Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Review Of The Spoon Rack Series

Today I'm writing my first review.  It's about a new hand tool woodworking video series.
This series is done by Helen Fisher and Richard Maguire. 
I think most of you know them under the label of "The English Woodworker".

The English Woodworker logo

They are writing an amazing blog about woodworking. I'm following their blog since a while and I always enjoy their video work which they are doing from time to time.
I was surprise and pleased as I read that they will bring out a video series about hand tool woodworking. When the day came, I signed up for their premium content.  And I didn't regret it.
Let me tell you why I'm so thrilled about their video tutorials.

The first video series they were doing is about a nice little wall rack which they named the "Spoon Rack". What the heck is a Spoon Rack you will ask and what shall I do with that?
Helen and Richard are question that just the same as you and I were doing.
But as I saw their design the first time it was pretty clear to me what I would do with that.

Find here the first post and the little correspondence I had with Helen.

Stefan July 27th, 2015
Hi Helen,
very nice drawing.
I was asking myself what I will do with a spoon rack.
And all of the sudden I had the idea if it will be adaptable as a saw till.
I’m curious to see whats going on in your videos.

Helen July 27th, 2015

Thanks Stefan, that could be a very interest adaptation. You’ll have to let me know if you need any helping altering the design. The original plans and cut list will be put up in a couple of days.

From my point of view they both have got a great attitude about the things they are doing. And it seems to me that they are very kind and helpful people, which leads me into the idea to support them a little bit.

Meanwhile the tutorial is complete. All in all 6 episodes plus two extra episodes where Richard answers some questions which came up in previous episodes.
The complete series is including a full plan which can be downloaded.

Richard is showing step by step in every episode the important working steps. Pretty clear and pretty straight forward. No fancy tools, jigs or something similar. That is pure hand tool woodworking.

Which techniques are inside?

  • You will learn how to prepare your raw material by hand. With some interesting aspects to think about.
  • Basic joinery like rebates and housings. All done by hand with simple tools.
  • Hand cut dovetails are discussed too. Full as well as half blind.
  • You will learn how to do some simple but good looking moldings and rounding.
  • And at least some more details about drawers and how to fit them.
Richard is explaining very well. The only point I have to mention is, that for me it is sometimes difficult to understand him. I guess a combination of his accent and that I'm not a native speaker is the reason for this.
But anyway, I think I would have understood what he is doing without any tone.

The production quality is outstanding. They have got a pretty good camera work, the sound is every time well balanced between working noise and overlaying voice.
In between the video they have got some great animations to show some construction details. A nice chalkboard style presentation.
I think I will not exaggerating if I'm saying that they are setting a new quality standard in woodwork video tutorials.

All in all - I love these videos. Why? Five reasons for it:
  • I love the complete style of the video. A old-school dressed working gentleman is telling you about a somehow vintage styled working piece in a workshop environment that looks great to me.
  • The production quality is outstanding.
  • Pretty clear and straight forward explanations. No poppycock.
  • No subscription. In their model you decide from series to series if you are interested in.
  • That they were offering me to help to adapt their design to a saw till is another point on their scorecard.

Now then, I hope I could encourage you to have a look at the "Spoon Rack Series". 
There is a teaser video online which allows to get an impression about it.
If you are on the way and not quite sure then I would be glad to answer your questions.

One thing is pretty clear to me. If there will be the next series I will signup again.

If you are more interested in amateur woodworking, I would be glad if you would stay with me!


1 comment:

  1. Good first review Stefan, I will give a look for sure!