Between Christmas and New year is often a good time for reflection and the best way for reflection is a really good cleanup! I was so busy in the last month trying to meet all of the deadlines and making sure I wasn’t the bottleneck to others completing their work and keeping to schedule.

Putting tools away sharp and ready, sweeping my work areas, office and so on is probably one of my greatest rewards. Fewer emails and phone calls, calls from others I work with, gave me a freedom to be thorough and I recalled a year ago doing exactly the same thing. Emptying waste bins, bagging shavings and scraps for the chicken coup and the fireplaces of friends and neighbours is actually fun for me.

I even like to deliver them. If I don’t have time I leave them outside the house leaning against the brick wall with a sign and four or five bags are all gone within just a few minutes. When I had a woodstove I fuelled my winter heat for free every year and kept my family warm without using a log saw or splitting stems and branches (which I always enjoyed too).

I think that this year has been an empowering year in so many years. Despite the restrictions, my workload increased by 25% at least. Making sure we kept people ‘in school‘ was a challenge. I ended up doing my own videoing for a season and that was a learning curve for me, but I was driven and drive took me through. I face new challenges for this coming year but with so many hundreds of foundational videos under our belt, we have a sure and solid training library for everyone to learn from. This too amazes me. I recall making our first video series in my back garden in June 2012. It was yet another one of those, “We didn’t know we couldn’t do it so we did it!” We had two inexpensive camcorders to work with and we just did it! Over the 11-part series it’s had over three million views and I remember at some point, when I saw that 25 people had viewed it, saying to Joseph, “Is this really a good way to reach people!” Hmm!

Of course, my goal then wasn’t numbers but outreach with a message — Yes you can make anything from wood with just a few hand tools. That has been my message for thirty-plus years to date and now, with almost half a million followers on YouTube and of course, my woodworking masterclasses courses, common woodworking and so on we are now able to reach many millions in a month around the world. Marvellous to think my work is so unending!

As I close my year with a good clean-up and session on tool maintenance my mind is racing ahead to 2021. I am about to start another rocking chair in January. A brand new design unseen anywhere except in my head and on my rough plans will come together over the coming weeks. This design is specifically for the houseful of furniture, a one-of-a-kind-design and a first in a series of dozens of pieces planned to become known shortly as Sellers home! I will be bringing you on the journey with me so don’t worry about missing a step. Planification is not commonly used outside of French speakers. Planify and planifying are also used but minimally. The verb, planify simply means to plan but as I understand it also includes strategising. Planification is a noun refers simply to the actual process of planning and organising, a sort of economic organisation if you will; strategising! So here I am on my own in the workshop planifying my economic moves through the coming weeks as best I can. I am sure you will understand!

19 Comments

  1. Simon on 29 December 2020 at 12:40 pm

    Paul, thank you and your team for everything you have put out for us this year! Looking forward to every new piece of furniture and all the learning opportunities you’re going to bring us in 2021!
    Cheers

  2. Ronald A Heberle on 29 December 2020 at 1:17 pm

    I have learned a lot reading both of your books and watching many of your You Tube video’s. Thanks for getting me interested in hand tool woodworking. I look forward to 2021, Happy New Year.

  3. Pe McC on 29 December 2020 at 1:42 pm

    Paul, I eagerly awaited each of those 2012 ‘back garden’ videos and watched them as you released them. So, I may have been one of those 25 viewers. Later used those vids as reference while I built the smaller version as you released those videos. I use the workbench daily and have added all the improvements. I do watch all of your vids and learn something new with each project though I don’t build all of them. I have been building with wood all of my life, from barns to boats, and thank you for the instruction you provide. Like you, I use some machines when necessary, but haven’t used my table saws for two years. Your saw sharpening videos helped me refurbish two vintage rip saws and I haven’t looked back. Thanks again, I do appreciate everything that you and your team publish.

  4. Bill H on 29 December 2020 at 1:51 pm

    Happy New Year Paul. I was, one of many I’m sure, that built a workbench based on you backyard videos years ago. I’ve since added a drawer and decided to move the 2 2×4 slabs together so I have a 24” workspace.

    I’ve been so waiting to follow you along on your Brazos style rocker ever since I started seeing pictures in your blogs along the way. The Craftsman style is nice but the Brazos really caught my eye!

    Wishing you good luck for a productive 2021…..and can’t wait for your Essential Woodworking book to show up at my door here in the USA.

  5. Roberto Fischer on 29 December 2020 at 2:15 pm

    I’d love if, although it sound unlikely, the house furniture included a bunk bed. I want to build one for my children for narrow twin mattress sizes, none of the ridiculously wide standard american stuff that won’t leave any room in their bedroom.

    • Paul Sellers on 29 December 2020 at 8:35 pm

      I do plan to include bunk beds in the houseful as I want the series to be as inclusive as possible.

