Well, we are not post COVID, but I wasn’t sure how everyone felt about COVID-19 in their particular sphere of creativity. It has been a sad year for many in that they have suffered losses in the people they loved and were close to and then of course there has been so much fear surrounding the pandemic by way of losing what was once normal to them. In some ways, we must face a more uncertain future resulting from the global impact on every quarter of our lives and yet this week I did sense a few periodic bubbles of joy as I heard things unheard for a few weeks. In my world the year 2020 improved my vision for the future. I designed over 20 things I might never have made and I cleared a huge backlog of disorder to archive most of everything I own. Clearing the decks is important to my future work as we expand our offerings to include the houseful of furniture for sellershome.com. This is not a new thing for me so this I do several times in the year, but with moving workshops twice, things accumulate that cannot be categorised at the time for different reasons. When of my best achievements was the categorisation and archiving of hand tools and other aspects of equipment etc. I feel quite proud of this as I can now type in travisher and Ormskirk slitting gauge and find bith in two clicks of a mouse (except I haven’t used a mouse in ten years or more).

I had my COVID injection a little over a week ago and i did affect me a little for a couple of days. I thought seriously about it as the possibility neared and I had no doubt that it would be a good thing for me to have it. The NHS and the volunteers were wonderful and I can’t imagine how anything could be better organised. Hard to imagine 16 million people vaccinated in so short a time. Well done NHS.

I feel that my sanity has been saved by the return of my social sanity partners in the presence of those I have worked with through the years. On the east side of my garage workshop wall I have Jack, Hannah and John who bless me with questions day in day out as they make. On the north side of the bricks is everyone who actually provides life support to me in the form of video, social media interaction, general office needs and editorial work. Much of this takes place at home these days and why not if it keeps everyone safe. Of course. some things cannot be home-based and so I do get to see each person from time to time. It is hard to believe that it has been a year since we were trying to decide whether this virus was real or not but within a week or so of this date a year ago we suddenly knew this was the verge of a p[andemic that would rock the world.

My creative sphere is in a pretty near constant state of flux. One minute I’m neat and tidy and the next a dozen clamps find space to rest on the floor after I just dismantled an assembly to release bent wood from its constraints in a caul. Several rocking chairs rest round me and I am busy on the final version as we film it.

Over the weekend I made the living room at the house ready for its first hand-made piece in the Living room series. I have a two-and-a-bit-person leather couch being delivered in the morning and within a few days, my rocking chair will be there too. I say all of this because I wanted two more coats of floor finish on the floor well in time for it to cure before furniture goes on it. I am so happy with the discovery of the wooden herringbone pattern beneath the old carpet and lino. It looks so lovely now and I picture a couple of rugs there to make it pleasant. This coming week I can hopefully finish the cherry rocking chair. I am so close, then I can start the next piece. I have about ten pieces to make for this room so I am looking forward to the coming weeks.

I’m truly hoping that this will indeed inspire everyone to consider making their own houseful of furniture and that all of you will join me on the journey. I have some more very exciting news for you all but I’ll save that for another post soon.

Okay, all of my friends, be safe, be well and as a friend of mine who is native American Hopi Indian says, “Be Hopi!”

21 Comments

  1. Dimitrios Arethas on 15 February 2021 at 7:58 pm

    Paul, you have brought so many of us inexpressible joy watching you create and share your knowledge. I am very thankful for this wealth of information you have left for us. While this virus has indeed brought some great pain and sorrow, without it, I am sure I speak for many, that we would have not found what truly matters in life. And without your videos, I would have not owned a hand plane! Very glad you received the vaccine. Thank you so much for all you do.

  2. Joe on 16 February 2021 at 12:53 am

    Thanks Paul. It has been a tough year for sure. I used to visit my dad every week and spend at least one night a week with him. I started doing that when he was in his late 70s and have been doing it for the past 5 years. I have only seen him twice in the past year. He had a huge tree fall over from a windstorm about 5 years ago and destroy his garage. He re-rebuilt his garage even bigger and put in a nice workbench. The plan is that I will woodwork there so rather than watch TV, we will chat while I woodwork. The plan in late 2019 was to build a tool chest so that I could take my tools there to work. Well, early 2020 changed things. I’m guessing in about 6 months or less, we will both be vaccinated and I will not worry about getting him ill. I can’t wait to finally be in that shop woodworking and spending time with my father. To celebrate the event, I am going to splurge and build something out of walnut.

