Rough Cut Woodworking with Tommy Mac

Rough Cut Woodworking with Tommy Mac

Ideas for Woodworking's Own Reality TV

comments (55) October 20th, 2010 in blogs

GEide GEide, Contributor
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Photo by videocrab under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

Photo by videocrab under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License.

Photo: videocrab

Here at Fine Woodworking, we've tossed around countless ideas for television shows that highlight the craft--even reality-type shows.

Heck, we've even tried out our version of reality video with our Dovetail and Sharpening Doctor series as well as our Tenon and Surface-Prep Shootouts and Built-In Build-Off.

Today in our Pro Shop blog, Don B. made a tongue-and-cheek comment that the custom-made furniture market need's its own reality TV show to get out the word about what woodworkers really do. "A reality show about a custom furniture maker and his dysfunctional family/employees, something on the lines of the 'American Chopper' and 'Pawn Stars' series."

What would woodworking's reality tv show look like?
So, the question is... what would that look like? What do you think? Could a woodworking reality TV show fly? Any ideas on how to make it work? Title suggestions? Anyone want to volunteer their shop and family!?!

Or, if not a reality show, do you have ideas on how woodworking could be better integrated into movie plots or television shows? Already the show NCIS features a boat-building inspector, one of the Parenthood cast just finished building a desk, and the Parks and Rec show includes woodworking character.

Since the question came up today, I wanted to throw it back out at you folks... What do you think?

Or maybe here at Fine Woodworking should stick to magazines and Web sites...

posted in: blogs, television

Comments (55)

adcox adcox writes: Just one comment. Stay away from the dysfunctional gig like 'American Chopper' and 'Pawn Stars' , I ride a chopper but stopped watching Chopper it's much too negative, we need more positive roll models in our wood craft. "Just Saying" !!!!!!
Posted: 6:59 am on April 14th

Roycrofter Roycrofter writes: I was just thinking about a woodworking reality show and found this thread. If you are still looking for ideas I might be a good fit... My story is your normal everyday stuff - man quits job, becomes good enough at his art to become a Roycroft Renaissance Artisan, business grows from nothing to..., well we're on our way to that part. A shop expansion is in the future, etc...
Posted: 7:26 am on January 8th

thedude50 thedude50 writes: How many of you have watched Stumpy nubs now his show is reality tv on the net. he makes jigs and tools and projects all on a budget that would not pay for the camera. the show has promise if you ask me . it is full of humor and some is off color but it is all pg13 and safe for the kids. Stumpy is a good guy you can find him on lumberjocks and look for his name he will have a load of selfless promotion on the site including links to his page where you can find his show. add a camera man and a director and this could be a big hit dont tell him i am promoting him he wont believe you any way.
Posted: 1:10 am on October 11th

robertwf robertwf writes: I would definitely be interested in a reality show dealing with setting up different machines for different projects in ONE person shops. This has never been done all the wood working shows always omit this
Posted: 1:15 pm on September 1st

texag texag writes: I can suggesttwo show formats.

Extreme Workshop. This would be a workshop makeover or new shop setup chosen from applicants who submit a shop design plan(hand or power tools). The shop makeover would be cordinated/designed by a well known master woodworker. Then they will work together on a project from rough wood to finish work. The master woodwoker(host) would share his expertise with the winner using the tools in the new shop. Please note the shop theme could be hand tool or power tool or a combination of the two. Shop build plus progect time could take multiple days but condenbsed to a workable broadcat format. My inspiration for this format was Extreme Makeover.

Battle ofThe Master Woodworkers. Modeled after Iron Chef of America this show wold have a woodworker challange a masterwoodworker from a group of Master Woodworkers to a competition in the design and construction of a project to be judged by a jury of experts. Norm Abram could be the host. The workshop could be themed either as hand tool or power tool or a combination of both. The competition could be multiple days condensed to a workable broadcast format. The competion could be judged in stages and broadcast over multiple episodes. In this format methods of work cuold be detailed to the audience.

