Paul Sellers and Old v New Tools

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D_W

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If the wood type allows, I use a leaf shredder to pick up the shavings. It vacuums and breaks them into tiny bits all at once. Just a cheap electric one. Some woods have exceptional strength along their length, and it's not a great idea for them. Hard maple comes to mind, but most everything else so far shreds to bits and then they fit well in the fire pit.
 

Gary_S

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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.
He open;ly admits that he is sponsored by Titebond (I personally love it) and Powermatic (They look like great tools). He NEVER though says you should buy this or that. In fact, his recent posts are the antithesis of what you suggest.
 

hlvd

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I’d put off watching a Paul Sellers video for a few weeks since learning about him thinking he was just another YouTube hobbyist.

I’ve now watched two and I’m very impressed, he handles tools like he’s done it for a living and his explanatory style reminds me of my lecturer in technical college.

I’m of the same opinion, whilst a Lie Nielsen or Veritas would probably be a very pleasant planing experience they won’t make anyone a better woodworker, that skill is purely in the user.
 
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hlvd

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Now that's the sort of thing I'd expect to hear from someone who'd never been self employed. Extend deadlines that way and you end up with dissatisfied customers, cancelled orders and lost revenue. Does he actually teach anything about running a business on his courses? Of course not, because that would mean admitting that it is damned hard work. Apologies to anyone who was/is in the profession (my wife was), but what was it Shaw said about teaching?


I don't know where you are in the world (I suspect the USA) but certainly when Paul came into the trade (late 1960s?) better firms were still running a 3 to 4 year apprenticeship and many expected you to train as a carpenter and joiner. In shopfitting and barfitting firms (my own background) you were taught many cabinetmaking skills such as veneering and finishing (staining and spraying mainly). We were taught to do a lot with machinery as well as by hand, but I was never good enough to be passed over to our resident stair joiner, who could carve handrail wreath damned nigh perfectly. The biggest difference, thougj, is that as joiners we learned nothing about design, aesthetics or the history of furniture because we often work to an architect's drawings. So in technical terms I wouldn't knock him that hard - the man does seem to know a lot about technique
I’m of a similar background to yourself and served a four year apprenticeship as a Joiner in the Eighties.
I agree, from what I see, the way he holds and uses his plane and other hand tools he’s also of a similar background. He talks a lot of sense and I really don’t get all the hate 🤷‍♂️
 

D_W

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I’d put off watching a Paul Sellers video for a few weeks since learning about him thinking he was just another YouTube hobbyist.

I’ve now watched two and I’m very impressed, he handles tools like he’s done it for a living and his explanatory style reminds me of my lecturer in technical college.

I’m of the same opinion, whilst a Lie Nielsen or Veritas would probably be a very pleasant planing experience they won’t make anyone a better woodworker, that skill is purely in the user.

Your statement is different than saying the old ones are better. That's what got him the static.
 

D_W

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I think a lot of guys know what they're talking about. Cosman gets a lot of hate, but his work is tidy. Proportions are sometimes odd, so his disciples show up with small cases with really fat drawer sides and overzealous half blind displays of a certain proportion, but I don't see much from folks who take sellers' class.

The reality is with either of them, you're set to be a hobbyist at best. That's their customer base, and presenting something simple and consistent (and in paul's case, unending opinions and what appears to be curation of the blog comments to keep up some odd image) draws the beginners, and keeps the ones who don't progress there (they're profitable - someone who progresses quickly will not be).
 

thetyreman

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I don't see much from folks who take sellers' class.

The reality is with either of them, you're set to be a hobbyist at best.

there's no physical classes anymore, sellers moved his stuff online with his woodworking masterclasses, you have to pay to get the best stuff, I was a member and made a lot of the paid for projects and it's improved my skills a lot, I have recently been offered paid work which technically means I'm no longer a hobbyist, all the fundamental skills were learnt through sellers teachings.
 

D_W

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there's no physical classes anymore, sellers moved his stuff online with his woodworking masterclasses, you have to pay to get the best stuff, I was a member and made a lot of the paid for projects and it's improved my skills a lot, I have recently been offered paid work which technically means I'm no longer a hobbyist, all the fundamental skills were learnt through sellers teachings.

I'm looking for a little more I guess if considering things professionally made, though you could get into paid woodwork without hand tools at all. Paul reminds me of scott grove - the move to online classes only may have been the intention from the start as it's got to be more profitable and far less of a hassle.

Scott grove is a guy who was sort of a washed up local and former regional guitarist who found very early that he could teach simplified lessons to beginners and do it online rather than trying to do it in classes, and at least by has claim, he'd gotten to the point where the residuals from his classes were 7 figures. He's a different character than paul (he is intentionally rude and opinionated), but same business model. His fans gush like paul's fans, and his haters still tune in like people who hate paul's opinions, but Grove takes it to a level that nobody in England would have the poor manners to do.

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Are you further ahead than you would've been if you'd have been directed to good texts about hand tools? I doubt it. I'm not, either - I found my way to HT by leisure and then using them (and leaving behind the gimmicky stuff) by experience. There are texts I could've learned from, but people were too busy talking about roubo and workbenches. Roubo is good stuff (But better for someone to read the actual roubo works and stay away from Chris Schwarz). Nicholson is excellent, but most of it is things you wouldn't need to know now (the planing section is dead on point - almost nothing else is).

