Lights, Camera …

At the clap of the audio/video synchronizer we were off and running.


With director David Thiel, videographers Ric and Al behind the cameras we maintained a breakneck pace for two days in filming the video “Historic Transparent Finishes” for the multimedia division of Popular Woodworking.  Thanks to their professionalism and some preparations by me we had only two “second takes” in the two days; one of them was to fix a wiggling work bench on the very first segment.

The world of finishing, even transparent finishing, even historic transparent finishing, is simply too big to cover in a single video.  My first proposal was for an eight-hour video, which caused David to take a big gulp until he saw that I was actually projecting a two-hour video for a small section of the larger body of material.


The video is actually a fairly narrow scope as I focused by discussing and demonstrating only wax and shellac finishes over hand planed wood.  Starting with rough sawn lumber and finishing with glistening, shimmering, and tactile delights possible with planes, scrapers, polissoirs, brushes, and pads.  No oil/resin varnishes, no coloration, no paints, no gilding.  Just simple  and easy (? straightforward at least).IMG_5464

We worked from a detailed outline I had prepared for David, and we did very little out-of-sequence shooting, and then only when it was the only way to get everything done in a timely manner.  We were even so efficient that we added three or four vignettes that I had not included in the outline.


One involved the burnishing and varnishing a ball-and-claw leg (thanks Glen Huey for letting me work on one you had laying around) exploring the magic of polished cow horn and filbert mop brushes, which make the finish application so easy it is almost embarrassing.  Add an opening, a closing, and some PR snippets and we were done by suppertime of the second day.

As we wrapped up I think it was Ric who said, “Good job.  And it was even interesting.” (Did I detect a hint of surprise in his voice?)  Of course it was interesting.  It was wood finishing!

I was a bit of a zombie the next two days as my wife and I toured Cincinnati and then drove back home to the mountains of the Allegheny Highlands.  She says I was just recovering from an adrenalin rush from being “on” for two straight days, and she might be right.  I don’t particularly like excitement.

I hope to see a rough cut this week, as Ric said editing it was a piece of cake since the initial work was so clean and linear.  I understand the release is sometime around August, so stay tuned.  I’m sure it would make a great Christmas gift for your thirty or forty closest friends.