I was previewing the 20th Anniversary Episode of the “The Woodwright’s Shop” on my computer at work, preparing images and a description for use in our Roy Underhill streaming video site. I had my headphones on and I hadn’t realized I’d been laughing out loud. Steve Shanesy wandered around the corner of my cube to see what was funny, and I unplugged the headphones so he could hear. It wasn’t long before the entire Popular Woodworking staff was standing around watching vintage Roy. Why all the interest?
I know who Roy is, and watched the show during the 1980s and 90s. It was always a good show, with a solid mix of entertainment and interesting information. At the time I was all about power tools, so Roy was a bit of an anachronism to me. To be honest, I watched it more for the entertainment. I seem to recall a drinking game in college related to when he would hurt himself. Sorry, Roy, for “benefiting” at your expense.
That’s the reason for all the interest – Roy Underhill and his shows are timeless. His encyclopedic knowledge of traditional woodworking techniques is more insightful today than it was decades ago when he first donned his hat and suspenders. Watching through the first four seasons, I’m constantly impressed with the depth of knowledge and his ability to teach and entertain at the same time. Roy is a performer of extraordinary skill. If you’ve ever done any public speaking then you can appreciate doing 30 minutes straight, without a pause, offering humor, instruction and managing to be visually engaging all at the same time. That’s entertainment!
And that’s why a bunch of editors would take time out of their busy day to watch Roy at his best. It’s also why I’m excited when each new season arrives in the mail. What’s Roy doing this time? What will I learn while being entertained and amazed? It makes me feel good to be a part of making sure the knowledge and fun is still available only a click away. Thanks, Roy!