The lockdown and such has given me less time than ever but I did get through the added projects and never missed a step in keeping all of the regular work totally on track. That’s thanks to everyone I share my life with at work. Thanks, Joseph, Izzy, Natalie, Mark and Will, though he had to self isolate for a period because of the virus.

Personally, I did film ten additional projects over and above the call of duty and then too totally for free. Some long sessions took me hours to both make, design but then, additionally, to film and review. One of them, the sandbox, ended up as a three hour long video but I have to say it is pretty good.

I took three days out this week to categorise tools. I would say I have ten percent done, sorted, boxed and totally identified as well as graded to condition. This is my archive and research material. Nothing to do with my user tools, student tools etc. I have decisions to make.

I have been amazed at just what came my way. I mean, do I need fifteen 16″ handsaws? Well, actually, yes I do, but when my life working wood comes to an end they will go back into circulation I should think. I have cut planes in two, cannibsalised others to make one good one out of three rather than hold onto three bad ones, things like that. It’s well worth taking a plate from one saw to restore another and vice versa if the pitting or bend cannot be fixed, don’t you think?

Planes and saws, chisels and so on will not disappear from eBay any time soon. The UK was amazingly productive for centuries in its tool making and at the present rate of user use of all areas, there will be an excess for the next 500 years even if no other planes, saws, scrapers, hand routers, etc, etc are ever made. Did you realise that if every modern maker were to shut down there would be enough hand tools for us all for many centuries? None of them have come up with a new tool that doesn’t exist for close to 250 years. We’re safe and secure on that front. Bags of saws and planes out there. Gives me a warm fuzzy feeling knowing everyone in the woodworking world will always be able to buy a Stanley #4, #5, and such, forever and for under £40 or so.

38 Comments

  1. Jean Claude Peeters on 19 June 2020 at 8:54 pm

    And you Paul, are the instigator : ). Now we are digging up all the old tools, learning to use them and passing them on to future generations.
    All credit to you.

    • Ermir on 20 June 2020 at 12:13 pm

      Yes, you are right! On some occasions I bought old tools I learned to restore from Paul’s blog and videos, to “save” them. For 3 euros and a couple of hours of work now a carefully made one hundred year old saw lives again.

    • Sherri Warnock on 21 June 2020 at 12:09 am

      I have some tools that once belonged to my great grandfather who died in 1915. He was a joiner in coal mines in Lancashire. My grandson has taken an interest in wood working. I don’t know much but I know a bit. Enough to keep us safe. So, we are learning to use these tools together. He thinks he has the coolest granny ever.

      • Geoff Lynes on 22 June 2020 at 6:18 pm

        Sherri – fantastic that you have managed to retain these, your grandson will be learning with his great, great, great grandfathers tools, how wonderful. I suspect there are few that can boast that!

  2. Meith on 19 June 2020 at 10:43 pm

    Could I buy one of your 16” saws? It’s all I have space for. I’m constantly avoiding the wall or washing machine with a saw any longer in my cramped workspace.

    • John Stegall on 20 June 2020 at 2:17 pm

      Meith, could you just cutdown a longer saw? I bought one at a garage sale (or car boot sale) for 1usd. It is 28” long but I only bought it for the handle. Then found a handle pattern online and used it instead. Cutting it down is my plan.

  3. Ermir on 20 June 2020 at 12:26 pm

    Mr. Sellers, I wanted to thank you particularly for the photos you post! It is a way for us to learn not only about tools, wood and techniques, but also about working patterns, shop configuration and useful solutions in support activities around the shop. For example, I adopted your transparent box idea some time ago – very effective.

  4. Thomas in Vermont on 20 June 2020 at 12:45 pm

    If the makers of new hand tools are in competition with the millions of existing ones, what does that mean for their viability? Is reinventing the wheel justifiable? Or are their products superior in some ways? Just asking.

