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David Charlesworth Video Update

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Newbie_Neil

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Hi all,

Well, I've finally finished DC's latest video, all 188 minutes, and it is excellent.

The write up is from David's site "David explores five important skills that will help you refine your woodworking. Woodworkers often debate the best way to get a smooth surface directly from the hand plane on difficult to plane woods. David's techniques are easy and effective. Other tips on edge jointing, finish planing an assembled frame and panel, crisp decorative bevels to finish edges, and the effective use of the shoulder plane are all well thought out and refined by years of experience."

The biggest "win" for me, is that I now have a much better understanding of grain direction.

David's site is here.

Thanks,
Neil
 

custard

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I have a mixture of awe and frustration when it comes to David Charlesworth's books and DVDs.

Awe because he is, by a country mile, the best British woodworking writer out there today. The only one IMO that could fill the shoes left by Robert Wearing.

Frustration because he's let down by poor editing. His books are mainly a mish mash of magazine article reprints. And his DVDs are similarly unstructured, being unrelated and opportunistic offerings from his media sponsor, Lie Nielsen.

They're all great, all readable and watchable...but they could be so much more.

If only a publisher would have the foresight to take him under their wing, commision the definitive guide to small workshop practise in the 21st century, and install an editor who could keep him on message. It saddens me that so much resource was invested in the Paul Sellers book/DVD range when a similar project fronted by David Charlesworth would have been much more worthwhile.
 

Jacob

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Difficult to compare Sellers and DC. Chalk and cheese. DC stuff is bits n bobs re-hashed articles from the comics, without an agenda - certainly not the "definitive guide to small workshop practise in the 21st century", however good the individual articles.
Nor is Sellers but it is at least well structured with a view to leading beginner woodworkers through the processes in a progressive way. Good teaching and hands-on learning material IMHO, in fact probably the best available, certainly better than Wearing. Wearing and Sellers mercifully free of product placement.
But you can't expect an editor to take any of them in hand as editors know so much less. Where editors get the upper hand you get those rag bags of general information such as the Hamlyn book and various other "Dictionary of..." etc which may or may not be good in parts.
On the other hand The Anarchists Tool Chest" good really have done with some strict editing and professional book design.
 

David C

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Well, I am delighted to hear that one of my “unrelated and opportunistic offerings” is being useful.

I find this a very strange criticism. I chose the subjects of the DVDs in order of perceived use to the beginner/amateur, and see nothing unrelated or opportunistic in this series.

1. Plane blade preparation and sharpening.
2. Plane use.
3. Shooting with bench planes.
4 Chisel preparation and sharpening.
5. Chisel uses.
6. Shoulder plane tuning and use.
A definitive guide to scraper plane tuning, sharpening & setting up.
Decorative bevelling
Planing round corners
Modifying effective pitch to plane gnarly stuff or interlocked exotics.

The books are indeed collections of articles, but I think the question should be are the articles any good? (Had Paul Richardson continued to edit at F&C I think there might have been one combined book).
When teaching beginners on my 12 week full time courses, I find I can say that most topics, can also be found in one of the books. I doubt we will find this range anywhere else.

Best wishes,
David Charlesworth
 

Jacob

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David C":9sz24uar said:
..... I chose the subjects of the DVDs in order of perceived use to the beginner/amateur, ........
The list below represents a very tooly approach for the amateur IMHO, if "woodwork" as distinct from tools is what they are interested in
1. Plane blade preparation and sharpening.
2. Plane use.
3. Shooting with bench planes.
4 Chisel preparation and sharpening.
5. Chisel uses.
6. Shoulder plane tuning and use.
A definitive guide to scraper plane tuning, sharpening & setting up.
Decorative bevelling
Planing round corners
Modifying effective pitch to plane gnarly stuff or interlocked exotics.

The books are indeed collections of articles, but I think the question should be are the articles any good? ........
OK. But the title is a a bit misleading; "Furniture Making techniques". A bit too close to Aunty Joyce's! Should be something more along the line of "A few notes.." etc esp as it is as much about tools as furniture. (I'd double check but I can't find my copy, I'm sure I had one. Seen it at any rate).
 

deserter

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As we all know the way to good woodworking technique is through properly sharpened and set tools, so surely the best place for an amateur to start is by ensuring that they're tools are all sharpened and set properly so that they can move onto make the joints needed to create quality furniture, unless of course you are advocating the use of blunt tools to simply hack timber into the vague shape required.
 

Jacob

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IMHO the main thing is to get stuck in, and pick up sharpening etc on the side as needed. 10 minutes instruction with an oil stone and another 10 with plane adjustment, will get most people started.
Most of the separate things you learn have to be picked up in parallel, on a wide front etc, not just in simple order. That'd be simplistic.
In an case if furniture is the objective then the study of furniture design itself is the big priority. Just making the stuff is relatively easy.
So it's design/construction first, getting stuck in hands-on second, fiddling with tools third, as necessary - you can usually kick off with only a few basic tools.
 

Paul Chapman

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I think it's great that there is a wide range of woodworking DVDs available today. When I was a lad I was fortunate that basic woodworking (and metalworking) skills were taught at school. However, these days kids are not as fortunate and these skills are not taught. There is only so much that you can learn from books and seeing it done is usually a far better way of learning.

