Dark Chocolate and Spongecake (35)

As mentioned in the previous post in this thread, I had recorded a couple of hours worth of video, mostly of the assembly of the cabinet. I’ve been chipping away at the editing here and there in the intervening months. I can’t say I have been working at it consistently. At first, it was almost unbearable to see myself on video, given the ravages of cancer. Being on this earth 54 years now, I developed an internal view of what I look like, and to see oneself – to barely recognize oneself – either in pictures or video can be hard to deal with. In time, I have come to a certain accommodation, and that allowed me to increase the pace of editing work.

I had about 2 hours of footage to work with, and I could have have left it largely unedited and simply uploaded the content with a few title pages added. But I think that in this day and age, people’s attention spans are challenged by the sheer volume of content out there, and I doubted that many could sit through such as long video.

One of course could break the content into, say, 4 half-hour chunks and put it out that way. For whatever reason I decided against that and went with a single stand-alone video. I needed to edit it down, but to what extent?

There are a number of channels I subscribe to, and I tend to like fairly detailed videos. If the information is interesting, I have no issue watching long videos. But I notice that several Youtube channels are moving to a format of putting out lots of short (3~5 minute) videos. I find these quite unsatisfying for the most part and it has decreased my interest in those channels.

I also find videos with extensive ‘sped-up’ sections not to my taste. It’s an editing option, but not the one I chose to use.

And then there is the issue of overall format. There seem to be a few options. A lot of videos feature someone being filmed and speaking at the camera, telling whatever story they wish. Then there are the videos where you never see the face or head of the person, mostly their hands only, and as they speak they gesture with their hands, which are the focus of the camera. Then there is the option to video the person doing the work, and then the narration describing the situation is added later to the video. I’ve more or less gravitated to the last approach of those three in the past few videos I have done.

One thing I find I don’t much like, is the apparent desire or compulsion on the part of some videographers/vloggers, to fill every second of time with talking. Generally, the more talking, the more I get the sense of space simply being filled in, and the more I tend to scroll through. I tend to like a little less talking in a video – it depends somewhat on subject matter mind you- and do my videos in that manner, but of course to each their own.

Of course, I am far from a pro when it comes to video work and production, and there comes a point in the process where I decide it is ‘good enough’ and I’m sure this is well before a video perfectionist might settle.

Alright, disclaimers and hesitations aside, what follows is a video showing the final stages of building and assembling the futon storage cabinet. A bit over an hour long. Let me know in the comments below if you enjoyed the production generally and if, by any chance, you have some constructive criticism or observations to offer, of course feel free. Whether it comes to pass that I ever make another video, time will tell, but I am always eager to learn from past efforts regardless.

All for now. Thanks for dropping by the Carpentry Way.

31 Replies to “Dark Chocolate and Spongecake (35)”

  1. Must confess to watching only brief snatches, as a prelude to watching the whole. One of those random choices landed me EXACTLY where I wanted to be when I first came to your site years ago. (57:39 in the video, btw) That interest was driven by wanting to understand centuries old Chinese cabinets / wardrobes, and in particular how the doors were hinged and hung. I found that answer long ago in one of your previous builds, but have stayed to enjoy hundreds of blog entries since.

    THANKS for ALL of the blogging! The video is excellent, from my point of view, very informative without being burdened by idle chatter. Perfect. … and don’t worry at all about your appearance. Your confidence is what matters and it comes through.

    Keep fighting the cancers and be one of the winners!

    1. Bob, I hope, if you get a chance to watch more of the video, that your positive first impression will be sustained. Keep in mind that my approach to hinging doors, at least in terms of the last two cabinets, does not quite follow Chinese trad. practice, but is rather a development from it.

      1. Yes Chris, I did get back to the video and watched the rest. Found it “just right” and really enjoyed seeing your son join you!

        As for the doors, I was once puzzled by finding photos that did not show construction. Then, Gustav Ecke helped me understand the traditional technique, and you show the way to a more modern method. Thanks!

    1. Hi Ward,

      yes, it certainly was- and it took me months to put the video together, for one reason or another. The world will now think I have hardly any hair, but it has in fact grown back in very well.

  2. Thanks so much for the video. What I liked best were two things: seeing how you hold the work and and tools while using them, and seeing the fit of the joinery by watching how much you have to tap or clamp the work to bring it home. Those are hard to appreciate in static pictures. I also like hearing the woodworking sounds. I agree about not using time-lapse. The technique is kind of cool the first time you see it, but the novelty wears off. Careful editing of normal speed works better for how-I-did-it videos. Also, in time lapse you lose the sound.

    I also very much appreciate videos that don’t start out with 10 minutes of a talking head explaining what the video will be about or why you should care. I rarely visit a how-to video without already knowing why the technique is important or why it is used. I always just scroll past those intros. I’d rather just get into it. So, good job, there.

    And the surprise maker’s mark is delightful!

    1. Gary, thanks for the affirming feedback. And you’re right – sped-up video sections do lose the sound. I had forgotten about that aspect.

  3. What a piece of furniture! Absolutly mindblowing! The details!

    The video – it was a joy to watch, great overall editing, right amount and good choice of music (still with tool sounds, yeah!), no speed-ups (yeah!), your calm voice out of the background with always interesting informations, no bla bla (yeah!) – I could watch for hours. 🙂
    Tears and smiles – this video had it all. Thanks so much for taking the time to document your work. This piece will still stand strong when we all are long gone. Clearly build for centuries. I guess it is only fair that the furniture last as long as the tree needed to grow. 🙂 I think you accomplished this task. Your smile at the end says it all. 🙂
    All the best

  4. Hi Chris.

    Did you ever get the chance to watch the New Yankee Workshop with Norm Abram? The majority of the footage shown was designed for home viewers to sit back and enjoy Norm doing the work. There must be a lot of footage showing the actual detail, but we will never see it.

