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How I Make My Videos

This video is a bit of a departure from what I normally do - I’ve had a few people ask me to make a video about how I make videos so this video is about how I film, edit and produce my project videos on this channel.   Making the videos is time consuming – I spend at least as long working on the video side of things as I do making the project itself.  So here it is.


So filming starts in the workshop and I use my home made mobile camera stand – there’s a link in the description box below for the build video for that, and I use a Panasonic HC-V210 camera. I bought this camera in asecondhand shop about 3 years ago for £85, so not a lot of money, and this thing has taken so much use and abuse, it’s fallen on the floor countless times and it’s usually coated in sawdust, and yet somehow it continues to perform.  It’s a 1080p camera, it has a wider lens than a lot of the similar cameras I looked at when I bought it which means I can capture more in the frame when the camera is quite to whatever I’m filming, which is useful. I’m really happy with it for what I paid. I do have more capable cameras that I use for stills, they are both Panasonic too - I have a GX80 and a GX7 but I don’t use them in the workshop as I don’t want to ruin them – I’d rather continue to use this one until it finally can’t take any more abuse.

On most projects I tend to start filming the project first, and then film any spoken intros or outros once the project is complete.  I have tried filming an intro and then filming the project, but sometimes projects take a slightly different direction as they’re progressing, so I find it usually makes more sense to do it at the end.

When I’m filming the project, I only film short sections of all the different activities I do, so for example if I spend 10 minutes planing a board by hand, I might only film about 1 minute of that activity.  Also within that minute of filming, I usually try to move the camera at least once, so I might film 30 seconds as a wide shot like this and then another 30 seconds of a close up shot like this.  Having  a few different camera angles just seems to make the final video a bit more interesting to watch in my experience. Filming absolutely everything that I do on a project wouldn’t really be possible as the memory card on my camera would be filling up too often, the battery in my camera would need replacing more regularly, and also when I transfer the video files from my camera to my PC, it would take a really long time.

Once the project is complete, I then film a spoken intro / outro if I feel the project needs one, and I also take some still photos of the project with my other cameras.  They are for use on my video thumbnails, and my website articles for each project, and sometimes I’ll show them as a slideshow at the end of the project video too.

All of my projects are filmed at the weekends, as I have a full time day job Monday-Friday.  Occasionally though I’ll do an hour or so woodworking in an evening – that tends to happen for two reasons – either I’m running late for getting a video done as I push myself to upload a new video to my channel every Friday, the second reason is if I’m really excited by a particular project and I just really want to work on it.  


When the project is complete I need to transfer all the video files from my camera to my PC or laptop, and I do this by plugging it in via USB and I drag and drop all the files to a newly created folder to keep them all together and organised.  This process takes quite a while as the video files are large, so I tend to leave it processing and go away and get on with something else.

I’ll show the specs of my PC and laptop on screen.  I predominantly use the PC for editing, and it’s not the highest spec as it’s now about 3 years old, but it handles editing 1080 video files just fine.  My laptop is much newer, I bought it around 6 months ago and the reason I got this was because I have to travel quite frequently for my day job, so when I’m staying in a hotel room I can still be productive and get some editing done in the evening once my working day at my day job has finished. 

Both my PC and laptop would probably struggle a bit with 4k video editing, which is why I haven’t yet upgraded my camera.  But also I think 1080 is plenty good enough for what I do at the moment, I’m in no hurry to upgrade to a 4k set up.


For video editing I use Sony Vegas Pro 11.  I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this particular software, I just tend to use it because it’s what I’m used to using and I don’t dislike it enough to push me to go and learn how to use a different piece of video editing software.  My biggest problem with Vegas is that sometimes without reason it will crash while rendering a video for no apparent reason which is pretty frustrating.

I have a video file as a template which has my intro and outro and all my preferred audio level and video settings saved and I use this for each new project video I start to give all of my videos some consistency.  I won’t talk about the settings I use in too much detail, but basically for audio I use a hard limiter which helps to raise the volume and compress and even out the levels – I mainly do this because if you’re watching one of my videos without a proper set of speakers like on a mobile device for example, it helps keep everything audible.  And for video, I add a bit of contrast to the footage from my Panasonic video camera as the footage from it looks a little bit washed out without it.  Occasionally I also need to change some colour tones in a clip, but generally the auto white balance on the camera does a good job most of the time.

I’ll drag all my video files from the folder on to the project, and they are automatically arranged in the order that they were recorded, which is great – makes my life much easier.  Each clips has a video and an aidop track which gives you the flexibility of being able to work on them independently.

