Hello! Welcome back to Behind the Sawdust, our weekly-ish vlog that shows what goes on when the cameras are off at the two Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal shops. We had so much fun with the Q&A episode last month that I think we’ll so it again. I’ve been collecting your questions about all sorts of subjects, and now I’m ready to give you some answers. We’ll start with some personal questions related to behind the scenes sort of stuff, then we’ll do some general woodworking questions. Let’s get started…
Q- “You talk too much.”
Not a question as much as a comment we get from time to time, mostly on these vlogs. I always answer this one the same way. It’s a vlog. It’s supposed to be talking. Don’t like vlogs? Great. But you can’t judge an entire woodworking channel based on one type of video. That would be like saying “I hate McDonalds, because all they have are Big Mac’s!” You’re just going to miss out on the delicious fries! Recently a guy who was obviously a genius, commented on one of our vlog videos (which, incidentally, happened to be about woodworking tools), but he said “You never make any woodworking videos anymore!” In the last year, we’ve produced 108 videos, more than twice as many as most of the other big woodworking channels. Only 22 have been vlogs. That means 80 percent of the videos we made were projects, tutorials, tips and other woodworking content. Someone suggested to me that the comment may have meant that we don’t produce project videos like all the other channels do. But that’s not true either because we produced 40 project videos this year. Now granted, we haven’t done a lot of non-jig related projects in the last couple of months. But I think that’s a good thing. YouTube is now FULL of woodworking channels that do a little five-minute project every week. They have that stuff covered. What we try to do through our channel, and through the Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal e-Magazine, is teach new skills, provide tips and a lot of homemade jigs and tools to help you become better woodworkers. That may not appeal to as many casual viewers as the crafty-project videos do, but we’re targeting a different audience. Ours is a more dedicated woodworking audience, not a DIY or maker audience, which is what drives the big numbers on other channels. I admit that this has made our channel grow more slowly than others, but I’m a woodworker, not a DIYer or a mixed media Maker. I’m going to produce content that I am comfortable with, not just what I know will drive numbers. But to get back to the original question, our vlogs do contain a lot of talking, as vlogs often do. But they are easy to skip if you don’t like them because they all have nice green thumbnail images with a big number. In fact, all of our video types are color coded. Vlogs are green, projects are red, jigs are dark brown, hand tool videos are light brown, scroll saw videos are orange, tips are yellow and tool reviews are blue. So, it’s easy to know what sort of video it will be before you click on it. Now, what about those French fries?
Q- “How has Mustache Mike made you a better person.”
How do you know I haven’t made Mustache Mike a better person? Why does everyone assume that I’m the one who needs an attitude adjustment? Is it because of the “genius” remark about the commenter in the last question? Well, as most of you know from the last Q&A video, Mustache Mike is my dad. And I think most fathers make their sons better people. We didn’t have a lot of money at times when I was a kid, and my mother was not a good person, especially to me, or to him, but he worked very hard to take care of me and instill good values. He taught me how to run my own business and set me up with my first accounts in a residential window cleaning business back when I was just 16 years old, which turned out to be a great business that gave me the freedom to do a lot of the things I wanted to do over the last 20-some years, including perusing my woodworking on the side, and eventually transitioning into it full time. If he hadn’t taught me to run a business when I was a kid, there is no way I would be doing what I am today. I’d be working in some crappy job for someone else, dreaming about woodworking someday when I retire. Instead, I’m living the dream. Has that made me a better person? Nah, I’m still a moron. But it has made me a happier person!
Q- “Why do you call yourself James Hamilton instead of Stumpy Nubs now?”
We touched on this in the last Q&A video, but that was in an answer to a different question about the origin of the “Stumpy Nubs” nickname, so we’ll cover this part again. We haven’t officially stopped using the “Stumpy Nubs” name. We still use it all the time and people still call me “Stumpy” at public events and I am totally cool with that. But when I started writing, the magaziens and my book publisher preferred James Hamilton. And some of the public events, like Woodworking in America, also promote me as James Hamilton. So now I have one group that knows me as Stumpy Nubs, and another as James Hamilton. The easiest way to combine the two was to start using my real name at the beginning of the videos, while keeping the “Stumpy Nubs” brand at the same time. So, the e-magazine is still going to be called “Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal”, the Youtube channel is still listed as Stumpy Nubs. Over the next couple of years Popular Woodworking will be publishing a couple of “Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Guide-books,”, you are still going to see Stumpy Nubs on just about everything we do. And I am happy to answer to it. By saying James Hamilton at the beginning of our videos I am not making an official change, it’s more of an addition of my personal name for the sake of avoiding confusion among different parts of our audience.
Q- “Who are your three favorite YouTubers to watch?”
This is a loaded question if I ever saw one! If I only name three, people will say it means I don’t like other channels. So, I am not going to mention just three. But I will tell you a few of my favorite woodworking related channels. I like to watch videos that are really well produced. To me, a well produced video is more appealing than the actual content in it. I know that may sound strange, but I watch YouTube for entertainment as much as for information. So, I like the channels that produce a cinematic style of video. The Darbin Orvar is one of my favorites for that reason. Linn’s camera work makes every scene interesting to me. I love her use depth of field and rack focusing. And her cheerful narration, especially the way she ends each video by saying what she likes about how the project turned out, that makes for good watching in my book. I also love Frank Howarth. You can tell that he puts a lot of thought into each video. He tells a story that really holds your attention and he often puts a lot of time into his editing, such as using stop motion animation. He also puts a lot of effort into placing the camera in the perfect places to give an interesting perspective of the work going on in the scene. And I like his voice, it’s soothing. Another of my favorites is Laura Kampf, for the same reasons as the other two. She does a lot of work with materials other than wood, but I love how she tells also tells a story as she works, often without even talking at all. And I especially love the music she uses and how she carefully choreographs the video clips to synchronize with the music.
