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With the recent news that Tommy Mac is leaving the PBS show Rough Cut Woodworking, Mustache Mike and I thought it would be fun to have one of our playful discussions that we call point/counterpoint. This time the theme is woodworking television shows. What do you think Mustache?
M- I think the best woodworking show ever made is obvious. Ever since it first aired in the late 70’s, it has captured the hearts of a generation, and for good reason. It featured old-timey tools and a healthy dose of homespun wit and wisdom. I remember one episode where Charles was working…
S- You mean Roy.
S- Roy. You said Charles.
M- I’m pretty sure his name was Charles.
S- The host of the Woodwright’s Shop is Roy Underhill.
M- I’m not talking about the Woodwright’s Shop.
S- What do you mean you aren’t talking about the Woodwright’s shop? You said a woodworking show started in the late 70’s featuring old-timey tools…
M- Right. That was little house on the prairie.
M- It was a classic woodworking show. Charles Ingalls worked in a mill sawing lumber, he had a workshop in his barn, he even built a couple of houses on the show. I loved how he called his daughter half-pint.
S- Your brain’s a half-pint.
M- What was your favorite woodworking show, dummy?
S- The Woodwright’s Shop, which was a woodworking show. And still is after more than 30 seasons. It’s the whole package, entertaining and educational. I think that’s been the key to Roy’s success. He makes a show that people watch, even if they never intend to do any of the things they see him doing on screen.
M- Like cutting themselves every other episode?
S- He only draws blood a couple times a season. Let’s talk about power tool woodworking shows. Any favorites?
M- I was a big fan of Norm Abram. The guy could make anything, he was very talented. And what a shop he had! Every tool you could imagine! In fact, I think that was his downfall. It became too much about the tools, especially when he started making those commercials for Sears.
M- The Craftsman stuff, he sold out and became their spokesman.
S- That’s Bob Vila. Do you think everybody with a mustache looks the same?
M- Some people say my stache makes me look like Burt Reynolds.
S- Some people lie to you. I was always a fan of Norm Abram and the New Yankee Workshop. I loved how he used to go to antique shops, look at a piece of furniture, and then go back to his shop and build it.
M- I always wondered, with all those tools at his disposal, why did he seem to join everything with biscuits?
S- Because it’s the most delicious form of joinery. Any other woodworking shows you like to watch?
M- I watch the American Woodshop with Scott Phillips. Scott gets a lot of guff on some of the message boards about how he uses pocket screws and butt joints, but not every show has to be about making fine furniture.
S- Yes. Sometimes I want to see fine woodworking. Other times I want to see my level of woodworking. The vast majority of woodworkers aren’t fine furniture makers, so shows like The American Woodshop fill an important role. Scott is capable of fine furniture making, and I’ve seen some nice stuff on his show. But he also knows his audience, and he gives them what they want.
M- I also like the Woodsmith Shop. Even though they do have to rush to fit a project into 22 minutes, they still take the time to explain some of the skills and techniques, so I feel like I learn something.
S- And there are other good woodworking shows on TV too. But that begs the question, is television becoming obsolete with so much content now available online?
M- Are you taking about those idiots on YouTube? Why would anybody watch that crap?
S- We’re on YouTube, genius.
M- We are?
S- What do you think these cameras are here for?
M- (looks around) Oh man, I should have combed my stache.
S- You look fine, Burt Renyolds. Tell us your favorite woodworking shows in the comments below, and be sure to check out the latest issue of Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal for more infotainment. You can read and subscribe for free at Stumpy Nubs.com Then you can sit back and have a cold one, because you’ve earned it my firend!
M- Are we really going to be on TV?
Tommy Mac leaves Rough Cut Woodworking- What's your favorite TV show?
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