Turning 100

Well, here it is. Wood Choppin’ Time has reached it’s 100th episode.  It’s surprising to me that we’ve made it this far. In the beginning, I had an idea of sharing woodworking tips to help others avoid the mistake I made.That was over 6 years ago.

turning-100-and-smoking150I remember many years ago, woodworking videos were typically some old guy who claimed to be a “Master Craftsman” He would talk in a confident yet condescending tone as to instruct me on HIS way of woodworking and always reminding me of where he learned  his training. It made me feel as if I would never be good at woodworking because i didn’t have the same background. I felt as if i was only privileged to “watch” this master work and dream of doing the same. (side point- there is NO such thing as a master craftsman or master woodworker. This is a self appointed title)

I was always slightly offended by this and thought there has to be a better way. Woodworking is a honorable trade and should be taught with humility, not pride and ego.  I reflected back when I would work and teach young children. I used comedy and humor to have the children remember the lesson. I thought this might be a new way to teach woodworking and to inspire a younger generation to get involved in woodworking. Now, i’ve never been a cool guy. So i decided to create a comical, goofy character. I felt that a silly character might empower the viewer by thinking, “If a dummy like him can do it, so can I.” The character has either struck home with viewers, or struck a nerve.

I chose the name Big Chopperoo to make light of myself, and as a way of poking back at all the woodworkers who call themselves “MASTER”. I created the character Safety Dan, as a way of poking fun at all the lawyers out there who treat us as if we are infants and idiots and have turned us into worry warts about getting sued. The simple fact is, anyone who doesn’t know that power tools are dangerous or hand tools are sharp, shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a shop!

People early on thought  I was making fun of this craft, or I was making light of it. Neither of course were true. I had hate mail coming in by the truckloads. I had editors writing me asking me to stop this way of teaching, saying I was doing more of a disservice to the trade. I had to admit I was wondering if I was making a big mistake. But I decided to continue.

When I started, I didn’t put a whole lot of effort into it. I began filming with an old flip video camera.  I turned  it on and just began talking. Over  the years, things have been refined. My upgrades have included HD camera, professional lights, higher grade sound system, professional editing program, and a state of the art, high speed, kick ass computer, faster than Superman himself.

Thanks to my good friend, Bret, he has given us a new website and helps contribute to story ideas. Bret is the man behind the scenes who makes it all “web worthy”.

But not just equipment upgrades were made. Upgrades to the writing has evolved too. I learned the art of timing in comedy, reflecting back on such great comedian such as Jack Benny, Lucille Ball, and for me, Benny HIll.

In every video the technique is closely examined to make sure it’s a practical method of work.
The script it written out, rehearsed, and followed word for word. Even the camera angles are all story boarded out. This simple show has turned out to be a major production. But it has paid off.

In recent years the show has grown in viewership. Hate mails have ceased and have been replaced with compliments. Editors now ask me to participate with them. And most of all, people are finding a new way to learn woodworking. I’ve always used the slogan, Watch, Laugh and Learn. It seems it’s working.

So in conclusion, I would like to thank EVERYONE who has watched. Whether you liked the show or hated it. Whether you gave it a good review or bad. You took the time to watch, and for that i am very appreciative.   I’ve always compared the show to a pack of cigarettes. At first you hate it, but before long, you are hooked. 🙂 Thanks to you all we made it to 100, and hopefully a hundred more.

Keep Dancin’ my friends !!!!