Last week we went away to see family for a few days which is always good for reminding you just how important family are. It also meant that I got to sleep in a proper bed and had running water for a short time – what a luxury. I even got to go in a sauna and almost killed that lovely family in the process.
The time away also gave me plenty of chance to reflect on the decisions we’ve made of late and think about the future. It also felt strange not having sharpening as part of my routine (it’s funny what gets you).
The comments received on our recent post were overwhelmingly supportive and we’re incredibly thankful. I noted a lot of times people suggesting that our decision to stop building workbenches is brave and this was odd to read. We don’t see it at all like that ourselves but given time to reflect and take a step back I can realise that when so much of life can be about working nine until five, then our choices would have to come across as either brave or stupid, so perhaps the polite wording was used.
I have big ups and big downs like a lot of people and when you’re not driven by money or a desire to buy all manner of material things then I need my craft to be my cure when things feel on the lower side. My tools and skills are all I have and all I need despite the fact that I’m sleeping in a hammock. In fact I find the less I have the happier I am, so you can shove that BMW right up your arse!
We’ve received a lot of questions over the past week or so, and I thought it’d be worth addressing the main ones here.
Have you stopped taking orders for workbenches? – Yes. Maguire Workbenches is closing in it’s current form and we will not be taking on any more orders. We do have loose plans to re-open the business in a different form down the line, but this is going to take time.
Will you still be selling your vices? – Yes. We will continue to sell our traditional wooden vice screws and our wagon vices until further notice. Please email if you would like details – Richard@development.theenglishwoodworker.com
Is the blog closing? DEFINATELY NOT! Presently the workbenches take up 12 hours of my day every day and we still manage to produce this website. Imagine if I had some of that 12 hours back.
Are you going full time on the blog and videos? Yes and No. I’m going back to doing a lot more furniture making which will ultimately feed the blog with content. This website will be given a considerable amount more attention so we hope you’ll notice a considerable improvement. I’ve a post on this soon.
What and When is the Next Premium Video Series? This question we’ll be answering shortly.
Actually I made all those questions up but it covers the general gist of what we’ve been getting asked.
To Learn More About Hand Tool Woodworking
Have A Look At Our Online Video Series.
Good hearing from you again.
I am so looking forward to your solution for Shop built wood body planes.
I have been pondering this and the whole idea of moticing out a solid block of hardwood I’m sure is what intimidates most of the woodworking world. Then cutting and fitting the wedge.
what if… we could chop out the main portion with smooth square sides and use the Wedge & Pin line the laminated body planes?
Sort of middle road no? Chopping a large mortice is no different than a small one.
“Actually I made all those questions up but it covers the general gist of what we’ve been getting asked.”
Ha! I’m guilty of slightly embellishing the occasional dialog on occasion, as well. Excepting the ones with my little boy, of course – no need to make them up because he’s hilarious enough on his own.
I disagree with you when you say “brave” and “stupid” are interchangeable, Richard. Quitting a business that is successful, but life-draining, IS brave. Continuing down a path that slowly eats away at something you love, making it a dreaded chore, is stupid.
I look forward to seeing what the future brings for you two.
Ian Elley says
Richard, are you selling those linear bearings you used to use for the bottom of your leg vices ? Your the only person I’ve ever seen use them, they look excellent compared to other leg vice systems out there ? Another idea, have you thought of selling plans for various benches in your name ? So we could make our own Maguire benches since you have sadly stopped making them, second thoughts what about a video on how to make them ! Just a couple of ideas, Good luck for the future
Ken Haygarth says
I support you guys, whatever you do. I’m starting to feel like I have lost a friend, so get your arse back with us asap buddy. 😉
Len Aspell says
Great to see you have had a few days away with family.
“Actually I made all those questions up but it covers the general gist of what we’ve been getting asked.” – love it. When I used to draft communications on restructuring plans I would always do a few pages of Q&As to go out with the business rationale – I used to pose the questions to myself and then provide the answers to try and alleviate people’s concerns. It is a valid tactic and would often lead to a review of plans if you couldn’t satisfactorily answer your own question. So seeing you quite legitimately use the same ploy took me back a few years.
I admire yours and Helen’s decision for all sorts of reasons and it is entirely right that you should look to explore new avenues. A business that never tries new things will eventually stagnate. I agree with TKW that it is only stupid not to want to try something new. If you don’t like ‘brave’ then try courageous and innovative. Whatever the adjective you choose I wish you the very best of luck my friends.
A new post from you or Helen is always a bright spot in my day. I hope all that furniture making you alluded to is the grist for that book. You could publish it tomorrow and it wouldn’t be soon enough.
Your videos reveal something that is special – you have the ability to throughly discuss a topic and yet never seem to come from “on high”. That is a rare gift, so from my point of view more time to attend to the blog and videos can only be a good thing.
I understand the part about German cars.
But why don’t you build yourself a proper bed?
Nothing fancy, just a big upside-down crate.
Ian M. Stewart says
“A new post from you or Helen is always a bright spot in my day.” I second that!
Richard, my son (a chef) works similar hours to that and it is not a good way to live. The old saw “work to live, not live to work” counts for everyone, and long hours are not the good way to go, even when you love what you do.
As regards the “brave” decision; from the viewpoint of most wage slaves, changing what you do is always going to be seen as courageous. I changed my career at the age of 40, and never regretted doing so. Obviously, I used the skills and education I already had to secure the new job, but in a totally different field. I still see that as “brave”.
I returned to working with wood only after my retirement, and sometimes wonder if I should have made a much more radical change 26 years ago, but no, no regrets or recriminations.
Good luch with your new direction, whatever.
Michael O'Brien says
I agree 100% with DenverGeorge’s comment regarding your Premium Video Series. I have watched numerous instructional woodworking videos and yours is without question the most informative, fun to watch WW video that I have seen. ( and yes, I have and have watched all of of Paul Sellers series which are top notch as well) However, Richard’s crisp humor, quick wit, and abundant woodworking skills are what makes this series so unique as well as instructive. Please make more of them.
John Gibson says
Richard and Helen – We folks who follow your blog are a demanding lot. And there are a ot of us.
We can always wait another day or week for the next post or video (even if we do whine). But even your energy will run out if you drive yourself too hard for too long. Please feel free to pace yourself so we can all enjoy your rants for years to come. “All” includes you!
I’ve always admired your Little John bench, and now that you don’t intend to take orders for benches anymore, any chance you could publish the plans for them. Even better: do a premium series on building one!
Keep up the good work – there aren’t enough people blogging/posting about using hand tools!
Jim Hendricks says
Hi Richard and Helen
Well it will take a while to absorb this news but I am totally in harmony with you guys.
If you have ever worked in the commercial sector and then suddenly stopped..you realise how shallow and futitle some work is and how valuable and thereputic making individual items is…and research…for me research and learning more and more is something which has taken over my life…and I know you both love this too.
I have plans afoot to make radical change so I am heartened by hearing someone else doing the same.
I wish you well and look forward to meeting you both again when our paths cross at some event or other.
Jimi & ALFIE!
I wish you all the best whatever you decide to do
Wally Cox says
Sounds like You could use those tools and skills to make a nice comfortable bed Mr. Maguire, maybe making a video showing the rest of us how to as wel…..?l
With park assistant and park distance control it should be possible to park the mentioned car wherever you want to 😀
Sorry, can’t resist….
That’s possible even without these gadgets.
The mentioned location however, seems like an unhealthy choice.
What do they say: “any fool can be busy…”
Money doesn’t just buy you “things”; more importantly it buys you time.
I’ve just got on board but I already feel at home here…looking forward to all that you can offer