The first thing I do is edit down each clip to only the bits that want shown in the final video, and then I keep moving them all together. I’ll also speed up any clips that seem long winded and I do this to keep my video as short and concise as possible.   Generally I aim to get the content of each video down to around 10 minutes, as to me that feels about the right length for a YouTube video in my opinion.  If I’m working on a particularly long project then I’ll split in to 10 minutes sections and post the videos as part 1, part 2 and so on. 

I’ll also merge some clips together, for example if I’m just talking in the video clip but I want the video to show me doing something while I’m talking, I’ll overlap the clips, and then sort the audio levels out so that both the talking and the background sound is audible.  


Once all the clips are trimmed and put together, I watch the whole thing back and type up a script which I’ll later use for narration.  I do this because I’m not a very good talker - I find I get my point across better when I write down what I want to say first rather than just freestyle narrating what’s happening in the video.  I have tried to narrate videos freestyle on occasion but that actually tends to take more time for me – but that’s probably just a personal thing.


Next comes narrating, and for this I use a USB microphone which plugs straight in to the PC – this is called the Blue Yeti. I bought it on Amazon for around £100.   It works great and is well built – I’ve even travelled with this in my suitcase a few times if I want to get some narration done while I’m away in a hotel room somewhere and it’s always performed well.  I also use a pop filter in front of the mic which helps to eliminate any plosive vocal sounds.  This is just something I had left over from the days when I used to record music, but the microphone stand clip which used to be on it broke, so I made a little wooden base for it so I could use it at my desk. 

I create a new audio track in the project, set the microphone level to make sure that my vocals are not clipping, and then hit record and read through the script that I previously typed up. If I mess up a line, I’ll repeat it until I get it right.  When I’ve finished reading the script, I cut out any gaps and any bits that I got wrong,

Then I move the narration clips to wherever appropriate within the project so that what I’m talking about reflects what’s happening on the video.

I usually have three separate audio tracks on each project, one for background sound, one for vocals and narration, and one for music, which I usually put at the start and end of each video.  Having them as three separate tracks allows me to adjust the levels on each of them independently so I can get the video sounding exactly how I want it. The vocals are always loudest, the background sounds are usually quite quiet, and if I’m using a particularly noisey tool like my tablesaw for example, I also lower the volume of those particular clips.


Finally, I’ll watch back the whole video and make final adjustments.  I might take out some clips that I feel are unnecessary to keep the video short and concise, tweak audio levels, that sort of thing. 

I’ll also listen to it through both headphones, and speakers to check that the audio levels are OK and everything that needs to be heard can be.

Like I said before, I aim to keep each video to 10 minutes. 


Next I’ll render the video, and that takes some time, usually over an hour so I leave it alone to do it’s thing.


I’ll watch the video one more time just as a final check.  And once I’m happy that it’s as good as it can be, I can upload it to YouTube.  I schedule my videos so that they are uploaded every Friday at 5pm GMT and I’ve been able to maintain 1 video per week for well over a year now.  At the moment I’m doing really well as I’ve been doing lots of projects so you can see here I’ve got plenty of videos scheduled for the next few weeks which means I can chill out a bit and actually have some time at the weekend to relax and see my girlfriend! It also means I can go away on holiday and I don’t have to worry about getting behind – that that’s the way I like it. It’s not always like this though and often I’m uploading videos to YouTube the night before they’re due to be published and it’s all a bit of a mad rush.

So Friday evenings are always quite exciting for me and I look forward reading the new comments on the video and getting some feedback on the projects.  I’m very lucky that 95% of the comments I get are either positive or constructive and I really like to see some of the same people commenting regularly too – so a big thanks to all my regular viewers. I’m happy to get negative comments too if they’re constructive but they’re often not - but that’s just what you happens on YouTube!

So that’s it, I hope you enjoyed this insight in to the life of a YouTube woodworker and what goes in to making these videos. 

 Normal service will be resumed next week with another project video.

Hand Plane Set Up - in seven simple steps

In this video I talk about how I set up my hand planes in seven simple steps. At the end of the video I talk about my hand plane collection.

