One of my favourite video genres, especially on days like today when I’m not feeling 100% and I want to watch something gentle, undemanding, but still interesting, is slow videos of people making things out of wood.
It’s a bit like how disillusioned (or fully-vested) tech people suddenly start a new career whittling spoons or something, but without having to retire or start a new career or make anything or even leave the sofa.
One of the great things about online videos is that they don’t all suffer from the afflictions of modern documentary TV: overbearing soundtracks, fake jeopardy, time restrictions, or repeatedly telling you what they’re going to show you and what they’ve already shown you.
Here are some men in Kent making and laying wooden shingles. It’s well prepared, very well explained (which is never a given) and there’s no rush. Very agreeable. There are two parts, here‘s the first:
Here, via Kottke, are some Swedish men using medieval tools and techniques to turn an eleven metre tree into eight church rafters:
Apologies for the continental European intrusion of metric measurements there, which doesn’t happen often in my limited wanderings through this old-fashioned genre.
I’ve just finished watching this one, an Australian sixth-generation cooper with a fine beard showing how to make a wooden bucket:
That has a bonus section at the end where he demonstrates some of the old and very specific tools used for different bits of the barrel-making process.
Another one via Kottke a while back, is some Latvian men (always men) turning a tree trunk into a dugout canoe over several months using only hand tools. It mostly involves removing almost all of the wood, very slowly and carefully:
You get the idea. Nice and gentle, and also educational. Do let me know if you have any favourites along these lines.