  5. Stuart Heathcote on 20 June 2020 at 1:15 pm

    Paul
    We talk about buying and restoring a Stanley Number 4 that we have acquired, perhaps on ebay, for what seems like very little money. I would like to ask what proportion of an apprentices wages would it have taken to buy that plane if he had been buying it new. Would he have been able to easily afford it or would he have been paying back his employer, or his parents, a few shilling a week because he could not afford the original purchase himself.? My early Tool Making days were full of the problem. How was it for Woodworkers.?

    • Simon on 21 June 2020 at 7:57 am

      I think Paul mentioned on his blog that his first #4 cost him a full week’s wage.

    • nemo on 21 June 2020 at 6:12 pm

      Mr. Sellers wrote about it in a previous blog post:

      https://paulsellers.com/2018/08/plane-speaking/

      Personally, I’m curious how the price translated to the wage of a working man, say, George. My guess is a day’s work of wages.

  6. Ernie on 20 June 2020 at 1:15 pm

    Hello, just want to thank you for passing on your skills and methods.
    I see too many retired people with great skills that are retired and setting around complaing of nothing to do. What a waste.
    Sorry, just venting

    • Wayne Whalen on 20 June 2020 at 1:24 pm

      Ernie, where i live they usually spend the day chasing a little white ball around a cow pasture!

  7. Chris Hollowood on 20 June 2020 at 1:45 pm

    Thanks Paul for all your thoughts and videos. As newly retired I thought it was time to return to woodwork- serious planing probably stopped after three years at school – but I guarantee everyone in “Lofty’s” class will remember “Measure twice cut once” a mantra I use every time I pick up a tool. Meanwhile there is a Stanley 4# on the kitchen table in pieces waiting for some sanding while I wait for the diamond plates to arrive….

  8. Al on 20 June 2020 at 3:06 pm

    Yes I agree that there is a tremendous abundance of vintage had tools in circulation. But something seems to have changed on eBay recently, at least here in the US. Prices have gone crazy with No 4 Stanley planes routinely selling for $80 – $120 and up that would have sold for under $50 last year. A clean type 16 No 4 just sold for $182.50! A 4 1/2, even in rough condition, is untouchable for under $100.

    I am constantly on the lookout for a good deal on Stanley 78 or a Record 45, but when you find one that is complete, the prices quickly jump to $150+ and become too rich for my blood. I don’t even bother looking at the Stanley 71s anymore (I ended up buying a Veritas router plane).

    This seems to be a local phenomenon as the selling prices on the eBay UK and Australian sites seem a bit more reasonable. Worse, I suspect that many of the US buyers that are driving up the prices are collectors that never intend to put them to use.

    I will keep using my type 20 No 4 (a much maligned model, but with a bit of fettling is serving me well) and continue to watch with patience and hopefully stumble across a good deal.

    • Wayne on 20 June 2020 at 4:13 pm

      Al,
      Take a look at your local auction sites. I just obtained a Stanley #4 and a Disston dovetail saw plus a few other odds and ends for 20$. Local pickup might be necessary but some do ship. Good hunting.

      • Al on 20 June 2020 at 10:38 pm

        Wayne,
        Any tips on where to find local auctions?

    • nemo on 20 June 2020 at 9:27 pm

      I too have basically given up on finding a #71-ish router. Prices are beyond comprehension. But I have two wooden routers, one of which I made myself from a hardened Allen-wrench. They both work fine and get the job done just as well. That’s the nice thing about woodworking, there’s hardly a tool you can’t make yourself. The ‘poor man’s router’ and other poor man’s tools are a good starting point. I’m actually contemplating to have a #71 copied and cast from bronze at a local foundry using the original as pattern. Amazingly, there’s still a foundry left in the area (there were many more in the past, they all stopped in the ’80s). Doubting between that and building my own from stainless steel. Still pondering which route to take.

      In the mean time, I’m very grateful to mr. Sellers for not posting a picture of the plastic box with the routers. Very considerate and understanding, and the gesture is much appreciated. (off-topic, but I watched an old video a few days ago where I spotted no less than seven routers in one shot, hanging from the cabinet in the castle, including a nice shiny golden one. I calmly counted to 10 whilst consciously paying attention to my breathing and I was just fine.

