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After earlier DVD’s on the tablesaw and the jointer and planer, Hendrik Varju, (author of Fine Drawers without Dovetails in Fine Woodworking issue 208, http://www.finewoodworking.com/ProjectsAndDesign/ProjectsAndDesignPDF.aspx?id=32980) has turned his attention to wood. He covers the structure and properties of this material, how humidity affects wood movement, and how to design furniture to take account of this movement and not be blown apart by it.
Watching the three DVDs that last nearly 6 hours I get the strange sensation that I’m back at university listening to a lecture. Professor Varju is at the flip chart going into great detail about flat sawn boards, cell structure, attaching tabletops and so on. I know it is all useful information and I should be taking detailed notes but I’d rather be doing something else. If you’re thinking of inviting some woodworking buddies over for an evening’s entertainment this is not the movie to get the party swinging.
I’m being unfair of course. The literary equivalent to this is Bruce Hoadley’s Understanding Wood, and you wouldn’t exactly take that on vacation either, but the information is equally valuable. You can learn more about this DVD and the others by Varju at www.passionforwood.com.
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I've had Bruce Hoadley's book for a few years, but it wasn't until I watched Hendrik Varju's video that I began to understand the value of the information in both the book and the video. As a self-taught amateur woodworker I did not have a good understanding of the properties of wood. I had learned how to select wood to get the best appearance in a project but it wasn't until I saw this video that I developed an understanding of how to factor in wood properties to ensure that a piece is not just good looking, but also long lasting. I highly recommend this video for all woodworkers.
Sometime as woodworkers we get too enamored by tools and techniques (like pins first or tails first in dovetails) however, never take the time to understand the nature of the medium we are using. This DVD is the only one to my knowledge that addresses this important area.
Although Hendrick can come across as earnest, I really enjoyed watching this DVD and learned a lot.
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