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On behalf of Roy Underhill and the entire Popular Woodworking team, I am delighted to announce that we now have four seasons of Roy Underhill’s “The Woodwright’s Shop” DVDs available to order at (and we’ll soon have the streaming video site live): Season One; Season Two; Season Three; and Season 20 (which Roy says is one of his favorites). The DVDs are at the replicator now, and are expected to ship out of our warehouse in early July.

Each of these DVD sets contains two DVDs, with six hours of video for your viewing pleasure. And they are indeed a pleasure to watch.

What tickles me most is how little Roy has changed in the last three decades. The hat and suspenders are the same. The shop looks the same (if today a little more overflowing with projects). Edgar is much the same (though he’s moulted a bit over the years). And best of all, Roy’s infectious enthusiasm for hand-tool woodworking and other pre-Industrial hand skills remains the same. From his very first show (recorded in 1979) to the episodes he recorded this spring, Roy’s sheer delight at meeting craftspeople and sharing their skills and knowledge – as well as his own – comes through loud and clear. (And that delight is just one of many reasons why I love going down to Roy’s “The Woodwright’s School” – he makes me fall in love with woodworking (and with him) all over again).

Without further ado, here are the four seasons now available to order (and there are many more to come), and what you’ll find on each of them (click on the bold title of each to visit that season’s page in the store):

Season One (1980):
• Maul & Glut — Make two traditional tools by first felling a tree then shaping a maul and glut using period iron woodworking tools.
• Shaving Horse — Discover how to make a shaving horse – one of the most important hand-tool shop fixtures for working with drawknives and spokeshaves.
• Hay rake — Build one of Roy’s favorite projects: a hickory hay rake that is both strong and lightweight.
• Lathes — Roy takes us on a tour of the history and development of human-powered machines, including one of his favorites: the lathe.
• Rocking Chair — Build a classic armless rocking chair using traditional tools and techniques. Then create a woven white oak seat for the rocker. Plus, guest Bryant Holsenbeck demonstrates how to weave a traditional basket.
• Log Cabin — Roy shows us the steps and hand-hewn joinery used in building traditional log cabins.
• Timber Frame Construction — Learn the details of timber framing, including post-and-beam and mortise-and-tenon construction techniques.
• Dough Bowl & Pitch Forks — Roy makes a pitchfork and a dough bowl, each from a single piece of wood.
• Blacksmithing — Spend some time at the forge to learn basic blacksmithing techniques and discover how to create a spike dog (a tool used in timber framing).
• Panel Frame & Dovetail — Roy discusses frame-and-panel construction for doors, and the basic steps for cutting a dovetailed joint.
• Colonial Williamsburg — Join Roy on a trip to Colonial Williamsburg to take a look at 18th-century craftsmanship including a visit with a wheelwright, a cooper and a blacksmith, as well as a look inside the Anthony Hay Cabinet Shop.

Season Two (1982):
• Handles — Roy examines a number of tool handles, then creates an axe handle from a split of hickory and turns a chisel handle.
• Candle Stand — Roy walks us through the steps of creating a classic walnut candle stand.
• Handplanes  — Learn the history of a wide variety of handplanes as Roy explains their many and specialized uses.
• In Yer Drawers — We join Roy as he makes a hand-hewn, half-blind dovetailed drawer for his workbench, and discusses many of the techniques used in traditional drawer making.
• Findin’ & Fixin’ — On the way to “The Woodwright’s Shop,” Roy stops off at a scrap yard, antique store and flea market to show us the many treasures to be found.
• Saws — This episode is all about saws. Roy shows us a dizzying array of examples, from familiar panel saws to bowsaws and pit saws. Then he rounds out the show by showing us how to sharpen the blade of a bowsaw.
• Williamsburg Blacksmiths — Roy travels to Colonial Williamsburg to work with the living history museum’s blacksmiths to weld and make a froe and forge a cant hook.
• Window Sash — Roy walks us through the process of handcrafting window sash as he explains the stiles, rails and muntins.
• Boat Building — Roy visits the Hampton Mariner’s Museum and discusses the history of small boat building, starting with dugout canoes and moving up from there.
• A Tale of Two Toys — Roy looks at a collection of classic wood toys, then shows us the steps to create a Crow Chaser.

