Work Related

Last week was a lead-in week to more full-time working where I tested different parts to my body to see what could and would not work and to see what I could and could not do. This was all in relation to pain surrounding my ribs being broken and the breathing issues that followed. During the last few weeks, it became evident that it was not just my broken ribs that restricted me. I discovered other injuries, particularly in my right shoulder and my left lower leg and ankle areas. Through lack of mobility and stiffness coupled with pain in the first couple of weeks, I couldn’t do too much self-examination. The swelling in my foot has been there for the past weeks since the incident but has lessened to the point that I feel healing is well on its way. My leg sores went deeper than I thought and did get infected from scraping on the pavement but I managed to clean it and now it’s healing fine.

Last week, I returned to work on a more casual and cautious level but work it has been. I’m a fortunate man because writing and drawing are an integrated part of my work life. I have several drawings underway with a couple of them completed for future use. I also have some blog posts done too. Drawings and blog posts are like poems though, they’re never quite finished until they’re finished. And that is what making things with your hands different from all the other things you might be involved in. You just know when it’s done and there is nothing you can do or need to do to change a thing. You went through the idea-to-design phase, made drawings, found the right balance in proportions you were looking for and there it sits or lies or stands in front of you with the finish on looking glorious. But more than that has been the development of an idea.

Already this year I have been involved in making a range of designs and the types are quite diverse. That’s what I love about my craft and the ability to work with wood. There is no shortage of ideas.

Lizzie, right, is collaborating with Hannah for an exhibition of her prints and needs 21 frames of various sizes in different woods for the art pieces she’s created. 21 hand made frames all hand made with no machining, no mitres, no staples or nails is the ask and task at hand.

Concluding the first piece for the last room for Sellers’ Home came together well and I delivered this on February 23rd. The room looks a little stark with white walls and ceiling and then a lone bed but the other pieces will come together in the next few months.
Rosie gives everything the sniff test but `i have to watch for the taste test as she has a real taste for woods like pine and spruce. It only takes a few minutes for her to reduce a two-by-four to a thousand toothpicks when my back is turned.
Imagine, just 14 two-bys and a little sweat-equity. It’s total solidity and all hand made with hand tools. Of course, you can use any wood you want to use.
Rosie doesn’t just chew on softwoods. I have to keep as close an eye on her as she does on me.
We wanted a video on making a decent sized ladle for and our YouTube offerings and `i ended up making three of them. . .
. . . the third one is in the background.

I enjoyed making a few experimental clocks, working to develop some prototypes and allowing myself to go down some rabbit trails in the process. It’s quite usual for me to end up with half a dozen alternative versions I can use somewhere or give away to family and friends. Through this process of reduction I end up with two or three different types that, if I were I still a maker selling my work for a living, I would gear up to make small batch productions in half dozens in three types and put them in my display area or take to shows. There are some unique concepts in the making of them. Challenges if you will. Why? Mostly because the projects are now the vehicle and product for teaching and training rather than a line to be sold.

The pine clock as a wonderful simplicity with such an open and transparent look and feel to it. I like the unbusied feel the uniform grain and style gives me. And how did he do that over such a wide expanse without expansion and contraction issues in the panel front against the rigidity of the subframe anyway?

I have really fallen in love with the stripes of wood side by side whether uniform in one wood or a combination of several. If you have been watching and you will have seen me include this concept even on large and wide panels. It’s really worked well for using up the skinny offcuts we often cannot allow long-term space for.

I cannot say that the stripes make the work easier but the contrast gives a clock an unusual look that draws the eye with a certain warmth and depth that I like very much. It would look equally good if it were made from just one wood too. oak would be very nice as would one made from my remaining offcuts of spalted beech stock.

Spalted beech is one of the most stunning materials resulting from decay I know of. Yes there are indeed others that give great beauty but somehow beech stands out from the rest as one of the best.

This is one of my new frame designs in action as a shadow box version giving the bear soemthing of a 3D effect.

This is what I might refer to as my traditional clock because it is a remake of one of my earlier pieces for Woodworking Masterclasses ten or twelve years ago. But it originated a long time before that when I used to hold classes and teach the making of it in the USA.