Of course, not everyone watches woodworking videos for the cinematic experience. Sometimes we do it for the personalities. Some of my favorite personalities are Steve Carmichael and Nick Ferry because they’re just the kind of guys that would be fun to hang out with, and I think that comes across in their videos. They always seem happy, and sometimes a little goofy, especially Steve. And I love that. I like April Wilkerson because I know her personally and she’s a lot of fun, but also very smart. Anyone that says she’s popular just because she’s one of very few women in online woodworking has obviously never met her. She knows exactly what she’s doing and it’s no accident that she’s built a successful channel. Jay Bates has always been nice to me too, I’ve been watching his channel from the beginning. He does a lot of workshop related stuff, which appeals to me more than many of the other channels’ projects. Laney Shannesy is one of the nicest guys on YouTube. He will do anything for you. I don’t watch many of his videos, mostly because he’s so busy doing stuff for people that he doesn’t make a lot of videos. Another really nice guy is Drew Short. I love when he includes his family in his videos. I call him Dr. Drew because he looks like a TV doctor, and he works in Radiology, I believe. There are a lot of other great channels out there too, but those are the ones that come to mind.
A funny story about another YouTube woodworker: At Woodworking in America this year I had just finished teaching a two-hour class and I had a little time before the next one, so I walked over into the public part of the building where the marketplace was. I didn’t spend much time in the marketplace because when you are a speaker at Woodworking in America, people see the green speaker thing on your name-tag and a lot of people stop you to talk because they think you must be important. And when they find out that I’m not, it’s always awkward telling them no, I won’t get Chris Schwarz autograph or a couple of Roy Underhill’s mustache hairs or something for them. Anyway, while I like to meet fans, the conference can be exhausting, and on this day, I was exhausted. So, I’m leaving the marketplace to go back to get the next class ready, and this guy in a bright orange shirt stops me. I say hello and everything and he starts telling me about building a drum sander I designed, and about the problem he had been having, which I admit made zero sense to me at that moment, I had no idea what he was talking about. But it sounded like he had gotten it solved, so I’m smiling and nodding and inching away, but he’s sort of walking along with me, telling me something about how he bought the plans from my website twice or one of my books and ended up spending $10 more than he had to. At least I thought that was what he meant, like I said, I was having a rough day. It may have been a perfectly valid point, but I didn’t know what to say. Did he want me to give him ten bucks? I didn’t even know if I had ten dollars on me. Will he take a debit card? Am I just misunderstanding the whole thing and he was really just some poor guy asking me where the bathroom was? I didn’t know what was going on. So, I just said I was sorry and tried to slip past him and he said “you should be.” I’m a fun and fancy-free guy. I don’t lose my temper easily, but there was something about that that just set me off. I said a few choice words to him and again tried to walked away. But, as it turned out, we were both going in the same direction up this hallway, which makes it difficult to storm off dramatically. So, we have this awkward walking half-argument up the hallway until he turned to go into the bathroom and I turned to go off to the other part of the conference center. So, I get back to my classroom and I’m thinking about how rude I was, and how unfair it was of me to dismiss his problem just because I was having a long day. I thought, this guy probably took off work and drove a long way to be at the show and have a good time, and I spoil it by acting like an idiot. It doesn’t properly represent who I am, it doesn’t give a good impression of Popular Woodworking or the Woodworking in America Conference, I can’t leave it like that. So, I go all the way back to the marketplace to find him, and he’s not there. Then, out of the corner of my eye I see his orange shirt going down the escalator toward the exit. So, I run after him, toppling over at least a dozen people, and I slide down the bannister on the escalator on my backside like they do in cartoons, well not really but you get the picture. I caught him just as he was leaving and told him I was sorry, that I shouldn’t have taken my bad day out on him and it was a crappy thing for me to do. Because it was. I was a jerk, and I wasn’t afraid to admit it. So, we shake hands and we go our separate ways. Now this is where the story gets interesting. A couple of months go by and I am negotiating a new contract with one of our oldest sponsors. This company was one of the first we ever worked with and they had always worked pretty much exclusively with us. So, as we’re talking the sponsor casually mentions that they had worked with another YouTube woodworker recently. They hadn’t started regularly sponsoring him or anything, but they worked with him on one project. I got the impression that the sponsor was dropping that little factoid to get a little leverage in the contract negotiation, which is fine. We ended up renewing the contract. But when I went on YouTube to see who this other YouTuber was, imagine my surprise to see that same orange shirt from Woodworking in America. The guy I had been a jerk to was none other than a YouTuber named Tyler from the DIY Tyler channel. At least I am pretty sure it’s the same guy. I had never seen Tyler’s channel before that, but they look exactly the same. I couldn’t help but laugh at how, probably without knowing it, he got a small amount of revenge. While I was able to negotiate a good deal with the sponsor, including a sizable raise, his video did factor in a small way in the deal, at least to give the other side a little leverage. So, anyway, Tyler, if that was you at Woodworking in America, I’m still sorry. If it wasn’t you, then this is a little awkward because I’ve already told the story. Anyway, check out his channel. He makes some good videos, including a lot of workshop related stuff, which I know a lot of my viewers would be interested in. I’ll put a link in the notes below the video. (UPDATE- It was NOT DIY Tyler! We found the guy, and he does look VERY much like him!)
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