Have you ever noticed - - -

  • Advertise with us

« back to Coffee Lounge forum

Forum topic by richgreer posted 10-08-2010 07:55 PM 1543 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3103 days

10-08-2010 07:55 PM

Whenever I watch a television woodworking show it seems like every time they cut a tenon or lap joint or sliding dovetail or whatever, they get a perfect fit the first time almost every time. Just once I would like to see them cut a tenon (or whatever) and then find that it is a little too fat and go back and trim it some more until it fits just right.

That’s often the “norm” in my shop.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

20 replies so far

View Cozmo35's profile


2200 posts in 3065 days

#1 posted 10-08-2010 08:03 PM

That’s the magic of television.

-- If you don't work, you don't eat!.....Garland, TX

View Dukegijoe's profile


55 posts in 3078 days

#2 posted 10-08-2010 08:07 PM

At least the videos on the web don’t have that propblem. I’ve seen many a Wood Whisperer video where Marc will talk about how to correct what he did wrong. MUCH more helpful than the television versions!

-- Anybody can become a woodworker, but only a Craftsmen can hide his mistakes! - Walter Blodgett

View Woodwrecker's profile


4154 posts in 3605 days

#3 posted 10-08-2010 08:20 PM

Just like when they have a HUGE project and do a complicated technique, and then just as the commercial comes, they say “now just make 43 more of these. We’ll be right back”...LOL

-- Eric, central Florida / Utor praemia operibus duris

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3677 days

#4 posted 10-08-2010 08:33 PM

what do you mean? isn’t that how the tools cut them? perfect the first time? sounds like your tools need some tune up ;)

I agree with you – I’d rather see more how to adjust what needs adjusting, and how to GET TO the perfect cut more than just seeing how the parts go together.

that aside – I don’t think those shows have the luxury of adding that much more time to include all those extra steps and time it requires. their goal is to show how a box/table/cabinet/drawer goes together and get ratings.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4179 posts in 3193 days

#5 posted 10-08-2010 09:14 PM

Yes, and if they have a complete newby working with him, and assign him a task, like in This Old House, the newby always does a perfect job also, the first time.

I don’t know about you, but if there are critical fit situations, I cut the pieces a little large and then slowly adjust the size by trial and error until the fit is perfect. Many of my designs using tongue and groove are pretty close immediately because that is a simple machine tool joint, but I find the exact setting for the saw or router by using trial and error on some scrap, or the first joint.

A lot of these productions are aggrandizement enterprises for the sponsoring tool manufacturers, or the egos of the actors. Its like the heavily made up and digitally edited photos or models on the front of fashion magazines. I read once that the models and personas on some of the TV programs undergo as much as 4 hours of makeup application, hair styling and adjustment of clothes prior to recording a session.

Comparing medicine and woodworking, it’s a little like people….....every operation and treatment is different, because no two people are alike, even identical twins after the wear and tear of life. I remember seeing a show about some identical twins, one was a professional, engineer or something, upper middle class. The other was an alcoholic homeless person, living on the streets. Same, every piece of wood is different, every woodworker is different, every tool is different, and unless you are into mass production (even then they have to cull the flawed items before shipping), every project will be different. .............and I guarantee there will be mistakes. The reputations of the woodworkers and their tools on these shows is fabricated, just like their projects, mistakes and flaws are edited out, all on essentially unlimited budgets for the task. Wish we could do that in the shop.


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View swirt's profile


2786 posts in 3001 days

#6 posted 10-08-2010 09:32 PM

Rich you need to start watching more of the Woodwright’s Shop. Roy has been miscutting things for years. Nobody really faults him for it though as he is doing it all by hand WHILE he is talking. They film the whole show start to finish with no breaks. That’s why you rarely see him build any one piece from start to finish, he has various parts of the piece in various stages of completion so he can demonstrate different techniques and old tools. All the while quoting history and poets. And if you watch closely you’ll see him cut up his hands in the process.

-- Galootish log blog,

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3614 days

#7 posted 10-08-2010 09:35 PM

Just what my father called KIDOLOGY.Norm Abrahm gets his shots well timed to cut off when obvious mistakes however small start to show up. Suddenly the camera moves onto the next shot from a different angle or ends shooting abruptly . Especially when turning wood which he is not particularily good at imho.
I notice suddenly what appears to be badly turned or poorly turned work is turned around in a millisecond to be perfect.Alistair ps in any case better too big than too small.You can always trim it’s not so easy to add.

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3088 days

#8 posted 10-08-2010 09:46 PM

You mean every cut you make isn’t perfect. Every cut I make on my “WORK” piece is “perfect” the first time. All of my “mistakes” are on my “TEST” pieces. Unfortunately, I have a pile of “TEST” pieces that USED to be “WORK” pieces. HA! HA!

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3103 days

#9 posted 10-08-2010 09:59 PM

I should watch the Woodwright’s Shop again some day. When I did watch some time ago Roy came across as disorganized and anxious and it alway seemed like he was rushing more than he needed to. I didn’t realize they taped beginning to end with no breaks and probably no editing.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3103 days

#10 posted 10-08-2010 10:22 PM

I thought I came up with a pretty clever nuanced pun with my line – - that’s the “norm” in my shop. Something tells me that woodworkers, in general, are not into nuance or puns.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View NathanAllen's profile


376 posts in 3173 days

#11 posted 10-08-2010 10:59 PM

Man it feels good though when it fits together the first time without any adjustment. Without dozen back and forth trips though it wouldn’t feel nearly as good when you hit the mark the first time.

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2952 days

#12 posted 10-09-2010 01:05 AM

I listened to an interview with Norm Abrahams on Over a door in his shop is a note that Norm made….. I make “misteaks” too. I thought that was pretty good.
These shows are like the fishing shows that always has the guy catching fish. It may have taken two days of filming to get 1/2 hour of show.

-- Life is good.

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2879 days

#13 posted 10-09-2010 01:31 AM

This thread is landing on some definitions that will be very useful.
disclaimer: Male pronouns used for convenience, not out of disrespect.

Woodactor: Someone who makes a perfect joint every time; never miscuts, never misreads his measuring rule. His reputation is a product of, and subject to, the whims of the film editor.

Amateur woodworker: Someone who thinks he should be able to make a perfect joint every time. This often prevents him from trying things which appear to be over his head.

Real World Woodworker: Someone who knows acting when he sees it, understands that it’s fake, but works in fear of making a mistake. This may add unwanted intensity and anxiety to his hobby.

Professional Woodworker: Someone who knows how to do it and knows equally well how to fix it when it goes wrong. The joy he takes in his work is in direct relationship to the confidence he has in both parts of sentence #1.

I welcome additions and edits to my just-launched lexicon.

-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3103 days

#14 posted 10-09-2010 02:15 AM

Someday, one of these shows should do one or more episodes on how to fix or cover up the mistakes you make. I have a lot to offer on that topic.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View swirt's profile


2786 posts in 3001 days

#15 posted 10-09-2010 04:24 AM

I read in one of Roy’s Books that they film the thing three times from start to finish with no breaks in the middle. They then have three sets of film to choose from. So it is possible some mistakes are edited out. Though I think it is more likely they edit out mis-speaks more than they edit out mistakes. There’s one where he cuts himself pretty badly with a hatchet and they didn’t edit that out at all.

The parts I always like is when he is halfway in and can’t find the tool on the bench that he was using earlier. Then I feel like he is in my workshop. Happens to me all the time.

-- Galootish log blog,

showing 1 through 15 of 20 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics