I Review

I love the first views of each of the videos we make. I review them just to check for any glaring errors I might make but then too for faults that might be somehow out of sequence. I also want to ensure our videographers are supported fully and have confidence in their concluding each of the episodes they piece together. From day one we have always wanted the videos to be as carefully crafted as the pieces I make and Natalie hits the mark every time. Natalie works both as videographer and editor. It can be a tough call sometimes because retakes can be hard or impossible. Something said can easily be replaced with a retake, dropdown or even a voiceover, but conversation and a missed cut on a piece of wood with obvious grain can almost never be resynchronised without a completely new take and that is always hard on me. To achieve the best results, I generally walk the videographers through my intended path like a rehearsal. That way they know generally at least where I will be turning to or pulling something from.

I always enjoy watching the videos because it is as if I am watching someone else use the planes and saws. The other thing though is that I get to see my work from an angle I can never actually see. In my world, the saw and plane strokes are almost always going away from me yet in the reviews they can be coming at me or from right to left or vice versa. I learn from my videos too. It helps me to deliver significant reasoning for why a plane is slightly skewed or my aligning of my eye to the work. Unconscious delivery might seem intentional and the movement can be exaggerated when in reality is simply that our human bodies can only work the tools in a certain way. Two hands working a plane and a saw with both hands always creates a triangular geometry to and through the body and yet the body, sideways to the workbench, means the body and any tools held must be offset. This reasoning follows the same tenet that form follows function in the multidimensionality of our human form. In other words, our bodies, in the incredible flexing and versatility of them, dictate how we work the tools in accord with every circumstance presented to them.

Natalie crafts her work carefully, confidently and yet does all things with measured caution. She searches beyond the lens and after the videoing for authenticity. Matching her work with mine has raised the bar continuously and this is the symbiosis we strive for so as not to have any weak linkage between the two crafts of woodworking and videography––quite the challenge sometimes.

I love that we work in such close proximity and whereas Natalie is in charge of videography there are others there too, filming and directing, and now we also have Rosie in there too. Sometimes being a crafting artisan can be quite isolating with unshared work and working. That’s how it has been throughout my life with shared space and isolated space running parallel with one another.

Who’s Rosie? Well, she’s our cocker spaniel. She comes into the office with Joseph a couple of days a week.


  1. Hi Paul,

    that all makes perfect sense to me. it is the same in an operating theatres planning from a nurses perspective what goes where and that’s dictated by who’s standing where for each operation or procedure. Handling of instruments and there use is much the same as well. I hope I can enjoy starting to make things and put into practice all the things Ai have been watching on YouTube you videos are well done, now I know why. Sometimes the video angles are a bit out of synch but I’m still watching a lot if years old videos. Just finished watching you say goodbye to everyone before you moved to your own space down the road. That was a very interesting video, seeing the diversity of people and what they do. Especially interesting were the boat builders and the lady with the sewing and furniture repairs. Good to see cleared land being planted with more trees to help out the climate a bit. Let’s hope it’s not too late to turn things around. It’s all the s growth forests being torn down in the Amazon that is having a great effect on climate change. Again l9ve watching your videos, looking forward to reading your book and putting together my own tool from the kit I also purchased off the website. Take care and look after yourself, not so young anymore, but you are certainly very active for your age which is a good thing. I turn 70 at the end of the year. Last year my birthday present was contracting Covid still has a bit of a grip on myself and my daughter. wife got it then myself and my daughter 10 days before Xmas. I learnt only last week that an eye surgeon I used to work with died from Covid about 3 yrs ago now. Very sad, he was a really nice person and great with his patients. Does you son do much work with you? I saw 1 podcast where you were using 2 cameras for the first time and audio was out of synch for the majority of it. But those things happen. Bye for now.

  2. Wood shaving dog beds available in three different pile sizes, and 5 species to choose from. Get yours today.

  3. Whether you are a padawan learner or a seasoned professional, there is always good value in an alternative perspective. In all walks of life, be they hobby or professional, such an outside view can reveal all sorts of things that you are not aware of. In sports, this is the role of the coach. In work, this is the role of a line manager. In hobbies, it is up to you and, if you are lucky enough to have them, your peers to identify.
    As a lone woodworker, I can see significant value in setting up a camera and watching myself perform everyday tasks. Although I might not know what I am looking for, a different perspective might reveal all sorts of insights into what I am really doing and how I am going about it.

    Of course, we all know that it isn’t us, really the problem is that we just need more expensive tools

  4. Paul,
    Great reflections on what life and work look like from the other side of the workbench.
    I recall from about 40 years ago doing a teaching degree as an adjunct to my main degree, being videoed (if that’s a word) taking a class about building services (elec, plumbing, hvac, etc).
    I was absolutely gobsmacked, not to say sobered and ever so slightly embarrassed, to see what it looked like from the students’ side of my delivery!
    I think your harmony, rhythm and unhurried pace with the videography is just wonderful, and the crispness and sharpness of the presentations is just so revealing.
    For goodness sake, don’t retire!

  5. Hi Paul,
    I know many keep clamoring for you to never retire, but it might be fun and interesting for both you and your audience to expand the shop just enough for “an apprentice” to join you, who might one day take over the day-to-day teaching videos.

  6. I always look at your video many times.
    – first to see what is it about (project and methods used);
    – 2nd with more attention to what happens at the cutting edge while listening more attentively to what you say and the sound of the tool in wood;
    – 3rd I try to pay more attention to your position and how you manipulate the tool and of course listening again. It is difficult not to focus on the cutting edge.
    If I embark on such project, I will look at the whole project serie once again.
    Then I try to replicate your work.
    Then looking again to find what I didn’t catch/ did wrong.
    Starting again if desirable.

  7. Hi Paul,
    I watch too much TV. Most of it is woodworking related and from YouTube. Without a doubt, your video (angles, close ups, etc) and audio is some of the best out there. The woodworking content is always excellent. Sometimes, there is magic in the way it was filmed. Enjoyable to see the whole team of yours striving to do their best. Would be nice to see a photo of the team behind the lens. Love the shop dog. I have a 7 year old black lab that spends a lot of time in my shop. She is a pleasant excuse to take a break.

  8. In the “tails first” method, and when there are two identical sides, what is the reason for not clamping both pieces together and cutting the tails on both sides at once? It would offer a longer reference line to keep the cut perpendicular.

    1. I am assuming you have done this and done it successfully hence the question. I have always found it be less pleasing in the two or three times I did it when I was younger, first of all, as though someone (or something) put me on the conveyor belt I have spent most of my life staying off. Using your reasoning why not clamp four or six drawer sides together for a much longer reference line. I think perhaps it is the process as much as anything. we tend to find what we like best. I used to use the coping saw to remove the bulk of the waste and was good at it but I grew to hate the method because it lacked something of the quality I always strive for. I do it now and again (one in five hundred) but it is my least favourite method.

  9. The details are essential – I had made some models but couldn’t understand why when assembled it twisted in all directions. Then the other day I got the answer from your video about building a door. Here you point at all faces need to be square down to microns. Now I will plane my wood accordingly in the future. Thanks for your amazing instructions.

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