Season 3 (1983):
• Inner Woodworking — Roy takes a look at the mechanics of wood and how a trees’ growth affects how we work wood in the shop.
• Workbench — Roy handcrafts a massive, classic workbench using pegged and keyed mortise-and-tenon construction.
• Cooper’s Bucket — With the help of a couple of coopers from Colonial Williamsburg, Roy demonstrates how to make a cooper’s bucket.
• Blanket Chest — Roy builds a classic, nailed-together, six-board blanket chest with an interior till.
• Simple Gifts — Roy makes three simple gift projects including a flapping duck toy, a small pine knock-down bench and a wooden egg beater.
• Whimsy Diddling — Learn how to make a Gee Haw Whimmey Diddle (a quintessential mountain folk toy) and a willow whistle.
• Furniture Carving — Wallace Gusler of Colonial Williamsburg visits to take a close look at the techniques and tools required for carved furniture.
• Whetstone Quarry — Take a trip through the geological history of whetstones, then head out with Roy to find the rough materials from which to make your own whetstones for sharpening.
• The Gunsmith — Gunsmith Gary Brumfield of Colonial Williamsburg shares the steps to make a handcrafted 18th-century-style rifle.
• Wood for the Weaver — Roy introduces us to some of the traditional wooden implements used by weavers including spinning wheels, clock reels and niddy noddys. Then Roy makes a swift and a tape loom.
• The Luthier  — George Wilson of Colonial Williamsburg shows Roy what it took to create a violin in the 18th century, from wood to fittings.
• The Basket makers  — Roy Black and Robert Watson show Roy how to make round-bottom and flat-bottom white oak baskets, starting from a log and using only traditional tools.

Season 20 (2000):
• Lap Desk — Roy builds a reproduction of a simple walnut lap desk from the 19th century.
• Turned Corner Chair — Roy shows us how to make a circa-1550 three-legged chair from the Flemish town of Rotterdam.
• Banjo Man George Wunderlich — George Wunderlich recreates a mid-1800s banjo that evolved from African-American gourd banjos.
• Writer’s Bookcase — Learn how to build a small oak bookcase designed for writers. No glue and no fasteners makes it simple to disassemble.
• Timber Corner — Roy practices large-scale woodworking: the joinery and techniques used in building the corner of a timber-framed structure.
• Decoy Carvers — Nick Supone and Neal Connolly demonstrate the hewing and carving techniques used in creating a quality duck decoy.
• Eastfield Village — Roy visits Eastfield Village where he joins restoration craftsman Don Carpentier for a tour of the museum’s restored historic buildings.
• Marquetry Master Patrick Edwards — Roy visits with marquetry expert Patrick Edwards to look at the technique of “painting in wood.”
• In The Blacksmith’s Shop — Visit with blacksmiths Peter Ross and Ken Schwarz as they show Roy how to make bench chisels and more.
• Toys That Make Noise — Roy solders a tin-can bird whistle and makes a boxwood whistling top.
• Carving With the Cabinetmakers —  Travel to the Hay Cabinet Shop at Colonial Williamsburg for a furniture-carving talk with Master Mack Headley.
• Windsor Chair — Mike Dunbar of The Windsor Institute demonstrates the steps and techniques for building a sack-back Windsor chair.
• 20th Anniversary Show — A retrospective of 20 years of “The Woodwright’s Shop,” with highlights of guests, projects and memorable moments.

— Megan Fitzpatrick

p.s. You can catch Roy live at both Woodworking in America 2012 conferences: Oct. 12-14 in Pasadena, Calif., and Nov. 2-4 in Greater Cincinnati.

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Showing 9 comments
  • Julian

    Always enjoyed watching the Woodwright’s Shop and would love to see all the early episodes which I have never seen. I just can’t see spending $40/season. It would be great if these DVDs were available at public libraries. As I get older I seem to get cheaper.

  • Stig

    “This is a great idea” I said as I grabbed my creditcard and proptly ordered all the seasons available.
    I understand you eventually intend to publish all the seasons of woodwright’s shop. A means for buying the entire final collection at a discount would be greatly appreceated. If you do, please remember those of us who already ordered all cd’s from the start, and provide us with a comparable reward.

  • Bill

    Great to hear — I can’t wait to watch them all. Is there any sort of discount if you buy all 4 at once? (Or will there be after the initial frenzy dies down?)

  • switzforge


    Got the first two ordered and will probably order the others before to long.

    Thank you for making these available

  • mgiles

    I pre-ordered season 1 this morning. I’m really looking forward to Roy in 1980 giving a tour of Colonial Williamsburg. I bet the hair styles are sooooo different!

  • Niels

    Oh yeeeah!

  • sablebadger

    Hey honey! I know what I want for Father’s Day now…

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