I see Rob and Paul a lot the same, except Rob makes stuff and sells it and imports stuff and sells it. I think the effort in that is a bridge too far for paul, but he's older (and most of what rob sells is made by employees if it's not imported). That part has always been there for Rob - I'd guess originally when he was doing things like touring woodcraft stores giving classes, it was a way to add some revenue to the trip. They're likely both successful at making money.

As far as the standard for professional, I guess I've sold somewhere around 20 planes and 80 chisels, but I don't consider myself a professional. Being professional here causes problems with taxes and insurance, so the only tools I"ve ever marked up are those that were being sold for charity (and that's uncommon - the charity thing - it's easier for me to just give money than make a tool and chance it only bringing double the cost of materials in it). If I don't feel like making something, I will sometimes squeeze someone I don't know and charge them materials and make them choose a charity and charge them more and then send them a receipt for anything over material costs - they get to choose the charity (e.g., if I don't feel like making a plane, I'll charge them $350 instead of the $100 material costs and then tell them to choose a charity for the difference - but only if they try to motivate by saying they'll pay whatever is asked when I say i'm not in business to make money).

I would consider myself a professional if making tools sustained me or did a large share of that. I think the odds for folks coming into paul or rob's classes are poor, but I don't know that rob ever advertises that. Paul does, which irritates me. The individual in the class will be the reason they become a professional, and they'd do it without paul.

I've always had pleasant interactions with Rob, but sometimes he does make you shake your head a little. For example, he said people want his saws with exotic handles - since I've commented on a video or two lately (which surprisingly, he's never banned me), I got a video of him showing making a wooden handle for his saws. I went out and looked, and figured he'd probably charge an extra $150 or something for an exotic handle. Nope - birdseye maple above and beyond the price of a resin handled saw? +$500. pink ivory? +$850 (!!)

I heard an old saying from a guy (now dead) where I grew up who sold a bunch of overpriced stuff and rarely sold much. "if you don't ask it, you won't get it".
 

D_W

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Thing is - would you buy a 2nd hand car from any of them? I would from Sellers, not sure about many of the others!

Cosman is LDS. I'd bet he's awfully honest. He's salesy, but I've never seen him be dishonest. Some people hate salesiness more than they hate dishonesty, but that's their choice.

I'd feel pretty safe buying a car from Mr. Charlesworth, too. I think most would feel safe buying a car from me, but they might fear that I'd tell them every single thing about it in long form and avoid just because of that. "Here's what I'd do for pads and rotors on this car, here's what I've done, and the door switches - not so great, and here's what else. Not going to sell it until you know everything I know about it".

(I'm not a woodworking personality, though).
 

D_W

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(separately, in terms of the criticism of the rounded over very expensive handles from Rob C - I remember not too long ago, George Wilson said something like "I'd have to have $500 to make a saw".


Here's a picture of two that he made with faceted folded backs (not slotted) and very crisply made handles.

George isn't making anything now, though. George never sold saws because I don't think he felt comfortable with the idea of getting grief over asking $500. most of the market can't tell the difference between Rob's handles and George's, though, but there is an enormous divide.

(if those look like Groves, George is very fond of the design of the Groves handles).
 

Ttrees

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I would try and avoid anyone who uses the lever cap as a screwdriver, but alas I have no money for
buying cars.

I spotted an error on one of Cosman's recent videos.
It's the only one in however many youtube years that I can recall, so isn't a bad record.
Can't say the same about most other folks.

Rob's covered a lot of subjects, and is open to early morning grumpy criticism or questions, and you don't need pay a penny unlike the drip feed system most youtubing gurus choose.

He does say that quality pays off, nothing stopping anyone from getting an old tool to work as well, so provided you don't try and make your own sawstop, and have all too much faith in it,
you will likely gain a lot of knowledge and skills.

TIP Just fast forward until he picks up something;)
 

D_W

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I always use the cap iron if a plane fits the screw. One thing that I don't like is finding a lever cap where the front lip is wider than the screw slot - stanley would've done that intentionally (made that fit).

HOWEVER - when I get a plane that's new to me or one where the screw is firmly in place, screwdriver - always - first go around (well, sort of, I'll try lighter than normal pressure with the lever cap, but no fighting it - I'm convinced that there are two things that break the tips of lever caps:
1) beginners who have trouble with a plane and think "it just needs to be tighter, and then it'll work"
2) people who have always loosened a cap screw with the lever cap and when they pick up a plane that's rusted or suffered disuse or overzealous tightening, they're using the lever cap no matter what

I've never chipped one. I did once have an ohio tool plane that was chipped in the center, and same with a stanley 5 1/2, which was a pain because it was one of the early ones with a narrower lever cap. Both of them had lever caps that worked fine, but if you want to find a way to make it difficult to sell a stanley type plane, chip the lever cap or break one of the handles - you're better off parting the entire plane out once you get to that.
 

Ttrees

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Are you referring to the cast metal or the nickel coating when you are talking about chipping David?
I have three big flathead screwdrivers, so one is always kept close to my stones.
The other two being handy persuaders kept in the toolbox.
I can't see why anyone would bother using the lever cap in the first place, surely you should have all the tools you need, or should I say "like" to have close at hand.
Suppose that's just me though, as I tend to loose things if I don't keep on top of it.

Tom
 

JobandKnock

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I can't see why anyone would bother using the lever cap in the first place, surely you should have all the tools you need, or should I say "like" to have close at hand.
In the past I've seen the lever cap used often enough when the cap iron needed to be taken off - it's more a matter of how much weight you can physically carry than anything else. Done it myself, too, on the odd occasion before now
 
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