As an owner of three strands of Roy Underhill’s mustache hair, which I bought off eBay and keep in a frame above my bed, you can imagine how excited I was to hear that Popular Woodworking has signed a deal to offer the original early years of The Woodwright’s Shop on DVD. Actually, more than just excited, I peed myself a little. I love his show. To me it takes everything great about woodworking, and all that is good and pure about television, and wraps it up into one saw-dusty package. I love Roy Underhill like the 25 years older than me son I never had. And the Woodwright’s Shop is the gold standard of woodworking entertainment, even better than a certain other show I know of.
But I am loathe to think what this is going to cost me. I mean, there are 30 seasons of the show, and I absolutely MUST own them all. Popular Woodworking said they will have them available on DVD or Shop Class on Demand. The going rate for PBS shows on DVD is like $20 bucks an episode, and I can’t imagine spending that kind of money for those Rough Cut or New Yankee Workshop DVD’s. Great shows, I especially love Rough Cut, but they aren’t even gold plated! So, at 13 episodes a season, for 30 seasons, at $20 each… carry the one… that’s one honking wad of cash!
(Before I get emails, I am NOT saying those shows aren’t worth that much, I’m just saying the average joe like me has to be satisfied with watching them whenever he can on TV)
If anyone wants to donate to the “Buy Stumpy the Woodwright’s Shop DVDs” fund, I am taking donations…
In other news, I watched the first episode of Roy Underhill’s newest creation, The Highland Woodworker this morning. From the title I was expecting to see some big Scottsman with shaggy red chest hair and a kilt swinging his shillelagh at a hunk of bog ceder. Let me tell you, that is nothing at all what it’s about.
The show is named after Highland Woodworking, seller of all things, well… woodworking. The problem is that the show is clearly designed as a clever 40 minute advertisement. Now, I have NO problem with someone making a few bucks (or a few million) off an internet show. But this one got a little tedious. They visit a lumberyard to “learn about walnut” but you really end up learning about how “fantastic” the sponsor is. Same with the tour of the Whiteside router bit factory. It’s mostly about how great Whiteside (one of the show’s major sponsors) is and how much the “host” would love to makeout with a Whiteside bit. More than once during the episode I shouted “get a room”! They did manage to snag an interview with Roy Underhill, at his beautiful home no less. And that was by far the high point of the episode. But since he is one of the show’s creators, it was hardly surprising.
The show has some potential, and I do plan on watching the next episode when it is available later this summer, but I have two and a half words for them: “Take ‘er easy”. In other words, try to be a little less obvious that the show is about advertising first, and woodworking second…
For a show that is far less professional, with a much lower budget, and a lot less earning potential… but a lot of fun to watch… check out the latest episodes of Blue Collar Woodworking with Stumpy Nubs. And have a cold one on me! (At least I wait until the end…)
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