poor souls. My wife is looking for a t shirt that says ” I make stuff” .

  27. Stephen Tyrrell on 16 June 2020 at 12:25 am

    Hi Paul
    Your videos and tutorials have given me a pathway to a creative “retirement” when I finally stop working for others, albeit in a few years yet. In the meantime, I take so much joy in practising the skills I am learning every weekend.

  28. John James on 16 June 2020 at 1:06 pm

    I think that you never retire from what you are, i.e. you, Paul, are a master craftsman and will ever be so. I am a musician and will be to my last puff. Although it is what I do, it is also what I am – cut me through and you see the word “musician” running through me like a stick of rock!
    Therefore for both of us retirement must seem like a forcible termination of what and who we are.
    Ultimate satisfaction stems from continuing in those occupations and actions that are part of us being a craftsman/musician/artist. And furthermore, I think our output improves with age.

  29. Duane of Raleigh on 16 June 2020 at 5:11 pm

    Paul, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying your videos for a few months now; been a DIYer for many years and am now recently retired. With the pandemic lock-down I’ve been remodeling my small workshop and building or rebuilding stands for my larger pieces of equipment.
    I’ve a request. There is lots of information on joinery skills; how to make a mortise & tenon joint or cut dove tails (yours being among the best imho). However, there is little info on _when_ to use a particular joint. I would greatly appreciate hearing your thoughts on this topic for us newbies to finer woodworking.
    I wish you many more 10 hr. days of making – we all are better for it. 🙂

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