Flat sole
The sole of the plane needs to be as flat as you can get it. 
The easiest way that I have found to check for flatness is to tape down some 120 grit sandpaper to a known flat surface – you could use a piece of glass, or a tablesaw table, or even a ceramic tile for example.  In the video I use a piece of 12mm MDF.
Back off the iron so that it’s well clear of the throat, you don’t want to sand the cutting iron.  But it’s better to leave it in rather than taking it out because the tension of the lever cap can slightly alter the shape of the sole very slightly, so if you flatten the sole with the lever cap on, then you know it’s flat with the cutting iron in which is how you’ll be using it.
Draw some lines on the sole with a sharpie pen from one side to the other all the way down the length of the sole.
Then sand the sole and if the pen marks are visible in some areas, that means it’s not flat, so you’ll want to do some more sanding.  If it appears to be badly out of shape then you might want to start with a more aggressive paper like 80 grit which will remove material more quickly, and then when it’s flat move up to 120.
There’s really no need to go above 120 grit as that is plenty smooth enough but you can if you want it to look more polished.  Once the sole is flat, it’s really important to lubricate it, which I’ll talk more about a bit later.
Sharp Cutting Iron
A sharp cutting edge will make the plane cut cleaner and the hand plane will also be easier to use as there’ll be less resistance.
The method I use for sharpening is to use a honing guide like this one, I set the tip of the cutting edge to be around 35mm from the front of this honing guide which gives me an angle somewhere between 25 and 30 degrees.  Then I sharpen on a 360 grit diamond plate, using some water with a drop of washing up liquid to lubricate the stone and checking to make sure that I’m cutting along the whole length of the cutting edge.  Then I do the same again at 600 grit on the other side of the plate.  Then I use a waterstone at 1000 grit, and then the other side at 6000 grit. Then I hone the cutting edge using this green cutting compound on a piece of leather glued to a block of MDF and I do this free hand without the honing guide.  Then I remove the burr from the back of the blade with one stroke.  I test it’s sharp using a piece of paper, and when it cuts cleanly I know I’ve got a good cutting edge. 
Here are some links to the items I use for sharpening - all of them are inexpensive.
Taidea 360/600 grit diamond plate http://amzn.to/2pXfLZX (Amazon UK) or http://amzn.to/2o9cudt (Amazon US)

Japanese 1000/6000 grit whetstone http://amzn.to/2oHw3pm (Amazon UK) or http://amzn.to/2pIpzIb (Amazon US)

Green polishing compound http://amzn.to/2oHwtvW (Amazon UK) or http://amzn.to/2pIa7LQ (Amazon US)

Honing Guide http://amzn.to/2pXgLgQ (Amazon UK) or http://amzn.to/2pIiqY4 (Amazon US)
Chip breaker / Cap Iron set
Once your cutting iron is nice and sharp you’ll want to attach it to the cap iron, also known as chip breaker which is this piece here, and it’s job is to deflect the shavings out through the top of the plane and reduce tear out.  I like to set mine so that it is 2mm away from the tip of the cutting iron.  To adjust it, you can unscrew the thumbscrew that holds both irons together and manoeuvre it in to place being careful not to let it rub against the tip of the cutting iron as that can dull the blade, then tighten the screw to set it.  You can also flatten the tip of the cap iron to make sure it makes contact with the cutting iron from one side to the other which will help prevent chips getting caught in there.
Lever Cap setting
The lever cap allows you to quickly remove and re-fit the cap iron and cutting iron at the flick of a lever.  There's an adjustment screw which controls how tight the mechanism is and also how tight the blade adjustment knob is to turn, which is this part here.  Tightening the screw will make the adjustment knob and the lever mechanism tighter, and loosening it will make the knob turn and the flipping of the lever more easy and you can adjust this until you get it operating just the way you want it.  I like to set mine so that the adjustment knob can be twisted with one finger which allows me to adjust it quickly and easily.
Blade cutting depth and alignment
Next it’s time to set the blade cutting depth using the screw knob on the back.  To do this I hold the plane right up to one eye and hold it up towards a light, I close my other eye and I sight down the length of the sole turning the knob until I can see just the very tip of it protruding from the throat.  If one side is protruding more than the other, then I use the alignment lever to angle the blade so that it’s level and straight.  Then I back off the blade by half a turn or so and give it a try on a piece of wood advancing the blade with each pass until I get a shaving.  Then to test I first use the right hand side of the blade, and then the left and I look for both shavings to be the same thickness – and when they are, I know my blade is correctly aligned.
Mouth width / frog adjustment
The distance between the front of the throat and the cutting iron can be increased or decreased depending on how much material you want to remove with the plane.  I like to set mine so that the distance between the cutting edge (when it's able to take a light shaving) and front of the mouth is 2mm. 
If you find that shavings get caught in the throat as you’re planing, and you’re having to pull them out all the time by hand, then that’s usually a sign that the opening is too narrow, so you’ll probably want to open it up a bit.
To adjust it, this part of the plane is called the frog, and at the back of it you’ll find an adjustment screw at the bottom.  This can be turned clockwise to advance the frog or counter clockwise to back it off and make the opening wider.
This one is sometimes overlooked, but makes a huge difference. I regularly lubricate the sole of my plane between and during use, it makes the plane glide much easier and take a lot less effort and it also protects it from rust.  I either use some regular oil or a lubrucating wax on a cloth. For the sole of the plane though, I like to use some candle wax.
If you follow the above steps then you should get decent results.
Finally I thought I’d talk about my own hand planes, and I only have three.  I have a vintage Record No. 5 which I use the most, probably 90% of the time and I have this set up as a smoothing plane to take mostly thin shavings.  Then I have this unbranded No. 4 hand plane which I tend to use for rougher work with more questionable materials (in case there are nails embedded in the wood). And finally I have a Draper block plane which I tend to use predominantly for bevelling edges, or creating subtle roundover edges.

