Paul Sellers and Old v New Tools

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many of FLWs houses don't stay together very well without enormous amounts of cash inflow.

LOL, Mangan is an made-for-TV intellectual, Dave, you know the type, wild mane of hair, a doctorate degree in some obscure humanities subject, and good telepresence. He built a house out of straw bales, at one stage.

I think he also did a 'cottage garden' type gig on TV too. His book is about the lost richness of the Irish language, like it has 32 words for 'field', each specific to a type of field and what it might be good for.

It's actually quite common for pushing-the-envelope-types to make or build things that don't last very well. The Last Supper fresco by da Vinci is famously unstable, as da Vinci was experimenting with new techniques and methods. I wouldn't necessarily count Manhan Magan in the same category... LOL
 

raffo

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we have two frank lloyd wright houses local here (kentuck knob and falling water). Kentuck knob is rather pedestrian (though some of the ideas in it are a bit weird), but I understand many of FLWs houses don't stay together very well without enormous amounts of cash inflow.

When I was a poor and very young grad student I was invited to visit Falling Water, great I said, upon arriving I was informed I needed to pay an absurd amount (in my opinion) to see the interior. I was happy to just look from the outside. I'm sure they get plenty of money to maintain it. Many years later I did actually go inside, I can't give a review, but I do like the idea of having a creek run through the living room.

P.S. If any of you are ever in North Carolina (USA) and someone invites you to a place called Biltmore, I'd suggest you decline or check ticket prices in advance, specially if you're with the wife and kids.
 

D_W

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Don't be put off DW. I for one would like to know your oppinion of how well FLW buildings have been put together.

My apologies to Noel - I guessed at the Mangan type and thought maybe he was a half-baked builder who was a bit of a free spirit and did whatever he wants, but it sounds like he's more of a showman.

FLW came to mind only because when you're in school here and you do basic american history stuff, you get some bits about architecture and FLW is always in them. Falling water is famous locally and probably nationally here. Not sure if it's ever mentioned internationally, but the house sits over a stream, is extremely humid to say the least, and at some point while building it, they had trouble with water incursion on one side so instead of trying to build past it, the water just runs through while you're in the house.

When it was built, large parts of it were formed from concrete, and cantilevered, and they deflected immediately, but I guess it's too late at that point.

When reconditioning and stabilizing of the house was undertaken two decades ago, it cost almost $12MM. It's just a bold design that had problems from the start as described to us on the tour. It also ended up about double to almost quintuple the original estimate depending on how you explain the cost overruns (I think interior bits, a second guest house, etc, were added....even at the time, the structures cost a princely sum - especially the guest house which is small and cost double the three story brick house an uncle of mine lived in a town near where I grew up)

In kentuck knob, FLW referred to the house (it's pedestrian compared to fallingwater) "usonian", something the average person could afford. The house is owned by a foundation (probably to get it off of the tax roles and make it eligible for generating revenue without that revenue being taxable or the property being taxable) - we toured that, too. It's a house that no average person could afford, most of its appointments are fabulously uncomfortable to sit on, it's got a strange high head level narrow window all the way around, and odd bits like a hallway that's intentionally extremely narrow (to the point of making you wonder how you could get normal things to the bedrooms - like beds or furniture) due to FLWs thought that having the hallways be very tight and difficult to pass through makes people more comfortable or something of the sort (makes the tours a little too comfortable!).

What reminded me is that FLW was apparently extremely proud, bold and opinionated. So confident that in the K-N tour, they told us that he would have boquets of flowers sent to owners of the home well after it was finished, and then follow up with an invoice to cover the cost of the flowers.

But we are fascinated with oddballs. There is some fascination to me that Paul will make claims, he or his curators of the blog will trim comments out and maintain this sort of incomplete reality. Is it just business, or is it really a case of "whether i'm right or wrong, I'm right".

(I've got a pair of relatives also who went their own direction and were very successful and good at ignoring things they didn't do well - it never seemed to affect them. they did far better than they probably would have if they'd have had more self awareness, using their oddness and confidence as an asset).
 
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Noel

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My apologies to Noel - I guessed at the Mangan type and thought maybe he was a half-baked builder who was a bit of a free spirit and did whatever he wants, but it sounds like he's more of a showman.

FLW came to mind only because when you're in school here and you do basic american history stuff, you get some bits about architecture and FLW is always in them. Falling water is famous locally and probably nationally here. Not sure if it's ever mentioned internationally, but the house sits over a stream, is extremely humid to say the least, and at some point while building it, they had trouble with water incursion on one side so instead of trying to build past it, the water just runs through while you're in the house.