Hannah’s frames are gathering pace here with the first half already together.

And these are the completion of the order. You might think from looking that you know how these go together but you don’t. i developed the design to look this way but the end result is very radical!

Needless to say I have been back in the saddle for a week and I never really missed a lick of time though I could not make for the first few weeks. Of course, I have no idea yet what any long-term effects of my injuries might have on me nor whether something might be permanent. My age may well be against me at 74 but the importance of not being angry or bitter going into the future is important for as full a recovery as possible. This too will be my work in progress.


  1. Good to hear that you are on the way to healing. I hope for you that it will be a full recovery and that you won’t have any permanent issues.
    Take care and take your time for this process.

    1. Pain sucks. In the Navy SEALs the saying is pain is your friend. It does let you know you are still alive and it provides a pump of adrenaline. It still sucks.
      Unfortunately after over 20 years of chronic pain from an industrial related work injury I find it too distracting. The mixture of pain pills and pain relay makes you stupid enough to do some really dumb things like cut both thumbs a week apart on a home made table saw.
      My brain works real well at visualizing the finished project but Memorex is ruined. I can walk from one room to another or go to pick up a specific tool and forget what I went to get. That’s at least what pain has done for me.
      Hang in there and take it easy. Follow the doctors orders. Ask about the possibility of Hyperbaric Chamber treatment. It might help speed the recovery process.

      1. Hello Robert, I am very sorry to read about your chronic pain. I am Italian. Here many people found acupuncture a very effective way to lower the pills intake: it reduces the pain feeling, while not impacting on your organs as pills would do.
        I hope it will help.

    2. Hang in there and take it easy.
      Follow the doctors orders.
      Ask about the possibility of Hyperbaric Chamber treatment. It might help speed the recovery process.

      1. Not sure if you are talking to Luc or to me here Robert but I really have no pain now and I have worked back to a more normal week these past two weeks––but still following the doctor’s original advice to allow my usual work to reprogram me by doing it but on a lesser high demand basis. That’s what i have done. i have no chest pain but know something is stell healingthere where I cannot see the broken ribs reknitting themselves in place.

    3. Glad to see you are back at it…at 73 my mind or body wants to help me. The pain I have in degenerative spine and back issues along with kidney failure takes a lot of the fun out of things ..I try to keep my pain meds to a minimum so I can sti function. somewhat..I have learned old age and I juries make life tough..glad you are working around your issues …Best Regards

      1. Thank you Ron. You are right, bouncing back doesn’t happen quite the same way in your seventies and the residue of a mean act can certainly weaken the return to normality. A visit to to any medical centre or just talking to friends in a cafe tells you COVID is still taking its toll and normality now is not the normality we had before whatever hit hit us. I am feeling well again but there is a residue of the incident as a physical attack from a coward attacking a now elderly man from behind when his guard is down and there is no other way to put it more kindly than that.

  2. recently ad a fall on ice that caused a small brain bleed. My balance not right yet. Plus a carpal tunnel in my dominant hand that is not operable. Hopefully mt balance will return shortly and i can get back to some downscaled wood work working. Your discussion of your recovery has been an encouragement to my plans for recovery. By the way I am 77 and had been working on a 40X 60, 1 1/2 inch thick walnut table top. I had 4 flitch cut air dried planks I have hand planed to thickness and still need to hand joint the edges. Now hopefully i can you have given me the incentive to keep going,
    It has been and continues to be a pleasure to view your videos, read your blogs and look at your drawings.
    I wont say how I feel about the individual who caused your injuries. Your comment on avoiding anger to help you heal is beyond my capability,

  3. When our last dog was a pup she always had a desire to help me. I still remember chasing her whilst she ran around the garden with a mouthful of screws. ” of my wooden handled tools still bear her teeth marks, they serve as a memory of her, never felt the need to remove them. several of my tools serve as a memory of a granddad, grandma, uncle and dad, when ever I use them.

    1. The second piece of decent furniture I made has the teeth marks of a beloved puppy. When I see them I think of her. They are not damage to me.

  4. Your positive mental attitude is always an inspiration, Sir! Thanks for the updates on healing and work, and enjoy your days as you press on.

