Finally saw an episode of Rough Cut Woodworking on PBS

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Forum topic by pablodomingo posted 01-16-2011 01:32 AM 3676 views 1 time favorited 36 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 4419 days

01-16-2011 01:32 AM

I had a chance to see an episode of this new show on my local KOCE today. Eventhough I’m a fan of Tommy’s work and as a casual contributor to his community, I had not seen an episode of the show before today. Having seen Tommy’s podcast I’m familiar with his style and his skills so his addrenaline-filled zest for woodworking and his down to earth personality didn’t shock me or take getting used to. But, if you’re used to Norm Abrams more down home at-ease style it will probably seem like Tommy talks like he’s had one too many espressos for the day!

Personality aside, there was so much valuable content in a single non-stop 30 minute episode that I had to wonder how casual non-watchers would perceive the show. But, for us woodworkers, there’s some great content here. In this episode Tommy met with Alan Breed who showed his approach for cutting speed dovetails by hand. For those of you impressed by Frank Klaus, you should check it out. I’m definately going to learn this approach because I’d bet for building simple projects it would be faster than setting up and using a dovetail jig and the way he does layout without even dividers is killer.

As far as the actual build, I’m amazed that the entire build of a project could be squeezed into a 30 minute show. Let’s just say I’m glad that I tivo’d it because I plan to watch several parts over and over and save them in my woodworking library where I keep methods of work for joinery on my computer. I’ve built the step stool he builds on this episode and even his podcast covering the build of this project takes probably 2 hours of footage to cover. Here he covers it with high quality filming and editing of course and the episode probably takes up 2/3 of the show episode. If I were trying to build that step stool just by following the show it would be hard. I’d either consider the show to be inspiration for my own design or I’d have to go to the forum that supports his show and ask the people there for the lumber list and the dimensions. From what I’ve seen there are some very skilled guys there including a guy named Eli and Tommy’s old teacher from North Benet Street School where Tommy got his break in woodworking and unlike the “members only” feel of period furniture grade work online communities I’ve visited, these guys are helpful and more than willing to help others who sincerly want to learn.

On a purely personal note, I’m honestly glad to see that Tommy and Al didn’t try to act like highbrow woodworking snobs once they got a show. I’d like to see him slow down a bit and become more at ease in front of the camera, and I think that will come in time as he gets a good sense about how to pace himself to cover everything needed in a single show. Otherwise, I’d like to see it become a full hour so he could expand on both the out of shop exploration scenes and the in shop builds. At the least, this show is going to inspire a lot of new woodworkers to stretch beyond basic cabinetry by seeing a young enthusiastic guy having fun creating beautiful stuff. I just hope that Tommy keeps up with a serious approach to exploring furniture grade woodworking and the show doesn’t take a detour once the fan mail starts coming from all the non-woodworking females who think he’s cute and talks funny. My wife never sat through a single episode of New Yankee Workshop eventhough Norm was a great guy and she met him with me when he was in Orange, CA a couple years ago. But, she sat through the entire episode and said “he’s like the Bobby Flay of woodworking.” Hopefully he will get another season of episodes in the can before casual viewers discover him and he slides into more of the DIY/HGTV turf.

36 replies so far

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3953 days

#1 posted 01-16-2011 03:12 AM

Great comments and I agree completely.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View smitty22's profile


714 posts in 3825 days

#2 posted 01-16-2011 03:19 AM

Yep, an excellent show, caught it this morning and was prepared with the DVR. Without that, this ol’ slow-talkin’ Texas boy wouldn’t stand a chance!

-- Smitty

View lc48's profile


22 posts in 3567 days

#3 posted 01-16-2011 03:36 AM

that tommy mac is an outstanding,polite respectful young man. he full of woodworking knowledge and very helpful. ya gotta love that rascal

View Chriskmb5150's profile


253 posts in 3954 days

#4 posted 01-16-2011 04:01 AM

Without that, this ol’ slow-talkin’ Texas boy wouldn’t stand a chance!
Gonna have to second that. He does move pretty quick.

