Out Of The Woods

by | Sep 29, 2014 | 57 comments

So I’m back from the dead… Helen made a good attempt but just didn’t bury me deep enough.
Over the last few months we’ve experienced some difficulties that I won’t ramble on about yet, but I will say that after a terrible old journey we’re now out of the woods and couldn’t be happier. I’m baffled as to where all of the time has gone this year but it’s wonderful progress to now find myself in our own beautiful, crumbling old barn, building benches. No more industrial unit.
new workshop

The barn is a wonderful environment to be in, and it just feels like the right place for working wood. There’s still a few hurdles to overcome; there’s less space, which means less machinery, and after some delays there are many, many benches to get built. I’m not expecting any days off for some time to come, but I’m feeling very positive, healthy and there’s plenty to be getting excited about.

I’d like to thank everyone for their warming emails, and now I’m back in the world of the living with plenty of woodwork underway, the blog will be back in full swing again.

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About Richard Maguire

About Richard Maguire

As a professional hand tool woodworker, Richard found hand tools to be the far more efficient solution for a one man workshop. Richard runs 'The English Woodworker' as an online resource and video education for those looking for a fuss free approach to building fine furniture by hand. Learn More About Richard & The English Woodworker.


  1. Ian Elley

    Good to hear, good luck for the future

  2. Arthur van der Harg

    Wonderful news! I was starting to get worried that you might have succumbed to your neighbour’s vapours. Can’t wait for your (and Helen’s) next postings.

  3. Dave Pryor

    So good to hear from you Richard and Helen. The barn looks great.
    My very best wishes and I look forward to your news.


  4. Mark Armstrong

    Glad you and Helen ok
    Was wondering why not seen any of your posts lately.
    Look forward to more updates. 😉

  5. Ken

    Welcome back guys, as long as you guys are ok that all that counts 😉

  6. Jim Hendricks

    Superb news Helen and Richard…..and particularly that you are now in your natural environment….it will help your mind focus and things to progress a-plenty!

    Lovely to see you both again at Richard Arnold’s event…and let’s not make it so long till the next time. I have a little panel plane I’m sure you will enjoy playing with!

    How did the tool restoration go Helen?



  7. Micheal Kingsley

    Good to hear from you again. I was afraid you had fallen off the planet (internet)!

  8. Eddy flynn

    great to see you guy’s back at it the barn looks perfect for working wood good luck

  9. Paul Chapman

    Great to see you back.

  10. Mark Williams

    Nice to hear from you. Not too bothered about regular posts, just glad you’re both ok. We were getting worried. By the looks of that wicked teapot, you’re good. 🙂
    Don’t go b@##£!%g yourself up trying too hard to catch up. You’ve got a lot to teach us yet.
    All the best to you both, Mark.

  11. Steve Jones

    Welcome back! I hope you find time to blog.

  12. mike murray

    I would like to second what Mark wrote in it’s entirety, and likewise, It is very nice to see you posting. All the best to both of you. Pace yourselves, I’m sure there is a lot of work.

    Hello to all the other folks out there reading the blog. All the best to all of you as well.

  13. thomas d.

    Hello Richard,

    glad to hear you’re alright, you guys really kept me worrying. 🙂

    All the best from Germany!!

  14. Michael O'Brien

    Richard, I am happy to see your blog back in action and I am glad for you that that life is back in order. Looking forward to your future posts.
    Best wishes,
    Mike O’Brien
    Valley Head,AL, USA

  15. Cormac

    Great news that ye are back in action. I really missed the posts for the last while. I was thinking of ye while cutting grooves recently. Good luck with the backlog and the barn.

  16. Jim Linn

    Glad you’re ok. Jealous of the barn!


  17. fred

    so glad to hear from you guys and even more glad you are well. Love the photo. You look so at home in a lovely setting. Take it easy – don’t get burnout!!!

  18. Simonm

    I’d echo the shouts of, “Good News!”, too.

    And yes, we did notice the strategically-placed teapot. When you boil things down, Life is all about priorities 🙂

    Stay well both of you, and delighted to see your email in my inbox.

  19. Chris Buckingham

    Thank goodness you are back on full song, just don’t take on too much work, you can only do so much (that’s what my wife keeps telling me but I never listen), as for space, you never will have enough, there is always more space needed, the problem I find is cramming all the machines in, I have now fitted some with heavy duty castors so I can bunch them up close when not I use.
    Take care I look forward to your regular updates.

  20. Michael Forster

    So glad to know you’re ok and happy in your new environment – looking forward to more postings from you.

  21. Wander

    Seja muito bem vindo Richard

  22. Nicholas Owen

    Excellent stuff, very happy to see that you guys are back in action.

