As much as I hate to say it, my wife and I love TV. I know, we live in Florida, surrounded by all of the natural beauty people come to see on vacation. We should be living outside.
That being said, we do spend quite a bit of time outdoors, but the TV seems to be a constant companion many nights. Especially when our favorite shows come on.
My wife is addicted to reality TV. Dancing with the Stars. The Next Food TV Star. American Idol. Heck, if it’s got to do with people making total fools of themselves and being voted off the (stage/island/ship) by washed up celebrities, she’s all about it.
For me, well, there is the History Channel. And the Discovery Channel. And then there’s PBS. What I love most about PBS is the fact that there are woodworking shows on it. The New Yankee Workshop. The Woodwright’s Shop. The Woodsmith Shop. Everything comes screeching to a halt while I get my fix of design, technique and construction.
The only problems with the PBS offerings is that they are few and far between – only once a week on my local PBS station. And, then there’s the fund drive. Seems as if the fund drives take place every other month. Don’t they always seem to preempt the woodworking shows with programs on pseudo-scientific ‘body cleansing’ seminars and money management lectures? I’ll consider making a pledge donation when are those shows going to be preempted for some serious woodworking offerings.
So, what other options are out there? There is the DIY Network. Sure, they offer such shows as David Marks’ Wood Works and Amy Deevers’ Freeform Furniture. Being a government employee married to a teacher, our family budget doesn’t allow us the opportunity to subscribe to the higher tier cable channels. Even if we did, that would be another excuse to watch even more TV, cutting even deeper into my shop time. And, every dollar spent on cable means fewer tools in the shop! And, I’m sure you can all understand the need for more tools in the shop…
Since we have the basic cable package, you might think that Home and Garden Television – HGTV – would be a good place to search for woodworking shows. Unfortunately, HGTV was bitten by the ‘design’ bug that’s been plaguing cable TV for years. Years ago, you used to be able to watch New Yankee Workshop and This Old House reruns on HGTV. Not anymore. Most of the shows feature interior designers who promise complete redos of rooms with a splash of paint and some new throw pillows. Many of these shows have a ‘carpenter’ on staff. Their job is to build ultra cheap furniture and shelves from MDF and brads in the fastest time possible. By the way, many of these ‘carpenters’ seem to have issues with shop safety or even – in some cases – a grasp of what they are working with, referring to the MDF as Multiple Density Fiberboard.
What’s a woodworking show junkie like me to do? Fortunately, help has come in the form of the Internet. Many forward-thinking bloggers such as Marc Spagnuolo, David R. Pruett and Charles Neil have taken the bull by the horns and produce their own video podcasts. The mainstream woodworking magazines such as Popular Woodworking and Wood Magazine have embraced video as well, offering much more in-depth detail than can be put into a magazine article.
And, if you can’t get your fix there, there’s always the Woodworking Channel. This site serves as a clearing house for some outstanding video productions. You can watch Sam Maloof craft in his shop, catch interviews with woodworkers at trade shows and even watch episodes of shows no longer airing in station rotation.
In order to get my woodworking video fix, it’s been necessary to turn the TV off and fire up the computer. But, given that I can watch these Internet videos whenever I want, I now have something to do when people are being voted off the stage by Paula Abdul.