-- Woodworkers theory of relativity - the quality of your scrap is relative to your skill level

View semi75's profile


78 posts in 3778 days

#5 posted 01-16-2011 04:17 AM

The show is faced paced, especially with the road trip added in that’s for sure. It’s still a great show that could easily be made into an hour.

View bill1352's profile


130 posts in 4000 days

#6 posted 01-16-2011 03:30 PM

I like the show. I have a series recording set on the DVR. Personally the road trips can go. I want to see the wood not a shop or whatever. I still miss Wood Works but this a good start at replacing it.

-- Keep Your Stick On The Ice

View johnnie52's profile


27 posts in 4246 days

#7 posted 01-16-2011 09:09 PM

I’ve seen it a few times and have been very impressed. Its kind of funny though to count the number of times he says the word GUYS. What about any gal woodworkers?

My kid and I counted 75 times he said GUYS in one show. :)

-- John - Tampa, FL - American components, Russian components..... ALL MADE IN TIAWAN!

View Vicki's profile


1128 posts in 4223 days

#8 posted 01-17-2011 08:16 AM

Strange you should ask, John. I was just getting ready to post. I like the show overall. I like his easy going, humble nature. But the constant, “Now listen you guys” is too much. I’m not even being sexist. He could replace guys with gals or yous or anything. It’s just too much. As someone else pointed out, he’s probably just nervous. I’m hoping his director instructs him to talk a little slower and stop saying that. It’s distracting to me and I’d rather stay focused on his teaching than his annoying habit. The last show I watched he was doing it much less so people must be asking him to stop. I too wish he would drop the ‘road trip’ unless it’s really helpful or useful to the project.

-- Vicki on the Eastern Shore of MD

View Richard's profile


1943 posts in 3569 days

#9 posted 01-17-2011 06:45 PM

I just saw my first episode and also second the views of Slow Down, Drop the Road Show and lose the “Now listen you guys” comments.
I wish Norm would lose some of the road show time as well, but at least he also shows 2 or sometimes 3 ways of doing the same thing for those of us who don’t have $100,000 workshops.

View mnguy's profile


306 posts in 4277 days

#10 posted 01-17-2011 07:11 PM

I also saw my first episode a couple weeks ago, having never seen Tommy’s podcasts. I agree he moves waay to fast, but some of his techniques and tips are good. I’ll give him another chance, but his “guys” and “okay” make it like watching Joe Pesci / Loe Goetz from Letal Weapon doing a wood working show – it’s a bit much.

As for “guys” being sexist, in the Midwest, it is not. Most of us use “guys” as the equivalent of “you all” or “all you all”; it means a group inclusive of men and women. Not saying it makes sense, just how a lot of us use it.

View Vicki's profile


1128 posts in 4223 days

#11 posted 01-17-2011 07:31 PM

Thanks mnguy for that clarifacation. I thought maybe he didn’t realize he might have female viewers too. Of course he’s not from the midwest, so not sure how New Englanders mean it.

-- Vicki on the Eastern Shore of MD

View AaronK's profile


1512 posts in 4343 days

#12 posted 01-17-2011 07:40 PM

new englanders usually mean as a collective “you all” too… that doesn’t mean it isn’t inherently sexist if you get right down to it, it just means it’s not deliberately sexist :-)

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 4052 days

#13 posted 01-17-2011 08:01 PM

We FINALLY started picking up the series, in Colorado.

My DVR is ready. Right, guys ? ;-)

-- -- Neil

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3745 days

#14 posted 01-17-2011 08:07 PM

I like to watch his videos on his web site but I haven’t seen one of his shows.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Vicki's profile


1128 posts in 4223 days

#15 posted 01-17-2011 08:23 PM

Thanks Aaron.


-- Vicki on the Eastern Shore of MD

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