American Craftsman Workshop Video Is Back!

The Journey

It's been a lot of work to get to this point. Since taking a beating from the recession, I took all of the work I could get to recover over the last couple of years. Between working projects out of my shop, working with another contractor, and Rita opening a cafe in downtown Billings, there was not any free time to get out any blogs let alone video.

I have been chomping at the bit to get back to sharing with the woodworking community. Sharing the craft with others has become a passion of mine. I have enjoyed an amazing journey in my own growth of woodworking skills, and I love helping others so that they may enjoy that same growth as well. I also find that sharing has sparked a new level of growth in myself. The woodworking journey never ends!

A Peak Behind The Scenes

Another task that took up my time, was setting up the infrastructure for better video. I recognized that I needed to make some changes in the shop to produce higher quality video. This included adding more light fixtures to increase lumens per square foot and to create even lighting. I went from 44 bulbs to 84. Yes, I nearly doubled my light output (and power consumption.)

Video Lighting Mode

Video Lighting Mode 2

I set the wiring and switches up for "work mode" and "video mode." In work mode I only run the same lights that I always have to provide enough light for working on projects. In video mode I turn on the additional lighting to provide brighter, more even coverage for a better video image. 


 Replacing Magnetic Ballast I noticed another problem during some test shoots, the old magnetic ballasts created a lot of hum and buzz. So I changed out the last 10 magnetic ballasts for new electronic units. Not only do the lights run silently now, but the start up is much faster. This was a nice improvement.

It is a good thing to have remodeling skills. I have saved myself a good chunk of change being able to do the work myself but it has been a lot of time and effort.

Third Time Is A Charm

Removing Attic LadderThe new lights required a good bit of wiring, and the fixture layout required moving the attic access ladder to a new location. Removing & re-installing the spring loaded attic ladder by myself is something like handling a human size mouse trap. The effort was worthwhile since I found a better location that does not require me to move anything on the floor to drop the ladder. Previously, I had to move my 8" jointer to drop the attic ladder. My shop layout is on plan #3 and so these things happen. I think that I have finally nailed it down this time both on the floor and ceiling layout.

(Clicking on the thumbnails will open larger image.)

I'm A Mac

Other infrastructure upgrades include a new 27" iMac (freaking sweet!) and editing software. I upgraded from iMovie, which I think is a great program, to Final Cut Pro X. FCPX is waaay more powerful and with that power comes a new level of complexity.

Just like with woodworking, you can read or watch tutorials on the subject all you want, but it's only by doing will you really understand the craft. I was going to do a shop tour, but it turned into a simple look around the shop with a movie preview theme for fun. It's short but it was an exercise for me to try out the new capabilities of FCPX.

Stay tuned, there will be more videos coming from the American Craftsman Workshop as I continue supporting the woodworking community!

Your friend in the shop,

Todd A. Clippinger

Share the Love~Share the Knowledge


Congrats To Tommy MacDonald

With Norm's New Yankee Workshop no longer in production, it felt as if there was a void on PBS and everyone has been wondering who would step up to the airwaves or if anybody would.

Well, the word is out - Tommy MacDonald has publicly announced his contract to produce a new woodworking TV series with PBS. 

Tommy brings a great passion combined with his skill and knowledge for teaching woodworking to the viewing audience. This is already evident in the series of videos that he has produced himself and they can be seen at his Major League Woodworking site. You will find them under the button labeled the "207 Show."

Tommy also has a vibrant online community where one of the big topics they discuss is design. They cover everything on the topic of design from the history to specific elements that define a style and the people that influenced the design world. If you are interested in checking in on the community, stop by the 207 Forum.

Tommy has a guest moderator staffing the design forum and it is none other than Neil Lamens. Neil brings an incredible amount of knowledge in the history of design and furniture manufacturing to the woodworking community. His talent and knowledge is a great compliment to that of Tommy's. 

Neil is no stranger to woodworking videos as he has produced several himself. You can check out Furnitology Productions to see Neil's videos and gallery.

When you stop by Tommy's site you will immediately notice all the work that has gone into the design and attention to detail. Tommy is sure to bring the same level of perfection to his show in sharing with the woodworking community.

Another mention has to be for Dave Pruett. He is a good friend to the woodworking community for all the videos that he has produced to share woodworking skills and doing personal interviews. Dave can be followed at his blog "The Folding Rule."  Dave was lucky enough to get video of Tommy's announcement for the new PBS show.

Tommy - we wish you great success with the new show and will be looking for you on the air!

That is all I have for now so I will leave you with the video of Tommy's announcement.

Your friend in the shop - Todd A. Clippinger.

Share the Love~Share the Knowledge