Is this guy related to Bob Villa? I had never seen him before watching him
on the DIY website. In the few shows I've watched, I've seen him demonstrate
extremely unsafe practices and very bad work. Is this the norm for this guy?
Where do they find these people?
I don't care much for his presentation, and I've found some of the
things he does to be questionable, but I know at least one fellow
who's been to a Marc Adams class with him who found him to be very
personable. He posts periodically over on WoodCentral and seems like a
nice guy--not at all the dick that Vila is. I realize that has nothing
to do with unsafe practices and very bad work.
Keep in mind that the TV hosts are not in complete control of what is
aired. Even David Marks told me that the producers often wanted him to
do things in the name of expedience that he wasn't comfortable with.
He mentioned they wanted him to do a glueup that in real life was a
ten or fifteen minute job in forty seconds because that was the time
allocated in their schedule. After unsuccessfully arguing with them,
he just did it the real way and let them "fix it in post" as they say.
I agree with all of the above, and must point out that he's had some
decent stuff (about tools, not fine woodworking) published in Popular
His DIY Channel stuff is on mar with the rest of the stuff on DIY,
except for Mr. Marks.
The hey what is this and how do you use it is a great approach to getting
others that are new and just checking out the show to see what it is all
about type deal . His way of coming across makes beginners feel at ease and
not fearful as after watching lets say David Marks or maybe even the Norm
which is who I have been watching as long as I have been interested in
woodworking. But these guys can make a beginner feel intimidated.
I've got some insight on the man and the process. David Thiel is
described on the DIY web site as "the Senior Editor of Popular
Woodworking Magazine". He hosts the "Tools and Techniques" show and
also appears quite often on The Woodworking Channel:
interviewing product reps at tradeshows (like IWF). In December of
2003 Beth Knott, Producer of the DIY "Tools & Techniques" show,
contacted me about using a Jr. in a couple of episodes. She represents
"Fantasym Productions" which has produced shows for HGTV and DIY for
years. In the Bio that she sent me, I learned that she and her
co-producer Brad Staggs shoot thousands of shows per year. The
shooting schedule must be absolutely maddening (at least three shows
per day?). I suspect that the budgets are extremely tight and that
there is little time for any preparation or rehersal.
Anyone who is familiar with the Jr., and has seen the demos that David
did, knows that there was no time taken to learn anything about the
tool before the shoot. I cringed the first time I saw it. But, it was
still pretty effective (for my purposes). I imagine that just about
everything else on the show is like that. The scripts seems pretty
loose with a lot of improv. If David doesn't have intimate, first hand
knowledge on a particular procedure, then the first take is probably
his first try and that's what likely ends up in the show. And, I can
appreciate the difficulty of doing something correctly on camera even
when you are an expert. Some of the scenes in the Jr. video had dozens
of takes. Eventually, I just let the camera run while I did it over
and over and over. I can appreciate using the word "talent" to
describe someone who can do something well on camera.
As you read magazine articles and watch TV shows for information about
woodworking (or any technical subject), keep in mind that most of the
people involved are Journalists with an interest in woodworking. They
are very rarely woodworkers (or anyone with a technical degree) who
have an interest in woodworking. I have offered my expertise as a free
technical consultant to Beth (and to a few woodworking magazine
editors) in an effort to raise their technical competence (and my own
reputation). Unfortunately, no takers yet.
As you compare the commercially produced woodworking shows to the PBS
shows, keep in mind that they don't get free money from the government
or from semi-annual begathons. Everything is operating on a
shoe-string budget, the "talent" has no experience, and the schedules
are incredibly demanding. Under these circumstances I would be pretty
happy to be able to maintain the quality that they do.
On 18 Nov 2006 12:50:21 -0800, email@example.com wrote:
Oh? I always thought David Marks seemed like a really stand-up sort
of guy. Same with that Underhill fella, though I only saw his show
once. The older guy on "The router workshop" seems to know his stuff-
though I don't think I'd let his kid touch anything of mine.
You have to apply the same rule to tv as anything else- 95% of
everything is crap. The producers are just trying to cater to people
who know nothing, but have an interest in learning a thing or two,
because that's where the market is. Overly technical information is
likely to go right over the head of an average viewer.
Just keep building that nice website of yours (and I'm not being
sarcastic- it's a good site.) If there's a market for your expertise,
people will eventually find it, though it sometimes takes a quite a
while. There really aren't that many good nuts-and-bolts how-to sites
on the internet, and putting the time in to make one- which I can see
you're willing to do, almost certainly boosts your sales.
