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Here’s one thing I like about woodworking, especially in fall and winter. After you’ve reached a stopping point for the day’s work, you can squeeze extra entertainment out of your mistakes and offcuts. I’m finding that handplane shavings, by the way, make excellent fire-starters.

I live in northern New England, where wood is plentiful but daylight is not. At this time of year, the sun goes down around 4:30, and it is good and dark by 5:15. I think I must be partly solar-powered, because I tend to shut it down a little earlier in fall and winter. When I lived in Miami, things were different, but then in summers we really suffered – especially loading 4×8 sheets of plywood into the heated veneer press.

Anyway it’s a great time of year in most parts of the northern hemisphere for a few things – fires, reading and TV-watching. It always sounds odd to say this about hobbies and entertainment, but I really need to “catch up” on some woodworking TV shows. Tommy, I’m sorry – you’re a good guy and a good Bostonian, and I enjoyed having a beer with you in Cincinnati last month, but I am way behind on “Rough Cut.” Norm – I’m pretty sure you’ve got some streaming videos available somewhere online, and I need to find them. Roy – Roy! Roy Underhill – you started this whole thing and I know you’re not lacking for audience, but I have to find the time to watch the episodes I have missed over the many years you’ve been doing this stuff.

The Woodwright’s Shop, Possibly the Best Fall/Winter Woodworking TV Show

There’s something about “The Woodwright’s Shop” that makes it the leading candidate for my TV-watching time over the next months. It’s not the fact that I work for the company that sells his DVDs – after all, everything is available for free somewhere online. It is more to do with Roy Underhill’s approach to the craft. I should say crafts, plural. Roy brings a special element to both woodworking and entertainment. It’s always fun to watch and, if you follow along with the projects he shows you, you usually end up with a really simple and thoughtful gift for someone. So that takes care of some part of your holiday to-do list.

The other thing you end up with when you follow Roy is a lot of shavings, wood chips and offcuts. And we know what that leads to!

Before woodworking TV shows existed, there was another form of entertainment.

Before woodworking TV shows existed, there was another form of entertainment.

Check out the free preview video for the Season 19 DVD, and buy the DVD in our store by clicking here.

Dan Farnbach

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  • sawdustdave

    I’m thinking I’d end up using those boards your using instead of burning ’em. I can’t afford much wood, and they look usable.

    Fires are for mistakes. ;D

  • chodgkin

    Okay, I realize it’s probably been pouring rain there, the ground is sopping, and all that, but still, it is very bad practice to light a fire outdoors in a space that isn’t cleared of all leaves and other debris. As one who has in the past fought forest fires in Pennsylvania and in Maine, I am acutely aware that many of those fires originated from people who thought their campfire was perfectly safe.

    Following safe outdoor fire practices is akin to following safe woodworking practices. Like working in the shop without all the safety guards and equipment in place, the vast majority of times there is no problem, but that one time when there is, it can be very, very bad.

    I know you stress safety in the magazine. Please show a better example of outdoor fire safety, too.


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