    • Steve P on 16 February 2021 at 6:25 am

      Hey Joe,

      I know the feeling, my mom is 84 with pre-existing conditions, so I have seen her 3 times the past year, from outside through the screen door with masks on. No more visiting for coffee on weekends and random visits. I already lost 2 friends from this. Can’t wait til everyone is vaccinated. Stay safe all!

  3. Andrew on 16 February 2021 at 1:20 pm

    Storage and archiving is something I’ve been able to address in the covid period I’ve made the garage tidy by installing shelves and found they gave faster, much-improved access to tools and materials as well as more floor space. My long, low loft now has a fixed “M1” of boards in place. This carries a trolley along its length, guided by a wooden rail; “my loft railway”. The trolley can carry tools, materials and boxes of junk. I get on it too, kneeling on a soft pad. So that lifetime of near-worthless junk “my valuable treasures” will be sifted and sorted onto newly boarded areas, or sent on its last journey to the tip. First though I’ll install some long, low-profile fluorescent led lights. …….. It never stops, does it?…. I wish I’d thought of providing “infrastructure” when I was young, but the career got in the way.

  4. tim ziegler on 16 February 2021 at 2:26 pm

    Paul,

    I just want to take this opportunity to say, “Thank you”.
    I had been woodworking for many years before finding you. I had always hoped to find someone that would guide me into being a better, a more proficient worker of wood and that has been you!
    I feel like I have been an apprentice of yours since having found you online. Thank you for your patience, your kindness and willingness to share your gift of knowledge.
    I wish you the very best Paul, take care!

    Tim

    • Paul Sellers on 16 February 2021 at 4:15 pm

      Tim, You are so very, very welcome, as are all of you others who send me a note to encourage me now and then. One day maybe we can pull together something that will show others how much real woodworking has impacted their lives and can and has changed the world around them. Two articles by journalists with information directly from me in recent months have made me even more aware of how articles writers write are actually part of an agenda and that agenda at best trivialises true craft. What’s often written in the press is so carefully massaged and manipulated to say what wasn’t actually said but has that ever-important grain of truth to it. Hence, perhaps, some will realise the reason for my defence of my craft under the onslaught by these self-proclaimed influencers–those who so far have shown that they actually know just about nothing about craft, its significance through the centuries, at least beyond what they picked up from something they likely read in the hairdressers. Hmm, hmm, hmm!

  5. Kent HANSEN on 16 February 2021 at 3:15 pm

    All the best for the new year, Paul! Hopefully, we’ll be beyond Covid this year and we’ll all have the opportunity to normalise! Thanks, as always, for what you do. You’ve doubtlessly helped hundreds of thousands thrive through this pandemic as you have me through your teaching.

  6. Bryan on 16 February 2021 at 8:45 pm

    Congrats on getting your vaccine shot, Paul!

    My year of Covid has turned into a year of woodworking. I had never done any woodworking (power tools or hand tools) aside from a class in 8th grade, but always had an interest. I bought a cabin a few years ago and decided to stay there as much as possible when the pandemic started. One day in June 2020 I decided to try to cut a dovetail by hand without watching a tutorial or anything like that. It turned out terrible of course, but I decided that I could figure it out — but I had no idea where to look. I didn’t know if I should get a power router or what. Somehow I found one of your videos and it was like a breath of fresh air. You’ve simplified what we really need to own and have created a great online course from which to learn.

    I soon had a set of Narex chisels, a Veritas carcass saw, some clamps, etc., and followed your dovetail box video to make two boxes that turned out better than I expected. From there I bought your book, made a hanging wall shelf, a workbench with shelves and drawer, a table, stool, spoons, etc. by July. Since I started, I get up early in the morning to work a couple hours before my day job (luckily I can work from my cabin), work a bit a noon maybe, and work a couple hours after work. I’ve built the desktop organizer, three canes, a keepsake box, multiple nicer dovetail boxes, the bread stow, soup spoons, cutting boards, and most recently the craftsman rocking chair (I added a rocking foot rest for it too). I’m currently working on the traveling joiner’s toolbox.