J Ross
Posted: 3:45 am on September 22nd

JIMSSOLIDWOODPROD JIMSSOLIDWOODPROD writes: I would like to see on tv woodworking shows more series complete from start to finish.
For example week one say to week 12 building kitchen cabinets from planning stage to on the wall complete kitchen cabinet, each week leaving off from the week before.
For beginners like me be helpful and to have series on video l could buy and others like me.
No woodworking classes in my area of Trenton, Ontario, Canada
Thanks Jim
Posted: 10:27 am on September 14th

Eric_Key Eric_Key writes: You could go the "American Chopper" route with a father & son shop (Maybe a little less dysfunctional)and title it "The Family Tree." Maybe even spin in some great historical information on period furniture or antique tools as a way to tie in the heritage motif.
Posted: 11:28 pm on June 30th

Rikion Rikion writes: roll into various towns on a weekend and search through neighborhoods for amateur woodworkers busy creating their projects. Surprise them with a visit and perhaps have a tool expert to demonstrate a product to help them in their quest for perfection.
Posted: 10:36 pm on June 12th

Tym40 Tym40 writes: I like the idea of the "Modern Masters" approach. It would be nice to see people who are really good at creating art from wood. Having them show which tools they use and how they use them (advertising dollars from manufactures), techniques they have learned over time, and even why they select the projects they do. You could mix in what markets they sell to as well as who the customers are that buy their work. You could feature various types of workers as well. Maybe have a turning master one week, custom cabinet maker the next, as well as fine furnature makers.

Anything you put on air, everyone from this site will watch, its attracting others to your site and to the craft that will be the challange.

Thanks for asking!
Posted: 11:17 pm on April 20th

haglered haglered writes: How about a competition. There is a show called top shots. They took 16 shooters and put them through various shooting competitions eliminating 1 each episode.

They formed them into 2 teams wich compete against each other and then the losing team has to choose 2 of their members to compete against each other. The loser is eliminated.

Why not a comparable show where you challenge them to do some kind of competiton in different aspects of woodworking. Dovetails, other types of joinery, turning legs, building simple pieces etc.

You would showcase a lot of different skills and generate a lot of supense in who will get eliminated next.

Watch the show and think about it.
Posted: 11:12 pm on March 10th

SouthernILWoodworker SouthernILWoodworker writes: My idea not that anyone will read it is this.You find one of these masters of furniture or cabinetmaking,you know the kind that go around and give clinics on their craft at schools colleges and even the occasional weekend program.But don't just show him giving the same lessons over and over.Show him helping the students on whatever project they are working on.Maybe go so far as to have the student show him the project they may want to attempt but don't yet have the skills or knowledge to try without some advice.Even the design of an original piece and how to see and fix the problems that might arise.
Posted: 12:21 am on January 14th

jackoheart jackoheart writes: I always wanted to do a documentary with 4 or 5 luthiers as they each begin building an Archtop Jazz guitar. The show would follow these masters from concept to delivery. Some of these guys apprenticed under the masters and their "art" might well be lost in a generation or two. A show of this nature would help preserve such wood working for future generations to learn from and be inspired by.
Posted: 8:35 pm on January 11th

AlexSutula AlexSutula writes: The best thing you can to for your market (woodworkers) is to not so much show "what a woodworker really does" But, increase the demand for custom-made furniture. The people that demand custom-made furniture are not woodworkers, they are home-owners or aspiring home-owners. A "how-to" show on DIY will only attract woodworkers, men, and a few women. To appeal to women (who account for 70% of my clients) and the home-owner demographic, a show on HGTV will be most successful.

I have actually emailed my show format idea a few months ago to HGTV. The format should be similar to Color Splash or any other show where an interior designer goes into a house and redesigns a space. Typically these shows emphasize doing this at the lowest cost possible. This results in the designer designing a "custom" table, built by a carpenter or buying crap at Ikea. Carpenters are far from furniture makers. Add a furniture maker to the cast. Concentrate for 6-9 minutes on a half hour show or 10-15 minutes for 1 hour on the woodworker, what he does and how he does it. This way you can be informative with out getting up in the non-woodworkers grill. And gain appreciation from the consumer.