  23. Les G

    Richard and Helen – Glad to see you back in action once again – we’ve missed your posts. The barn looks good! And just to echo what everyone has said, please take it easy to start with Your wellbeing and health are more important than meeting deadlines. DAMHIKT!
    All the best

  24. Barry lowis

    So pleased to hear you are on track again. Take care and look after yourselves. Always enjoy your newsy posts. All the best Barry.

  25. John Oliver

    Great to have you back, and sounding so positive. Wishing you good health and an enjoyable and busy time ahead. ATB. John O.

  26. george

    So glad to hear from you, and to ‘see’ you well.

  27. Laurence Pylinski

    So glad to see you back. I have been curious if all was well and am relieved to see you are still with us. Looking forward to more of your wisdom. Cheers, Laurence

  28. Lynn Bradford

    Good to hear! Welcome back! With all that fun woodworking ahead of you, just remember: you can eat an elephant one bite at a time.

    Best wishes!

  29. Nikolaus

    Great news from you guys! I was worried you got seriously ill from the fumes. I’m working in a joiners shop and get serious headaches when they do varnishing.
    Good luck for everything ahead!

  30. Charles


  31. Alex

    If you were ever in doubt that you have a fan club…..look above.

    Welcome back, it’s a relief to hear all is OK.

  32. Andy Sharples

    Great to read your post and many thanks to you both ( belatedly!) for a wonderful bench, created under desperately difficult circumstances I gather. Take care and best wishes, Andy.

  33. Tom

    Good luck. Looking forward to the videos.

  34. Rick

    Glad you made it back without turning into a zombie. Can’t wait for your coming posts.

  35. Steve Voigt

    Really glad to see you back in action, Richard. Making tools, benches, whatever, is a hard road. Lots of people fall off, and for good reason. Thrilled to see you are still going.

  36. Dan Noall


  37. Eric

    Great to hear from you!

  38. Martin Harris

    Love the centre stage teapot!

  39. Antoon

    Great to hear you’re back. Best of luck!

  40. TC

    Glad everything is fine, missed the articles but your health is a bigger priority. Looking forward to what went on and what’s planned for the future.

  41. Mark Naylor

    Glad you’re both ok and back online. As others have said, don’t kill yourself trying to catch up too quickly – there’s very few occasions when a bench is needed that urgently and I’m sure people will bear with you whilst you sort yourself out in your new place.

    Looking forward to more articles, videos and a better look round your new workshop (nosy you see). All the best to you both,


  42. DenverGeorge

    Welcome back. Good to know that you and Helen are OK. Like the teapot.

  43. Lucian

    Welcome back from Bucharest!

  44. Kirk Zabolio

    Very good to see you back in action.

  45. David Nighswander

    Glad you are doing well. At the beginning of the journey the road seems long. At the end it seems but a moment. One foot in front of the other.

  46. Christoph Gollinger

    I can only echo what has been written above und send you both my cordial congratulations. I have been worried before and I am glad now that everything seems to be ok now. The vises that you sent to me at the end of july are now in place and work just perfect. I´m looking forward to your next posts and videos.
    All the best!
    Christoph in Bavaria

  47. Rob Stoakley

    Helen would have done a proper, decent job if she’d remembered the stake…good to see the teapot taking pride of place!

  48. Peter Sefton

    Great news you are back at the bench and busy making again.

  49. Chris Swartout

    Richard & Helen
    Welcome back – I would check from time to time to see how the work was coming on the barns, looks good! Happy to see you alive, and back to doing what we all love.

    May the tea pot and a stout barn smooth over the “terrible old journey” and everything is “ship shape”.
    Cheers from Michigan

  50. John

    Great that you are both back on deck, regards from Oz.

  51. drew gillespie

    Where there’s tea there’s hope. Good to have you back.

  52. Rob & Joanna Szrama

    After dreading and imagining the worst it is indeed wonderful to see you back again. Good thing Helen didn’t think to give your head a whack with the spade before covering you over.

  53. rock harris

    Good. You’re one of my favorite blogs to read (and to listen to).

  54. Bob Sanchez


    When I have finished a great multi novel series, I find myself wondering about and it it gets real bad, I start reading them all over. I have read Tolkien’s trilogy 5 times, Game of Thrones twice, and I won’t mention Harry Potter. The point is, I feel the same about your blogs and videos. My absolute favorite is the holdfast and batten video. i have watched them many many times – I never get tired.

    Along with your many friends and fans, I too was wondering what happened and was quite alarmed about the industrial vapors. I am glad you are better. Please listen to your friend base, they are right. Don’t overload yourself. Pace yourself for the long haul, we all need you. Best Regards a great fan from the other side of the pond.

  55. Stephen Melhuish

    Hi Guys,

    I’d begun to wonder if you’d found yet another bigger barn and another rebuild and that you’d been busy doing that too….just gald you’re OK and that the new shop is going well….it looks great from the little photo, love to see a video of how you’ve got on with it all.

    Great that you’re back, much missed.

  56. Charles Stanford

    Best wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year.


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