One of my first posts to this blog was a list of my favorite online resources for learning about woodworking. In there I briefly mention the WoodTalk Online message board and its associated podcast. I'm not huge fan of podcasts mainly because I don't often have time to listen to them. My commute to work takes 15 minutes and I like my routine of music on the way in and sports radio on the way home. At home my kids keep us so busy that the thought of having free time while they are awake is laughable.
I basically have two "me time" moments during the day, my lunch hour at work, which is often interrupted, and when I am in my garage after the rest of the house is asleep. I usually listen to music while in the garage (I can't call it a shop yet) but last night I cued up the latest Wood Talk Online Radio podcast. I had listened to one before during my lunch hour but was pretty distracted and in turn I didn't get much out of it. Last night was a different story.
Marc Spagnuolo, Matt Vanderlist and Shannon Rogers centered on the recent WIA conference in California in addition to their usual pulse taking of the woodworking community. Within that pulse check they answer questions submitted by email, voice mail, sky writing, smoke signals, morse code or however else you choose to send them a message. One of the questions they answered had to do with building a work bench with a plywood top. Marc, or possibly Matt, mentioned that while a plywood top is certainly functional, you might not ever achieve a dead flat surface, which is desirable when using the bench for assembly.
I recently built my own bench using using mdf as the top and I have found it to be less than dead flat. I had concerns about this until Shannon talked about his opinion of the need for a dead flat surface. Paraphrased, he thinks the need is over rated and his reasoning makes sense. It is rare that we assemble a piece that is as long as a work bench. We typically use a smaller area of that work surface and in doing so the margin of error in a not-perfectly-flat bench top is reduced to a negligible amount. Thanks Shannon, I feel much better.
That quick conversation between these three well established woodworkers has me hooked. It was great to hear about one of my own concerns from difference perspectives. I will be adding their podcast to my listening rotation from here on out.
Even when they were talking about other subjects, it was nice to hear other woodworkers talk while I worked some wood myself. I liked it so much I have added a permanent link to the right side of this blog. Go download and listen, now. Or better yet, tune every Wednesday at 6pm/9pm eastern/pacific for the live stream. I'll be listening the recorded version much later tonight.
Thanks for reading!
PS - I listened to the podcast on my iPhone via the TWW app. Check it out.