Sometimes I think that people looking to buy furniture don't even consider about getting a custom piece of furniture made. I really don't think it even occurs to them. We live in a disposable society, and care very little about quality and products built by skilled craftsmen. People will spend $80,000 to drive a BMW for 5 years, only to get rid of it for the latest model, all the while they drag their feet when I quote a coffee table for $1,000 that will outlive them 3 times over. The show should try to reverse this mentality. Rather than emphasizing bang-for-your-buck, the show should emphasize quality, tradition, passion, design, skill, and benefits of getting tailor-made furniture.
Posted: 11:35 pm on January 10th

Ellbe Ellbe writes: Who wants to follow a family or workshop. Reality shows are not reality but staged events produced for drama. I want to see something positive and inspiring. What I would like to see is a story about a variety of people, showing off their work, talking about their passion and also demonstrating how they might do a step or two, and show me their work. Talk about where they get their inspiration. For example I have seen a 30 minute interview with a sculptor who uses large pieces of wood. The interviewer had a discussion with him about his work, what inspired him, where ideas come from, techniques. He showed us around the workshop the main tools his uses. Then he showed with a grinding tool how he used the tool to give shape to the wood. Then the video went to a gallery where his work was on display. I was very inspired and watched it several times. To me woodworking is not just furniture making. I used a number of your articles as reference for the art I do. You could probably find numerous people who make furniture, art, I've seen masterful scrolled pieces etc etc. Your magazine appeals to a wide variety of people. But a show about passion, beauty and a bit of here is how I do it, I think would also appeal to a wide audience. I want to be inspired, educated and filled with positivity. A reality show or a contest would be the last thing I would watch.
Posted: 10:04 pm on January 10th

avartist avartist writes: I seem to remember a show on HGTV or DIY a while back called "Modern Masters" that showcased 3 artisans in a 30 minute segment each week. Not reality, but it was about real people exhibiting beautiful abilities. There are so many interesting characters in woodworking, so many great shops and so much incredible work that people never see in our Wal-Mart world. It would be great to see this on TV. Obviously, that sort of thing doesn't have the ratings appeal of watching women get plastic surgery(arghh) but surely quite a few people would be inspired. I know I would.
Posted: 11:14 pm on January 3rd

CaseyO CaseyO writes: Stop watching TV and GET BACK TO WORK!!!!!!!
Posted: 8:29 am on January 2nd

MrC MrC writes: A show is a great idea, but Fine Woodworking appeals to an extremely diverse base, with an incredible range of interests, skills, sophistication in workshops and and wide-spread geography. One might find that projects fitting the needs of a Floridian might not be the same for a North Dakotan.
I always have enjoyed the magazine and many times have marveled at the similarities of the demographics stated above with new crop of wide-eyed freshman students walking into my high school wood technology classes for those 34 years to the demographics of their fathers and grandfathers rushing for their mailed copies of FW.
Without trying to make anyone uncomfortable, and I know this observation has been debated ad nauseam, but I am literally astounded at the skills some readers, nee: self-proclaimed master cabinetmakers, do possess that can produce their remarkable museum quality showpieces while peering over their noses to use all the equipment ergonomically mounted to the ceilings. I also am willing to wager that the same segment of readers is learning no more in quality nor quantity than the segment of us where our shop requires the wood stove to do some preheating and hoping we remembered to take the glue and finish into the warm house to keep them viable, gathering our mismatched tools in one area because putting the tools away means just leaving out the ones we intend to use because we don't have display space for all of them at one time anyway and making strategic choices in our wood box, as opposed to our wood storage room. Hopefully when the shop has warmed up enough so we can build without a built-in chatter, the television has warmed up enough so we can catch a re-run of Norm. He still is on in some areas.
If FW can meet the needs of the dusty and curmudgeonly bunch as well on a video show as it has for all these years in print, you will have a winner. I really hope you are successful I constantly find merit when reading one of your magazines, DVDs, books or the like and to do it with out mind to whether I am wearing my the Frid beret, the Yankee Workshop cap, my Grandpa's Wood Shop baseball cap, or anything in between.
Posted: 5:34 pm on December 30th

jimlewellen jimlewellen writes: The Ideal woodworking show would be Frank klausz, with some students. He can get excited and be very informative at the same time.
Posted: 6:24 pm on December 28th

pugilato pugilato writes: Woodworking school, rotating cast of characters (the students), and excellent teacher who shows the techniques. Throw in some comedy, and the students can handle all of the conflicty things, like this guy is cheating, or that guy is using shortcuts (Domino when the assignment was to create a mortise and tenon joint).

If you really want the conflict thing, two schools: one that uses power tools preferably, another that likes to use hand tools.