When it was built, large parts of it were formed from concrete, and cantilevered, and they deflected immediately, but I guess it's too late at that point.

When reconditioning and stabilizing of the house was undertaken two decades ago, it cost almost $12MM. It's just a bold design that had problems from the start as described to us on the tour. It also ended up about double to almost quintuple the original estimate depending on how you explain the cost overruns (I think interior bits, a second guest house, etc, were added....even at the time, the structures cost a princely sum - especially the guest house which is small and cost double the three story brick house an uncle of mine lived in a town near where I grew up)

In kentuck knob, FLW referred to the house (it's pedestrian compared to fallingwater) "usonian", something the average person could afford. The house is owned by a foundation (probably to get it off of the tax roles and make it eligible for generating revenue without that revenue being taxable or the property being taxable) - we toured that, too. It's a house that no average person could afford, most of its appointments are fabulously uncomfortable to sit on, it's got a strange high head level narrow window all the way around, and odd bits like a hallway that's intentionally extremely narrow (to the point of making you wonder how you could get normal things to the bedrooms - like beds or furniture) due to FLWs thought that having the hallways be very tight and difficult to pass through makes people more comfortable or something of the sort (makes the tours a little too comfortable!).

What reminded me is that FLW was apparently extremely proud, bold and opinionated. So confident that in the K-N tour, they told us that he would have boquets of flowers sent to owners of the home well after it was finished, and then follow up with an invoice to cover the cost of the flowers.

But we are fascinated with oddballs. There is some fascination to me that Paul will make claims, he or his curators of the blog will trim comments out and maintain this sort of incomplete reality. Is it just business, or is it really a case of "whether i'm right or wrong, I'm right".

No apologies needed, just couldn't see how you went from somebody like Mangan to Lloyd-Wright. I think the straw bale building was a bit of an experiment and had no planning permission.
Personally I don't see him as too much of a showman, did a lot good work in Africa and as said I do enjoy his talks,. others may not. Lives somewhere in Westmeath now I think.
 

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No apologies needed, just couldn't see how you went from somebody like Mangan to Lloyd-Wright. I think the straw bale building was a bit of an experiment and had no planning permission.
Personally I don't see him as too much of a showman, did a lot good work in Africa and as said I do enjoy his talks,. others may not. Lives somewhere in Westmeath now I think.

i'll have to go listen to some of his talks - needless to say, he's not a known entity here in the states. I like the straw bale house thing (but that, and earth bags and filled tires, etc, have all been pushed here at one time or another). I'd assumed the guy was perhaps a builder first and talker second, but he sounds like an idea guy.

it's the nutballs who fail most of the time (at least to make something better than what's already available), but move us forward in giant leaps when they succeed.

(FLW was less nutball and more oddball, and it's easy for me to base the above on what we heard on tours of the properties and discussion of how expensive it would be to actually own and maintain fallingwater (if you could even tolerate bumping your head on the ceilings in the bedrooms, as another oddity of FLW is his assumption that things should be "people scale" in some areas, and that people would be more comfortable with the ceiling right above their head in some spaces then well above). I know there are tons of homes that look more normal in illinois and probably a bunch in california. Not sure how many are lived in by individuals, as a quick look at some of the more famous designs shows they are also owned by foundations. Popular thing here in my state where property taxes are high - it's like a 10 year old mercedes. At some point, the cost of having the car starts to make less sense than just giving it away. I'm not sad I toured them, though.

It's hotter here than there. We're used to it, but when you go to fallingwater, you still end up struck by just how oppressive the humidity is even with the house in the mountains. There's an exit under the house to literally go sit in the creek under it if it's too hot. When we were there, I could only think that of the massive kind of overthought structure, I could do without all of it other than a little hut above and the steps to sit in the moving water and read.
 
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D_W

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When I was a poor and very young grad student I was invited to visit Falling Water, great I said, upon arriving I was informed I needed to pay an absurd amount (in my opinion) to see the interior. I was happy to just look from the outside. I'm sure they get plenty of money to maintain it. Many years later I did actually go inside, I can't give a review, but I do like the idea of having a creek run through the living room.

P.S. If any of you are ever in North Carolina (USA) and someone invites you to a place called Biltmore, I'd suggest you decline or check ticket prices in advance, specially if you're with the wife and kids.

