Monday, 13 October 2014

Thumbs down YouTube videos: Distracted by the obvious is hindering creativity.

With a 100 hours of video uploaded to Youtube every minute, you could be forgiven for missing a few videos. But not for missing the point, and not a trick or two.

I put videos out fairly regularly, and subscribe to countless channels. I would consider many of the content creators as friends, swapping ideas, experiences and themes like football stickers once were in the school playground.

A topic that seems even more regular than the friday release of your favourite woodworkers latest creation is that of the troll, or the thumbs down. People like and dislike my videos just as I do with my own, and others. But I can honestly say I do not remember EVER hitting the thumbs down on any youtube video.

So why not? politeness? well, I know better than most (at least better than people who watch but don't upload) just how much time and pressure a video takes. I can take upto 3 or even 4 times longer to just film even a simple video than simply build it, then there's editing, with the potential delays and problems that creates. Uploading can generally be left to happen admittedly, but there's always the chance of a mishap midway through. But that's just par for the course. I want to look at the videos. I accept that putting a video out creates far more work than just watching and making, so lets move on.


Looking through my subscription list, many of the guys and girls put out very differing videos, from handcut dovetails to pocket holes - 300 year old rosewood inlays to pink paint and spray lacquer. all have their place all have something to teach!

In his recent mere minutes, Steve Ramsey mentioned an email he got from a viewer claiming he "made cheap crap", I like steves videos just as much as the next guy. He makes woodworking appeal to anyone who fancies picking up a bit of wood and getting stuck in. I'm not a big lover of painting myself, but that's not the point! Take a look at his purple bench video
Maybe a great spot for quiet contemplation.

Now I wouldn't put a purple bench in my own front yard, but take a look at the materials, Videos like this have made me think more about 4x2 timber more than just heading straight to the more expensive hardwoods or planed timbers. What about using Oak to create a bench in a quiet spot in even cemetery or park? Have people just seen the purple paint and simply moved on?

This year was the Summers Woodworking 2nd annual summers woodworking creative 2x4 challenge, what can you make from a 8 feet of 2x4? Dale Weinke, made a "Hells Angel" style biker vest, studs and all. He commented later this was his most "hated" (thumbs down) video.

The basis of a large garden planter?

Now Dale has a little under 600 subscribers, and puts videos out less frequently than many people, but these kind of figures are irrelevant when watching. I guess the chances are no one would watch this video and then rush out to make their own, Fine. But when watching this, the idea of cutting very thin strips of softwood, bending them and using rivets to hold it together makes me think of those old whiskey barrels on a tall sailing ship. These are commonly seen cut in half and sold in garden centres as big planters.......So this gives me the idea of using the same principles as Dale to make large garden planters. See a theme appearing yet?

Some people scoff or sneer at the mention of pocket hole screws, which always makes me giggle, I even used it as the basis of a kind of parody for my 1 year anniversary episode.

Just an excuse to poke fun at snobbery.

I strongly believe that nearly everything the tool companies have to sell us has it's place, some more than others, some as stand alones some to compliment other tools or techniques, some as a total
 alternative to something we already use.  For pocket holes, I think they have a place. out on site as a tradesman the reduce the need for glue and clamps, speed up a job, saving both tradesman time and the customer money. so if used in the right place they can be great. Lets face it Jay bates, kind of made a name for himself with them - And they're not "new" or "not traditional". see this article.

John Heisz did a video back in November 2012 about making some Ninja throwing stars from an old table saw blade. at over 950,000 views, some 7500 people liked the video. but 162 people took the decision to dislike. I have no idea why, I personally wouldn't make these, in fact, I throw away my old saw blades - some people make clocks from them, others hang them on the wall as a background decoration. I have no wall space for either of these uses - But what if I took johns idea of a ninja weapon and changed it to a marking knife? use his same techniques and principle, couple of scraps. Maybe Dales idea of rivets and made a useful tool for the workshop? maybe even do a video of it?

A scrapwood marking knife?

Every woodworking video I watch has the potential for the gem of an idea or project. Looking past the final item may just point you in the direction of a future project.

In my tiny workshop I'm constantly trying to squeeze usable storage out of every square inch. I took a comment Steve ramsey made in his sliding door tool storage video about painting shop projects to use up half empty tins, added it to matthias Wandels skateboard wheels in under bed storage video and did a sliding box to fit under my pillar drill stand.

Space and money saving storage?

For me it ticked several boxes. Got rid off some old roller skates using parts that were useful, saving money as well. Got rid of some red stain I had left over from some turned christmas decorations. Gave me practice in staining a potentially troublesome material. and created some decent usable storage. Not bad from two videos I watched that would not have made for myself.

So next time you watch a video and think "well that's OK, but I wouldn't make it my self", or "Where can I get the plans from?" Take a second to think, there maybe a technique, tool, colour of idea hiding in there you can use, but may have missed!