WELCOME TO MY WEBSITE!

Let me explain what I can do for you.

Firstly, thank you very much for visiting. My name is Matt Estlea and I'm incredibly grateful you're here! If you want to improve your woodworking skills and knowledge, you have come to the right place.

Through my online tuition, I have helped tens of thousands of people improve their woodworking results. All of which comes from my experience with using tools, working with wood, and being open to new ideas. And I can't wait to share it with you.

WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT FROM ME?

When watching one of my videos for the first time, many people take one look at the presenter and think something along the lines of...

What does a young person know about fine woodworking?

Which to be honest is somewhat a fair assumption. There's no doubting the fact that my generation is renowned for being technical whizzes, yet have no idea how to put up a shelf.

This page serves to provide clarity to those of you who have the same question, and more importantly what I can do for you.

I begun studying furniture making in 2012 at Rycotewood Furniture Centre and was instantly hooked. I wondered why not everyone would want to do this as a career. I would spend my lunch breaks practising hand cut joints, I would read through my favourite woodworking book whenever time allowed, and I would consume woodworking content on YouTube in the evenings. Then in 2013, I subsequently got a part-time job working at Axminster Tools and Machinery on weekends.

Since then, it's been 5 days a week getting hands on, 2 days a week selling the tools.

 

Am I bragging? Yes a bit. I recognise that I'm incredibly lucky to be able to do something I'm passionate about every single day of my life. And not only that, but have the support from my friends and family who didn't force me to go down the 'proven' academic path to success.

However, supplied with the recognition that I'm incredibly lucky also comes a small dose of guilt. It really crushes me to hear someone say they regret the career path they chose, or their parents forced them to study something else, or they couldn't afford/access any formal training. As selfishly fulfilling as it is hearing from people who have years more wisdom that me confirm the fact that I have made a great choice in my career; I can't help but feel the need to help.

The problem is, starting off in woodworking is daunting. There are so many different techniques to learn, tools to choose from, jargon to understand. It's seemingly endless. In addition to this, you may start diving into online forums looking for help. But the only thing they serve to do is give you conflicting advice. The same goes for videos, blogs, books, podcasts etc. Whatever you study, you are guaranteed to get conflicting and confusing advice, which is the last thing a beginner needs. This is exactly what I'm trying to cut through.

The thing to bear in mind with woodworking is that it is a recreational activity; it's not a game. So what does this mean?

There are no rules in woodworking.

If something is working for you and someone tells you it's wrong, the only person that is wrong is them. It really grinds my gears when I hear someone imply 'My way is the only way'. Because it gives the viewer tunnel vision. Just because something works for one person, does not mean it will work perfectly for someone else. This leads to frustration because no matter how hard you try, you cannot get the same results as the person you are learning from. However, the tunnel vision prevents you from looking elsewhere for the information, because apparently 'this is the only way to do it'.

See where the problem lies?

Now I don't blame these people for teaching this way because I've come VERY close to stepping over this boundary before, particularly with my dislike against free-hand sharpening. But despite everything in me urging people to use a honing guide, I will always offer the free-hand alternative to people. The difference is, I will break down the advantages and disadvantages of each of the options. Freehand sharpening is 10 seconds quicker but takes months/years of practice and ruined blades to perfect. Using a honing guide is 10 seconds slower to setup, but you will get instant, consistent results. As someone who has seen countless chisels and plane blades ruined as a result of free-hand sharpening, it is difficult to admit it as a viable option, especially when it only saves 10 seconds. But if someone is getting better results from free-hand sharpening than they are from a honing guide, what can I argue against?

However, this isn't to say all the information given out should be seen as something subjective. Of course there are good practices which should be closely followed in relation to Health and Safety. But what I am encouraging here is experimentation. I want to encourage you to try out different techniques, learn from different people, learn from your mistakes and create your own bespoke arsenal of woodworking skills that work for you. Once you have that solid foundation to work from, it's all uphill from there!

So, back to the question, what can I offer you?

In a nutshell, my experience at Rycotewood has given me great practical and theoretical knowledge of a vast array of woodworking topics. My experience at Axminster has given me extensive technical knowledge as well as being exposed to common questions that beginner woodworkers have.

This means that not only can I demonstrate how to carry out a task, but be prepared for the common questions that are likely to be asked after the video is posted. That way they can be addressed at a relevant point while the video is being filmed as opposed to being answered in the comment section below.

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© 2019 by Matt Estlea.