Baby Steps

At one time or another we were all beginners, I still classify myself as a beginner even though I got my first taste of working wood when I was 7. You would think I have all the answers right? Wrong. No one has all the answers. No one can say they know everything about anything, but we strive to learn something new or reinforce what we know every day. This is what I do, this is how I try to elevate myself within the craft. We already have enough dumb asses in the world why add one more? Why not separate ourselves from them and make an effort for our families, for our craft, for ourselves.

Do you fear failure?
Don’t, it’s ok to fail. Every successful businessman failed. You learn from failure; you grow from failure; you become more knowledgeable and experienced from failure. Eventually you’ll become a success.

It will take time to build a business and I have too many bills to pay.
It’s true it will take time to build a business, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. The Earth was fashioned over time even though in the scriptures it reads God said “Be and it is” it didn’t just appear ready fashioned and ready for use. No it took billions and billions of years of molding it, fashioning and perfecting it. It took billions of years for the earth to be this perfect creation by God yet it took us only 100 years to bore a hole in the ozone layer. And that’s the same with your business. It can take years to build a viable business and then burn it overnight, it’s that simple.

What can I make that hasn’t been made already?
What you make is better than the in store imported stuff. Make what the markets want not what you want and people will buy. For every product there is a buyer. For every miser there is my foot print on their backsides.

People make a lot of excuses not to get off their backsides and take charge of their lives. They will make a lot of them and some are valid real excuses like health issues be that physical or mental like depression. We all know our limitations, but I know we carbon based life forms, human beings have none. There are people with no arms or legs, sight, hearing work art, cook beautiful foods and even install roof tiles. I’ve seen this chap in the US on TV with no legs climb with his hands up the ladder and go to work on the roof. He said I’m not going on welfare, there’s nothing wrong with me.
My doctor said if I don’t give up woodworking by hand I will end up in a wheel chair. So do I give up my craft, my only passion, hell no. I might as well make myself a box and bury myself alive because that’s what I would be doing if I gave up my craft. You never ever give up. You push yourself everyday to become better and better. You go to work and you don’t waste time. You work hard and make yourself the most valuable employee to keep your job while you grow your own business on the side. You take small incremental steps towards your goal and if you fall, you brush yourself off, pick yourself up and move forward again until you achieve your goals.

If you want financial freedom or just knowledge or both knowledge and skill or all of the three then you have to work hard for it. You must motivate yourself daily and you must read, watch, listen and then practice to learn.
Always be honest and true to yourselves and to the world. Work honestly, trade fairly, if you can afford it hire someone to help you and train them to be as good or better than you. Be humble, you don’t know everything and you never will. Remember it was God and your hard work that put you there and arrogance and there’s plenty of that in the business arena can take it all away.

Don’t take the easy way out, if you want carvings on your next project, don’t go out and buy a cnc machine, learn how to carve. There are plenty of great teachers out there that will teach you not how to eat fish, but how to catch them. There is so much information on the World Wide Web  that no one has an excuse. I write the magazine not because it’s fun, not because I’m bored,but because there’s value to it. I build and learn and pass what I’ve learn’t along the way. Christopher Schwarz went to Europe to learn about historical workbenches which he then passed that information onto you through his new book “Ingenious Mechanicks” even though he built hundreds of various styles of work benches throughout the years. This is what it’s about, learning, gathering to pass that knowledge on.

There are no limitations on what you can do. Be the best you can and go and build something beautiful.


An Extract Project from “The Lost Scrolls of HANDWORK” Magazine

Thank you very much to those who have purchased the magazine. The number of downloads when it was free was in the thousands in fact, it was about 10,000 downloads and progressively rising. Unfortunately, not this time round and not even close if it was I would be able to work on the magazine full time and begin investing in it to make it the best I humanly possibly can. Sadly, though I have to go back to work tonight as I took two weeks off without pay to get the magazine out.  Even if I didn’t charge for it, it’s not in my nature to renege on a promise.

Here is a small extract from the latest issue of our magazine. It’s from the Jewellery Box Project.

extract page 33_Page_34

extract page 33_Page_35

Issue IV of “HANDWORK” Out Now

After many months of hard work Issue IV is finally published. There are many great articles covered including two fantastic projects, one will make your partner smile the other one will make you smile.

