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REVIEW Rough to Ready with Rob Cosman DVD

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Alf

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I imagine most of us, when Rob Cosman is mentioned, immediately think of dovetails, but his range of DVDs is growing every year to include other techniques. Amongst them is this 45 minute video showing the use of hand tools to take a rough sawn board and turn it into a straight, square piece of usable timber. The whole thing is shot, most professionally, in RC’s workshop with a token power tool fan to ask the “what are you doing now, Rob?” questions. If you’re familiar with the dovetailing DVDs, this one is a different guy who doesn’t intrude quite so much, but more of that anon.

The content goes from hand sawing the length of board to be prepared, to sharpening the scrub plane blade, using scrub, jointer and smoother to prepare the faces, edges and shoot the ends, with some additional tips on using DC’s Ruler Trick, panels gauges etc. Interestingly RC uses a scrub where I think some of us would use a jack plane, and also favours a square edge for jointing. But I’ll try not to hold that against him…

For the tool-conscious, you should be warned that you’ll likely end up wanting the following goodies by the end: panel saw, scrub, #8 jointer, #4 ½ smoother, #9 mitre plane, Tite-Mark gauge, panel gauge, winding sticks and a flat bench top. And that’s if you can resist the panning shot across the tool cabinet contents at the beginning... It’s not a hard sell by any means, certainly it didn‘t make me squirm as much as the dovetail demos have done in the past, but there’s enough eye candy around to do the damage. You have been warned.

There aren’t many close-ups in this presentation, but the gist is clear enough without them. Most of the action is shot from the back side of the bench, with overhead shots for additional clarity where required. RC starts off well with plenty of explanation of what he’s doing, but as his concentration is more caught up in the work, the extra clarification drops off rather I felt. Unfortunately the sidekick is as mesmerised by watching this transformation of tree into timber as the viewer, so he doesn’t ask as many questions as might be helpful. Also to my regret, RC’s information on the shooting board is non-existent (he just uses it) so I’m still looking for the shooting board holy grail for the novice. Once again a short (2 ft or so) length of easy-to-use wood (mahogany in this case) is used for the demonstration, which is perfectly understandable, but how disheartening when the viewer comes to put what they‘ve learnt into practice on real-world wood with knots and twists, and longer than they can comfortably reach without moving their feet. But as I say, understandable. On the whole I feel this lacks just a little too much detail to be a cure-all “how to do it”, but as an over-view to compliment articles/books etc, and simply as an introduction to the speed and methods a seasoned hand tool user employs, it’s very good indeed. RC’s such an enthusiast, you can’t really fail to be inspired. I think it’d help flatten out the neophyte plane-user’s learning curve quite a bit, while still not being the answer to the complete hand plane novice’s prayers. In other words, don’t expect to be told the parts of a plane or how to set it up and so forth; you need to at least be able to use one already! Funnily enough, I think this and DC’s two planing DVDs compliment each other rather well. Not only do they cover very different approaches, but DC provides a lot of detail that’s lacking while RC injects a little pace and makes me, at least, feel it‘s slightly more attainable.

Rough to Ready with Rob Cosman DVD 47mins £19.45.

Many thanks to Philly for providing the DVD to review.
 

gidon

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Thanks Alf for the review.
I can't help feel that £20 for a 45 minute demonstration of just one woodworking technique is rather pricey. If you compare the effort required to write a 200 page book versus standing in front of a camera for 45 mins or so - how can an equivalent book be the same price? Not to the mention the comparatively small cost of knocking off a DVD compared to printing a book!
This is a general comment - not directed at your review by the way!
Cheers
Gidon
(Just bitter that I don't have the necessary skills or reputation to get on this DVD techniques bandwagon!)
 

Philly

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Hi Gidon
Understand where you're coming from but if a picture tells a 1000 words what do you think you can learn from watching an expert at work. Next best thing to one-on-one training :wink:
Cheers
Philly :D
 

Alf

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Mmm, I know what you mean, Gidon, but to be fair, I doubt if anyone can make a reasonable video in 45 minutes of standing in front of the camera... Plus it's a niche market, so just how many copies can they expect to sell? And naturally the fewer you make, the higher the costs for each one. But yep, it'd be nice if they were a leetle bit cheaper, I must agree. Then maybe I wouldn't have to blag one off Philly. :wink: :lol:

Cheers, Alf
 

Woodythepecker

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Alf, a very good review.

Nothing at all to do with the review, but i must say that i agree with gidon £19.45 is a rather high price to pay for a 45 minute DVD, especially when you think that for another £5 (£24.99 at Woolies) you can get the DVD player to watch it on.

Shame really because i much prefer seeing how to do it, rather then read about it.

Many thanks for the review.

Woody
 

Derek Cohen (Perth Oz)

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Hi Alf

It is a little known fact that Rob based his video on my review of the LV Scrub Plane :lol:

You raise pertinent criticisms, such as the use of a relatively easy-to-use timber, the absence of pitfalls (e.g. nil knots and only the mildest twist), and the machine-head interviewer (with little experience in hand tooling) who watched in silent awe. Perhaps Rob will bring out a second video, "Advanced Scrubbing".