Both fallingwater and kentuck knob are pretty expensive for what you see (very expensive, I guess - kentuck knob is $100+ for a family with two older kids and a tour that's around 30-40 minutes, and kind of underwhelming. An enormous amount of building material in and under the house, but not that much interior space). It looks like fallingwater has grown (you have to pay to get on the grounds now, too) and has a restaurant and museum and event center. Starts to feel like a bit much. As I recall, they also check if you'd like to buy a membership to the latter and give additional amounts. No clue what the full access tickets cost but it costs $10 per person to walk on the property outside of the house itself.
 

D_W

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Thanks for the reference noel - i found the Mangan talk about the straw house and having oat straw available on low cost land.

I see how far off the FLW thought was now! (and I'm shocked that there's been anywhere now or the recent past where you could get 10 acres for 10 grand in the UK).

Mangan's last comment in the segment was interesting "I haven't always made the best decisions, but people seem to look after me" or something like that. hah.
 

Noel

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Thanks for the reference noel - i found the Mangan talk about the straw house and having oat straw available on low cost land.

I see how far off the FLW thought was now! (and I'm shocked that there's been anywhere now or the recent past where you could get 10 acres for 10 grand in the UK).

Mangan's last comment in the segment was interesting "I haven't always made the best decisions, but people seem to look after me" or something like that. hah.

He's in Ireland and you can still get land for a similar price. It'll not be premium arable land but well worth a go. It might be a bit boggy or rocky or lightly forested etc. PP might be a bigger issue if you want to build but plenty of opportunities out there. One reason why lots of GB folk have left the rat race and moved there to lead a more self sustaining lifestyle, many off grid.
One bloke I met bought 5/6 acres on the west coast. Had an old briar which he converted, 2/3 acres of forest (for the fire/back burner) and plenty of space to grow food, the rest he rented out to a farmer.
When I'm in the office or on the road it's certainly an attractive proposition.
 

heimlaga

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Do you see the idea that tools have to be shiny and expensive to work being promoted, or is it that someone says “this is a great tool” and it happens to be shiny and expensive?

If someone picks up a block plane made by Clifton/veritas/LN even the Chinese manufactures of higher quality tools in the last 20-years, that hasn’t been abused, it’s going to be shiny and might be relatively expensive, they’re still great tools, you’d be sliding a cigarette paper between them in terms of performance.
I advocate buying high quality tools when you buy new and I almost always buy the best quality I can afford when I buy new but everything doesn't have to be neither new nor factory made. Sometimes buying new is worth the cost and sometimes not. Sometimes making a tool from scratch is worth the effort and sometimes not.
What I don't like is when people are made believe that they need a full complement of tools and gadgets from a number of specific makers aimed at their specific cathegory of customers. Many youtube woodworkers seem to promote that way of thinking.
 

TheTiddles

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Is this thread just meant to be an attack on Mr Sellers? If so, why? He expresses a view. We are all at liberty to disagree. Nothing much has been added as far as I can see in 6 pages.
It seems like some people want to post an opinion and get upset if others don’t agree with them, I can’t help but feel the internet
I advocate buying high quality tools when you buy new and I almost always buy the best quality I can afford when I buy new but everything doesn't have to be neither new nor factory made. Sometimes buying new is worth the cost and sometimes not. Sometimes making a tool from scratch is worth the effort and sometimes not.
What I don't like is when people are made believe that they need a full complement of tools and gadgets from a number of specific makers aimed at their specific cathegory of customers. Many youtube woodworkers seem to promote that way of thinking.
Do you have an example to illustrate this?
 

Ttrees

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Cosman recommends some expensive gear a bit too often, but he does mention that that's his philosophy to have good tools that he likes using.
However he will have a discussion about the other options/methods and always gives his own reasons with clarity as to why he likes something so most of the time, one can make their own mind up about that.
No secret that he's pushing products, heck he's even selling maple syrup or something,
Has anyone seen the new offset jig instead of the marking gauge?
That sold those wheel gauges to me early on, well a cheapie Axi version, bought another since.

Those are the adds that you have to deal with, in order to get free content, which he produces much of.
Regardless of the tool pushing, the work is honest in my view, and that's the most important part of it all to me.
Good to see someone willing to try out new ideas, and not closed off and unwilling to change and quiet about it.
I pestered him about using the cap iron before on a tearout free video, which very well may likely be a bit of a sore subject for someone selling thicker double irons and super expensive hones
(not looked at the shop to see the price but believe those Shaptons to be OTT x20)
I suspect that will take a good chunk of youtubers to actually publish videos demonstrating this correctly, experimentation of geometry on the cap, and the knock on effects of this, (getting away without needing that Shapton edge) for most gurus to take heed of this.
He did entertain the thought and said he must look into it a bit more.