Though I have been meaning to ask you something-
Why isn't there a jointer/planer aligner product? While I'm unsure
about personally needing a Ts-aligner, I would certainly be
interested in a tool that could help set jointer and planer blades
without slicing and dicing my fingertips, and help adjust
infeed/outfeed tables to eliminate snipe. Those are the really touchy
tools that can really use some help, IMO. Get one of those on the
market, and I'm in.
Just a thought.
I have seen David Marks once, on the DIY web site. I thought he
presented a very good show. I'll have to watch some more. Roy
Underhill, Norm Abrahams, The Rosenthals (router guys), and Scott
Phillips are all funded by Public Broadcasting. They can afford to
hire expertise and spend lots of money on production.
Very true. Basically, they produce shows to sell advertising.
Advertising is based on viewership. Viewership is based on interest.
So, it doesn't do any good to spend a bunch of money on expertise which
may not increase interest (unless you get your money for free). Which
is why I thought they might be willing to accept free technical advise.
I can think of a number of good reasons for turning it down.
Thanks. I'll just keep plugging away. I think people appreciate
expertise when they discover it, not when it presents itself to them.
;-) So, the web site is a good medium.
Both Aligners do jointers quite well (the Sr. works best on 8"+
machines). Planers are another story. The Aligners can be used for
bed rollers, feed rollers, chip breaker, and cutterhead alignment (with
some hieght limitations). This would address any snipe problems
(assuming proper feeding technique). Some of my competition would lead
you to believe that it's proper to align planer knives from below (in
reference to the table). It's not a good idea. Planer knives should
be aligned to the cutterhead. Then the cutterhead should be aligned to
the table. There are a number of jigs for doing the knives. I've had
one in mind for several years (called the "TP Aligner") but just
haven't had the time to get it out.
With some of the demos that I have seen on the DIY channel I think your
advise would be over their heads. Even with a shortage of funding and time
I do no believe that they have a valid excuse for doing some of the things
the way they do. I simply think they do not know any better. I'll never
for get the tall dark haired guy, host of The Ultimate WorkShop,
demonstrating how to use a stacked dado and proceeded to make a cross cut
dado on a 1 x 6 with the guard in place. He looked puzzled when the board
hit the back of the guard and it stopped moving. He then proceeded to pull
the board back through the spinning dado blades. I cannot believe the next
shot was not of him laying on the floor. That was ignorance, not a lack of
funding or time.
Yup. Or, can you imagine what a monkey wrench would get thrown into a
3+ show/day schedule if someone came along and said "You can't do
that..."? I think that a technical consultant would need to be in on
the planning stage when they put together the season lineup. That's
why I contacted them last Summer (they shoot T-n-T in December). Alas,
I was told that they plan the show in December! As I recall, they
called me in December to request the Jr. which needed to be sent ASAP.
I guess that particular episode was being planned!
If they had more funding (or perhaps more time) I think that they could
probably get better (more experienced) talent. I'm sure that they can
find actors that will do it for next to nothing (call the local guild).
But, I bet that it's very difficult to find a skilled woodworker that
will work for the same amount (let alone be any good on camera).
A little research reveals this about he host of The Ultimate Workshop
He claims to be a carpenter. HA!...
Believe it or not, Jay Baker was not born a handyman. He started out
entertaining people as a musical stage performer at the age of 17. That led
to a cross-country move to Los Angeles where he spent two decades as a
Eagle-eyed viewers will recognize Jay's appearances in Dukes of Hazzard,
Baywatch, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, as well as other popular
television series of the 80's and 90's. He's also featured in the cult
classic films April Fools Day and Shag.
In 2001, after moving his family from California back to his native
Tennessee, Jay looked for a way to combine his skills as a carpenter and
handyman with his professional pursuits in television. That effort paid off
when Jay was booked as an on-air carpenter for DIY Network's Emmy-nominated
home improvement program, Warehouse Warriors.
<<I've got some insight on the man and the process. David Thiel is
described on the DIY web site as "the Senior Editor of Popular
Woodworking Magazine". >>
He was Sr. Editor of Popular Woodworking Magazine. Sometime during the past
summer he left that post and moved over to the company's book division.
To e-mail, replace "bucketofspam" with "dleegordon"
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