Paul Sellers and Old v New Tools

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GerryT

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Recent post on Paul Seller’s blog in answer to a question by a subscriber.
The reply to the question results in Paul talking about the ”superiority” of his old Planes over the newer.
As he has been using his old Stanley planes over the 50 odd years of his career this somehow qualifies them ( he says) as being superior to newer models.
I did try to point out that while old tools may be superior, the fact that he used them for 50 years plus doesn’t make them superior for that reason .
The reverse could equally be true had he used the “newer “ tools over an extended period of time, which he confessed he doesn’t .
Without comparing the newer models with the old over the same term, his opinion that one is superior over another is without foundation.
I have tried to point out that his opinion in this instance is mere bias and not a true true instance of superiority of one over another.


He also makes mention of router planes, and that because he recommends them the prices have risen considerably but that the hike in price is ok as the tool is worth the money.
He then goes on to say that it can sometimes put them out of the reach of some woodworkers but that he has come up with one that can be made for a £10.
Heirloom quality too apparently.
So if as good as the real thing, why recommend the real thing and not recommend the 3 for £30 ?
Sounds like nonsense to me.

To be honest, I admire him for his skills and his teaching methods but his tedious repetition about 50 year plus and how prices of hand tool skyrocket every time he opens his mouth is becoming nauseous.

It’s the first time I’ve ever posted a reply on his forum but his incessant carping on just seems to get worse over time.
 

Rorschach

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If enough people tell you that you are a god, you might just start to believe it.

He is just suffering from the condition we all do, being human. In most cases this doesn't matter because the vast majority of us are irrelevant for the most part and no one really listens to us, it only becomes a problem when you get famous and your opinion becomes worth something. I am sure there is an awful lot of what he says that is good sound advice, but there is always going to be some twaddle in there and you have spotted some of it.
 

Jacob

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Just ignore him and move on.
Rorsach or Sellers?

I quite like Sellers style and general approach and tend to agree that some of the older tools are best. He does burble on but not too pretentiously. His design work is a bit cra.pp but at least he can be seen to be making things.
But you are free to ignore him and I wouldn't lose any sleep over it either way.
Can't blame him if prices go up on his recommendations he's not profiting by it, whereas Lie Neilsen, Veritas etc are also heavily promoted by various gurus, presumably sponsored in various ways. Pick your own guru - or take no notice of any of them!
 
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Jameshow

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If enough people tell you that you are a god, you might just start to believe it.

He is just suffering from the condition we all do, being human. In most cases this doesn't matter because the vast majority of us are irrelevant for the most part and no one really listens to us, it only becomes a problem when you get famous and your opinion becomes worth something. I am sure there is an awful lot of what he says that is good sound advice, but there is always going to be some twaddle in there and you have spotted some of it.
Pride..... pure and simple and it's brother jealousy....

Cheers James
 

Jacob

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Perhaps he’s just miffed that non of the modern tool manufacturers want to sponsor him 🤷‍♂️
Sensible choice not to be sponsored, if he had a choice - it means he is his own man, right or wrong.
 

johnnyb

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the odd thing is I agree with much of what I've heard him say. it's just I can't stand his personality. that really stops me having in depth knowledge of much he says tbh. Internet gurus are slightly cultist I reckon.
 

TheTiddles

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If he was in the USAF 80 years ago, he’d be the one laying armouring over the wingtips of the aircraft.

Old tools being better than news ones comes up about once a week here, has done for the last decade or so, it’s survivorship bias coupled with an inability to account for inflation.

My old Stanley planes have new blades, and replaced handles, they don’t look perfect but they work fine. My LN tools are 80 years younger and I bet they will be in a much better condition when they are 100, because they were made better to start with, but they did cost somewhat more even accounting for inflation.

Delia Smith once caused a run on omelette pans, you can find them for free everywhere now.
 

thetyreman

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he's not for everyone just like rob cosman is not for everyone, I don't agree with everything he says but I do respect him a lot, I come from the same place as him in stockport so it makes me proud that somebody of my background could achieve what he did, he's inspiring a lot of people to get into the craft who would not normally do it.
 

D_W

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He's peddling an ideology. One where you spend a bunch of money on a class instead of tools. Everyone has their gimmick, that's just his.

There aren't many guys who have a gimmick of turning out fine workers .
 

