Recent comments

Re: STL 72: Another Tablesaw Lawsuit

I'm glad that Shop Talk Live devoted an episode to this. I would like to add two comments about the presentations. First, I'm thrilled that both of the guests were given time to fully express their views. I think it is unfortunate that most presentations offer an extremely abbreviated version on any individual's perspective, but in this case, Shop Talk Live let the guests speak thoroughly and at length. I would have liked for the show to have also provided some air time to an impartial, objective analysis of the issues as well, but even without that, this was a very thorough presentation of the viewpoints of people very close to these issues.

My second comment is that I couldn't help but cringe a bit during Asa'a introduction of Steve Gass' "big announcement" during which Asa makes the announcement for him before he can even talk. In this case, I think it would have been more appropriate to allow the guest to make his own "big announcement" and fill in any additional context with follow up questions if necessary.

Thanks all-


Re: STL 66: SawStop Gets a Slider

Hi Guys,

Just listened to podcast 66. When Mike could not think of a good book that covers everything from machine use to hand tools, and even includes a few good projects, I instantly thought of Peter Korn's book, "Woodworking Basics - Mastering the Essentials of Craftsmanship." (I had forgotten that it was a Taunton published work) Not only does this book cover the basic criteria mentioned on the podcast, but it is excellent in its own right and I think it gives a beginner a good chance to develop and appreciation for powered tools and machines as well as hand tools and has great looking projects.


Re: UPDATE: Acts of Creation: America's Finest Hand Craftsmen at Work by Walt Harrington

I think this looks like a great book. Please enter me for a chance to win one.

Re: UPDATE: 3 Book Giveaway! Taunton's Complete Illustrated Guide to...

Those look like great books and I would be thrilled to win any of them.


Re: STL 47: Compromising Photos from FWW

I have a quick comment about the first question from Podcast 47. The question raised several issues about purchasing a jointer. I completely agree with Matt's advice about finding a vintage cast iron Delta 6" jointer or even another maker such as Yates, Oliver, Powermatic, Walker/Turner/ Boice Crane, etc. I also agree with Mike in that if you can get a good deal on an 8" jointer, go ahead and get that first. The point I want to raise is that the person asking the question wrote that he wanted to use the jointer to clean up cuts from his table saw. Unless you are making a board and are jointing the ripped surfaces that will be glued together, normally I don't think you should need to return to the table saw after ripping to width. If your table saw cuts are leaving a rough or burned surface, I think that needs to be addressed at the table saw and then hopefully that can be tuned to the point where you will be leaving a clean enough cut that it can be cleaned with a small hand plane or through sanding and not resort to going back to the jointer for that purpose.

Re: Shop Talk Live 46: Ed Cuts the Cord

I just listened to the podcast. While this is not exactly a criticism, I would like to hear your perspective on it (not on the show, just a quick response in the comments is fine.) It always sounds a bit odd for you to ask for a 5 star rating. If you were out to dinner and your server asked for an especially large tip you might think it was a bit unusual. Normally the servers just get whatever tip you leave without asking for the maximum possible amount at the beginning of the meal. Now, in all fairness to you, the world of podcasting and ratings might be completely different and there may be a special significance associated with 5-star ratings which you understand because you are familiar with internet marketing and podcasts and so on. I completely admit that I am not familiar with any of this, and as somebody who is a bit old fashioned, it strikes my ear as similar to the restaurant tip analogy, in which case it seems jarringly inappropriate and cheeky. I mention this because that tone does not match with the rest of your show. So, what I am trying to get at is, what happens on your end in response to the ratings that would make you ask for a 5-star rating at the beginning of every show? Does Taunton agree to keep paying for the production? Do you get raises? Are you trying to beat out the wood whisperer?

