You are using a computer. How do I know that? Because you are reading my blog.
But, did you realize it is actually quite easy to find woodworking information with your computer, and to do so easily? Techniques, how-to, machinery setup information, you name it, it is possible to do quick searches, and to find relevant information for just about any shop task, to help you make a new joint you have never made before, or apply a finish, easily and safely. Dust collection? No problem – the web will help show you the way before you head into the shop to make saw dust.
Well, not everyone is using a computer these days. For example, in our Woodworkers Guild, less than half of our members actively use a computer. Of the half that does, I venture guess less than half is likely to use a computer to search the Internet for items related to techniques related to their work in the shop.
It really does not matter to me, one way or the other, whether they search or not. But it does seem that woodworkers with access to a computer might investigate woodworking techniques on the Internet, especially if their personal libraries are not overflowing with books on woodworking tools and techniques.
Are you like me, who remembers something more easily by watching and reading? I can read something, and then watch a procedure, and it is engraved, easily remembered. Enter video technology on the Internet.
I must provide an example, to make my point. As I mentioned in an earlier post, a series of simple searches can lead to finding much useful information on the Internet. I went to YouTube and conducted a search using the phrase “woodwork safety”:
This simple search yielded “about 250 results”:
If you have never tried this, give it a shot. I think you will like what you find. At the bottom of the page you will see links to additional pages with the remaining search results. Surf the results to your heart’s delight.
Now, just for fun, and if you have never made one of these joints, try searching for “mortise and tenon”. Most search engines leave out the quotes, so don’t include them in your search. The results will show a few thousand links, but you probably need only a handful to get comfortable making this joint with excellent results:
The number of hits: 125:
I think by now you get the idea just how easy it IS to get useful information on the HOW to learn to do things in the shop using the Internet as a resource at our fingertips. And YouTube is an excellent resource, but still not at the forefront of the woodworking community.
I will highlight other woodworking video sites I enjoy visiting – I have included the woodworking search results in the links I show below:
- Google Video – yup, from the same folks who bring you the search engine! I got 12,700 hits – could someone please confirm these are woodworking-related videos?
- GlueTube – recently got a makeover, by the people who bring you FineWoodworking.com (Taunton Press). I did not even have to search for the term “woodworking”, as they already tell us at the video page that GlueTube is “Woodworking videos for the people, by the people”.
- WoodworkingOnline.com, the Podcast – From the same folks who bring you WoodNet, and the magazines ShopNotes, Woodsmith, and Workbench; and the TV show Woodsmith Shop TV Show; and the Woodsmith Store. Every podcast has a link that allows you to download every video production. Video archives go back to 2006.
- Popular Woodworking videos – totaling 65 videos and dating back to IWF in 2008. I believe this is an area that will grow at the PWW web site.
- WoodTube – powered by Wood Magazine.
- Woodworking podcasts, such as Matt’s Basement Workshop, TheWoodWhisperer, Furnitology Productions, Benchcrafted, Chair Notes, In the Workshop with Charles Neil, etc., are a terrific source of information. These are too numerous to mention here, so I apologize to those I did not mention. The best way to keep track of these is by using the Google Reader, which will keep you updated in close to real time; you must subscribe using the RSS feeds available at most of the web sites and blogs, using the RSS links.
- Several of the woodworking tool manufacturers also produce and publish videos at their web sites. However, I decided to go one better; I did a search for “woodworking video” using Google and got 4,640,000 results in 0.23 seconds. I hope some enterprising woodworker will confirm that these are indeed all woodworking-related hits.
Information overload? Of course! Too many results from a search? Generally, yes! But don’t let that deter your efforts. I believe it is better to sift through too much information, than it is to lack information. It is possible to distill information to a narrower number of hits, but reviewing your initial results may suggest how to go about doing it. I like to use the Find function in the browser to find the term(s) I am looking for, and then try to narrow the results by including a new word. Develop your own methodology, and you will start to get greatly improved search results.
Ultimately, it is lack of information that can lead to an injury in the shop, or health issues. I encourage everyone to learn from Internet resources, or the library, or a friend. But learn, and prevent the next injury. Your loved ones will thank you!