First off, a note of gratitude to www.unpluggedshop.com and Paul and Joseph Sellars for this aggregate site that we go to daily. It has been a vital way for me to connect to the world of woodworking enthusiasts.
Next, I want to thank the many bloggers for their inspiring posts through the years. You deserve credit for keeping at it and taking the necessary time and effort. It would be helpful if more readers left comments on your blogs if nothing else than just to acknowledge your contributions. For some reason many of the blogs where I used to leave comments have made it less accessible to do so with the need to sign in under a choice of accounts which thwart my efforts to join.
I discovered weblogs in 2009. Like all things internet, there was a lot of confusion for me. I thought at first that all the woodworking blog posts were written by fellow professionals. Eventually, it became clear that only a small percentage were pros. Talented amateurs were the main body of contributors and among them were highly skilled craftsmen/craftswomen. The unpluggedshop site,of course, selected the predominantly hand tool workers.
Before the internet, woodworking shows and readers’ comments and articles in magazines were the only means of sharing information and perspectives. Blogs and forums forever changed that. It is as easy as a few keystrokes or clicks now to find blog posts that cover:
~tutorials on building furniture of all kinds
~tutorials on specific tools and techniques
~information on trees, wood, timber, etc.
~philosphical attitudes and approaches to the craft
~tool and new product reviews
~historical information about antique furniture
~historical information on traditional methods of work
~step-by step builds by contemporary makers
~biographies of important woodworkers
~the teaching/class schedules of woodworking teachers and institutions and important events
~book and magazine reviews
I have really enjoyed using my blog, in addition to documenting extensive builds, as a means of telling personal stories that cover a wide range of topics and don’t always relate to woodworking specifically, such as the kindness of a stranger, business snafus, funny clients, harrowing commissions, family history, my inventor father, growing trees, and dogs.
Since my hiking accident in 2015, my blogging efforts have waned. As gratifying as they are to publish, I find that they take a fair amount of time and effort. All the camera images need to be re-sized, for one. Writing, itself, can be a slow process. If you are tired and have other things to do… Another important fact is that, while there may be many readers, so few people comment, as previously mentioned. That is a discouraging aspect.
Some of my younger tool-making friends encouraged me to try it out and it’s quickly become a daily routine. Initially, I was wary of being awash with so many images. How many can I really want to look at? Don’t I already have enough screen time in my life? And yet it is such a convenient and effective way to pass along shop tips and share pictures and short videos of work. No resizing required and usually just a paragraph of text or less. My wife, who teaches writing at the college level, maintains that it is one of the reasons her students can’t write! It has certainly diminished my production of long form posts.
Just in the last two weeks, though, my interest in writing blogs has been given a boost, first by the editors of Furniture and Cabinetmaking Magazine published in the UK who will recommend my site to their readers, having evaluated the content and given it the thumbs up, and, secondly, by Toolversed that selected me to be in their top 25 blogs.
The two platforms offer those of us who want to share our woodworking adventures better options. Just as I wouldn’t think a blog post appropriate or worth it for just a picture with minimum text, a long form post requiring multiple photos with detailed explanation, like the one you’re reading, wouldn’t fly on Instagram.
All this online activity is having an impact on magazines and presses, the people who make hard copy. How could it not? Let’s not forget to support them. You won’t get any “fake” woodworking news or information from their well-edited pages.