I have one more minor comment that I would hope you could pass on to whoever is the appropriate person. The fine woodworking website is an amazing resource and I feel it is a tremendous bargain and a great supplement to my print magazine subscription. I am automatically logged in- with my email address- and I am also signed up for emails from fine woodworking. Why is it that I continually get a popup message right in the center of the page asking for my email address to get more emails? Can't somebody set a cookie that recognizes when a logged in online member has clearly provided an email address already?

Having said all of that, I want to thank you for the work you do. I really enjoy the podcast and I look forward to it. I frequently rewind it to make sure I hear everything woodworking related. It is nice for keeping connected to woodworking when I am driving or at work and I enjoy hearing your different perspectives on various topics.


PS. I read your magazine.

Re: Have you seen Tommy Mac's new woodworking show? Let us know what you think.

I recorded this show by mistake thinking it was an episode of "New Yankee Workshop." I also recorded it at a very high resoultion by mistake; the 30 minute show was over 3 gb of memory on my hard drive. This is not to say I did not want to watch it, I would have recorded it deliberately if I had known it was going to be on last Saturday afternoon, but my program listings were incorrect.

I watched it last night and my first thought was, "this man does not have teaching experience." Now, maybe that is correct, maybe not, but the show was not presented or crafted to be an educational tool. It was more of a demonstration mixed with entertainment. I think we are used to watching these shows as video instruction manuals for specific projects or techniques. This Rough Cut show was more of a fast placed blitz intro to Tommy's personality and style than it was a step by step project tutorial.

Also, none of the comments in this thread or in the other thread in the Knots section indicate that people who watched this Rough Cut premiere had ever watched Tommy's various podcasts. This new sponsored version maintains many stylistic conventions of the podcasts, which Tommy has been making for years, in many cases, shooting them himself while goofing around in his shop with his girlfriend, pals, cronies, etc. I thought he did a remarkably good job of maintaining the feel of the podcasts in his new show, although this may not be the ideal style for a larger PBS audience. Already I am getting the sense that people consider his quaint sayings to be moer annoying than charismatic. One other aspect is that in his podcast he would spend multiple episodes on a single project. A specific episode may focus on just one step or detail in a long process. Doing an entire project in one 22 minute segment may strain his ability to convey his strengths while moving through all of the construction steps in any detail. However, both the informal nature of the podcasts and Tommy's ability to show whatever steps he wanted in as much length as he wanted allowed him to share what he was doing without the frenzied pacing that the time limit of the "Rough Cut" show demanded. Also, we expect more systematic and deliberate dialog in TV shows on PBS than the meandering and silly coments Tommy would make while working in his shop on his podcasts.

Now, here is what recording this program in high definition digital did get me. One of the things I most enjoyed about the old Tommy Mac podcasts was his focus on the aesthetic qualities of the wood iteslf. He would spend whole episodes just picking his boards for a certain project or laying out his cuts on the rough stock to produce the optimal end result. This was something that I never saw in a Norm Abrams show. It seemed more like something Krenov would discuss. Tommy would speak at length not just about grain, but about considering where milled boards would align on the final project as a factor in where to place which cuts in the first stage of milling rough stock. Similarly, some of the shots of the wood in the "Rough Cut" premiere were close ups of grain patterns in his boards and in the table project. He was trying to draw attention to subtle textural details that were both tactile and visual. At one point they tried to show the exact effect of using a handplane on a board and the extremely crisp edge that resulted. In another shot they presented a close up view of the inside of a mortise while being cut with a chisel. These aesthetic elements represent a rarified component of woodworking that is separate from simply finishing a project in a step by step lesson plan. They also represent an aesthetic sensitivity that seems oddly juxtaposed with Tommy's verbal goofiness, "Okey dokey, hokey pokey."

However, the enduring charm of the podcasts is the mixture of Tommy's humble and goofy personality mixed with his love of the craft and his fanatical attention to the details that bring out the beauty of the wood he uses in his finished projects. I hope he finds a way to bring these strengths and perspectives to the larger PBS audience in future shows.

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