I suspect the team might have experimented with this a bit, some seem to spend a good deal of time there working on machines and whatever else likely to do with the saw manufacturing.
For the easily irritable, it might be worth checking out his older publications like that 3 1/2 minute dovetail video which Estlea hilariously beat recently.
Cosman mentioned that hadn't gone un-noticed!
Love to see that sort of engagement or should I say acknowledgment
and being a good sport about it all.
 

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My brother in law built a straw bale house about 12 years ago. Three storey building, in the Washington State pine forest. I visited him and his family but once while they were there. Fascinating project. He sold it at a profit and moved to Spokane, and as far as anyone knows, it's never actually been lived in since.
I expect he got fed up with all the big bad wolf remarks... His current house is a so-called 50s Rancher, so essentially sticks. In America they don't seem to use bricks so much.
I've probably got some pictures somewhere...
 
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John Brown

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The price rises in timber must be hitting them hard.
No doubt. For years I've been envious of the cheaper "lumber" in the US. Seems those days are over. Plywood is cheaper in the UK now, if my American relations are to be believed.
Probably still cheaper for houses than bricks and mortar, though.
 

D_W

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My brother in law built a straw bale house about 12 years ago. Three storey building, in the Washington State pine forest. I visited him and his family but once while they were there. Fascinating project. He sold it at a profit and moved to Spokane, and as far as anyone knows, it's never actually been lived in since.
I expect he got fed up with all the big bad wolf remarks... His current house is a so-called 50s Rancher, so essentially sticks. In America they don't seem to use bricks so much.
I've probably got some pictures somewhere...

Seems to be regional here, but the new construction sure does favor the siding! In the 50s, the siding and stick houses were probably aluminum (the back room off of my house had aluminum siding, but I think it was added on and not part of the original house. My street was built in the 50s, but it's all brick. Some is red brick (mine is) and others is "insulbrick" or whatever it would be called here, which based on the bricks decladding on my neighbor's house, looks like a core of something with cladding on the outside.

This is the house I grew up in. Like the straw man, the materials were pulled from the site. It's granite with 16" thick walls (the hillside behind the house was mined and removed - it's granite). In true US rural tradition, the look is always spoiled by utility lines.

Screenshot 2021-08-19 075010.jpg


Big yard, big trees, not my bag - but in a world with other peoples' money, I'd love to live there in retirement after my parents have finished their shift. They would prefer that, but far more likely that it'll be sold unless I get divorced first.

When you get into planned neighborhoods here, though, you can run into siding upon siding upon siding. Perfectly fine to live in, I guess, but the trend of spec houses to have bigger and bigger houses but cut costs on the windows and they look like big plastic boxes. Anyone who has ever been further east here to the philadelphia area will see a whole bunch of granite houses and stone barns. Really lovely looking houses (nothing to raid on parents' property (there's 21 acres of it behind them - everything big is red oak. Worth more as firewood than lumber).

Separately, I like the concept of the straw house - you get the bulk and insulation without the weight or cost.

People who live in vinyl siding new houses with MDF exterior trim shouldn't throw OSB at straw houses!
 

heimlaga

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It seems like some people want to post an opinion and get upset if others don’t agree with them, I can’t help but feel the internet

Do you have an example to illustrate this?
There are that woodwhisperer chap and many others who seem to have made it a mainstay of their business to promote certain brands. Unfortunately quite a few wiewers seem to be fooled. And then there are all those who think everybody must have a full lineup of whatever brand and promote that idea on forums.
 

D_W

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On the music side of things, individual efforts to do one single sponsored video can yield $10K.

I don't watch any of those channels - they're always sort of part of the beginner's trap that just continues to go forever, but remember "april wilkerson" - I think that was her name - who was the definition of not accomplished when she started her channel being recommended by youtube. AT some point, a video showed up with an entire wall of portable orange tools behind her. At that point, I requested the right click "please don't recommend content from this channel", but that whole thing is the youtube dream.

It's cheap advertising for brands. Realistically, can you imagine any other way that a single brand can for $10K reach an ideal target market of 400k people who are lubricated by a personality that "they trust"? It's great for everyone except folks watching. It's not like it's that horrible for the folks watching, either - much like magazines used to always include a brand and where to buy or who to contact - it just creates a sense that the activity and tools in the video got there some way other than highest reasonable bidder.
 
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