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Woodcraft signs on to sponsor Tommy MacDonald's WGBH woodworking showcomments (31) May 26th, 2010 in blogs
UPDATE: 6/1/2010 13:39 EST: This just in... read the official press release from WGBH Boston.
I recently spoke to Tommy MacDonald, who told me that Woodcraft has agreed to sponsor his new WGBH woodworking show. Shooting began this week. At the moment, that's all I can confirm, but I will speak with a WGBH representative next week and will post further details as I get them. See previous posts about the show here and here.
UPDATE (May 28)
Earlier today, I spoke with Laurie Donnelly, the executive producer of Tommy MacDonald's new woodworking show on PBS. The show has been named "Rough Cut: Woodworking with Tommy Mac."
October debut for new show... brought to you by Woodcraft
Woodcraft has signed on to be the show's sole sponsor for three years. Filming has already begun, and Donnelly said she is targeting October for a debut, with 13 episodes scheduled for the first season. One question many readers of my other posts about Tommy's show have asked is whether they'd be able to watch the show on their local PBS stations. I asked Donnelly that question and she told me that the show will be offered to every PBS station across the nation. She anticipates that a large percentage will air it.
Web videos too
So what if you live abroad or if the show isn't picked up by your PBS station... can you still watch? Donnelly said they will launch a show related website where you can watch the shows, see short "vodcasts", get additional information, and plans too.
Weekend project focus
I asked Donnelly what type of projects Tommy would be doing. According to her, "There will be a variety of projects you can do in a weekend's time. So the idea is that every show there will be a different project you can do. And a lot of what we're doing is working from rough cut lumber. We'll be doing a Shaker night stand, a trestle table, a flag box. We're thinking about doing a blanket chest."
That led me to ask whether the use of rough cut lumber presupposed a fairly high level of woodworking knowledge in the audience. Donnelly answered that they are using rough cut lumber because it's more interesting. They don't want to exclude anyone from the audience, and the basic philosophy of the show, she said, is that "people can use power tools or they can use hand tools. They can use expensive wood or inexpensive, accessible wood.
Projects for every pocketbook
The tone of the show is that there is something for every pocketbook. We really want to show people the variety of tools available, the variety of woods avaiable. Depending on your space and economic means, you pick what's best for you." That sounds interesting. Rather than show one way to do something, Tommy will show you the options and let you decide what best fits your skill and wallet.
Field trips too
Tommy will also take a field trip each episode, and whatever he learns in that trip will relate directly to the project being built that week. After he returns to the shop, he'll show you how to apply the technique.
Warts and all: mistakes are AOK
In his video blogs, Tommy was known for two things. First, Tommy is energetic, a bit goofy (in a great way, mind you), and a regular guy. Second, he didn't hide his mistakes. When he made them, he let the viewers know and discussed ways to get around them. Donnelly assured me that the Rough Cuts television would have both too. The show is about woodworking with Tommy, and they aren't going to try and hide his unique personality. And she thinks that showing Tommy's mistakes is right in line with the show's philosophy.
She noted, "One of the things that was really important in the philosphy of the program, the same way we want to show hand tool and power tools, inexpensive and expensive pieces of wood, we want to make woodworking even more accessible than it already it because we really think of it as a hobby for most people and as with any hobby you make mistakes. Things go wrong. One of things that will be interesting for people is as he is going along making any given project that he talks about 'Hey man if this happens to you, here's what you do to fix that.' As opposed to making people feel like everything has to be perfect." She later added, "We want to keep the fun in woodworking and let people really know it's okay to make mistakes and learn from each other. We want people to feel that it's okay and what to do if something happens."
What do you think?
There are a wide variety of opinions about Tommy. I think he's a good guy. And I know he's a great furniture maker who's heart truly is in helping others learn the craft. I'm excited to see the show. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.
posted in: blogs, woodworking, WGBH, television, Tommy MacDonald, Woodcraft, show