  5. I’m glad to read that you are recovering and getting better. Attitude is an essential must in any recovering process, but please: take your time and don’t be in a hurry.
    A pair of years ago I broke two bones in my left wrist and I developed a Sudeck distrophic syndrome due to the long inmobilization. It was absolutely painful and my hand got almost completely blocked. I even thought that my hand wouldn’t work again. Doctors gave me a year and a half before I could do a middle-normal use of my hand. Rehabilitation process involved clinic and home exercises. I took the “domestic” part my rehab process with so much intensity and perseverance that I could return to my job in less than 5 months. Doctors were impressed for my will of rehabilitation; the little thing they didn’t know was that I was thinking about not only in returning to my job. I couldn’t wait for returning to woodworking.

  6. Hi Paul,
    You can’t keep a good man down and you show this example to the upmost. Glad you’re on the way to normality again. I salute you for your determination and forgiveness. Don’t think I could have dealt with it as well as you have, but did not expect anything less from you.
    Many regards.

  7. Paul,
    Glad you are healing and going back to work. It is a bit harder for one to heal as they age. I am nearly 72 and notice the difference from even 5 years ago.

    Dogs do have a way with some things. I had a very nice pair of cowboy boots “decorated” by one of my dogs about 30 years ago. I can only imagine one that has an affinity for wood.

  8. Glad to see you back in the shop, even if on a more limited basis. The shadow box reminds me it is time for a surprise gift. I have my Father in Law’s medals and photos of him during the War in France and Germany. A shadow box project is next!
    Praying for your recovery.

  9. Hi Paul,

    Glad you are on the mend. Please take it easy, I know that’s not in your DNA but it’s so easy to refracture ribs as they take much longer to heal. Try icing your foot and wearing support bandaging on it. Get a good MRI done on it, you could have torn a ligament sheath in your ankle. My daughter did that in a fall. It took 3 yrs of pushing our GP to refer her to a specialist who picked up the issue in minutes of investigating with his hands. That was one Dec and operated on it the next January. Invented a new procedure to fix the main issue which had to do with the channel the tendon runs through in the ankle. It’s not 100% and aches when bad weather comes along.

    Please do take it easy and carefully. There’s no rush, concentrate on your drawings and blog postings which people do enjoy.

    All the best from. The Land Downunder Sydney Australia.

  10. Obviously woodwork runs in the Sellers family. Even Rosie does her woodwork, just like dad…LoL
    Good to hear you are recovering well from your injuries and you fully return to woodwork.

  11. Glad you’re on the mend Paul and have plenty to do even with the limitations.
    Last weekend I made a breadboard end for one of the kitchen cabinets I’m making.
    This time I made the tongue and groove panels with a #48 replica of the Stanley plane.
    My shoulder muscles are so sore I can’t raise a glass of water to my lips with my dominant right hand but it’s getting better. What was interesting was the tendinitis in my fingers went away! I can now make a tight fist in my right hand. Something I haven’t been able to do for quite some time now. I’m guessing that the muscles I was using somehow loosened up the tendons in my wrist. In addition I found I was able to better control the process and I have a better quality of fit and finish than when I did a larger panel with my shaper. I was so quiet in my shop my wife thought I had fallen asleep. I guess I’ll have to keep a machine running to convince her I’m working hard on her kitchen.

  12. I am so sorry you were set upon. Recovery is not automatic and needs gentle and not so gentle exercise. Please continue to keep us all informed of your progress it helps us all to take our minds off our own failings.
    Chris aged 87

  13. Glad to see you are recovering nicely and not overdoing it. I hope that continues and there’s no permanent issues!

  14. Glad you are on the mend Paul. I’m sure hoping you can resume at 100% in the near future. Know we are thinking of you as you do. Yesterday I was cutting some 2×4’s for a new platform for a water heater. A contractor doing work at a neighbors place came over and asked if I wanted to use his circular or chop saws? I said, “I appreciate that but no thanks, I have those as well”. He then asked why I was cutting these by hand with an old hand saw. I told him it was good to train the hand and eye to make reliable and solid cuts in any type of wood. Plus, I much enjoy the quiet pace of hand work over the speed/noise of power tools. If I were framing a wall, that might have been a different call but for this project, square, tape, knife, saw, saw bench is just perfect for a beautiful spring afternoon outside in the shade. Thanks for helping me learn that. Cheers

  15. Thank the Good Lord you are feeling better!
    I hope your recovery is swift. Thanks for all the knowledge, and wisdom you share with all of us.
    Could you give Rosie a treat, and a good scratching for me!
    God’s Blessings

  16. Sorry to hear that you have more injuries Paul but good to hear that you are progressing so well too :). Great attitude, and an example to us all.