    Anyway, because of you I’ve learned way more than I thought I would in such a short amount of time. It’s really made this pandemic manageable for me. Thanks a ton!

    • Samuel on 18 February 2021 at 11:12 am

      Wow Bryan! U rock!

  7. Stephen on 17 February 2021 at 12:09 am

    Some rambling and loosely relevant (if that) thoughts here, Paul: part of my daily life is listening to music. While I enjoy a number of genres ancient and modern, at breakfast I want something calming and gentle to start the day. Today that meant some renaissance and baroque lute music, played by the magnificent Jakob Lindberg. Until recently I would only have recognized the artistry of Lindberg and of the various composers whose music he plays. But now, in part due to you, I know that I am indebted to other artists also, the makers who created the instruments that the musicians play. In this case we know their names. Lindberg was playing an eight course lute built by Sixtus Rauwolf of Augsburg in about 1590. The lute was converted into an eleven course instrument by Leonard Mausiel of Nuremberg in 1715. It was recently restored in London by Stephen Gottlieb, Michael Lowe, and David Munro. There is a history of artistry in wood in every note. http://www.editor.net/lutemaker/restoration/rauwolf.html

    Now, I have no illusions that I will or can become a luthier. My ambition at present is to build a pair of footstools that will be useful and beautiful enough that someone in the family will want to use them after my own extremities have passed beyond the need of such furnishings. But even I never should succeed in that task, I will listen with greater content and pleasure knowing just a little bit more of the craft with wood which has shaped the notes I am hearing. Thank you for your part in that learning.

  8. JohnM on 17 February 2021 at 5:27 am

    I posted a long posting to the blog yesterday, on this thread, which appears to have been deleted. Are there any rules/guidelines for postings? My apologies for breaking the rules. Thanks

    • Paul Sellers on 17 February 2021 at 6:35 am

      Were there URLs in the comment, John? If so they will not automatically go up but are not deleted. I probably didn’t get to it. I really don’t like spam and such nor people using the site for advertising even if it is not for them. I generally do not promote products myself. I like the site clean.

      • JohnM on 18 February 2021 at 6:50 am

        There were URLs in the posting. I know for next time. Thanks Paul

        • Paul Sellers on 18 February 2021 at 7:59 am

          Thank you for understanding, John. And it is kind to put links in, it is just frustrating to me, sometimes, when, for instance, a company seems at first to be gushing with praise about a blog and then add a link that then introduces a product from a company that might or might not be related to woodworking but is purely done in order to get sales by piggybacking my clean blog in tandem with something I usually would not approve of. Better that I just volunteer myself by using and giving credibility to products I have tried and feel good about in my videos. The last thing I want is to sponsor what I don’t believe is at all necessary. Hence, I take no sponsorship even though it might give me an extra income source per year per sponsor. These people mostly miss the point altogether and think that money speaks louder than my work’s importance to me. I could never sell myself or those that I work with and alongside to anyone. I do not do what I do to make money or to sell products, even though I do make a living by creating very unique and uncopied content. I make my money because I work and the rewards of working is only in part earning income; “The labourer is worthy of his hire”. I don’t work to live, I live to work!

  9. JD on 22 February 2021 at 2:10 pm

    Glad to hear of your success with the COVID vaccine. Still don’t know when or where me and my Mother will ever receive it here in the Midwest. The rollout has been nothing more than a joke here. No organization, no accountability or motivation on the part of our health system to get this done. In the meantime I continue to follow the rules by limiting contact and spending time in the workshop. I hope I will still be reading your blog in 2022! Take Care sir.

    • Paul Sellers on 22 February 2021 at 3:14 pm

      Sad to say we know that your country has gone through so much since the new year began and in so large a country it is indeed hard to standardise the kind of delivery and output our NHS and its hundreds of thousands of support volunteers contribute to not just us but the greater world. With six times the population density over an area 40 times bigger than the UK, obviously, logistics are far more complex and problematic. Thankfully, you are a people that volunteers into situations to make things better and it is through this more than anything that we see change happen. Our interlinking of all things covid creates possibilities like scientific progressing, health care and the ability to inoculate 16m in just a few short weeks. The NHS is like nothing American. I may have paid for my healthcare since I was a worker at 15, 56 years, as has everyone else my age, but I would volunteer paying into it rather than have the private systems other countries rely on so heavily. Why? Because it is in fact such a small amount–pennies, and everyone in GB has access to it no matter their background! I don’t know how the EU is doing, if much better or not, than the USA in terms of organisation and distribution. We have of course seen some troubling things that I hope can be overcome soon. Infighting is always troubling and leaves people feeling unsettled if not worse, untrusting.