      • John2v on 20 June 2020 at 11:28 pm

        Joseph, Paul’s son, made the “gold one”. How lovely is that

    • Wayne Whalen on 20 June 2020 at 9:44 pm

      I know a lot of people go for the used stuff but i don’t want to have 16 used saws like Paul and need to catalogue them. I don’t see the advantage of paying for 16 used saws when i can selectively pick two or three new saws that really work well from the get go. Quality not quantity for me makes more sense. I bought a Veritas Low Angle Jack plane that is a dream to use so what more do i need. I also bought the large Veritas router plane and its great and works well. I bought an Atoma 1200 diamond stone and have ordered an Ezy Lap 600/250 and a leather strop to keep my tools sharp. When Veritas stocks upon there Mark II deluxe honing jig i will buy one one those. As it is i’m having trouble finding a nest for the tools i am buying let alone a pile of old planes. I love my Japanese pull saws. Now we must remember that Paul accumulated these tools over 50 years and most of us won’t live another 50 to catch nor should we try. Also perish the thought that people like Lee Valley would stop making these great tools because no one was buying them anymore.

      • Jason on 21 June 2020 at 8:09 am

        Paul also teaches a lot of woodworking classes in person, which is why he needs so many saws and planes, etc. They are for his students.

        • nemo on 21 June 2020 at 11:14 am

          He mentioned that these are not his user tools or for his students, only those for research purposes. (Incidentally, that reminds me of my grandfather who used to have a bottle of Scotch, for medicinal purposes).

          Like medication, research need not be dull and boring….

        • Wayne Whalen on 21 June 2020 at 1:39 pm

          Hi Jason, i think Paul gathered most of those tools before he ever thought about teaching classes and thats fine if that what he likes to do, collectors collect stuff whether it be stamps or model planes. What my take is that if someone is starting out into woodworking is buy a few good tools as opposed to buying a bunch of old tools that need a lot of work to bring them back to life. Then there is the argument that some don’t have the money but i see a lot of people who don’t have money with a cigarette or a soft drink or whatever in their hands and i say set your priorities in life right and you will have the things that you need.

      • Michael Ballinger on 22 June 2020 at 12:01 am

        Yeah I’ve had terrible luck with used saws and I think it’s because I lack the skill to restore them, in the end I just bought two new saws at different times, a 10tpi panel saw and a dovetail saw, those two do everything for me. Old planes, augers and chisels are all good.

  9. David Grindel on 20 June 2020 at 7:29 pm

    Paul,
    A question on the Hissy snake. What’s the size of your kerf for all the wiggly snake parts ? I have a Stanley Fine Cut Back saw with a kerf of a little over 1 mm. Do think that may be too big ? You brought that up as the concern for pinching little fingers.
    Thanks much for wonderful videos. I’m learning so much.
    Dave

  10. Gary Pitzer on 20 June 2020 at 8:16 pm

    Paul. Where could I find a Stanley hammer with cross peen like you use?

  11. Richard Long on 20 June 2020 at 9:55 pm

    I’m not sure if I or anyone else for that matter really comprehends the underlying and subtle but yet vital message that comes through from your teachings. I started off following your youtube videos and like most I suppose, I was enchanted and interested. Over the past few years I have to be honest that I only check in now and then with your blog where before I couldn’t wait for your next blog post. But what I have realised more and more as time passed is that the fundamental ethos and style of your teaching had embedded a certain attitude for working that has been extremely valuable and irreplaceable. Time and again I have found what I learnt from you continually genuine, absolutely useful and without gimmick. You are quite frankly, a rare quality in today’s world, Thank you Paul

  12. David Grindel on 20 June 2020 at 11:00 pm

    Richard,
    Well put. I agree 100 percent. Paul is dedicated to doing in not only correct but he strives for absolute perfection! Which I think he achieves in so many ways. Thank you Paul.