Random thoughts on Christmas Eve from Florida. Merry Xmas to one and all!
Posted: 9:09 pm on December 24th

pullmefinger pullmefinger writes: I hate to be a wet blanket, but I don't think there is enough of a market for a woodworking reality show. Plus, reality shows generally suck and woodworkers are too amiable (normally) for the sort of friction required for a competition type show. But a renovation/makeover show with a woodworkers slant would be appealing to lots of people. You could show different ways to do things (ie. power tools vs. hand tools), friendly competitions, focusing on quality furniture/cabinetry rather than the knock-down variety of junk favoured by Ikea and the like. It could be the Mike Holmes of woodworking shows.
Posted: 3:26 pm on December 24th

GeorgeCarlson GeorgeCarlson writes: Silently observe professionals and amateurs in their shops doing a project start to finish, over several episodes (Don't go too fast!). Then critique shop layout, tools, and methods. Then redesign the shop on the cheap and show better methods or adopt their methods and tool and jigs.
Posted: 2:00 pm on December 24th

BigRoofer BigRoofer writes: Seems to be two types of reality shows; competitions and documentaries. I'm not real big on the competitions, but do recall Warehouse Warriors where two teams competed to both design and build a project in a day.

My idea would be to film a mix of amateur or professional woodworkers with different skill sets building essentially the same project using different tools. For example, you could have a hand tool person, a professional in a furniture shop, an amateur in a garage, a luthier, a cabinet maker, a finish carpenter, or a shipwright. You give them the same basic requirements like a single drawer nightstand with certain dimensions. Each show could have a different group of people building a different project, or you could have the same people building different projects. Of course the production costs of filming three or four people would be high. Then again, nobody mentioned a budget.

If you wanted to do the competition thing you could do a blind judging and have the winners advance to the next round.

Another competition-type concept would be to have teams representing different guilds or clubs from different cities, or perhaps countries.
Posted: 12:29 am on December 22nd

KRASSEL KRASSEL writes: I dont't think I could bring myself to watch a "woodworking reality" show. I truly miss the NYW. I learned a lot from that show over the years, and I am still willing to learn. The so called reality shows seem to end up being more about the people than the craft. If you want my attention, put on an hour long how to show. Showcase new tools and techniques and good old craftsmanship. Tour shops, mills, factory's and tool manufacturers. I'd watch that show.
Posted: 11:01 am on December 21st

LPaulin LPaulin writes: I think a show that would emphasize the benefits of fine woodworking instead of this throwaway furniture that comes out of Taiwan, China and the like. Raise woodworking to a new level of appreciation.
Posted: 8:04 pm on December 19th

texman texman writes: No need to cheapen or commercialize the craft any further than it already has.

Personally, I wish you guys at FWW would forget about keeping up with the less inspired, unrelated mainstream stuff like the cooking shows, dwts, etc. Do one thing, and do it well. Take FWW back to the level of absolutely superior craftsmanship that it used to be up through th e early 90's, and use this high quality to differentiate yourself from the herd. To go to reality tv format is the equivalent of starting to write National Geographic on the same level as that of the National Enquirer and then placing it on the supermarket endcap with gossip rags. Rise above, and stay above, the herd.....
Posted: 12:40 am on December 18th

hrdwdfur hrdwdfur writes: We have talked about that very thing all would be needed is to follow a shop through the trial and tribulations of everyday business with the mix of people we have and size of shop it is a zoo half of the time facing deadlines, figuring out how to build the pieces the inter action between all of our diverse coworkers it can get nuts but i wouldn't change our 33 plus years for anything
Posted: 3:32 pm on December 14th

AllisterM AllisterM writes: I see many excellent ideas above.

I agree that aljen has a decent thought.

Personally - voting off isn't my style. I can't argue with ratings - but I don't buy from China just because they make the most of something either.

Quality over Quantity.

I would rather find the best people in their fields and push them to greater heights.

With that in mind I have had a vision for quite some time that hasn't come about with my finite resources. I thought it might still be worth sharing here.

I own a couple of URL sets (.com/.net/hyphenated) that are currently inactive: being the one that seemed most marketable in my mind.

Concept of A show/site that demonstrates small yet effective enhancements (in wood has been my vision) that people can do in small spaces. Projects can be extremely detailed - but would not have extended production timelines given the small spaces that would be worked in.

Living in the Vancouver, BC region, I have seen a huge number of apartments go up. People seem to a) want to add value to their dwelling and b) need something to do.