    It has been a crazy 2 weeks for us too. Coincidentally, I accompanied my wife to an appointment at JR Hospital in Oxford (I took a book that I thought you might enjoy, in the unlikely event that you were still there and we bumped into you 😀 ).

    Also during that time, my older brother, mother and father-in-law were taken into a different hospital by ambulance for various reasons. Although all are out now bar one and just heard she should be discharged tomorrow 🙂

    During that time I also had an outpatient hospital appointment. Phew! Crazy Easter 2024!

    BTW This is not at all typical, we are generally a pretty healthy bunch. I suppose we are getting older.

    Hopefully I will find some time and woodwork this weekend 🙂

  17. Good to hear your recovery continues, even if it’s slower than you’d like. That happens when you start getting on a bit. Even for me, as a mere boy of 67. I’ve been making blanket chests from white pine and an afternoon swinging a #7 plane takes its toll. My arthritis stems from osteonecrosis (from diving related injuries) so it’s incurable. I’ve just had to learn to accommodate it and take some time off to do other things, like you’re doing.
    My little dog thankfully is not a chewer, but my previous Jack Russell could demolish a piece of scrap wood in seconds. Because of course Jack Russells are about half dog, half alligator and half chainsaw!
    Rosie is beautiful though. I don’t have a kidnap list but if I had Rosie would be pretty near the top of it, 😁
    Take care Paul and keep posting. You’re always fun to read.

  18. So glad to hear you’re on the mend and in such good spirits about it. Attitude toward adversity is everything.

    I’m guessing there are hidden sliding dovetails in the frames. Easy to glue, solid as a rock, and beautifully hidden.

  19. Healing, moving, looking to others and other actions. Good work Paul! I also really like your accessible 2×4 furniture work, and Hannah’s frames. Any chance of seeing some of her prints.

    Thanks to and for you.


  20. Thanks Paul for the update. Glad to hear you are on the mend. Fingers crossed for a full recovery.

    The clock that you made that had the one wide pine face, kind of reminds me of what you did for that heirloom jewelry box top and bottom you did maybe four years ago. I made one of those out of Spanish cedar that I gave to my daughter. Plan on making another later this year as a music box for my wife for Christmas. I already bought the mechanical part for the box that has the song of our first wedding dance. She will love it. Thanks for the design as well as teaching me how to make. The best gifts are those that are hand made with love.


  21. This is my first post. Forgive its irreverent tone. On the one hand this thread seems to be a club for old crocks ( I’m 65) detailing old war wounds – and on the other, so much love flows from it! I wish to make a small contribution.

    A few years ago I suffered a nasty bout of meningoencephalitis. Memory now gone, violent hand tremors, narcolepsy etc etc – and and unconnected spinal injury. Cant stand – or sit – or lie down for more than10 minutes at a time. Constant pain and bewilderment. During one of my many trips to the medics, I asked him when I could go back to work. ( For 40 years + I did something thought by some others to be rather clever.) He laughed and said ‘ never … you’ll have to find how to use a different part of your brain…’!?!?

    Enthused by this pretty unhelpful advice , my kids bought me a working cocker spaniel AND a very old Stanley Bailey 4 1/2. My interest was pricked. I liked the look and feel of it. I took it to bits. Reassembled it . Cleaned it . Sharpened it . Started to play with it – making shapes and little joints with scrap wood – all as smooth as velvet. l just loved the feel of it all. It made me feel a little bit better. Inevitably I discovered Paul Sellers.