Lons

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A friend's wife had a cookware shop - he said they always had warnings in the trade magazines of forthcoming cookery shows and what they'd plug so the stock could be got in.
Common practice across all retail markets when part of the sales pitch was to sell in stock prior to advertising blocks on TV, magazines and other media.
When I was in the plastics industry I always got a heads up from local authorities before they blitzed the takeaways, Chinese and Indian restaurants etc. as there would be a huge demand for wall cladding and I had my sales people virtually following the inspectors around taking orders.
 

Lons

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And demonstrated here, plenty of other human traits. :rolleyes:

And as usual on my posts, people reading what they want to read rather than what is actually said. 🤷‍♂️
Well you and I definitely don't see eye to eye but in this case I saw nothing wrong with your posts. It pains me to say I actually agreed with you. :unsure:
Errr... Did I really write that? o_O
 

GerryT

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He is pushing an ideology DW and you’re right Jacob he is his own man.
But it’s clear that being his own man he makes extreme claims that have no foundation in fact.
Like some other have said, he is a knowledgable and skilful man no doubt and I too, like I mentioned before respect him for that.

Sure, he’s only human as some point out, but is that an excuse for making claims without any substance to them and that have an influence way beyond a personal view ?
Is a Stanley Bailey No4 really “superior“ to a Lie Nielsen or Veritas No4 ?
Not in my book.
I use Records and Stanley’s in various guises and have a few Quangshengs and a single Lie Nielsen to boot.
I always thought the Records ”better” than the Stanley’s but that opinion is something that I can’t always put into words.
The Quangshengs IMHO are “better” than both Record and Stanley… at some things, and I can say why I think they’re are better or superior for particular tasks but not a blanket “they are superior” full stop.
Better build quality yes.
Paul Sellers by his own confession has not used any of his premium planes for any length of time yet claims they are inferior to the Stanley’s.

With some woodworking bloggers its clear that they are pushing a particular line in tools, but when you have someone who claims not to be doing so, which is the case with Paul Sellers, though he doesn’t push a particular brand or is not sponsored by a brand he pushes his own philosophy about tools and so is not as neutral as he likes to claim and often just plain daft.

As someone has pointed out, you don’t have to visit his blog or read his posts .
I agree, but I will do so again no doubt and he’ll rub me up again with some outlandish claim to uniqueness or that the Aldi chisels are better than the Lie Nielsen… they are though … aren’t they .😈
After all, like him, I’m only human.
 

gmercer_48083

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I personally, am glad to have someone like Paul Sellers doing what he does. He teaches by example the things he has learned with great detail about the things he has personally learned with great detail. He seems to want to pass on his knowledge, understanding and observations to as many people as possible. He recognized that hand tool woodworking was becoming a lost trait and that others could gain knowledge from what he knows. He has answered and proven to me that he is an expert... and does know what he talks about regarding hand tool woodworking. I for one will disregard those of you that knock his comments. When someone comes along that can accomplish what he has in his lifetime, and be a better mentor... I may follow them.
 

Jacob

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He is pushing an ideology DW and you’re right Jacob he is his own man.
But it’s clear that being his own man he makes extreme claims that have no foundation in fact.
Arguable perhaps but hardly an "extreme" claim that Stanley 4 is better than a Lie Neilsen! A lot cheaper for a start! I've never paid more than £15 or so
.
.....
Is a Stanley Bailey No4 really “superior“ to a Lie Nielsen or Veritas No4 ?
....
Definitely better than the Veritas 4 which has no lever cap and only a norris style adjuster. "Retro" styles are all very well but the reason they became retro is that they were superseded by improved tools.
Definitely cheaper and lighter than the Lie Nielsen. No contest really, but don't let that stop you being a fashion victim!
PS I had a Clifton 4 once. Heavy, expensive, thick blade slow to sharpen, soft malleable steel body which scratched easily. Sold it.
Also had the Stanley SW 4 which had non of these faults and was very well made, except for being heavy and having retro adjusters - the same mistake as the Veritas design. They really missed a chance there by being followers of fashion
 
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Rorschach

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Well you and I definitely don't see eye to eye but in this case I saw nothing wrong with your posts. It pains me to say I actually agreed with you. :unsure:
Errr... Did I really write that? o_O

Cor blimey! Maybe we should go on a date after all ;)
 
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