Woodworking television shows

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Forum topic by richgreer posted 01-15-2012 01:27 AM 2667 views 0 times favorited 35 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4541 posts in 3073 days

01-15-2012 01:27 AM

I’ve been watching woodworking television shows for a long time. I’ve also watched various woodworking DVDs.

Have you ever noticed how, on these shows, they almost get the mortise and tenon joint, dovetail joints or other joints to fit perfectly the first time. At the very worst, they may have to make a second cut to get the joint just right.

I admit, I sometimes need a half dozen “sneaking up” steps to get the fit just right and, on occasion, I still over-shoot the mark and have to start over with a fresh piece of wood.

Either these guys are very good, very lucky or they are editing the video to make it look easier than it is. I think the 3rd option is the more likely.

I almost think it is dishonest to imply, via video editing, that you can get every thing to fit right on the first or second attempt.

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

35 replies so far

View Newage Neanderthal's profile

Newage Neanderthal

190 posts in 2549 days

#1 posted 01-15-2012 01:32 AM

To be the hand tool jerk, mark it, cut it, and have it fit right the first time every time. but yeah, shows def make it look easier than it is via editing.

-- . @NANeanderthal on twitter

View muleskinner's profile


896 posts in 2435 days

#2 posted 01-15-2012 01:33 AM

Always remember Reality TV is not.

-- Visualize whirled peas

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3067 days

#3 posted 01-15-2012 01:34 AM

I rarely do dovetails, but I usually nail my M&T joints with just a couple of quick cuts on scrap to get the tenon jig dialed in.

Since those shows try to present a complete project in a 30 minute show, it would be unrealistic to expect to show all the setup, etc we all go thru in real life.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View ShaneA's profile


6929 posts in 2597 days

#4 posted 01-15-2012 01:38 AM

No doubt it has been edited. But I think it would be “better” if they showed their mistakes, or sneaking up process. I think more can be learned from mistakes, rather than always a perfect fit.

View StumpyNubs's profile


7592 posts in 2799 days

#5 posted 01-15-2012 01:38 AM

That’s the magic of television! On the new episode of my show (an internet show, not TV) I edited out the five minutes of fiddling to get the hand plane just right and made it look like I got perfect shavings the first time the blade touched the wood! It had nothing to do with hiding the truth… it’s all about editing it down to a reasonable length. Nobody wants to see me turning the knob and doing test cuts all day long!

By the way, I think you have some of the most interesting forum topics of anyone! Keep up the good work!

-Jim; aka “Stumpy Nubs”
(The greatest woodworking show since wood was invented is now online!)

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 2563 days

#6 posted 01-15-2012 02:41 AM

I have been watching a lot of Rough Cut lately. I always notice how many parts are already made up to show the next step. It seems like they have the parts to do ten projects. Some how I don’t think Tommy Mac is actually doing all of these. Probably has a team of people in some grimey back shop pumping out the parts. These are the people who are sneaking up on everything.


-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2922 days

#7 posted 01-15-2012 02:55 AM

I agree with you Richgreer.

I’m not interested in “That’s what I love about this” or “you can see”. I would much rather see “this is where I had problems and this is what I had to do to fix them” it might help me avoid making a “misteak”

-- Life is good.

View sras's profile


4799 posts in 3128 days

#8 posted 01-15-2012 03:05 AM

My guess also is editing – most likely for the sake of time as Stumpy points out.

I would also like to see a few more mistakes for a couple more reasons:

1. There is a lot to learn about how to recover from mistakes. When the mistakes never happen, it is hard to show how to recover.

2. It sets an expectation that woodworking is about nailing it spot on the first time. That hardly ever happens. Beginners can end up with unreasonable expectations that can lead to frustrations.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3067 days

#9 posted 01-15-2012 03:23 AM

Didn’t Norm Abrams once do a show about ways to fix mistakes? I have a vague memory of seeing it.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View surfin2's profile


51276 posts in 3135 days

#10 posted 01-15-2012 03:43 AM

One Shot Norm…

Did everything right the first time…

Thanks to the wonders of Editing…

-- Rick

View NormG's profile


6112 posts in 3003 days

#11 posted 01-15-2012 03:43 AM

Norm on many occasions acknowledge his shot comings

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 2951 days

#12 posted 01-15-2012 04:00 AM

My favorite show is the Woodwright’s Shop. Roy makes mistakes on a regular basis (part of this is due to him rushing to try to move on to the next step. But you can see what he does and where you need to be careful on the projects. Personally, ever since I made the move to handtool work, there are no more test cuts, and things fit together much more often than not. When they don’t fit, it means I messed up a measurement or rushed something. The more I do this, the less mistakes are made.

-- Mike

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3302 days

#13 posted 01-15-2012 04:28 AM

so are there guys who dont get the mortise and tenon on the first try, wow, im amazed…well if it will make ya feel better, i guess ill make a few mistakes…im not sure if i can handle it, but for you guys…ill do it…:)

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2922 days

#14 posted 01-15-2012 04:32 AM

Thanks grizz I suspected you were that type of guy. :-)

-- Life is good.

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3302 days

#15 posted 01-15-2012 04:40 AM

all for the team howie…:))

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

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