44 comments on “Occasional Table episode 1

  1. Paul,

    I would highly encourage you to consider posting this to your Youtube channel because your analysis of this piece demonstrates your true mastery of our craft. If I had not discovered you as early as I did, I know seeing this video would have caused me to sign up instantly! I am confident I speak for my peers when I say you continually and consistently amaze us with your knowledge and the way you teach the craft. We can not thank you enough for the public service you render and the good you are doing in the world. As significant as you 50+ years of furniture-making has been to the society, I have no doubt that the work you are doing today in imparting your encyclopaedic knowledge eclipses any former impact you made on the world thorough making beautiful furniture. If I may I would like to suggest the following title for the Youtube video: “A Modern Master Dissects the Work of An Old Master”

  2. Paul and crew, I can see this will be a great series, Thank You for this. I appreciate you taking the time to dismantle and explain what was happening, very interested. It is amazing what can be learned from this and Paul you are doing a great job of explaining. I am really excited and can’t wait until this piece is finished, I assume you will re – finish existing table so this will interesting to see how it all finish’s up.

    Steve

  3. Living in Virginia, USA I’ve traveled to both Jamestown Settlement and to Old Salem in North Carolina to check out the furniture craftsmanship. Its very interesting to see and think about their methods of work. So while I’ve enjoyed all the videos the commentary on this table construction is my favorite to date!

  4. This one is really awesome. Thank you!
    P.S. BTW for the last two or three episodes I noticed that editing and camerawork became better.
    P.P.S. But this one is on the ultimate level of awesomeness because of the story.

  5. I never really though about craftsmen punching out the same piece day after day. I tended to think of every piece as custom when doing hand work.

    However, to make a living, most of a furniture maker’s work would be ordinary pieces for ordinary people. It’s interesting to see the techniques used in a pre-machine production environment.

  6. This issue of taking the piece apart is fascinating! Some times I go to the Met Museum to look at a chest of drawers that has been taken apart to see how it was constructed. This is even better. These masterclasses are fantastic. The masterclasses and Paul Sellers are my one stop for woodworking education. Bravo to all!

  7. First CSI, or “Craftsman Scene Investigation” Woodworking show I’ve ever seen! I’m hooked. Just when you think the Sellers family has surely reached the height of how to keep you interested, WHAM, they take it to yet another level!! Well done Mr. Sellers et al.

  8. Great video!

    Paul, I noticed (at about 18.30) a couple of small unstopped holes in the underside of the top, where you were pointing out the triangle of stopped holes. Do you have any explanation for these?

    Is it possible that the craftsman of 120 years ago was using wood reclaimed from another piece, hence the triangle of holes which he had to stop?

    • Hello John,
      It is unlikely that the craftsman was using reclaimed wood due to the availability of mahogany at the time. We’re still not sure what the explanation is for them being there. Will let you know if we do.

      • Thanks for the series.
        I was also sort of wondering if the top was ‘up-cycled’ from something else given the one-ended and assymetric breadboard end – maybe one corner of a larger panel? Rushing to finish my toolbox so I can make a table from my stash of skip (err…. dumpster?) -reclaimed mahogany!

      • Hello Phil,
        I was watching (actually RE-watching!) this series today. I too thought that perhaps the top had been up-cycled. I guess we can never be certain. Also, I was noticing the screws that Paul removed and it appears that they are somewhat blunt on the tips instead of a sharp point like modern screws. I have heard (I believe from Roy Underhill on his TV program) that this type of screws was used prior to 1840. If that’s the case, it might help Paul date the original piece.
        Regards,
        Gary

  9. Hi Paul,
    I just want to thank you for this wonderful video! I couldn’t think it would be so interesting. That we can learn so much from, at first glance, such a ‘simple’ table. Being quite a new member, I now found a fantastic source of knowledge sharing.

    /Niclas

  10. who’d of thought a £3 carboot find would creat so much interest if only the original craftsman could see what his work has become , a simple table made before television and now the subject of a world wide masterclass ,you couldn’t write it .

  11. I can’t understand, for the life of me, why a furniture piece like this was only about $5?!? In the States this “antique” would easy fatch $100 or more! And brown here is not necessarily a bad thing. Wonderful work, keep it up.

  12. The dismantling-aspect is of great interest for me. How do you proceed if the type of glue is not to your favour or if you have to open up large frames and the glue-joints are still holding strong?

    Thanks a lot!

    • Hello Florian, there are various options that it would be worth looking into. Paul has used vinegar to soften PVA in the past. If the joint is tight, there may be no need to take it apart. If you have to take it apart, there are no guarantees. You just have to feel after what will and won’t work, there is an inherent risk involved. Hope that helps.
      All the best, Phil

  13. I was wondering why on some projects you use mortise and tenon joints with a hauch and on some as this one there is no haunch – even though the joint and function seems to be very similar.
    There are no haunches on the bench stool and the occasional table, however there are haunches on the coffee table and the sofa table.
    So is there any rule or design consideration when to use haunched mortise and tenon joints?

  14. It’s amazing what an education your knowledge provides when you show us how to analyse a past craftsman’s work. Too bad mankind has not learned this lesson in matters of the heart. Paul Sellers, you get it! I appreciate your work and more importantly, I appreciate the quiet way you go about sharing tremendous truth that is applicable in every area of ones life.

  15. What a truly brilliant video. I would for one like to see a lot more of this type of analysis. It really connects us as users of hand tools to the original maker. What he did well, the techniques he employed, how he dealt with issues and mistakes he made.

    I’ve recently purchase several ‘unloved’ pieces of dark brown furniture from secondhand shops myself and im doing a similar thing in trying to understand how they were made as a way to educate myself.

    I also want to build a plant table with the splayed legs – so i’m going to work through these videos – but unlike to original maker, i will certainly need more than one day to complete it!

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