I get questions about this mallet all the time. But, I will be the first to admit that I stole the idea of using a nylon faced mallet for woodworking from Paul Sellers. Paul uses the same type of mallet and I thought I would give it a go. You never know how you are really going to feel about something until you try it. I tried it, and I like it. At least for the heavy stuff.
Check out the video for more specific details about the mallet. Enjoy.
It's that time again. Time for another Hand Tool Of The Week. This time I show off a tool that I use to mark my work. If you want more info about the tool in this video please go check out www.woodburning.com Colwood burning tools are made right here in the USA and they have a wide array of equipment.
Well, I've had a few questions come in over the past couple days regarding my new shooting equipment and my editing software. Instead of responding back to all the emails, this blog post should just about cover all the questions that I can answer.
Disclaimer: I am not and audio visual master. I have never taken classes, courses, or had any real firsthand education on the subject. All I know is what I have read and what I have learned through personal experience. I may not be able to answer every technical question out there. I'm just a guy with a camera and a shop.
What I started with
This first picture is what I used up until recently for my videos. Nothing but a Sony Cyber-shot (DSCW290). It has a built in mic, no mic hookup. Best quality video is 720p (NOT HD). It can take great pictures at 12.1 mega pixels, but outside of good pics it is kind of lacking. Mic doesn't do a great job, video quality not the best and you have to be careful of the auto focus when shooting video (learned that lesson a few times). Had to buy extra batteries and memory card to shoot videos.
All in all. It worked. Obviously I did OK with it for the past couple years now. I feel that I shot the best videos possible with this camera, but they just were not up to the quality I wanted.
My video software up to this point. The free stuff: Windows Movie Maker . Yeah, I know, not the best software out there, but it is free. Honestly if you push yourself you can do some good stuff with the software, so its not the end of the world. You are limited though. No Pic in Pic, not video in video, can't separate video and audio, etc etc... You can manipulate the program to do some of these things, but its a major pain. Remember, its free software, get what you pay for.
What I got now
Lights: Adding lights is the easy thing. Proper lighting can make a huge difference in overall video quality and they really are not that expensive. I bought a set online for a grand total of $65. Set included two light boxes and stands, 8 x 45 watt day light Studio bulbs(4 per box, 6500k temp) (45w is 200watt equivalent), ability to turn 2 or 4 lights on at a time, and a nifty case(which I most likely won't use). You can also see in the first picture that the boxes have covers. These covers help spread the light more evenly, very important for a smaller shop like mine.
1 of 2 Light Boxes
4 45W studio bulbs
operate 2 or 4 bulbs
Sony ECM-MS907 Microphone
Microphone: This one was easy for me. I had a $100 Sony mic sitting around since college. I used it often with a mini-disc recorder in music school to record my self or group musical performances. I knew the mic was good, but with my last camera I had no way of hooking up the mic. So far, this mic works great in the small shop, though I still have to maintain a sense of direction. You have to speak in the general direction of a stationary mic to get a consistent sound, turning your head away is a no no. If I get brave I may step up to a wireless lapel mic, but for now this is working. Another catch is that you must always be sure the mic is turned on, it is self powered by an internal AA battery. Again with mic's, you get what you pay for, anything less than $100 is probably not going to be worth it, unless its on sale.
Software: Well this is where you can really drop some dough. Video editing software is all over the map and can cost hundreds of dollars, membership fees, etc.. I decided on Adobe Premiere Elements . In fact, I bought both the Premiere Elements and PhotoShop Elements together. There is a learning curve with this software, but Adobe makes it easy for you in the set up. I will leave it to you to check it out if you are interested. To much info to really go into on this post. Overall, it will do everything I need it to do. It is basically an easier version of the software used by full on video professionals. It works for both PC and Mac.
