Paul Sellers describes himself as a lifelong amateur woodworker. His first day’s work began in a small joiner’s workshop in Stockport, England in 1965. No masterpieces ever emerged from that workshop. It was there however that his lifelong work with wood began alongside real woodworkers. It was in this workshop that he learned woodworking techniques that are not still passed on as they once were. His insistence on amateur status comes from the fact that whether he got paid or not he always worked wood. Professionals do it for money. He has worked with wood every day for 49 years. In the beginning, no one knew him but his work and designs now furnish the homes of President Bush and Senator Gramm. Two of his pieces now grace the Cabinet Room of the White House as part of the White House Permanent Collection there.
Aside from big cabinet-making projects he has made and designed many smaller projects. He has even taken on more unusual woodworking projects such as building a cello with his son. His designs are copied by woodworkers who liked his designs and needed to make a living.
He is one of the best known woodworking teachers in the world. His YouTube channel is the most subscribed UK woodworking channel.
Paul spent large part of his working life in the USA where he began teaching woodworking, the craft he learned through a traditional apprenticeship to others through short courses. He taught his first ever course for the Texas Arts and Crafts Foundation. This led him to create a structured training program for others to master hand tool skills. Now thousands of enthusiasts find higher levels of fulfilment and wellbeing in their personal creative work. By incorporating these traditional methods into their everyday woodworking people now work safely and productively in their home workshops.
Paul started apprenticing others to make wood work for them. He came into contact with a whole world of woodworkers, hundreds of thousands of them, who had never regularly used hand tools. They never stopped asking him where they could gain the skills he had. Soon they began asking him to train them at weekends in his shop. He felt that his love for working wood didn’t belong to him alone, in the evenings he taught children by the dozen for twenty years. Out of those children came the next generation of craftsmen who progressed into apprenticeship, became journeymen and finally ended up as craftsmen in their own workshops.
Since then he has been dedicated to educating and training fellow woodworkers. He still works with wood and makes new designs as part of his regular work. He loves to lecture and demonstrate his craft work. This is where he connects with real people working wood.
Return to UK
In 2008 he moved back to the UK and founded the New Legacy School of Woodworking at Penrhyn Castle in North Wales. Here he began presenting simple YouTube videos helping more people than ever to access basic woodworking information wherever they were. He made films, wrote books, created photographic work and taught his classes.
In 2016 he moved his workshop to Oxfordshire, in the tiny hamlet of Long Wittenham. Pending the building of his new workshop, his present studio at Sylva Wood Centre serves as a temporary answer until next year. In Spring 2016 he released his latest book, Essential Woodworking Hand Tools.
He has become recognised on an international level through teaching and video presentation and writing. However, he still finds the greatest richness knowing that his courses are changing lives and reopening the closed doors that stopped woodworking for people when they were children.
You can find his past articles in Woodwork, Woodworker West, Popular Woodworking, The Woodworker, Traditional Woodworker, Good Woodworking and others.