The projects would be to really class up the locations and be educational - while perhaps creating a small niche market for the items on the shows or the advice of the local experts. Really enhancing the local economy and that of wood-workers in general. Wood doesn't seem to get enough play and I would certainly love to find a way to run a shop as local to downtown Vancouver as possible.

As I am currently attending Sylva Bay Shipyard School on Gabriola Island (BC, CA - for both boat building and cabinetry, I have met a remarkable number of well-informed and experienced craftsmen in all facets of wood creation. I'm learning a ton right now. And they are all characters in their own right.

I am sure that with the proper management, a proper face could be put to the project. Of course I was looking at myself in the mirror - though I'm not a marketing expert in those regards. I am sure I could start talking outward instead of getting constant comments about talking to myself.

Certainly I have things to learn, myself - but perhaps that could be part of the adventure of the projects?

As noted - there are highly talented craftsmen around me that have done cabinets to boats to spiral staircases. I believe most of them have extensive experience teaching classes in woodworking, also.

I certainly welcome feedback and thoughts. This is one of the most tangible visions I could see myself endeavouring on with the right team.

Thanks! I Hope to have given you some ideas to work with.
Posted: 10:10 pm on December 9th

taawoodworks taawoodworks writes: I have read all of the comments on this and I think that aljen has the best idea so far and I think that it will attract all kinds of veiwers.
Posted: 9:17 am on December 8th

goodguy goodguy writes: Here's an idea...
"Tool Fool"
A comedic dark-drama of a retired douche, trying to escape his nagging wife and find his creative muse through woodworking.

premise: Retired business exec has no talent for music, art, writing, cooking or even bowling, so he reasons; "Hey, I can buy some tools and start making furniture!"

Problems arise when he discovers he can't understand dovetails and always cuts them backwards or upside-down. He searches past issues of FW and reads every article on handsaws, imagining that will solve his problems. He becomes obsessed with hand-tools buys ten of the most expensive handsaws, $4,000 worth or LN and Veritas planes and chisels, and still can't fit a dovetail.

After ruining several tree's worth of lumber, he see the FW article about cutting dovetails with a tablesaw. He goes to the local home center, buys the best tablesaw they sell and discovers its a POS, since it won't cut straight no matter what kind of jig he uses. It a fit of pique, he accidentally cuts off three fingers, sues the manufacturer and wins 1.2 million; a bitter victory since the lawyers and his wife take most of the money after a hostile divorce. The tablesaw incident also denies him the mute satisfaction of giving his wife the finger behind her fat back.

He takes the remaining lawsuit money to Las Vegas, ostensibly to see a woodworking trade-show. A fast-talking salesman gets him to invest in a CNC machine, then he starts making multi-leveled bird-houses he calls, 'Critter Condos'. For a short time, he has positive cash flow since wallmart orders two hundred thousand units, but he loses that when he is sued because several of his cheap poorly engineered bird houses collapsed, killing the birds and injuring two grandparents and permanently disfiguring their cute four-year-old niece.

What... Too dark?

OK, How about this...
on FOX
Three suburban guys try to outdo each other on a TV show about macho tools...

Wait... hasn't this been done?
Posted: 1:34 pm on November 30th

narco narco writes: great idea but it will never work.
Posted: 10:28 am on November 30th

Kitfox Kitfox writes: I agree and love the response that houseboatguy has written above. I second it. ¡¡¡¡
Posted: 5:00 pm on November 27th

houseboatguy houseboatguy writes: My rant on the term, "Reality Shows".
Jesus, my skin crawls when you say "Reality Show".
I run screaming when my wife says, "Dancing With the Stars" with some skate board champ. America's Next Super Model" (who cares?) or all the Ophra and the like stuff. Those people that go to peoples houses and do make over's, or live on some island eating bugs or each other. What kind of gommers are in to this and call it "REALITY". It's all pre-ordained, orchestrated junk for the people not in reality.
I don't think that most of the highly skilled, gifted, working, woodworkers spend much time watching woodworking shows. They are doing it!
Have a show that teaches us "wanabe's" how to go from step to step on projects that are really doable and practical in a "Real" small shop at home with the basic small tools available for a small shop on our deck, closet, trunk of our car, etc. etc etc.. I would bet that 99% of us out here are teaching ourselves in less that adaquat shops jamed in spaces to small that our wives wish were some where else in a land far far away.
I have to move tons of stuff, work around what I can't move every time I need to do something different and most of my work turns out pretty well but I still need all the help I can get.
I don't and never will have all the high end equipment and space that I would love for a "REAL" shop and still turn out quality on the high end pieces and that's OK..
That said:
Have a show for the 99% of us. Start at the begging and take us through the learning process as if we were in a
"James Krenov" school for wood technology, theory and design with Living Legend guest instructors .
That would be a REAL "REALITY SHOW".