  13. John2v on 20 June 2020 at 11:39 pm

    Paul you have hit on a very common problem with this blog
    WHAT TO DO WITH OUR TREASURED TOOLS WHEN WE FALL OF THE PERCH.?
    I have loads of planes, saws, hand routers, rebate planes……plus wooden moulders……simply loads. One of my worries while I am still kicking is what will happen to them…..my dear son has no interest…..he would use a wood chisel to open a tin of paint!!! or mallet to hit a 4″ nail!!
    I have told him “give them to Paul”

    • Michael Watts on 21 June 2020 at 7:38 am

      To John2v who was asking what to do with his tools when he is no longer able to use them. Find your nearest Men’s Shed and donate them or let your friends and relatives know that’s where you want them to go. Our Men’s shed has benefitted greatly from a number of donations of lovely old tools which will now continue to be used for many years to come.

    • Al on 21 June 2020 at 2:31 pm

      My hope is that my grandson (just a little over 1 year old now) will take up an interest and carry on.

      My grandfather was a machinist and I have two beautiful Brown and Sharpe micrometers from him. I also have a stubby screwdriver from him that I use almost daily. It makes me smile to think this little screwdriver is probably close to 100 years old and still in use.

      My father was not anywhere near as prolific a tool collector as I am, but I have quite a few hand tools that he handed down to me in daily use too. Simple things like a center punch, a tack hammer, a coping saw, and assorted files.

      One of my biggest regrets was not paying more attention many, many years ago (when I was younger an more naive) when my father sold off a bunch of “old junk”. I am guessing that there were some tools in that pile that I probably would be thrilled to get my hands on today.

  14. Samuel on 21 June 2020 at 1:26 am

    Anyone who has tools and had learned how to use them should be giving the joy of self determination away, and the tools follow along.
    So that where your tools will go, if u have put the time in to use them wisely yourself.
    That’s the point of this whole blog.
    Note to self

  15. Croatian Learner on 21 June 2020 at 2:19 am

    I wish I could relate. Where I live there are no metal planes to buy. Hardly any woodworking tools at all. Which is not surprising since trees are scarce and the trade has never realy developed. In the old days when houses were still built from stone first step was to find trees for the roof. Because the length of the logs would dictate the width of the house.

  16. Ivanhoe on 21 June 2020 at 10:54 am

    Croatian Learner, I’m glad someone else too from Croatia has found Paul. Bok, kompa! 🙂

  17. Steve P on 21 June 2020 at 5:46 pm

    I read somewhere something like “when I die, my greatest feat is that my wife sells my tools for what I told her I paid for them”.

  18. Andy A on 22 June 2020 at 2:08 pm

    I’m a little bit younger than Paul but well into my 60s, I followed a different path through my life, using hand tools on car bodies, seemed strange to me in later life when woodwork at school was the only thing I was good at, top of the class “small boast” however I digress. After coming across Pauls YouTube channel a year or so ago I have got back into woodworking, I have made Paul’s type of bench and somehow managed to collect lots of quite rusty saw’s, about 20 after making the saw clamp with my new 22in S&J cross cut, I cleaned the rust off an old saw with a really nice handle looks like Superior Quality on the emblem, so not the best or worse, after I sharpened using Paul’s teaching as a rip cut I was delighted how well it ripped down a bit of 3×2. Now having a count of my tool collection I was surprised just how many I had got in about 18 months 20+ saw’s 5 planes 6 with my Stanley #71 40+ chisels plus many others hand tools, my point is if I can collect this amount in about 18 months how many has Paul collected in 50 plus years, thank you Paul for keep passing on your knowledge.

    • Mic on 25 June 2020 at 1:09 pm

      Ah yes, Andy A, the Buying Phase. I went throught exactly the same for 18 months when I started woodworking, but was luckily limited by a lack of space. I always reach for the same tools anyway, so why all these other planes ‘n chisels ‘n saws?
      Most of them are restoration projects which I’m sure I’ll come to one day, and then maybe will use more tools than the few. For now I’ve put a cap on new old tools unless it’s a good bargain.

      M

  19. James Foy on 22 June 2020 at 11:18 pm

    Gary Pitzer, I don’t know where you can get a Stanley hammer but Faithful make a perfectly acceptable Warrington pattern hammer and reasonably priced. Hope this helps. Regards Jim.

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