First, all praise is due to God for the ability and the skill set He has given me to woodwork and for this magazine and every Issue of “HANDWORK” that will come thereafter God Willing.

Secondly, thank you my readers who have encouraged me through your posts of gratitude and praise for the magazine. Without you none of this would be possible.

A big thanks go out to my friend and contributing editor Matt McGrane for his enormous help and perseverance in helping me put together the articles. Matt has volunteered his services for the magazine. What a commendable act of goodwill! Without you mate it would be an even steeper hill to climb.

I also want to thank Paul Britton our contributing author for the wonderful and interesting article he wrote about Simonds Saw.  Btw I got to play with some of his many beautiful Antique and Vintage saws today.

Only a minor change to the magazine. It will no longer be named as Vol.1 Issue.1 instead it will be only Issue 1,2,3,4 etc.

I’ve reopened my Etsy Store and this is where you will find the current and future issues of “The Lost SCrolls of HANDWORK.” As promised the price is USD$5.00. Etsy accepts all major credit cards and PayPal.

Here is the link to the store. Enjoy.

The Lost Scrolls of HANDWORK Issue IV



Update on Issue IV

It’s been a while since I’ve made any posts. I’ve been busy writing articles and working to earn a crust.

I’m relieved to say the final article has been written and sent off for edit. Once that’s finalised, the compilation forms the magazine.

So far the magazine has been free and posting it has been rather simple. This time it won’t be free and posting it has got me stumped. WordPress is expensive, I don’t have $1200 in pocket change to splurge because they feel they need 1 year payment in advance and the plugin needed to sell on the blog. Amazon staff are offshore, they copy/paste pre written script, so it’s like talking to a recording. I know little about eBay, but it seems like it’s the last place to try.

If I knew for a certainty I would get as many purchases as I did downloads on the previous issues then I would make the investment with WordPress. Unfortunately, I don’t know and I am just as poor as the next bloke so I can’t risk it.

The price will be only US$5.00, cheap as chips considering how much work goes into it. If all goes well  I can quit my day job and do this full time, I won’t be as stressed and drained as I am. On the flip side my back is further degenerating, and it’s getting harder and harder to push the plane. Nonetheless, I’m still soldiering on and will continue to work the craft the only way I know how with my hands. There is nothing sweeter and more soul satisfying/gratifying than when you build something by hand.

Hodges Mitre Shoot 1890

Many aids and appliances for frame making and for making correct mitre joints have been given to the working public of late years, and the latest addition to their number has been Hodges Mitre Shoot, which is illustrated in Fig.2, and which is intended for planing up the joint after the wood has been cut to the proper shape by the means of the saw. The patent rights are held by Mr. E.R. Sibley, Whites Hill, near Gloucestershire, who, I am sure, will readily answer any question regarding the price at which the machine is sold, and respecting which I am utterly in the dark. I like to be in a position to mention the price of everything I am called on to notice, for to know the cost of an article is useful to buyer, seller, reader, and myself all round, and, in many cases, saves the putting of questions on this point and the answering of the same.  The nature of the machine will be seen from the illustration. First, there is a rectangular frame or bed, with raised edges or guards, which is fixed firmly to the edge of the workbench, as shown by two screws. Attached to the frame is an adjustable bed, whose inclination forms an angle of 45° with the frame, and on this frame the moulding is placed after bring cut, in the mitre block, and secure by the vice, which grips it and retains it in position, the vice itself working in a small block attached to the adjustable bed. When the moulding is in position, the end may be planed up with the long plane shown in the illustration, and which is made of so great a length that it may be able to ride on guards formed by the raised edges of the frame and the top of the bed itself.  As these guards are perfectly flat and square, it follows that the end of the moulding, when planed up, must be equally flat and square, The bed, as it


has been said, is adjustable, and should it deviate from the proper angle, it can be set correctly by loosening a screw at the back of the regulator, bringing it parallel with the sides of the machine, and then tightening the screw again. The regulator is at the bottom of the bed, and does not appear in the illustration. The points of utility claimed for the machine are, its capability of producing accurate work; causing no injury to mouldings; perfect adjustment by means of its rising and falling bed; the ease with which it can be worked; the possibility of reshooting the ends of a frame after two sides have been joined together; and its portability and the ease with which it is fixed. The machine takes moulding 4 in. and 3 in. deep.