P.S. I do love seeing the really great woodworkers in action making those fantastic pieces of art. That's inspiration to go to the next level.
Posted: 1:53 pm on November 26th

mkrok mkrok writes: I think for this idea to work, it must entertain rather than instructional. If you look at all the reality shows from building choppers to cooking there is very little instruction in them. However, whenever I watch these, I soon realize just how much discipline, education, and of course failure go into ones craft.
As a woodwroker, I would be perfect, along with my dysfunctional family. I'm like most woodworkers as it is my passion and not my profession. I work my own seperate business to make a living and working wood fuels my passion to be a world famous artist ;-) Juggling work, 2 small chilren and a wife, I take on a variety of commissioned jobs to feed my need for stardom. My wife resents every minute I'm in the shop, but when I sell a piece for someone, she is my biggest fan. The kids are always in the shop with me and are very good in from of the camera.
I'll do it.
Posted: 2:40 pm on November 23rd

dboetb dboetb writes: Steve,

I agree with you, but in their usual fashion FWW hasn't responded to any of these suggestions nor have they even cared to acknowledge that they are even reading them. Nor do I believe they have the means to even pursue the production of a creditable realty TV show. Internet video isn't going to make it needs to be a full fledge TV show production if it is going to do the job of educating the general public.

Don B.

Posted: 2:05 pm on November 17th

SteveRamsey SteveRamsey writes: Wow, I can't believe I came across this topic. A few weeks before this article, I wrote a two-part post about woodworking TV shows I'd like. I even mentioned American Chopper. Weird.

Basically, we need to get away from the idea that TV should be used to really instruction, but rather entertain.

Here is my article:

Posted: 10:59 pm on November 16th

BrentIowa BrentIowa writes: I have a story line that has some humor in it . I know a gentleman that one day was surfing the internet and somehow decided to take up woodworking as a hobby .
Now mind you this gentleman had no experieance in woodworking but wanted to become a great woodworker.
This gentlemans education level was a GED , but he had owned and sold his wholesale business , leaving a warehouse empty , so what a great place to start his hobby.
After much research his investment was all 5hp powermatic tools , minus lathe , but dovetail machine , dual drum sander etc..
Then he had decided to find lumber , say 14,000 lbs of lumber black walnut, mesquite, curly maple, splated maple etc..
The story line is still unfolding.
Good luck on the show ,

Posted: 7:34 am on November 14th

HayesFurnitureDesign HayesFurnitureDesign writes: I'd love to have a woodworking reality show, showing what goes on behind the scenes. Working with the customer, designing, fixing any mistakes(drama), along with lots of information will strengthen the appreciation of craftsmanship and hard work. Could catapult the custom furniture industry. Just think, people are spending thousands of dollars for cakes made by the "cake boss" and "ace of cakes" just to be eaten!!! What about furniture that will last generations?
Posted: 7:53 pm on November 13th

danny14 danny14 writes: The other day I was thinking a good woodworking show would be in the same format as "Project Runway". Instead of making clothes, the contestants would make various furniture pieces.
Posted: 10:12 pm on November 11th

dboetb dboetb writes: I believe the Boggs Collective would be the perfect setting for the show, think of the benefits it would have.

Don B.
Posted: 11:00 am on November 10th

Taigert Taigert writes: We'll pony up to do it, We even have a cool set up that would work really well for an idea like this, we have a old Movie Theater from the early 1900's converted to a woodshop/residense. Shop down on the main floor about 4000 sqft. And to top it off I have a one of a kind storey brhind everything????????

