Lessons and Ideas from Foxtel

With the luxury of finally being able to record whatever I want on Foxtel, been getting to watch some of what I actually feel like seeing when I’m ready.

So I’ve been watching a few of Norm’s shows of course.  Not even sure if there are any other quality woodworking shows being made at the moment (and not even sure if Norm is making any currently).

Norm loves nailing projects together, which I’ve always found a bit unusual.  But it does get the projects together quickly I suppose.  Was watching his take on a poker table tonight too, and rather than the rather complex constructions that I saw in one of the woodworking magazine, Norm made an easy version relying heavily on MDF, some veneered boards, and felt.  Once finished, it looked great, and one day I’d really like to make one myself. He produces a lot of other ideas, and shop aids etc which would be really useful, if one had some floor area in their workshop!  Love to see what someone like that could do in a typical backyard (constricted, and (comparatively) tool limited) workshop, rather than their massive spread.

Speaking of challenges, I’ve also been watching a bit of Iron Chef – where 2 highly skilled chefs go head-to-head in a 60 minute cooking battle, with the basis of each meal being a specific ingredient.  Wonder how a woodworking equivalent of that would go?  Instead of a secret ingredient, a secret tool, or material that needs to be incorporated.

I can’t really criticise Norm’s preference for nailing projects together for speed really.  Considering I’ve made the second of two trips to Ikea to get the last of the modules I needed to complete our bedroom makeover.  Sure, I would have loved to have made it all myself, but that really costs (in materials), and more importantly, I am more time-poor than anything else, so having something pretty much ready-for-assembly helps.  When I am quite a bit older, I’d like the luxury of saying I don’t shop there anymore, and instead hand make everything.  In the meantime, I’ve made serious work of the 90 second charging GMC rapid screwdriver to tackle the large bags of joinery components that is the essence of Ikea.

How well the Ikea items last over time will be quite telling, but the beauty of the Kreg Pockethole Jig is if it comes to it, I can reinforce the joints with pockethole joinery down track (as I have done before), which is ideal for joining man-made materials such is the basis for much of Ikea’s products.  Despite their relative position in the marketplace of their products, there is one point that they really excel, and that is in the item design.  The engineering is quite incredible – taking a piece of furniture and breaking it down into components that pack very flat, and can be joined together easily enough if you follow an instruction manual that’s main feature is a complete absence of words.

I say unto you in the words of Chariman Dacascos: Allez Cuisine!

2 Responses

  1. There was a program similar to the Iron Chef. You cna find out about it on http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/shows_whw/
    Here is the promo: Warehouse Warriors is a fun, unique series that pits two teams of do-it-yourselfers in identically well-stocked warehouses, racing against time and each other to design and build a winning home improvement project. The project is a secret until the cameras roll, when the teams, using only their wits, brawn and the help of a carpenter assigned to each, have eight hours to complete their project. In addition to learning a variety of construction techniques and tips, you will find yourself cheering on the teams as they fight to the finish on Warehouse Warriors.
    Hopefully Foxtel brings it back

    • Yeah, that’s right – forgot about those. However they are still putting diy’ers up against each other. What I envisage is the best of the best going head to head, seeing handcut dovetails being produced like the wood was butter, wooden hinges, sweeping carved details etc, all in a box made in 60 minutes or so. Perhaps one bestowing the virtues of hand tools, while the other was matching stroke for stroke with modern powered equivalents. And not just who can cut through first type racing, but seeing a project from start to completion, from taking a tree branch or trunk, through resawing, planing, cutting, dovetailing, finishing etc.

      Even have a “secret ingredient”, like a tool that has to be used, or an exotic timber as a detail or whatever!

      Anyway, just a thought on a medium where woodworking is lacking (although not completely non-existent.)

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