Have you ever wandered into the wrong place at the wrong time? Like that time you walked in on your best friend practicing kissing moves on his reflection in the mirror. All you could do was stand there with your mouth open like a bass wishing you were somewhere else. But you couldn’t just walk out… it was too late! You can never unsee those things, and they tend to stick with you.
Several months ago I wandered into a popular woodworking forum on the internet which shall remain nameless, other than to say it has something to do with a sawmill on some sort of creek. I had been there before, so I had no reason to expect anything out of the ordinary. I was one of those long time “readers” who never really posted over there. But I thought I might post a link to an episode of Blue Collar Woodworking. Bad idea.
To make a long story short, there are a couple of moderators over there who don’t find humor to be… well, humorous. They spend their shop time with somber faces, making manly grunts as they congratulate themselves on being masters of the woodworking universe. Even if their skills stop at cutting boards and band saw boxes, they consider themselves to be the finest of artisans. And everyone knows, art is NOT allowed to be fun. Just ask Van Gogh (you’ll have to speak up because he was such a somber artist that cut his own ear off).
The point that I am making is this: Woodworking is supposed to by fun, at least that’s the way I see it. Granted, i am no true artisan like Charles Niel, Tommy MacDonald, Roy Underhill, or a bunch of guys here on Lumberjocks. But I have found them to be as eager to crack a joke or laugh at themselves as anyone. I’ve seen Tommy MacDonald stop working to do an impersonation of Elvis and even spend time “singing” with a howling dog. Roy Underhill does all sorts of goofy stuff, some of which is on purpose! (kidding, Roy… just kidding…) They do good work, they do it safely, and they have fun while they do. And that is a big part of why we like to watch them so much!
Granted, the workshop isn’t a blast all the time. I have plenty of bad days, and I’ve had to bite my tongue and avoid blunt objects more than once. But a little music, maybe a little dance while you spread some glue, even a few old woodworking puns all have a place in the shop. If we take ourselves too seriously we’ll miss out on the whole reason we work with wood; because we love doing it.
Blue Collar Woodworking is about making your workshop better, and your shop time more fun. A few “hoity-toity-I’m-so-professional-I-wouldn’t-dream-of-cracking-a-smile-froo-froo-better-than-you” woodworkers may not like that. But lots of others do, and that’s why I enjoy making the show so much. As long as there are regular woodworkers like me willing to watch, I am going to continue to film… and build… and design… and, of course, crack a few dumb jokes!
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