It's easy to criticise those who produce these DVDs but I think they should be applauded for filling a definite need. I have several DVDs produced by David Charlesworth, Rob Cosman, David Savage and Frank Klauz and I've learnt a lot from them.

Cheers :wink:

Paul
 

Jacob

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They ain't free - which means they aren't above criticism. A public service in fact.
Youtube is also excellent, and free.
 

cambournepete

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Jacob":1xoia1t8 said:
Youtube is also excellent, and free.
That's all very well for you to say - you know what you're doing already and can make stuff, so you know what makes a good video (in your opinion).
A beginner often can't tell whether what they're seeing on YouTube is a good idea or not and it's very easy to look at the wrong video and pick up bad habits.

Having said that, I guess most beginners are unlikely to buy a specialist DVD either.
 

SteveB43

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I'm going to chuck my 2p worth in here...

to be honest, when starting woodworking you need both!!.. ie tools that are sharp and set up properly AND some sense and understanding of techniques that enable you to get stuck in and make a few things...

If I watch some dvd's (BTW I have David's first four, I've found them invaluable for demonstrating tool techniques and getting across the concepts) and then with some modicum of knowledge(Books, YouTube), on say cutting dovetails, my first dovetail joint will still look like it had been hacked out by an axeman, but the next one will be slightly better and so on, and so on....
understanding techniques, properly set up tools, and plenty of practice I hope will take me along the learning curve maybe a tad quicker.....

Cheers!
 

Eric The Viking

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YouTube is neither excellent nor free. It's funded by us (unlike Quantitave Easing, Google's income doesn't come from thin air, it comes from selling stuff to commercial companies, who charge us in their product/service costs), and it's very variable.

Worse, if you break something or have an accident as a consequence of watching a how (not) to do it video on YouTube, it could turn out very expensive indeed.
 

custard

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David C":3svekrvn said:
Well, I am delighted to hear that one of my “unrelated and opportunistic offerings” is being useful.

I find this a very strange criticism. I chose the subjects of the DVDs in order of perceived use to the beginner/amateur, and see nothing unrelated or opportunistic in this series.

1. Plane blade preparation and sharpening.
2. Plane use.
3. Shooting with bench planes.
4 Chisel preparation and sharpening.
5. Chisel uses.
6. Shoulder plane tuning and use.
A definitive guide to scraper plane tuning, sharpening & setting up.
Decorative bevelling
Planing round corners
Modifying effective pitch to plane gnarly stuff or interlocked exotics.

The books are indeed collections of articles, but I think the question should be are the articles any good? (Had Paul Richardson continued to edit at F&C I think there might have been one combined book).
When teaching beginners on my 12 week full time courses, I find I can say that most topics, can also be found in one of the books. I doubt we will find this range anywhere else.

Best wishes,
David Charlesworth
Oh dear! I thought I was extremely effusive with my praise...obviously not effusive enough.

Well, in for a penny in for a pound.

Let me give you an example of "opportunistic". There's one of your videos where you croak your way through on the edge of coherence, not your fault, you were clearly under the weather. But as the viewer I was left feeling it was all a bit amateur hour...you happened to be in the US, Lie Nielsen happened to have a video camera running, so it was a case of let's take the opportunity to issue it anyway.

As for the books, I thought I'd made it plain that I at least judge the content to be outstandingly good. But there's no escaping the fact that a series of magazine articles repurposed as a trilogy of books puts quite a burden on the reader, especially when there's no overall index. Let's say you wanted to learn about sharpening, a subject that every other author rationally deals with in one location, but because of the magazine antecedents the reader has to go to volume one for plane iron sharpening, volume two for scrapers and replacement plane irons, and volume three for chisel sharpening (except of course for Japanese chisels when it's back to volume one).


Brilliant it is, convenient and accessible it is not.
 

Jacob

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Eric The Viking":17g97kcm said:
YouTube is neither excellent nor free.
Free at point of use. And often excellent. I'm continually amazed by the quality of info and instruction volunteered on many fronts. Frinstance I'm catching up with my banjo playing and I can get some absolutely brilliant tutorials from people who were completely unknown and inaccessible previously. My wife says ditto for crotchet.
.... and it's very variable.
So are the books, and the comics are often worthless.
 

David C

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Custard,

I did notice the compliments, which were much appreciated. Just explaining that there was indeed a structure to the DVD series.

Editing difficulties are most frustrating and the author seems to have very little clout. I was particularly infuriated by the publishers efforts to make book three "look like a book", when it is clearly nothing of the sort. I prefered the previous format.

best wishes,
David
 

jonbikebod

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Whatever the presentational issues of David’s books and DVDs behind them is a person who has spent decades finding the finest ways to do things and the best ways to teach them to others.
The greatest and obvious way to benefit from all this effort is enrol in one of David’s courses, watch his demonstrations and listen to his very carefully considered tuition. If you have a question, David will probably answer by presenting all the views of the subject, old and new, discuss the relative merits of all of them and then tell you what he recommends and why.
I’m not sure why there might be an expectation this mine of information should be free. David may be on some sort of a quest but he still has to keep body and soul together.
Jon.
 
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