I’m in a unusual position for a learner.
I can observe Richard working, then pick up his tools and try for myself. I know the tools work well, and you could envy that. But the thing is, it takes away the one excuse that all novices need. I can’t blame my tools.
When things aren’t working I get corrected. Advised when I need to adjust the pressure in some way, or told to relax when my instinct is to hold tighter. And I get shown how to see errors before they become too big to remove – tiny glimpses of light that I wouldn’t have thought to look for.
I suspect I teach Richard as well, about how things should not be done.
Over the last couple of years I’ve been learning to make videos as well as woodworking. For this I’ve had neither expert guidance nor well set tools, so the experience has been very different.
We bought some old, used Handycams off Ebay for a couple of hundred quid. One of them flickered threateningly whenever it’d been on for a few minutes, but fortunately responded well to a gentle thump on its side.
I pointed the cameras at Richard, filmed, edited and then uploaded to YouTube. The colours and picture were awful, the sound even worse, and any movements were jagged.
A couple of years later and we had both our English Workbench and Spoon Rack Series filmed on those same Handycams. The flickering one failed to respond part way through the top flatten on the workbench, but I managed to coax it on to the end of the build before it finally died.
Despite the shoddy kit, we’ve been complimented for the production quality of our Video Series.
When you’re learning on your own I’d say there’s a lot of sense in matching your tools with your ability. Something I feel a lot of novices overlook as they feel it necessary to kit up better than any professional. The limitations of the cameras forced me learn the bigger picture. Not how to operate a camera, but about lighting, exposure and composition etc. If the cameras were complex, I’d have probably overlooked some of the important stuff and just got confused over buttons and settings.
At the moment I’m getting very much confused over buttons and settings as I get myself familiar with our new, more fancy filming kit. We’ve filmed the Hand Plane Build as a kind of warm up so you can (finally) expect this to be coming to the blog very soon. Richard’s previous discussion on the plane build can be seen here.