Thursday, January 21, 2016

Paul Sellers Woodworking

Sometimes things just all of a sudden come up in life that are truly amazing.  They are like wonderful gifts that can change your perspective in an instant.  One such thing happened to me a few weeks back when I discovered a master woodworker, Paul Sellers on YouTube.  After watching about 30 hours so far of his videos and Woodworking Masterclass project instructions, he has by far become my favorite woodworker.  No other woodworker I have experienced comes close.  He truly loves working in wood and does so with mainly hand tools.  He is not just using hand tools for the novelty of it, but shows that they are superior to machines in a variety of ways.  He says, “I keep old tools to work with because they work; not because they look nice”.  He is one of the few remaining woodworking artisans that apprenticed under the 70-80 year old master craftsman that starting woodworking pre-1900’s.  These masters were working with tools older than they were and in some cases, tools they crafted themselves.  He dispels many myths about sharpening which is a subject that has grown so inconsistent in the past 20 years that there is a mass confusion which keeps hobby woodworkers constantly searching and buying the next great sharpening machine, stone or method.  None of the master craftsman had flat sharpening stones for instance.  He also focuses on hand planning all surfaces during project construction where sanding then becomes a way to “roughen” up the surface prior to apply finish.  Think of that!  This is completely opposite to the way most hobbyists, including me, work.  Normally, sanding is a process that takes more time than building and no woodworker likes doing it.  With Paul’s way of working, you basically only need a quarter sheet of 180 and 240 grit sandpaper to rough up the glass smooth surface so the finish has something to adhere to.  On top of all this, his gentle way of teaching while clearly explaining each step is indeed a rare combination of skills. 
Also, the hand tools you buy will last a lifetime when properly cared for and sharpened.  Contrast this to the disposable cheap products we have been trained to consume so quickly in the name of advanced technology.  There are not many new things today you can purchase or build yourself that can still be used by your great grandchildren.
I am sorry that I did not find out about Paul Sellers sooner, but I am just thankful I found out about him now so I can learn woodworking the right way and pass that knowledge to others who are interested in this hobby or vocation.  Paul has a blog that is a wonderful collections of his writings.  This collection of information is so thorough that any question I’ve had, I can just search his blog and find an article that addresses that question. 
I was on the “conveyor” with many other woodworkers that get taken in by salesman, machines and contraptions that are expensive and leave you far away from actually “working” the wood.  They also leave you with a bulk sandpaper supply that requires you to build a special rack just to hold all the grits from 60 to 400.  Woodworking is now fun again.  I will be posting woodworking projects this year that will be built by hand tools and some newly practiced skills.  These will be pieces that will still be around for the next 150 years or more which is exciting!

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