    Truthfully, Paul Sellers, my dog and that Bailey 4 1/2 have saved my life. There’s a whole army of fully fledged pilgrims out there who all owe you a great deal – myself now included. – and who hold you in high esteem. The master maker and mender will mend – and I hope that comes soon. Although your super-human skills make me wince with despair…

    Keep at it old boy, and thank you again.

    Kev H

    1. Rosie is a working cocker too. She’s the loveliest being very much a unique family dog. Through the years we have had Brittany, Cocker and Springer through the years and loved them all but my two favourites are Dixie who was our first spaniel ever and our Brittany and Rosie here now. I think it is surprising how making so improves our physical health internally and externally. I hope you will always feel the way you do. As I cycled across the fields in the chill of this morning I felt how fortunate I am to wake up feeling so alive.

  22. Thirty comments in, and no mention of those intriguing joints on the frames! Are those finger joints, or something else? Half laps, with one large and one small (1 – 2 third laps doesn’t have the same ring!)? I like the look, it’s neat, and gives the frame edge a detail that can be seen, but not instrusive. Beautifly finished by Hannah, they look pristine.

    “the importance of not being angry or bitter going into the future is important for as full a recovery as possible”

    Yes! I regularly have to stop myself to remind me of this. Whether it’s recovery from injury, or just recovery of equilibrium after a bout of pathetic rage (road, impatience with my daughter or whatever). I’m not a Christian (or religious, generally), but the Bible/Jesus has/have some fantastic truths on forgiveness, repentance and the pointlessness of holding onto hatred or bitterness. It’s difficult to ignore how having such a healthy outlook on life, in return, could lead to healthiness. Thanks for this reminder, and anecdote.


  23. Paul, Glad to see you are on the mend. I loved the new pine clock. I haven’t forgotten meeting you at Shedfest in Worcester – you are an inspiration to many Men’s Shed members. Now over 990 Sheds open in the UK. All the best John

  24. Good to learn that you are recovering.

    The joinery on those picture frame corners is too tight for me to achieve in this lifetime. Real mastery is a joy to behold!

  25. Estimado Paul, es una gran noticia de tu buena evoluci´´on y en la manera que enfrentas lo que te ha pasado, sos un ejemplo a seguir.

  26. happy to hear you are feeling better and spending time back in the shop. Take the time you need to recover fully. Looking forward to seeing you at the bench again when you are ready.

  27. Paul,
    My good wishes to you for a healthy, fully functional recovery as I have expressed to you before. You have the positive attitude that will facilitate that..
    I would be interested in the special joint in Hannah’s frames that you mentioned, and perhaps a future video on them.
    Michael (81j USA

  28. Paul: Regarding those abrasions on you legs, see if you can find some pure aloe from the plant and apply to them. I used to play baseball what seems like a century ago and would get abrasions from sliding on hard pebbly infields. Natural aloe was the best thing for it. It would stop the inflammation and infection within minutes. In World War II it was used for radiation burns.

    There is a saying going around among athletes in the US: “Pain is weakness leaving the body.” Get well soon. I am your age and thus know it takes longer.

  29. Hello Paul,
    It takes courage and fortitude to claw your way back to normal after an encounter such as the one you experienced, my hat is off to you Sir.

    ps: I love the spalted face clock.

    John Parker, from across the pond

  30. All of us on the other side of the pond wish you a speedy physical and mental recovery. Being about the same age bracket as you I can relate on how long it takes for things to heal. 50 years ago I would have chopped some more fire wood to rid myself of the sore shoulder/back. But now Father Time has told me to slow down…you might feel better in a few weeks.

    We all wish you the best…

  31. I’m glad you are doing better. The best medicine is to stay mobile. A few years back I tore some cartilage between my ribs. It took a while to get back to normal but you’ll get there soon. You don’t seem to be the type to let anything stop you. Stay Texas Tough!

  32. Mr. Sellers
    I am so glad that you are on the mend. I’m a bit older than you and have been an aspiring woodworker for more than 50 years. I didn’t realize how much I didn’t know until I started watching your shows on YouTube. Thanks so much for that.

    I’m also an admirer of your frame joinery. I’m going to try that this weekend.

