What’s Been Simmering?

by | Oct 11, 2017 | 87 comments

If you want some good news then just scroll to the bottom…

The last few lines or so.

If you want a jolly good moan, then read on.

There’s that old saying about knowledge being power, or the force is strong with you, or something along those lines.
That doesn’t really work now.
With the internet, every bugger is an expert…at everything.

This makes it pretty hard to find good, reliable knowledge.

Look at YouTube. There’s reams of shite upon shite on every subject you could think of. Photography is terrible, just because your lens is bigger than your pecker, it doesn’t automatically make you an expert.
But with YouTube, it does.

Of course there’s always a good gem, they’re just getting harder to find.

These days experience is power.

I’m a cave dweller, much like most craftsmen.

Sometimes I feel lucky to see the light of day, let alone another soul.
So the thought of what this blog and our tin pot videos has become can sometimes feel just a tad too much.

I normally get through this by pretending that I’m teaching and preaching, to just a few mates.
Or that no one is ever likely to read the crap-shite that goes in to my ‘always in back pocket’ pad.

As you can see, I seem to be going through a bit of a mid-life self confidence crisis.

You may have noticed it’s been a quiet year on the blog.

Building furniture for a living is pretty full on.

Doing the blog and videos etc is also pretty full on.

Helen’s also been pretty full on with some other design work.

Busy in the new workshop

All in all, I decided it was a good time to have a little tactical rest on the blog front and focus on what I do best (the only thing I can do). Build with wood and moan.
And there were some pretty special jobs which did lead to a slightly longer rest from here than expected.

This last year back furniture making has reminded me that I am capable and that my knowledge, or lack of it, is beneficial.
It’s helped me build up some much needed confidence. For teaching that is.

So I’m doing some job hopping again.

I quit building furniture. Professionally that is.

I’m now a full time fame seeker.

I’ll build the things that interest me most, and that I feel can offer the most benefit here. I may even offer them for sale.

I don’t think there’ll be a lot, I want to enjoy the process and learn more myself, but it will help to satisfy that itch.
I’m actually itching to build a few more workbenches at the moment… strange.
this is high risk.
Our eggs are definitely going into one basket.

We’ve recently moved over to the new workshop. It’s still very barebones but I’ll show you around shortly, (if you’re interested that is) and talk you through my setting up plans.

One thing that keeps coming our way is “are we doing more Premium Videos?”

Yes we are.

We have several in the works right now.

Now that teaching is our first focus, you’ll see a boost in quantity & consistency from us. Though we’ll still be keeping that quantity fairly low.
The videos have to be good, and good takes time. Quite shocking just how much time.

But certainly for the rest of this year, things are looking nice and busy. (I can be confident on that, because we’ve been getting it all prepared.)
In fact there’s something simmering that’ll be coming very soon. It should satisfy those that would like more videos. We’ll probably bore you with the details shortly.

So what was that good news… ahh yes,

The Plane Build Video is done.

It will be on tomorrow.

Thanks for sticking with us.


Plane Build Video Series

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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. Ken Haygarth

    Way to go guys, jobs a good en 😉

    • John Moe

      Your “teasers” on making wood planes got me excited about the Idea last winter. I have made 4. I love them! So light and smooth to use. If I pick up one of my metal planes now it feels like I left the breaks on. I would attach a picture if I could.
      Great to see you are back! I really enjoy your videos!!

  2. Pat Cyr

    I check this blog every day, looking forward to your content. I was sad when I thought you had stopped doing it but it’s better to take time off now and again.

    Glad to have you back and I hope you have fun with it!
    Thanks for teaching us what you know.

    • EJ

      Amen to that Pat and thanks Richard and Helen

    • Brian

      I’m sure Pat and I weren’t the only ones checking your site every day.

      So glad to have you back.


      • rimbo

        I wasn’t checking every day. That’s what e-mail subscription is for ;P I was worried about possible ‘we no longer …’ statement though. That would be painful. TEW was one of the first resources I found when starting my interest in woodworking. Since then I’ve found tens of such sources. Very few come close to TEW’s content

  3. michael

    Richard & Helen,
    Welcome back!! Your down-to-earth humour and of course wood manipulating skills were greatly missed!!


  4. Arthur van der Harg

    Cool! Good to have you back!

  5. David Cannizzaro

    I only found the blog in the summer, so haven’t been pining for the fjords yet, but glad to see more. Slowly getting ready for my bench build, and looking very much forward to the plane videos.
    As a small business owner, founder, abandoner(?)… I can sympathize with the way things can go. Cheers to the both of you for continuing the path.

  6. Terry Harris

    Looking forward to the new ideas,and real woodworking from you and Helen.
    Keep up your rants too.

