I’m not too proud to admit that after thirty years of hand tool woodworking, there’s still much to learn. From the start, Richard McGuire’s blog and video clips at The English Woodworker struck me as the real deal. There was something about his approach that rang true and made me want pay close attention. What piqued my interest was his way of showing how to get both your body and tools to work together and not fight one another. From my piecework days back in the machine shop, I always noticed that the really skilled (and fastest) journeymen made it look effortless. At the end of the shift they were calmly puffing on a cigar and touching up the edges on their tools, while I was still frantically fighting the clock.
Recently Richard began offering a subscription series of premium videos. The first – The Spoon Rack Series is a primer on stock preparation and basic joinery. I give it a hearty thumbs up! If you are new to hand tool work, you could not find a better introduction. Perhaps most valuable are Richard’s thoughts on what’s critical and what’s not. Often there are just a few key points that mean the difference between sailing with the wind to your back and slogging through a swamp. If you are an experienced woodworker he takes you back to some fundamentals that can make a marked improvement on the way you work. There’s plenty of valuable insight and tips that make it a great value. I know it has changed my methods at the bench and all for the better.
From a production standpoint the video and audio are high quality and it has a relaxed and unscripted feel. That’s not an easy fete as I’m sure that a good amount of thought and design went into this series.
George R. Walker