I say the above a little tongue-in-cheek since I thought the video a good basic introduction to the use of a scrub plane and designed for those who had minimal knowledge in this regard.

Regards from Perth

Derek
 

Pete W

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Nice one, Alf. I'd been pondering the purchase of this one for a while.

It's kind of academic for me (since I've just ordered the four-dvd set!) but apropos of some of your points, does anyone know if this one follows on from the handplane dvd? Just wondering if the latter covers some of the ground missing from the former?

If no-one knows already, I'll post a follow-up when mine arrives :)
 

Waka

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Alf

Very good review, I watched it at the beginning of the week cos the project I am working on has been done predominantly with handtools from rough sawn timber. I have to say BC makes it look a lot easier than it is on the DVD.

Keep the reviews coming.
 

Alf

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Pete W":1ttlrfzv said:
...but apropos of some of your points, does anyone know if this one follows on from the handplane dvd? Just wondering if the latter covers some of the ground missing from the former?
Good point, Pete. I would assume it'd cover the basic "how to make a plane work" stuff (which I'm not considering a negative as far as this DVD is concerned btw, I just mentioned it to give an idea of whereabouts in skill level it's aimed at), but other than that I know not.

As before, folks, if you'd review these things too, it'd be very helpful and I wish you would. I absolutely don't want to put anyone off reviewing stuff just 'cos I got there first.

Cheers, Alf
 

Philly

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Pete
There is a difference between the vids-the hand plane one is from his "dovetails" period. The R to R one is much better quality and has a more easy-going feel. It is also a hands on video as opposed to "this is a block plane, it is used for...".
You will enjoy them all though, I'm sure.
Cheers
Philly :D
 

Pete W

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Philly":3anmu4ce said:
You will enjoy them all though, I'm sure.
I'm sure, too :) I've had the first dovetail edition on video for a while and enjoyed it greatly, but our VCR recently went to the recycling centre in the sky, and has been replaced with one of those exciting DVD recorders with a built-in hard disk.

Since I wanted the other three titles, it seemed easier to buy the entire Cosman collection on DVD.

BTW, the dovetail video is available free to anyone here who wants it. First request secures.
 

gidon

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Woodythepecker":1lmatfwj said:
... £19.45 is a rather high price to pay for a 45 minute DVD, especially when you think that for another £5 (£24.99 at Woolies) you can get the DVD player to watch it on.
:).

I once bought a plane that came with a free instructional video - beat that! Although the quality was so bad as to be useless (the video too ;)!) It was one of those French planes that uses Stanley blades! He made it look so easy :roll:.

Cheers

Gidon
 

dedee

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Pete W":3djb9drx said:
BTW, the dovetail video is available free to anyone here who wants it. First request secures.
Pete, PM sent if it is still available


Andy
 

Pete W

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dedee":3dw0bdkr said:
Pete, PM sent if it is still available
Sorry Andy - Noel was first out of the virtual gate, so it's on its way to Ireland when I get his address.
 
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Had this one for a while now and agree that it is pretty good - RC is extremely talented and a good communicator.

However, I'm not even thinking of retiring the planer/thicknesser and do not see me ever trying this out for myself as I really see little point other than to stand back and think "it only took me 6 hours to get that board flat and of equal thickness".

Good to own for interest or if you don't intend to buy a thicknesser.

I'd say the money is better placed in the Thicknesser fund'
 

Pete W

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Well, my Rob Cosman DVD collection arrived PDQ from Classic Handtools, but didn't have time to view until yesterday. I watched both the hand plane one, and the Rough to Ready.

Enjoyed both enormously. In fact, between Rob's planing and the snow visible through his workshop windows, I felt like curling up for the rest of the week and just watching over and over again :).

For anyone new to handtools, the hand plane one is an excellent introduction to planes and sharpening. I've been fooling with hand planes for more than a year now, albeit with limited time available, and I learned a lot - really wish I'd seen it a long time ago. He takes you through the parts of the plane, how to disassemble, sharpen and re-assemble, how to set the blade for coarse and fine cuts, how to set it square to the sole (which I'm now convinced is the cause of a lot of my problems) and much more. He also talks you through the differences and applications of a jointer, smoother, block and rabbeting block planes.

Rough to Ready was a real eye-opener because I've never seen a scrub plane in action before and watching Cosman whack a board down to size was nothing less than a revelation. It's worth noting, I think, that it does show you every single step, from sawing to rough size, scrubbing and jointing, to marking for thickness and smoothing. Apart from cuts for different camera setups, there's no cheating, no suddenly improved stock, no 'here's one I prepared earlier'. He finishes with a perfectly squared and dimensioned piece.

The hand plane dvd (or video) would be great for newcomers to planes who want to know the basics and intend to use them for cleaning up machined timber. For anyone planning to go neander, Rough to Ready is a great introduction - as Philly said, "the next best thing to one-on-one training".

Put 'em on your Christmas present list :)
 
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Anonymous

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Sadly not available for internet downloading :-( But if anyone weren't watching their copy for a week? I'm very careful...

evie (question girl AND beggar)
 
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