I owe so much to so many, but I can make an effort to direct others to my sources of inspiration. These fellows likely have better things to do than to visit me here, but I hope there will come a day when I will be counted among them by the next generation of woodworkers, both professionals and enthusiasts. I use youtube as my primary fountain of knowledge, and these sources in particular, because of the very nature of the beast; it’s free, it’s friendly and it’s available on virtually any internet-capable PC. They have been a great source of comfort over the years, and I have followed some more than others. I will take a few minutes to provide you with these resources in the hopes that they will help you, as they have helped me; so here’s my top 10, in no particular order.
Marc Spagnuolo, AKA The Wood Whisperer, is a professional grade woodworker and custom furniture manufacturer from the American South West. While he is particular fond of Greene & Greene furniture construction (and thusly sparked my inner squee), he is capable of virtually anything. His wife assists in many of his shows, and his new hour-long live broadcasts are a lovely new trend in a great series of videos involving his custom furniture builds. A real inspiration, he is one of the main reasons the online Woodworking community is as strong as it is today.
Meet Steve, operating near San Francisco, another fellow who’s been around for the better half of ten years, making videos and showing us that woodworking doesn’t need to be scary or complicated. His unique blend of humour and self-deprecation is a refreshing change from the prim and polished approach that many television shows and professional casters take. He is not afraid to make mistakes, not afraid to explain how to do the second version better, and is very supportive of other woodworkers. He does a lot of work for charities, and regularly auctions his projects to raise funds for the Make A Wish Foundation. While I discovered his channel while looking for wooden mallet videos, his FIRST video was him making a truly fantastic chess board. A real inspiration.
Alex Harris, once known as the Teen Woodworker, is a resident of the UK. He taught me, like many others, that many great woodworkers can start from humble beginnings. Alex’ first shop looked like it was built in an alley, with a canopy between two buildings. He managed to build his own table saw, and fashion some truly clever pieces in that shop. He’s since moved onto a garage space and revised his channel’s name, one assumes to correspond with him no longer being a teen. Frequently works with other woodworkers and very supportive of fresh blood in the community; please give a round of applause to Alex!
Here’s a genius if there ever was one, and he’s even Canadian! If memory serves, he was a Software Engineer who shifted his focus to more crafty pursuits. He operates the website Woodgears.ca and has a really cleaver wooden gear program on there. I’m tempted to buy the thing so I can manufacture wooden gear clocks at some point. He also sells plans from his site, and it supports his video series, of which he has hundreds and hundreds. His contraptions, like the panto-router, the slot mortiser and his joint-cutting jigs are out of this world. He also tests a great deal of his work, using the scientific method and experimentation to determine exactly which glue is the best for which application, or which joint works best for particular jobs. His work is the perfect combination of engineering and carpentry/woodworking and he makes my inner nerd wiggle with delight.
Another Canadian, John takes himself a little more seriously than the previous list of similarly brilliant minds, but that works for him. A commercial tradesperson, specializing in commercial door installation, he operates his own shop at ibuildit.ca, and proceeds of this page also support him, as do many woodworkers. He has some wonderful toys on his page, too. A wooden vice comes to mind immediately, and many jigs used to make his own work easier. His videos are very well manicured and many are quite brief with musical backgrounds. They are great bite-sized sources of tips and tricks to help smooth-over potential challenges for the rookie in the woodshop.
A resident of Ohio, The Drunken Woodworker is home of the Weekly Woodworking Wrap-up Review! Great place to discover new channels and new projects from across the woodworking community. Though some faces come around again and again during his reviews, he’s far from partisan. His unbiased approach to all things innovative has introduced me to many new and wonderful channels; and he sells T-shirts and beer coozies! He tries a new, fresh beer every episode, and new episodes are released every Friday with “Little Tipsies” released periodically in between. He’s fun and an easy-listening kind of critic of woodworking projects across the interwebs and the youtubes. Check him out!
