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After woodworking for several decades, you’d think there’d be nothing new to learn about myself when it comes to being in the woodshop. Well, I just learned something.

I just completed shooting a woodworking DVD, and had a blast doing it. I was formerly a full-time broadcaster, have a lot of stage experience in amateur theater, and even performed with an improv troupe for several years so I wasn’t the least bit nervous about working in front of cameras. Except for one thing.

Oh, I did just fine talking and relating to the camera, and ad-libbed smoothly with neither script nor teleprompter. All that was easy based on my background, but one thing I’ve never ever done in my entire life is work with tools while someone was watching. That completely unnerved me.

That was especially the case on the table saw, where I found myself dividing my attention between what I was doing with spinning sharp stuff inches from my fingers, and being aware of what I was doing on-camera. It didn’t help that the table saw was unfamiliar, and that I was crosscutting from the left with a sliding table instead how I usually do it on the right with my miter gauge. It was so intimidating that it took three tries to correctly cut a simple 10-degree bevel on the ends of some workpieces.

Still, I eventually got it right and over the course of the three-day shoot became increasingly comfortable with using tools – power and hand – while being watched. In all, the shoot was efficient and without incident, the producers were pleased with the result, the whole thing was fun and enjoyable, and I look forward to doing the next one.

It’s a running joke around this part of the country that the most common last words are, “Hey, watch this!” The indication being that some idiots have no fear doing dangerous stuff while showing off for the camera.

If I take nothing else away from the experience, I’m happy to learn that I’m not one of those people.



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