  6. Paul Boegel on 29 December 2020 at 4:55 pm

    Yes, tis time for cleanup. Here in Vancouver the blocks have alleyways in the middle of the blocks and the scroungers cruise them all day long. I have seen the alley cruisers run on a 5 minute timetable sometimes so getting rid of certain items is easy. I box up my unwanted scraps and leave them out because a lot of the apartments around have fireplaces. I breed rats to feed my Ball Python(a rescue) and use the shavings from my thickness planer for bedding. I hope to build my bench shortly. I have the Western Maple (much less expensive than Eastern Maple and nearly as hard) so once organizing/cleanup/sharpening is accomplished it will be time to get on with it. As always your posts are entertaining and enlightening. Thanks Paul and Happy Newyear to you and everyone on this site. And many more…..

  7. James Vibert on 29 December 2020 at 5:07 pm

    After spending decades earning a living in woodworking (surrounded by heavy cast iron and high horse power) with minimal time at the bench my biggest takeaway from all these fine videos is the critical need for razor sharp tools. Thank you Paul! My chisels and plane blades have never been sharper.

  8. james Monette on 29 December 2020 at 5:49 pm

    Your information is the go-to place for knowledge of woodworking. I have now been inspired to clean out my shop. My wife has promised me I can buy a Band Saw when I do. Great! I can also find my lost and misplaced tools.

  9. John Allsop on 29 December 2020 at 6:04 pm

    When second hand and vintage hand routers are selling on eBay for the price of a new one, and brand new routers are all on wait lists. There appears to be an upsurge in the need for quality hand tools. I believe that with all the time we have in our workshops due to all the restrictions we are all experiencing. Paul, I am sure, you have inspired so many craftsmen and women to get back to working and making projects from our natural resource of wood timber, new and second hand. I look forward to reading you blogs and the new projects you will build, in the New Year.

    • Paul Sellers on 29 December 2020 at 8:48 pm

      Hard to imagine but just seven years ago, when I started showing how the router could really really be used, the prices shot through the roof and have remained there since. No one I ever met or knew in the industry developed a routing system that would take thousands of the face of a tenon to create perfect fits. There is much more to the hand router than most woodworkers know and certainly not the machinists.

  10. Tony Morley... vern on 30 December 2020 at 7:32 pm

    Paul .what to say
    I’m 51 and last year at 50 I started into woodworking .. didn’t have a clue .. I’d spent many years in the forces ,but always had a real appreciation for the beauty in wood , and always wondered if I could turn my hand to it .. I can’t think of how many times I’ve made a box or tried to make the simple things without success .. though I have turned a lot of Good wood into nice fire wood ,,, I’ve wanted to walk away so many times .. but with the help of you tube .. I’ve stuck at it .. though I’ve probably spent more time watching yourself than I have in the shed .. It’s been a real interesting year .. hopefully this time next year I’ll be cutting and fixing square 😂😂 looking forward to the next season of your you tube .. and am always looming back for help regards and all the best .. vern

  11. Christopher Barnes on 30 December 2020 at 8:25 pm

    Hi Paul and team,

    I just want to say thank you and Happy New Year. The workbench in the garden was as much and inspiration to many of us as Instruction. You made us believe we could do it too. For that I thank you. Please always know how much you do for your students in the area of giving them confidence in addition to all your skill and techniques.

    Thanks again!

    Chris from Florida

  12. Ashley Young on 4 January 2021 at 12:31 am

    Paul, I think the first video I watched was you restoring a hand plane. After that is when I saw the work bench being built in the backyard. It seemed like you were having such a good time making that workbench. You just seemed so relaxed. I have to say that is likely my favorite series. This made me wonder do you and the team have a series that sticks out as the most fun or your favorite? I was just curious.

    Thanks for all you and the rest of the team do. Happy New Year an I look forward to your upcoming videos!

  13. Kieran Foster on 4 January 2021 at 3:11 pm

    Can’t wait to see the house becoming a home, full of hand made furniture. Really looking forward to it. Thanks Paul.

  14. Joe Renta on 4 January 2021 at 4:48 pm

    Getting rid of scrap? Oh how hard it is to do. A handful here & there won’t do. Ok Paul, I’ll do it. If you can, so can I. 😭
    A blessed 2021 to you, your family, and team.
    Joe

  15. Lou Adzima on 4 January 2021 at 4:57 pm

    Clean UP? Has my wife been talking to you again?

  16. Dom on 4 January 2021 at 7:44 pm

    My workbench is still going strong from that video series in 2012, it will no doubt outlast me and I certainly learned more technique in building it than I have since I was at school…

    Have a great new year.

  17. Franc Anderson on 7 January 2021 at 9:35 pm

    Hi Paul, I can’t remember how many had already viewed your garden workbench video, but it was my 2nd woodworking project: the first, a mahogany coffee table having been started but unfinished 36 years earlier at night classes. So at 68 years old, I built your bench in our 3rd floor flat in Budapest. Now 72, I’ve put in 4 very enjoyable years of woodwork and watched I-don’t-know-how-many of your so thankfully received videos. This comment then just to say a huge thank you for instruction and example so honestly given (and in real time; no idiot fast frame nonsense.) A very happy and prosperous New Year to you, Paul.

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