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Home project gains a boost from YouTube

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I’ve had some extra shop time recently, which can only mean one thing: We needed something for the house.

My wife requested a new bathroom vanity to replace a pedestal sink. It’s a tight space, which is why we went with the pedestal sink in the first place. There’s just enough room for an 18” cabinet between the door and the tub. This was the opportunity I’ve been waiting for. It’s taken me the better part of three years to build the shop, paint the exterior and create a functional working environment. This cabinet would not only justify its existence, but also allow me to take it for a test drive.

I won’t bore you with the construction details, except to say that I found building the box to be a straightforward and enjoyable experience. I struggled with the door and hardware installation. But the end result was satisfactory and now my kid has somewhere to brush his teeth.

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The truth is that I needed help every step of the way. I’ve got stacks of books on cabinetmaking, but I learned faster by watching videos on YouTube. Maybe that’s because I grew up watching Norm Abram or I’m just like the millions of people who also watch these videos. So I owe a big thanks to Jon Peters and Steve Johnson for their assistance.

Peters is a natural in front of the camera, producing DIY projects for his “Art & Home” series. He’s a New Jersey-based craftsman who has the marketing deal down pat. He draws a big audience with his instructional videos, which in the end are advertisements for his commissioned work. Johnson, the “Down to Earth Woodworker,” has a baritone voice and an easy manner. He had me ready to make sawdust after watching a video or two on a Saturday morning while sipping my coffee.

I’m also a fan of Marc Spagnuolo, a.k.a. the Wood Whisper, who I should also thank for showing me how to build numerous projects for the shop, such as jigs and shelf supports.

Search for “woodworking” on YouTube and you’ll get hundreds of videos. Most involve a woodworker in their garage demonstrating something for which they’re reasonably proficient. They might or might not have a camera operator and most of them could use a good editor, but they’re making woodworking education available to the masses.

I think more professionals should make these videos. I can’t imagine a better way to market your skills, while also promoting the capabilities of your shop. I suggest spending some time on YouTube to see what’s missing. There are a lot of “instructors” building cabinets, but not so many showing viewers how to make fine furniture or architectural details.

Plus, my next project looks like it will probably be more difficult and I’ll need all the help I can get.

This article originally appeared in the April 2016 issue.

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