Camera: Obviously the most important part of shooting videos is the camera. All the other things you get will help, but a bad camera is just that, a bad camera. I did A LOT of research on cameras, specifically video cameras. A lot has changed over the past several years, but it seems that companies like Canon are changing things for the better. I went with the Canon Vixia HF R52 camcorder, even saved money going with a refurbished one ($249.99 total). It shoots full 1920x1080 HD video, has a mic plug-in, built-in 32GB memory (can add SD card to make it a full 64GB), and has WiFi. It shoots easy, has a great LCD screen (which can point forward), and doesn't have to rely of the battery if you don't have time to charge it. So far, so good. Another big deal for me is how well it does on close up shots. And, if you are worried about megapixels, well don't. Video cameras and picture cameras are not equal when it comes to taking video. Video quality is more determined by the video sensor in the camera than by the megapixels. This thing shoots great quality video and is super easy to use.
Canon Vixia HF R52
So, that's it. That is what I got. If you have some more questions please ask below, that way everyone else can read them too.
P.S. I should also mention something else regarding a previous comment I made regarding making videos vs. writing blog posts.
For some reason it almost seems easier to knock out a short video than it does to write a blog, but that's just being lazy.
What I meant by this is that sitting down and trying to write is sometimes more difficult for me than shooting a video. What I didn't mean is that it is faster. Never get that into your head. Shooting a video is very time consuming, more than most would think. I can build a bookcase in a day. If I shot the same build it could take me up to two weeks, and that's just to get the video shot. Included multiple shots, stumbling words, wrong angles, redo's, close ups, bad sound retakes, etc etc... Then you have to sit down FOR HOURS and edit it, make it look cohesive, adjust sounds, add pictures, intro, credits, graphics, etc etc.... You can easily take 20 hours of footage and end up with a 20 min or less video. A good example is this: a short single shot 3 min video can take 30-45 min to edit and make ready for upload. And if you are quality conscious, you still will watch the entire thing through before you upload it. That's about the easiest video you could make.
SO , in short. Shooting videos is a labor of love. Most of us who do it don't make that much money from it, very few make a living. I am not into it to make a living, I just love making videos and like sharing my experiences with others.
New shop sign. Made from Sugar Pine that has blued.
Well, I've been doing something for a while and it hasn't been writing posts or making videos. I'll break it down real easy. I have been busy. Busy at work, busy at home, and just busy thinking about what the heck I want to do and how I want to do it. But here is the good news.....I figured it all out.
First. Videos. I love making videos. I hated my camera, hated my sound, hated my editing software....get the picture. So, I fixed all that. Now, more videos, better quality. short and simple.
Second. Projects. Figured that out too. I could list all of them for sure, but that would be giving it all away. Instead I will show you this picture of books and just say this. Inside these books are projects and ideas that I will be using over the next 6 months to a year. OK OK. short list. Kerfing plane, bedroom furniture, Milk Paint, shine box, mantel, cut nails (lots of those), and other things. Sounds like fun?!? And one more thing. More on carving. A little inside baseball: I had to shoot my letter carving video several times to get what I got (see youtube) and personally I think it still sucked. Hence why I bought the new camera and lights. Third. Expansion. hmmm... what does that mean? Well, it goes back to videos. As of today Jan 1, 2015 I started my Hand Tool Of The Week (HTOTW) videos. Short once a week videos all year. (tool porn) But wait... There's more. I am continuing my Bench Talk series. These are single topic shows. Techniques, demonstrations, tools reviews, viewer questions, etc.... I think these will be a great place to spread some knowledge and share some info. And last, but not least, the project series videos. Those, I think you can figure out on your own (see above part deuce).
Forth. The Blog. I have spent a lot of time thinking about this part. For some reason it almost seems easier to knock out a short video than it does to write a blog, but that's just being lazy. I have a few written series's that I have cooked up that I think will be very informative and fun. Stay tuned for those.
Needless to say, I have a lot planed for this year. I'm amped up and ready to go. Now all I have to do is pull all this off.
This is the FIRST of a new weekly series I am doing. Every week, on Thursday, I will be posting a short video on a tool, or a family of tools. These videos are just a fun way to share some info about my tools. Face it, we all love tools, that part of what woodworking is all about. So I hope you enjoy the short video and stay tuned for another post today discussing some upcoming things here on the site and on my YouTube channel.