5 YouTube Woodworkers in the U.K. that deserve more subs!

Here are 5 British YouTube woodworkers that in my opinion deserve more subs! And why you should check them out.
Please write your recommendations in the comments so that I and others can check them out. Thanks! 
Links to their channels are below:
Stephen's 8x6 Workshop: https://goo.gl/iQC2IY
Badger Workshop: https://goo.gl/cg4aDV
Susan Gardener: https://goo.gl/nbdKU5
Stuff I Made: https://goo.gl/jGkLTl
Happy Wife Happy Life: https://goo.gl/K8GnG4

Wood Finishes - A Quick Guide - Varnish / Stain / Oil / Wax / Lacquer / Polyurethane / Shellac

Wood stains, also known as wood dyes are designed to change the colour of wood while leaving the grain still visible. Most stains don't offer a lot of protection to wood, apart from perhaps some of the stains that are made for external use which tend to be a lot thicker, so if you're using a stain it's usually a good idea to apply a protective coat of something else like a varnish afterwards - depending on what project you're doing and what look you want to achieve. Stains are available in all sorts of different colours, but the colour that you will achieve after applying will also depend on the type of wood that you are applying it too. I'd recommend using a piece of scrap of the same wood that you want to apply the stain to, wait for it to dry and then you can check if it's a colour that you're happy with before you apply it to the actual thing that you want to stain. If the colour is too intense, you can dilute it with mineral spirits to thin it out and make the stain more subtle. If the colour isn't intense enough, then you can apply multiple coats until you get the result you want. Stains are easy to apply with either a paint brush or a rag. It usually dries pretty quickly. Applying stain can raise the grain on some wood types, so you might want to rub it down with some steel wool or do some light sanding in between coats to keep things smooth. You can add other finishes like oil or varnish after your stain has dried without any problems.

Oils make wood look good. Unfinished wood looks dry and kind of dull, and applying oil will bring out the natural beauty of the wood making the grain pop and nourishing the wood - it replaces the natural oils in wood that dry out over time. Oil will add a bit of colour to the wood too, making it slightly darker and it can also add a warmer yellowish tint to it, but not in the same way that a stain would change the colour of wood - you generally get more of a natural look with oil. There are loads of different types of oils but some of the most popular ones are boiled linseed oil, teak oil, ting oil, mineral oil and danish oil. Oils add a bit of protection to the wood against things like moisture but are nowhere near as effective as a finish like varnish or lacquer would. Danish oil offers more protection than other oils because it is actually a mixture of oil and varnish, so it is more hard wearing. Oils are easy to apply with a brush or a rag. You can apply multiple coats of oil if you want to achieve different looks. Boiled Linseed Oil is cheap to buy so I tend to use that when I want to bring out the beauty of the wood in a project but I don't need much protection - like on a picture frame for example. I tend to use Danish Oil when I need a bit more protection, for example on a table top. Mineral oil is good for things like chopping boards, because it is food safe and it won't go rancid.

Polyurethane finish is basically a liquid plastic, and it can either be water based or oil based, the water based stuff dries quickly but doesn't do much to bring out the natural beauty of the wood, whereas oil based takes longer to dry and will pop the grain nicely and add a warm tint to it. It's usually available in different levels of sheen - gloss is shiny when it catches the light, Matt is not shiny at all and Satin is somewhere in between the two. Polyurethane is the most durable and hard wearing finish - so it's good to use on things like floorboards or table tops. You can apply it with a brush, but I like to use a wipe on poly - that way you don't need to worry about dealing with brush strokes. But if you do use a brush, a bit of wet sanding with some fine grit wet and dry abrasive paper will usually smooth it out nicely. The down side to polyurethane finish in my opinion is that it has kind of a plasticky feel to it so I don't tend to use it very often but that's just a personal thing

Varnish is an older type of finish made up of oils, resin and solvents. It dries slowly and isn't as durable as polyurethane, but it does offer better UV protection than polyurethane. It's usually cheaper than polyurethane too.
Yacht varnish also knows as spar varnish is great for exterior use, great for things like decking and garden furniture.