    Way down here in New Zealand.

  7. Jim Hendricks

    WOW….I was wondering where you both had gone…Douglas and I were just talking about the loud hush coming from your neck of the woods!

    Glad to have you back guys…looking forward to seeing what you get up to and carry on moaning…it’s hilarious!



  8. Tom

    About time too..

    We’ve missed ya..

    • Woody


  9. John Verreault

    Great to hear you haven’t toppled off the edge of the earth mate! I was beginning to wonder what happened. I am certainly looking forward to what you keep teasing about in the “moan” above and that Plane Build video will be most welcome.
    Cheers mate.
    — John

  10. Shaun Meighan

    Yes! Great to see you back guys, I’ve just moved into an apartment, so I have been scouring every article on here to prepare me for a ton of hand tool work. Can’t wait

  11. lars

    I’m happy to see you both back.

  12. Steven Wrigley


    Just wanted to let you know that your tuition has been a great help in my endeavours to learn to use hand tools correctly. Your tips on planing have definitely saved me a lot of time and the holdfast and the baton have made holding the work while planing a million times easier. It was also nice to know there was someone else out there who didn’t consider prepping boards by hand to be madness. Many people I have met since have begged to differ……

  13. Josh

    you both do good work, looking forward to seeing it. always good to take a technology break, some of us would struggle!

  14. Sam MacCutchan

    Great news! I’ve always found your videos to be high quality, entertaining, and engaging. Glad to hear there will be more of them.

  15. Tom Angle

    I personally like you “moaning” and woodworking. You have that blue collar to the point personality. Being stuck in the “professional” world, I find it very refreshing and makes me long for the days when I did work for a living.

  16. Jeff S

    It’s good to hear from you again. And that’s GREAT news.

  17. Tom Angle

    I forgot, I love you new workshop. But I do love older buildings, well anything old.

  18. Colin Buck

    Glad to see you back in the harness – I was getting worried something awful had happened to you both. Looking forward to following the upcoming videos!

  19. Len Aspell

    Welcome back Helen and Richard

    Great to hear from you again. I looked out for you at the EWS in September but didn’t spot you on the Saturday I went. Maybe you didn’t go in which case at least I didn’t miss you if you know what I mean.

    So good to know that you will be ranting once more. I have had to resort to reading the rants of Chris Schwarz in your absence! Mind you they are usually a good read.

    Really pleased to know the Plane Build video will be out tomorrow. Only sorry that it will be a while before I can build it as we are about to move house and my tools are boxed up in readiness. What is worse is that I will not immediately have a workshop at the new location and have to wait for one to be erected. That means my bench will be under covers in the garage for a while. But hopefully it will not be too long before it moves into a new purpose built workshop and takes pride of place.

    Overall great to have you back and please rant away.


  20. Martin

    Yeeah, he’s back!

  21. James Allen

    Glad to see your both still kicking (And moaning in your case Richard) and that you’ll be continuing on with teaching us some of your hand tool skills. As well as been treated with Helens brilliantly crafted videos.

  22. Adam Fletcher

    Awesome, looking forward to coming back to the party

  23. Eric McRory

    Fantastic Richard, great to have you back. I have been waiting to continue my apprenticeship. 😉

  24. RickG

    Glad to hear from you! I was starting to worry!

  25. Brian Steinberger

    So glad to hear you and Helen have some new material for us. I enjoy everything you do and enjoy learning from you!

  26. Jae

    Do you believe in telepathy? I’m a bit of a sceptic but the funny thing is that I was thinking about you today. I woodwork through necessity, as I have my parents’ old property; it is in need of much love. Wish you could do sash windows. I am struggling with the first of five! I use your holdfasts most days and still perfect. Looking forward to pushing my knowledge further whilst holding on to your hand — tightly!!

  27. Ian Redmond

    Great to hear.

  28. Arthur Mauseth

    My list of mentors is short, probably equal to my list of friends. Now I can follow once again that which interests me most, patiently waiting for new content and discussion!

  29. Ian

    In a word … Yay !!! 🙂

  30. Robanjo

    Just when I figured you had gone away, whoop, there you are. So glad it has been by choice.

  31. Don

    Good to hear your back! We in the States have missed your wit and your skill! Keep those nat’s assess flying!!!

  32. Matthew Platt

    Glad to hear you guys are well, and that you are back to sharing your wit, wisdom and Helen’s videographic brilliance with us.

    Taking breaks from internet life is cool. Like anything else, things made slowly, with love and care, by people who are happy in their work, are infinitely and everlastingly better than anything rushed or pressured.

    Keep on moaning.


  33. Mike

    Together you make among the best woodworking videos out there and your benches look great too.
    On moaning, I’ve not noticed any worthy of mention. For me this is the area which needs working on.