Definitely a unique sense of humour, Stumpy Nubs has one of the most deliciously dry wits I’ve had the pleasure of groaning at. His videos carry across several themes, including the “Old Timey Workshop”, which specializes in his old pappy’s hand tools, as well as Mustache Mike’s videos on the same channel. He’s clever, and also has some really incredible devices on there, including a shop-built custom biscuit joinery machine!
Linn, a charming woman from Sweden, covers her own shop which manufactures custom stools as a primary source of sales. Her video coverage on finishes and paints almost rivals that of The Wood Whisperer, and she is also involved in many competitions like the “2×4 Competition”, among others. Her projects usually turn out beautifully, and her patience and fondness for the craft be comes apparent in her work.
I discovered April through The Weekly Woodworking Wrap-up Review (say THAT ten times fast), and have been enjoying her work ever since. My first exposure to her projects had been a tiny funerial box for the cremated remains of orphaned babies. The amount shear reverence and respect that she has for this cause and the organization that fights on their behalf is heart-melting. She is proudly Texan and is not afraid to admit that she’s a beginner. Her rational, reasoned approach is based both on research and intuition, which is refreshing, but each video is laced with humour and sometimes anecdotal tidbits that help understand the source of her creativity, frustration and her sense of satisfaction at a job well done.
Akin to Paul Sellers, this craftsman has such a passion and awareness of handtools that he created “The Handtool School”. He and Paul both show that handtools are no less important, accurate or useful in a professional shop than powertools, and in many cases they are more important, more accurate and more useful. To watch Mr. Shannon Rogers work is pure delight. He recently did a shop renovation and conducted all the work with such care and precision that it was a marvel to behold. I’ve learned so much from Shannon about how to nubble away at corners, to pare down with chisels and to take your time with every stroke that I feel more confident than ever that I am capable of greatness, given time and practice.
A man who is becoming a very dear friend to me, our local Member of the House of Assembly (Provincial), is Chris Mitchelmore. He keeps tabs on all the latest and greatest in the area, making sure that his constituents don’t miss a beat. His photography is stunning, and since he has so much wonderful scenery to capture, it’s an amazing excuse to keep up with this activities. Please also remember that he listens to all of us, and that we can field our concerns to him and he will then see best fit how to address them. He is single-handedly reversing my opinion on politicians. Chris Mitchelmore.
It would be unreasonable of me (and unfair to you) to expect to cover all the good stuff in it’s entirety, or really any of it as well as people who have been more tightly specializing in the same area for a greater period of time. That said, this is my contribution, nay my GIFT, to you; a stack of links that do as good or better a job than I could do, given my stretched time, resources, patience and lets be honest, interest.
Not a list for every beginning woodworker, since some of these tools are pricy or would require a certain measure of practice skill to build your own. But that’s okay! Call it a bucket list, since I’m eyeing some of these tools (in a loose definition of the term) more hungrily than others, I am eager to make a post on my blog detailing my (mis)adventures in collecting the full set!
Rick’s Workshop Creations
“All of the woodworking tools & gadgets below I use in my shop and can heartily recommend for your own.”
Some of these are pretty neat, and I’d never seen them before. I’m gunna have to add some of these guys to my wish list, knowing full well that it’ll be me, myself, who ends up buying them. haha
Woodworking Tags on Pinterest
Pinterest is an amazing resource that was once described by my wife as, “The best, of the best, of the best, of the interwebs.” I can’t even say as I disagree! To have tags of pictures, links, projects, etc, all filtered by PEOPLE, rather than by computer meta tags… it’s brilliant. I’ve had some really amazing inspiration from pages like these, and I think you could too!
We should never be afraid of seeking a little extra information from the accomplishments of others; even when it couldn’t be considered espionage! Sites like these are outstanding for their ability to give a little tidbit of extra wisdom to assist in your own learning curve. For example… when you use a handplane, don’t run the blade perpendicular to the direction of cut! Be sure to cant the blade anywhere from 30d to 45d to make more of a slicing motion than a thrusting one. You’d be amazed the difference it makes!