Posted: 2:03 pm on November 9th

JoshuaLynncustomfurn JoshuaLynncustomfurn writes: I think it's a great idea! The show "Work of Art" got a season in and their shooting the next one now I think, one of artist friends went to NY for the try out. What I'd like to see in the show (or if I'm a part in the show?) is the amount of work that goes into it all from start to finish. When you're given a few set pirameters (much the same in open calls for artist) and you do every thing else from comming up with and executing your conscept to making it a final and finished piece. It'd also be a good time to point out flaws in working with PB and MDF in life and structural soundness, test for racking. Each contestant designing and building to suite their styles (I'm likely to pull out carving chisels where someone else may opt for their Dremel tool.). Each artist/ artisan in the same shop with many of the same basic tools being supplied for use while bringing their own specialty tools that they prefer to work with. I think it could work and if it happens let me know when the casting call is.
Posted: 12:19 pm on November 6th

rawdawgs50 rawdawgs50 writes: A show like this exists. Although not on cable and its not a reality show...but if you want to learn the ins and outs of everything wood working there is nothing else like it.

Google Charles Neil Wood Working. His mastering wood working series is expert level, but many free videos can be found on youtube as well.
Posted: 9:16 am on November 5th

Rhysling Rhysling writes: I'm not so sure that woodworking counts as "reality". I'd like to keep it that way.
Posted: 1:03 am on October 31st

splurgewood splurgewood writes: I think a woodworking reality TV show is a great idea. My wife and I along with our kids have been woodworking together for quite some time. I have a full shop of tools that I use for my passion and business. We have invited several of our friends and family to join us as well. We find many people who would like to do woodworking projects but do not want to make the investment in the tools or do not have the space to dedicate to a woodworking shop so offering our shop to complete their creations has given us much enjoyment.

Actually doing a show that truly shows people ‘how-to’s’ keeping with the Fine Woodworking concepts and some short screen vignettes of ‘here it is’ would cross several demographics. There are always several ways to do something and showing the real life situations that a woodworker is challenged with on various projects would entertain both woodworkers and non-woodworkers alike. Mixing together reality TV with the How-To approach will relate to the masses instead of just the few while still providing valuable information and entertainment.

My family and I would love to volunteer to help develop this concept with Fine Woodworking.

Posted: 2:58 pm on October 29th

mikeyt6214 mikeyt6214 writes: I've thought for a while that there should be a woodworking reality show and I think Don B. is dead on with the concept. The model already exists with shows like American Chopper, Pawn Stars, and the new show American Restoration. To be successful you need to focus on the rigors of running a business as well as the art and creativity of woodworking. In this model, the focus isn't on the technical aspect of woodworking which would only have a very small audience draw. Instead, the focus needs to be on the creativity side of the art which every viewer (woodworker or not) can relate too. Using this model will also broaden the array of networks to whom the show could be sold. You could approach DIY and HGTV, of course, but also Discovery Networks and other infotainment content carriers. Hopefully, with a broader audience you can not only capture existing woodworkers but also create some new ones.

I have a great name for the show too. Call it HardWood.
Posted: 9:49 am on October 28th

RalphBarker RalphBarker writes: The audience draw for a pure woodworking reality show might be too thin to attract networks (and, make money). A comedy show along the line of Red Green on PBS, with woodworking as the background might work, though.
Posted: 10:30 pm on October 26th

bknabel bknabel writes: I took some classes at a local community college in Denver a few years back. My story wouldn't have been terribly interesting as a TV show, but there were several students with very interesting backgrounds and personalities.

One of the shows on DIY (Trade Show maybe?) featured an episode on the school. If it were done the right way there could definitely be an interesting show in there somewhere. Maybe follow some of the hobbyists as they progress and compare their experiences with those of the students that were using the program as their primary education.

The school was quite good and had an interesting cross-section of people. If that school didn't work then College of the Redwoods or North Bennett Street are probably chock full of reality-worthy personalities.
Posted: 10:18 pm on October 25th

Joe Y Joe Y writes: The question is, do you want to be primarily educational, with a little light entertaining thrown in; or do you want to be entertaining with a little bit of woodworking education thrown in.

This Old House and New Yankee Workshop kinda fits in with the former; American Chopper and Pawn Stars, the latter.