  34. Ian Stewart

    Woo hoo! The plane build. Yeah. What everyone else said.

  35. Kevin Walsh

    Well, it’s great to see you actively blogging again. Your videos are not just good solid woodworking instruction, they’re fun as well.

  36. Don Mosley

    From the hills of Tennessee…

    Bless yore heart! Real glad ya’ll are back!

  37. humanic

    Richard & Helen, your tenacity is admirable. Never, never give up!

    Thanks and welcome again!

  38. Jason Beal

    FINALLY! Your back at the blog and we get the plane video!! My year is complete! 🙂 I agree with you 110% about the craftsman part. Just because you have a GoPro and some tools doesn’t mean your a craftman. I love your videos because you explain everything your doing. Most of the guys on YouTube just talk a lot and show them cut something on the
    table saw and then you see it done! I watch your videos over and over and never lose interest! I watch for the technique and the skill part of it. I can’t wait till tomorrow! Thank you Richard for sharing your talent with us! And Thank you Helen for capturing all of it and turning it a work of art!!
    Thanks again, Jason

  39. Tony Sheehan

    Fantastic Richard- you’ve made my day! Looking forward to the new output


  40. Scott

    You guys kinda had me worried. Not that I know you personally but I’ve really been missing the blog and videos. Glad to have you back.

  41. Robert Mose

    Great to see you up and running again. I love your no nonsense approach to woodworking. I have learned so much already and eager to learn more.

  42. Rainer

    Welcome back!! I’ve been worried about you two; nice to hear from you!

  43. Stu

    Good to see you back in the saddle. I’m chuffed you’re going to be focusing on the teaching, I’ve learned heaps and am looking forward to learning heaps more!

  44. John

    Hi Richard and Helen. Thanks for this lovely birthday present. A triple present, really – seeing a new post from you, hearing that you are still alive and moaning, and that we can look forward to more posts soon.

    A small thought for you – only the witless ones lack self-doubt.

  45. Luke

    I checked the website daily until about mid-April, then I gave up hope. So glad to see you two aren’t 6 feet under. Time to crack on!

  46. Erik Hinkston

    So great to hear the Plane video is done, I’ve been looking forward to getting this. I hope all the good vibes shared here get in your head for good, you are very much appreciated!


  47. Steve Tripp

    Great to have you back.

  48. Rob Holden

    Glad to hear you’ll be crackin’ on. . . My tea was getting cold. Can’t wait for the new stuff.

  49. Scott Hall

    Welcome back. Hope the break has been good. Looking forward to learning more from you.

  50. Christian Aigner

    I am glad that you are back. I like you and your videos.

    Looking forward to seeing more from you in the future.

    Kind regards,

  51. Stefan

    How can you so under-exaggerate?
    It’s your moans which does make me, as an internet woodworker, understand.
    Good to know that you both are well.
    Looking forward to watch you rant and rave.


  52. David

    Thank you very much for the update. I have missed you both and am glad you will be back in my life.

    As a professional instructor with over 30 years experience but now retired I would like to add that you are one of the best instructors I have ever seen. On line instruction is perhaps even more difficult and for that I have tons of experience. I developed, wrote, produced and distributed the first ever on-line course for the US Army in Europe 1990 and have developed many more before I retired. So I am sure I know what I am talking about and your videos fall into the 1st Class category.

    Welcome back.

  53. Jonathan Warren

    Welcome back.

  54. Tk

    The english woodworker, alive and ranting!

    About time too you lazy f.

    Seriously, warmest rejoicing for your return.

    As you were, carry on!

  55. douglas

    Richard, you disappeared even bigger than me ! (According to some U.S. forum, I’m dead).
    Brillaint to see you back – miss the fine work and really expert techniques.

  56. Pete the wood servant

    Man I know exactly what you mean. For almost 60 years I’ve been making furniture for clients. Something has to pay the bills. I’ve loved it but, for the last 17 years Sue and I have lived in a 16th century ruin as bare as your arse. NOW I’ve retired!!! Well to the workshop that is and all of a sudden we have chairs to sit on and even a table. No longer have egg and bacon decorated jumpers, or serious brown streaks that get others guessing. It’ll never be finished cos I keep coming up with ideas and designs I’ve always wanted to do, but, I’ll keep making until I die.

    • Glen

      >>or serious brown streaks that get others guessing.

      So you’ve carved a loo?

  57. Pete the wood servant

    Oh. I nearly forgot (age?) Welcome back often took a look but, never knew if it was me, or, you had dropped off

  58. Igor

    Hi Richard and Helen,

    I’m glad to ‘see’ you back again! And in good shape it seems (building with wood and moan and all). It is strange, after and during the silence on your channels, I did not look into your blog for months now, until yesterday.. A bit disappointed to see nothing was happening still.