You may notice that this video looks a little different from my past videos. Maybe sounds a little clearer, or looks better. Hopefully it is noticeable, it is to me. Well, that's because I got a whole new setup. New cam, new mic, new lights, and even new video editing software. Lots of new toys to get used to and learn about. SO, if things are not all perfect, give me a little time to dial in all these new things. And, if you haven't subscribed to my YouTube channel, please do, you will get better updates and it will be easier to follow me that way. Thanks for watching.
Recently I was doing a little rearranging and getting ready to start things back up around here. Besides getting some new equipment for shooting videos, I also needed to clean out my tool chest, move some storage around, and make my shop more functional in its current form. Oh yeah, I ripped out my old closet so I have a huge hole in one wall with a bunch of pipes, wires, and stuff coming out of it. More on that later when I do an updated shop tour.
Back to the tool chest.
While cleaning out my tools chest I realized just how much stuff I keep in it. Tool chests get a bad rap from time to time because some people feel they are not very useful and don't hold everything they think they need. I will be the first to admit that they can't hold everything. I don't keep my larger saws in the chest, nor my miter box, or axes, or froe, nor my clamps, sharpening tools, saw vise, or scorp, or even my large wooden bench mallet. But, everything else fits in my chest, and there is room to spare.
So, what exactly does go in my chest? Well.................. 1 half set of hollow and rounds (16 total) 1 wood rabbet 2 beading planes 2 profile planes 1 wood toothing plane Dovetail plane Moving Fillister plane Lie-Nielsen #4 Wood River #4 1/2 Stanley #5, #6, #8 Veritas Low Angle Jack 9 files/rasps 3 pairing chisels LN Dovetail thin plate .015" Wenzloff 14" X-cut saw .025" Disston 14" Rip saw .025" Veritas Flush cutting saw Panel Gauge Stanley Sweetheart No. 100 Framing Square Winding Sticks (Purple Heart) Straight Edge (QS White Oak) 1 Roll Bevel Chisels (6) 1 Roll Mortise Chisels (5) 1 Roll Carving Chisels (lots) 1 Roll Spokeshaves (5 +beading tool) Veritas Plow Plane (and blade roll) Veritas Skew Rabbet Plane Colwood Burning tool Bow Saw Knew Concept Fret Saw 10" Stanley Brace 1 Set Russell Jennings Auger Bits 8 Grace Ground Slotted Screwdrivers 5 Felo Drivers 3 Slotted 2 Phillips Stanley No. 65 Low Angle Block Wood River shoulder plane No. 80 Scrapper Veritas Large and Small Router Planes Dowel Plate 2 Nail Pincers Scratch Stock by Veritas File Card 4 Drawbore Pins Shenandoah 1 1/2 lb mallet Shenandoah Birdcage Awl Card Scrappers in Leather Wallet Playing Cards (for spacing drawer/doors) 4 dimes (for spacing things) Tweezers LN Burnisher 16oz Bluegrass Hammer 18" Steel flat rule Lufkin folding rule Plumb bob 12" Starrett Combo Square Set 6" Starrett Combo Square 3 Dividers Compass 8" 4 Marking Gauges 1 Mortise Gauge 3 Nail Sets 2 Marking Knives 12' Tape Measure 2 Bevel Gauges Depth Gauge and two keys to lock the chest
Now, this list may or may not be exactly correct. I may have missed one or two things, but its pretty close.
And this is what it all looks like when its piled up on my bench. It's a lot of tools for sure, but I can still work smoothly out of this tool chest without rummaging around for tools. If anything, it helps me to be more organized and to ONLY get out what tools I need.
Because I have had a couple questions about my daughters step stool, I thought I'd take a moment to show and discuss it.
It may look very simple, and it is, but I actually put a little bit of thought into this bench before it was made. I knew it needed to last, it needed to work as a seat for her, but also it needed to be a step stool for working at my bench. All of that and not be so light that it would tip over.
When I think of the most Iconic first woodworking project, the first thing that pops into my mind is a birdhouse.
To begin you need to figure out what kind of birdhouse you want to build based on the birds in your local area. I found a handy website that provides not only the plans for building birdhouses, but where and how to hang them. Here is that site: 50BIRDS They have feeders and all sorts of other projects to build too. And, you may find that one style house works for several birds in your area.