Shellac is another older type of finish. It's basically flakes of waxy resin scraped from a tree which is then mixed with an alcohol solvent which makes it easy to apply and it dries quickly. It offers a very glossy finish and is often used on antiques and fine furniture. Shellac is what is used for French polishing which is basically applying lots of very thin coats of shellac. It is not as durable as polyurethane or varnish but it does look great, however it can appear slightly dull and cloudy with age.

Lacquer is a thin liquid varnish usually applied by spraying. It dries quite quickly due to the evaporating solvents that it contains. It's durable and hardwearing and it can also be polished to a glossy finish. And it also pops the grain and brings out the natural beauty in wood without drastically changing the colour of the wood.

Finishing Wax is usually made mainly of beeswax. It's available as a clear finish or in different colours. It offers a bit of protection to wood against moisture and it brings out the natural beauty in the wood and a leaves a very smooth to the touch finish. It is best applied sparingly using a rag, or you can use a brush and then wipe off the excess with a rag. After it dries it can be buffed using another clean rag to a nice satin ish sheen. It's not suitable for exterior use.

How To Get Wood For Free (Or Cheap!)

In this video I talk about why I use salvaged materials, and show you where I get them from.

I also take a walk around my local area to show places where I’ve found things in the past, for example:  alleyways in my neighbourhood, communal bin areas, skips, etc.

And I show you what my local reclamation yard has to offer, such as new and old pieces of dimensional wood – both soft woods and hard woods, pressure treated wood, sheets such as plywood, OSB and chipboard flooring.  They even have their own selection of items made from reclaimed materials like furniture and house accessories.

Why use salvaged wood / materials

·         It’s the right thing to do for ethical reasons – re-cycling means less waste

·         They’re either free or inexpensive – my local reclamation yard tends to be around 30% cheaper than big DIY stores, and the quality of materials is often comparable

·         Salvaged wood has more character, which is a benefit if you want a “rustic” feel for your project


What are the drawbacks?

·         The materials might take longer to prepare – there might be old nails, paint or dirt to deal with

·         Knowing if things are OK to take away – for example if you see something on a building site or left by someone’s garden – always ask permission before you take anything!

·         It might feel embarrassing to take things that other people are throwing away – but you get used to it!

·         Storage – if you have a small workshop or shed then space for storing materials is always a challenge!


Where can I get pallets?

·         Ask people who work “in the trade” – often companies will pay other companies to come in and take away pallets and packaging materials – so from my experience they’re usually happy for people to take them away for free

·         Check at local retail parks, warehouses and shopping centres – often they’ll leave them outside by the bins – but always ask permission before you take anything, and always check that they are safe to use.  They will usually have letters stamped on them – e.g. “HT” = heat treated.  Check out this link for more information: http://www.1001pallets.com/pallet-safety/


Where else do you get stuff from?

·         Now that word has got out a bit about what I do, family and friends often let me know of opportunities – for example – someone’s neighbour is throwing away some old floor boards, or there’s a skip on this road that looks like it’s got some good wood in it – and then I can go and check it out for myself

·         Checking Classified Ads – on Gumtree here in the UK there are two sections worth looking in – “DIY Tools & Materials > “Building Materials” and “Freebies”.  There are other classified ads websites like craigslist, Shpock, FreeAds, Preloved etc. 

Wood Glue - Quick Tips - Episode 1

Here are a couple of quick tips about glue bottles and glue spreaders

5 Small Workshop Tips

Five tips for making the most of the space in a small workshop

Chisel & Plane Blade Sharpening - My Method

A video about my method for sharpening chisels and plane blades.
Everything I use in this video is pretty cheap and easy to come by,.
Equipment I use:
Draper Honing Guide: http://amzn.to/2rIhK9h (Amazon UK) http://amzn.to/2reUdvx (Amazon US)

Taidea 360/600 grit diamond plates http://amzn.to/2toED25 (Amazon UK) http://amzn.to/2rIolkm (Amazon US)

King Japanese 1000/6000 Whetstone: http://amzn.to/2shn7cH (Amazon UK) http://amzn.to/2qEpTaE (Amazon US)

Green Polishing Compound: http://amzn.to/2ro1do1 (Amazon UK) http://amzn.to/2qEzvCq (Amazon US)
Favourite sharpening videos:
Paul Sellers Chisel Sharpening https://goo.gl/wBXUq0 
John Heisz Sharpening Jig https://goo.gl/P4n5gn
Jay Bates Sharpening https://goo.gl/SuTGtO