    Then suddenly I got your newsletter mail, as if triggered by my visit. Eerie, but a good eerie. Welcome back to this cave of woodnatics, well spirited and all!

    Cheers, Igor

  59. Jasper

    Judging by these comments, cave dwellers are in high demand these days. Welcome back and have fun!

  60. Paddy

    I honestly thought you’d gone toes up…it’s good to see you both back.

  61. Kyle

    G’day guys welcome back ,

    Your videos are, hands down, the most entertaining and informative videos available. I love your efficient approach to everything and your charisma. Helen does an amazing job in the background, the video quality top notch.

    Coming from down under your choice of words is “bloody brilliant” and cant get enough. Looking forward to you content coming soon.

    Stay well


  62. Tim Bjørn

    This made my day!


  63. Özgür Kesim

    I’ll join the praise, thank both of you for the Return of the Craft and quietly take a seat, popcorn on the left, chisels ready on the right.

  64. Mike Ballinger

    Anyone else wondering if the good news was a baby on the way?

  65. Russell Spees III

    Hi Richard and Helen,

    Thanks for the moaning again. While the offerings of the internet are both shallow and wide, your content is actually unique. The original videos posted to Youtube ARE THE VERY REASON I WOODWORK now…by hand of course. Heck, I even drink tea and make rebates and housings, right here in the good ol’ US of A. I hope your break was healthy and enjoyable. And I’m ready for the next thing you offer. Thanks!


  66. Jerry Dye

    Lovely to have you back. I was becoming lonely.

  67. Ilya Gromov

    This is great! Glad you guys are OK and back.

  68. Gav

    I think you will find that there is nothing but sympathetic ears and a waiting crowd Richard. The work Helen and yourself produce is informative , entertaining and above all useful. Now all I have to do is finish my own workshop proper, two years and counting, so I can put some of your practical moaning to work. At least the majority of my employment is working wood at clients houses. Don’t lose sight of your own abilities -they are a benchmark for many.


  69. allan solomon

    Love to see your new workshop. Layout, tool storage, timber storage , tea making area etc etc

  70. Rush

    Helen and Richard, so glad to see you back and to learn you are doing well! We’ve worried about you, so your re-emergence is a very welcome relief.

  71. Tom Hauburger

    YESSSSSSS! Plane class!!

  72. Mike Murray

    It doesn’t get any better than you two. I’m really glad to see you posting. Also anxious to see the new shop. You’re still the best, both of you! And, I’m still tuned in.
    All the best,

  73. Leslie Gonzalez

    Hi Richard and Helen
    Welcome back – you’ve been missed! Looking forward to the next round of rants, moans, excellent videos, and, of course, learning new skills …

  74. Bob Easton

    Hearing from you is one of the best things that happened yesterday. Such a long absence had me seriously wondering if something horrendously wrong had happened.

    Phew! Your teaching, Richard, and Helen’s wicked sharp production skills make your
    video lessons incredibly entertaining … and useful too. 🙂


  75. Mike Wodkowski

    Obviously, you’re terrible at teaching. The commentary really testifies to what a let-down you efforts and this whole site have been. Especially the videos 😉

    Looking forward to further disappointment.

  76. Glen

    I was thinking about you two last night and wondering what might be ongoing at The English Woodworker. Glad that a swing by the blog today revealed that you are in fact not dead!

    I miss Richard’s Rants. I eagerly await the next opportunity to be told to sod off in that brusquely soft manner. But in the mean time I’ll just pretend his bench-building itch involves postage to my garage.

    • Glen

      I forgot to mention..you’re looking mighty sveldt, Richard. A few trips to the gym lately?

  77. Ed

    Just to echo what has already been said…welcome back! I was beginning to fear the worst, ie no more common sense woodworking and anti-establishment rants. I have been a fan since your video on nail clenching. Thanks for all you do!

  78. Dave Sobel

    Nice to see you back on here!

  79. Jim

    Wow, Richard, you sounded fed up in your post. It might not help, but as someone who’s been through all that mid life crisis stuff and come out the other end, I can testify to just that; one comes out the other end.

    Here’s the thing: the amount of time that has elapsed since your last post has no meaning. As you can see from all the other comments, no one has gone away, no one is holding you to account, everyone is happy to see you back.

    Do what you want to do. Take time pressure and money pressure out of the process and lay them to one side. Concentrate on getting the content great, then put the time and money back in. Simples.

  80. Paddy

    Any chance we’ll get to see some photos of all the furniture you’ve made over the past year? keep up the excellent work.


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