  33. Paul,
    I’m so happy to hear that you are recovering well. You continue to inspire and motivate me to learn more, do more, and improve my craft. I’m hoping to complete your dovetail box in the next month or so. Hand cut dovetails have eluded me- always having a fit problem when I cut my pins. After watching your tutorial a few times, I think I will try again!

  34. Mr. Sellers:
    Just thought I’d drop a note to let you know I’m happy that you’re starting to heal the physical wounds caused by the assault. The injured emotions might take a little longer to get better, but in due time I hope you will attain the confident spirit of your normal self. You are an inspiration and a leader who is much admired. Thank you for all you do.

    1. I feel that the injury was just physical. I can’t say I have felt challenged by anything else. I just got back on my bike two weeks ago after two week break from cycling and started riding again so not too much emotion there that I could see. I was never frightened of the man and still have no fear or doubt so no need for me to go there if it’s not a concern I feel anything about. I’m back at work, walking, riding and able to do what I love and live to do so I’m feeling contented.

  35. So far you’ve filled the house with people furniture. Most times we think of people-related things as projects to make in our shops.

    Have you made any special wood-crafted things for your pets over the years? For some reason this regularly comes to mind as I perform certain chores to take care of our cats.

    Best wishes as you continue to recover!!

  36. Paul,
    So glad to hear you are recovering and I always appreciate your posts. I have been woodworking for 60 years and have been asked to start a class at our church. Yours was the first name I recommended to all to follow and learn from. Your method of teaching has always been engaging, encouraging, and super informative. Thank you for sharing your experiences and wisdom. Hope you are back too 100% soon.

  37. Good day Paul,

    Glad to hear you are mending well. Having gone through major surgery last summer I know it may be a long slow road to getting back to normalcy for you.

    I was watching a video you made of making a spoon using a carving gouge and found it quite interesting as I want to add relief carving into my woodworking projects. Do you use carving tools to add surface accents into your work pieces?

  38. My dear feiwnd Paul,

    It is nice to know that you are getting better. I accidentally almost amputated a finger with a hand plane new iron 8 days ago. Silly enough, I thought that unplugged woodworking tools would never give me more thas small cuts, but I learned on my skin (literally) that excess of self confidence and poor judgement can easily lead to disastrous incidents. Anyway, just like you did, I look forward to the day I will be back woodworking in my shop. I can’t bame anybody else than myself for my incident. I felt so stupid on day one. It will be my lesson to learn… Irons can bite you deeply if you don’t respect their potentiality to do so.

    All the best for a speedy rexovery.

  39. as an accomplished artist in her own right, what does rosie have to do to get some respect? she carefully nibbles each piece to perfection, to create perfect form and function. well done rosie i would be glad to have a piece of your art in my house.

  40. I recently watched “ Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones (TV Mini Series 2023‑2023)”. The first segment focuses on Okinawa, where many people live to a healthy old age. One 100+ year old woman featured said that “not being angry” was very important.

    It’s natural to be angry at the person who knocked you off your bike. It’s healthy to not let that anger, and by extension, your assailant, have power over you and your happiness. You have your arts, passions and friends that bring you joy and serenity.

  41. “…the end result is very radical!”

    $1500 “biscuit cutter”? Nail gun? I’m prepared to be shocked!

    Yeah kidding. Glad’re you doing so much better. And not being bitter is huge – and a great way to live.

  42. I think Rosie needs to be start called Termite instead. Wonderful post, as always. Get feeling better as soon as possible. While this attack on you was deployable, trying to look at the sunny side of things, it gave you a time to draw and to come up with new ideas to make in the shop when you were unable to work in the shop. I love your drawings, by the way, I can’t believe how detailed they are, I wish I could draw like that when I come up with an idea. I have crude stick figures at best. Take care and get better soon.

  43. So very pleased that you are making ‘good progress’ towards a full and well deserved recovery Paul. So many people are rooting for you!
    Kindest regards,

Privacy Notice

You must enter certain information to submit the form on this page. We take the handling of personal information seriously and appreciate your trust in us. Our Privacy Policy sets out important information about us and how we use and protect your personal data and it also explains your legal rights in respect of it. Please click here to read it before you provide any information on this form.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *