Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Graham Blackburn Videos

I remember when MTV first appeared and for the first time we could watch music videos on our TV.  Then YouTube was developed and we could watch videos on demand on our computer, and eventually, on the portable devices which everyone in the world now seems to have in their pocket.

All this is recent history, and I seem like an old guy when I talk about "when I was young..."  However, this is not the world of video which I entered in 1973 when I taped my series on CBS.  I had ten shows at that time, tracing the evolution of furniture design from the pilgrims to the victorians.  What I remember most was the cameras.  There were three cameras, each about the size of a Volkswagen, and they were on these wheeled tripods, moving slowly around the room, following the action.  You didn't move too quickly, or you would miss your blocking and the operator couldn't focus fast enough to capture the information.

Talk about the dinosaur era of video.

Technology has changed all that, of course, and it is now possible to "film" using hand held cameras with natural lighting, and sound.  (I wonder how long we are going to use the term "film" to talk about these digital files...)

I have done a lot of video over the years, and am trying to make these past efforts available online.  I am still working on Roy Underhill to get his episode, and he assures me that, when he gets some time to put it together, that will happen.

In 2007 I worked with Graham Blackburn to shoot some material in my shop.  He was very easy to work with and the result was very informative and professional.  Graham has been involved in traditional woodworking as long as I have, and I have always had the deepest respect for his work.  I was honored to have him in my workshop and we really enjoyed each other's company.

The result was a series of video "magazines" which were called " action!!!"   They were available on a subscription basis, and each issue included a long list of diverse workers and their work.  I was featured in Issue 6 and Issue 8.

I had forgotten about these videos until recently.  That was when I found out that Popular Woodworking had purchased them and was making them available again.  I contacted the publisher, Kevin Ireland, and floated the idea of linking to my videos directly from this blog.  He was very supportive and generously made it happen.

Popular Woodworking has posted my two videos on a private YouTube link, which you can access directly from this post.

Here is the link.  There are two videos on "Recreating a Process" which include part one (handtools and veneer) and part two (pickers and chevalets).  Just scroll down from the first video to see the second.

Blackburn Videos

Be sure to thank Popular Woodworking for making these videos accessible.


Tico Vogt said...

Great stuff. I really appreciate your comment at the end of the first video about air dried versus kiln dried wood and about how nobody discusses the difference when it comes to applying hand tools.

Mike Lingenfelter said...

Yes, a lot of good information in those videos. I've been looking into air drying lumber. The information I'm finding is saying you can only get air dried lumber to a certain moisture level, generally 15-18%. To get it down to around 8%, you have to finish it off in a kiln.

My question is, is this true?

W. Patrick Edwards said...

uI have never had a moisture meter, or considered it important to have one. Consider me odd.

When I had my beech cut for the bench, it was 4" thick and I stickered it outside in the shade for 10 years. I had some old guys advise me about how long it took per inch of thickness, but I just assumed 10 years in Southern California was long enough.

I can't answer your question about the moisture level, but I can suggest that there is a real difference in the way the material ages and works, depending on if it was air dried or kiln dried.

There is no question that kiln drying dries out the surface wood before it reaches the center of the timber. That is called "case hardened." All woodworkers who have cut into a kiln dried board know it moves as soon as the saw releases the tensions. That cannot be good.

At the same time, as soon as you use a hand plane on air dried material, you feel the difference. I suspect the higher moisture content, and more importantly, the uniform moisture content achieved by slow natural drying, is the reason.

In any event, I wish we all could have the patience to wait a decade or more for the material to get from the forest to the bench, but I am also realistic.

Tico Vogt said...

Here's the way I work with air dried lumber in Zone 5 where it goes from -25 degrees to +100 degrees, feels like a steam bath in August and drier'n a popcorn fart in February: After the year per inch of thickness (minimum)air drying I then begin to further rough out the boards, laying out shapes and sizes and getting pieces closer to their finished dimensions but still generously oversize. Then I bring them into the heated shop where they may hang out for a couple months or another year, depending on the thickness. The pieces are never brittle or full of nasty stress surprises.

Mike Lingenfelter said...

Thanks Patrick. So you haven't had any issues using what might be "higher" moisture level air dried lumber, moving into a modern heated house? Or is it when people use the "modern house" statement, it's not totally accurate or an issue?

Steven Davis said...

The link seems to be broken or somethings up at Popular woodworking. I can get to the videos by searching by your name right now.

W. Patrick Edwards said...

I think Tico has the right approach.

As to the question of "modern houses" and their environment. Consider that for centuries past furniture sat in castles and houses in every climate possible. There was wood heat which is uneven and harsh. There was open doors and windows without glass. All that furniture was made from air dried lumber, since the idea of kiln drying was non existent. Sure, in some cases the wood cracked. Often it was just because the wood shrinks across its grain, regardless of moisture content. Sometimes it was just poor construction techniques. But, in general, I would say that the majority of hand made furniture built before 1850 lived in much harsher extremes of environment than any "modern house" ever creates.

The most important thing to consider when making furniture is reversibility. Thus, using protein glues, shellac and wax finishes, and traditional construction methods is more important in the long run, than where the piece lives. All furniture will suffer damage at some point. To survive the ages, it must be possible to repair it.

W. Patrick Edwards said...

It seems that the link doesn't open on my phone, but works on the computer. I don't know if that is the problem.