Personally, I prefer the former; but in a lot more detail. Suggested shows:
- Wood Theory. The difference between hardwoods and softwoods, typical applications for Cherry, Walnut, Ash, Oak, Teak, Cedar, Cyprus and why.
- Wood expansion. How expansion differs radially, axially, and tangentially. How moisture contributes to expansion. How expansion varies in the Southwest desert and the indoor humidity extremes in cold climates. Using green wood vs seasoned wood for different chair leg parts, how to accommodate seasonal movement for table tops with bread board ends, etc.
- How to choose the right wood for a project. Quarter sawn vs face sawn. Parallel graining for chair legs and spindles.
- How to sharpen and use various tools:
-- chisels
-- planes
-- marking knives
-- saws
- Different types of sharpening techniques
-- abrasive paper
-- slow speed abrasive wheels
-- natural and synthetic stones
-- diamond sharpeners
- How to measure
-- types of measuring rulers and tapes
--- story sticks and now blank 'story' tapes
--- centering rulers
--- golden ratio rulers
-- how to transfer measurements quickly and accurately with dividers, marking gauges, etc.
- Design basics
-- proper proportion
--- golden ratio
--- balanced design
---- shaker simplicity
---- excessive ornateness
---- top heaviness and how to avoid it.
-- form follows function
- joining techniques and when to use them
-- rabbets
-- dovetails
-- biscuits
-- dowels
- gluing techniques
-- types of glue
-- too much vs not enough
-- clamping
--- types of clamps and applications for each type
- Finishing techniques
-- sanding
-- scrapers
-- stains and dyes
-- laquer, shellac, oils, urethanes
-- waxes

This is easily a year's worth of programming. There is still much more to thoroughly address. I'll be happy to
Posted: 11:17 am on October 25th

dboetb dboetb writes: How about a documentary, 'A day in the life of Thomas Moser cabinetmakers'? Something of substantial substance.
Posted: 9:39 am on October 25th

aljen aljen writes: I think it should be something like Design Star on HGTV. Have a group of 10 woodworkers and have them compete against each other week to week. Each one has there own "shop" with all the basic and some advanced tools just like a hobby woodworker would have. Each week they build the same project but their own design and get critiqued by a few well known professional woodworkers.One week they build a desk, next a table, chair, ect. Each week one gets voted off. At the end the winner gets his or her own woodworking show and becomes the new face of woodworking, A.K.A. the new Norm.
Posted: 12:09 am on October 23rd

MrMiz MrMiz writes: Put me on TV and teach me wood working. The draw... Non-woodworking viewers can relate to me because I know little or nothing about woodworking... but I try to BS my way through it. Woodworking viewers would watch so they can sit back and laugh at what I'm doing wrong or maybe even relate to why I do it wrong.

The background - Full time computer geek wants to understand and become a woodworker, but is plagued by a background of bad habits and lack of knowledge. Growing up on a feed lot created all the bad habits where the only viewers of my previous work had 4 legs and where headed for the dinner table. Tools weren't in the budget and safety was a bit hill billy.
Show were the local big box has improved my ability or possibly made my habits worse.

So why the woodworking and where does the knowledge go. I have 2 college rental properties that I need to make fantastic. Furnature, cabinetry, restoring old woodwork you name it. Lumping in a college atmosphere.

It's Fine Wood Working refines an odd DIYer...So when do we start ;-)
Posted: 10:59 pm on October 22nd

JamesMichaelFurniture JamesMichaelFurniture writes: I think a show that shows what can be done by the weekend warrior from a master woodworkers perspective would go a long way. The target audience would be the general public that doesn't know what a Bailey plane is, or the difference between a mortise or bench chisel. From episode to episode cover the gambit of all skills from fine cut dovetails to but joints re-enforced with screws. But the most important thing is to capture the heart of woodworking, the reason why we all sawdust slinger's pursue the journey.
Posted: 2:13 pm on October 22nd

scotthz scotthz writes: They've already done it. Called it "ER".
Posted: 2:09 pm on October 22nd

Ed_Pirnik Ed_Pirnik writes: Slap Roy Underhill into a modern shop. heh heh heh
Posted: 12:33 pm on October 22nd

dboetb dboetb writes: First it was American Chopper then Pawn Stars, American Pickers, next Billy the Exterminator, Junkers, and now the 'Woody's'.

First, find a dysfunctional family owned cabinet shop, shouldn't be too difficult, then let nature take it's course. Every once in a while throw some high quality stuff in front of the audience. Who knowns it may work, might even sell a few 'Woody's hats and sweatshirts maybe even a travel mug or two.

If this thing takes off I expect to see my name listed in the credits.

Don B.
Posted: 4:28 pm on October 20th

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