  10. Jim M. on 22 February 2021 at 6:34 pm

    It is difficult to compare health systems across states in the US, let alone across countries. I have read differing stories on the cost of the vaccine, but according to the US CDC 60+ million vaccines have been administered in the US. I believe that’s close to the entire population of England.

    Since this pandemic began, I have been buying and delivering groceries to my 90+ year old parents every weekend. We visit for a few hours and then I go home. What an honor and a blessing to serve my parents. I can never repay them for all they have done for me and my brothers.

    In my opinion, this “15 day plan” to flatten curve has flattened too many families and too many businesses. In my town, several neighbors remain unemployed, locally owned businesses have closed and some are barely surviving. Trent, the local dry cleaner, is hanging it up, after 30 years.

    From the 1940s, “The only we have to fear, is fear it self” — President Roosevelt. Now we have fear pedaled to us 24/7. Family businesses are dying. And isolation and loneliness is bigger threat to our collective health, than this virus.

    God helps us.

    • Jeff D on 22 February 2021 at 7:08 pm

      The NHS is terrific. Wish we had it here.

  11. Mark D. Baker on 22 February 2021 at 6:44 pm

    Aloha Paul,
    I’m holding my breath and wish you well, that nothing but health calls from your ‘taking the plunge’ and getting the shot.
    ‘Beeing’ a beekeeper for the last 25+ years, I haven’t caught a cold, the flu, or a fever since. My consumption of local honeys seems to have been useful in the regard. Just in case[not a friend of mine, who actually was ‘given’ that name, Justin Case]see if you can get local honeys and fresh bee pollen to eat at breakfast and good health to you.

    • Paul Sellers on 22 February 2021 at 8:09 pm

      Honey is out for me, Mark. I am a long-term diabetic and honey takes me through the roof. I do know that local honey is good for many things but I too can count the colds I have had on one hand in the last 30 years. A tooth infection forced me to take my first ever antibiotic last year during covid but that is pretty much it.

  12. Tom C on 26 February 2021 at 2:19 pm

    Congrats on getting your COVID shot!
    This has certainly been a tough time for everyone. Happy to say I’ve tried to use the time wisely and work on some projects I’ve neglected and tried to create new furniture for my own home.
    Here’s hoping things are back to “normal” soon!

Leave a Comment





  • Samuel on Counter CultureI like seeing chairs in emerging stages of being made. If u made a furniture list in the same vein as an essential tool list, chairs and table are cornerstones of a functional life…
  • Daniel on The Meandering Path of WoodworkingS. Goodwin, you are right on. There are schools for so many things, yet jobs so few. There are schools for beauticians and massage therapists, yet only a tiny percentage of graduat…
  • Philip allen on It Takes Effort to ChangeI started an apprenticship as a carpenter in 1965. I must say that all of the instructors at the local tech were al, ex tradesmen. The head of department a kind mann by the name of…
  • S. Goodwin on The Meandering Path of WoodworkingYour initial comments on teaching remind me of all the advertisements on YouTube these days promising endless easy millions. If these instructors are so good at turning 4 hours int…
  • George on It Takes Effort to ChangeWhat can I say. Your the man. I love reading your blogs and watching the videos. It's refreshing and scary to see a time honored skill set that struggles to exist in the current so…
  • Simon Orchard on It Takes Effort to ChangeRe: Dovetails. I understand that Mr. Sellers is a very busy man but could he shed some light on why the bit I'm chiselling out of my dovetail always snaps off, either leaving a hol…
  • David B on It Takes Effort to ChangePaul, what a wonderful article. self revealing, reflective, inspiring and practical. In the past year of the pandemic I have found sanity in my basement hand tool shop. I have buil…