    Me, I would love to watch every second of that detail! I’d put it on in the background while I’d doing some mind numbing task or review it when I am trying to attempt the same thing.

    Bear in mind, I probably represent the minority.

    If you want to reach a wider audience, like Norm, go for 10 mins or less, with fancy voice over.

    It’s really up to you and the audience you want to reach.

    Have a great day.

  5. Chris
    l have only watched it once, but it’s a great video of a fabulous piece of work. My wife watched with me and l was explaining the complexity and difficulty to her, while l was marvelling at it myself. We both enjoyed the appearance of your son. He can certainly appreciate ‘a little piece of wood’. Great job in two entirely different media. And you pulled some nice shavings right and left handed !

  6. Chris,


    I tend to watch all my youtube content at 2x’s the speed unless it’s something I really need to pay attention to, but 30 seconds into your video I realized there was no way I wanted to, or could, do that with your video. It would be doing a major disservice to myself and you. I wanted/needed to absorb every minute at normal speed.

    I’m an observer and learn a ton through observations. Some things simply can’t be said. Much is learned through actual experience (which is arguably the greatest teacher), some through reading, some being taught, and still more through observing. It is invaluable to get to watch masters work much less explaining what they are doing and way. There isn’t much access to that these days so personally this video is gold to me. I was thoroughly engaged the whole way through and am sure I will watch it many more times. I started the video not intending to watch it all in one go but couldn’t stop. I truly do mean that, it was brilliant.

    The subtitles throughout the video were wonderfully helpful for following along. A nice touch. I appreciate things not being sped up as well. Again there is so much to learn in observing in real time. Seeing what it takes to squeeze the shachi sen in place, hearing the sound change when your wedges are driven home, listening to the kanna and sawing pitches, etc. The video brings even more appreciation for the cabinet and its intricacies than the still photos offered. The lattice absolutely comes alive in the video! Beautiful!!

    I very much appreciate the effort and detail you went to produce this and giving us a window into your shop time.


    1. Jonathan,

      I much appreciate your detailed feedback. I feel like I more or less got the video ‘right’, at least judging by the positive feedback such as yours.

  7. Fantastic work, gorgeous cabinet, excellent video! I watched the whole thing, and was fascinated seeing every step of how the piece goes together. Great smile at the end 🙂 Bravo for such beautiful work!

  8. Great great project and video.there are but a few that work to your standard of excellence. What I like most is revealed in the comments. Each one represents a different point of view and each individual has a different takeaway.
    I’m left with a renewed interest in Japanese planes. I have not tried them,but watching you surface the panels spoke to me. I have great success with my refurbished Stanley planes, but have long thought I might like a Japanese smoother. Can you recommend a good plane that I don’t have to travel to Japan to buy. Although my wife would love to accommodate such a trip.

    1. Dan,

      thanks for your comment and glad you enjoyed the video.

      As far as kanna are concerned, I’m hardly an expert, and can’t really make any specific maker/model recommendations, because there are such a wide spread of price points and sizes, with some makers specializing in smaller planes even. I would generally avoid buying a plane on Ebay from a Japan-based seller, as the prices they ask are quite ridiculous.

      There used to be a choice between red oak and white oak dai, however ‘hon’ red oak dai are now rather scarce and present a significant extra cost, so stick with a white oak dai.

      I would tend to suggest a price point of $450 will get you a good serviceable 70mm plane with a decent blade and laminated chip breaker. Japanese planes come more or less as a kit, so there is a learning curve to setting them up, and typically a user will find his first plane does not get perfectly set up, despite best efforts. It’s all part of the learning curve. Generally, the more expensive the plane the easier it will be to set up, but not always.

      If you would be fine with a 65mm or 54mm plane, the price point mentioned above can certainly be adjusted downward.

      I wouldn’t worry too much about the white (paper) steel/blue (paper) steel issue, in terms of it directing the purchase. Good planes can be forged in either material.

      If you have any other questions about what to buy, feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to answer.

  9. You even seem to be a master of the video realm as well. Wonderful, wonderful video and I haven’t even finished it yet.
    I agree with all the other comments about the sound of the work, the narration, and the music selection. Just superb in every aspect. Truly the crowning touch to a great build.
    We all appreciate you so much. Keep up the great work we are all behind you and wish you and your family all the best.

    Charlie Mastro

    1. Hi Charlie,

      you’ve really been a steadfast reader and supporter of this blog, since inception, and I really cannot thank you enough for that. I remain a master of nothing, but am generally aiming in that direction.

  10. Interesting video without unnecessary blah blah.
    I will not repeat what has already been said (better than I can do) here above.
    It helps in understanding what was published before.
    I will revisit all the “dark chocolate and sponge cake” blogs.

  11. Chris;
    Beautiful work! Love the way it comes together! Someday will be designing and building works of art like yours! Thanks for sharing! Learn so much by watching you work.all the best for you and your family! Thanks again!

  12. Great job on the video, amazing attention to detail. Despite everything you’ve been through you don’t look half bad.😊 Nice to see the master at work along with a little helper.

    1. Anders, glad to receive your comment and that you had the chance to check out the video. There are a few others on my Youtube channel as well.

      It won’t be long now and my helper will be the one giving directions.

  13. That was fantastic. Thank you for taking so much time and effort to show everything so clearly. I’ve got a bit of panel construction under my belt now and have had at least a couple “teaching moments” on every process, so I was clenching my teeth & butthole through a lot of this. Much, much respect.

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