Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The State of Woodworking - My Opinion

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been out of woodworking for about 5 years, until recently. It is really interesting to see how much and, at the same time, how little, things have changed in the woodworking world in that period of time.

Woodworking, like many hobbies or professions, is full of people who all think they know the right way to do something; that has not changed one bit in the last 5 years. In fact, in some ways, it is worse because of the anonymity of the Internet and Social Media. Ask someone, "what the best way to sharpen a chisel?", than grab your popcorn and watch everyone go at it. "What is the best way to cut a tenon?" Watch out. Oh, and what about "Grizzly versus Powermatic?" Oh boy! Is there a right way to do things? Sure, but there are many "right ways", one just may seem better to one person than another. Or, one method may work better for someone, or be a more appealing way to do it, but is it "the wrong way"? Surely not. The question isn't how you sharpen something, such as a chisel, it is the fact that you should sharpen them. How you do it and how sharp you get them is up to you. And, not how you make a mortise and tenon joint, but is that the appropriate joint to use in that given situation? The fact that everyone has an opinion, and is willing to share it, whether you want it or not, is not lost on me; it's in the tile of my post for crying out loud. However, the manner in which people treat others in some situations is astounding, but not surprising in the Internet age; which leads me to my next point, which fascinates me.

When I was last doing woodworking, Facebook was still pretty new, Twitter was new and Instagram didn't exist. Heck, when I started woodworking 12+ years ago, none of that existed. When I was at the height of my woodworking, you had a very small set of woodworking video bloggers (vloggers). The ones I watched were The Wood Whisperer (Marc Spagnuolo) and Rough Cut (Tommy MacDonald), back before he even had his own show. I remember watching these guys, putting themselves out there, giving tons of information away for free and yet people would blast them for one reason or another; they don't like Marc's jokes, can't stand Tommy's accent, etc. I just kept thinking "jeesh, people pay good money for this kind of access, we should be thanking them!"

So, when I recently got back into woodworking, I was pretty surprised by the sheer numbers of vloggers out there now, it blows me away! Marc is still killing it, Tommy has a show now, than there is April Wilkerson, The Samurai Carpenter, Paul Sellers and many, many more. I am amazed at their confidence and courage to film themselves and just put it out there for everyone because, as we all know, the Internet can be a nasty place.

What I like most about all of these different people is that they each have their own way at doing something, none of them are wrong, they all get to the same place in the end, but the point is, they are just showing you a way to do something, not the way. I like to watch them all and take bits of information from each and than come to my own way of doing something as well. What this blog is, is the result of watching, listening and learning from others, and coming up with my own way of doing something and I only hope that someone finds it useful as well.

As long as all these people are willing to continue to put themselves out there, and as more and more people do, I think the woodworking community is in a better place than maybe it ever has been.

Who are some of your favorite woodworking bloggers and vloggers? Let me know in the comments and I'll look forward to checking them out!


  1. Completely agree with this post. I have a long list of people that I subscribe to. Just checked, 98 youtube channels and who knows how many blogs. My tops right now are Jay Bates, Frank Howarth and John Heisz

    -David Harms

  2. @dhwoodworker Thanks for the information, I will have to check these out.

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  4. I like how candidly the writer has expressed himself. The tone is quite personalized and the outlook is also pretty good. Wonderful work and keep it up.