...c'mon, which one do you think it is? The Tablesaw? A typical choice, but, no. My new Bandsaw? good guess but definately not. One of my bench planes? You're getting warmer, but still not there. My mind? Philosophical and almost zen-like answer but not that one either. You give up? I wouldn't blame you, because it's probably something that very few woodworkers would even list as one of their tools. It's my computer. Yup - I said it. My computer.
Recently, my wife and I upgraded our personal computers and as a result have reassigned our older computers to other tasks. One of those tasks is the "shop computer". Sounds funny to call it that, but it really is the "shop computer". Adding to my shop computer, Santa brought me a new webcam. Now, I can chat, demo, and watch other woodworkers in their shops all from my own shop. Not a big deal? Well, it is to me. You see, all my woodworking friends are online. The majority of my woodworking information comes from online sources. And now, I can share with my friends and access information like never before. It's actually kind of empowering. To be able to look up an article or show a friend a technique right from the shop and right on my bench has opened up so many more possibilities.
My step son Nick has an attraction to woodworking. He's really just starting to understand it's attraction, but the signs of his intrest are beaming. Unfortunately, he lives across the country from me and in a very small 1 bedroom condo. It doesn't afford him much space for a workshop, be we're working on mobile posibilities that might allow him to acomplish more that he thought he could. Still, he has a lot to learn, and it's very difficult to teach him anything without him being in my shop with me. Well, with the "shop computer's" help, we are now erasing thousands of miles between us. The potential is huge. Rather than try to describe a technique or a joinery method in an email or phone call, I can show him in real time - right there from the shop.
Now, I realize that many of you have already embraced this technology, but there are so many more of us that haven't. And, if you haven't, I suggest you give it a thought. It doesn't matter if you have a lot to teach others, or a lot to learn yourself. It's about being able to open up avenues of communication that at one time were never possible. It's amazing how much you can learn and in turn teach others just by going in your shop, turning on the webcam, start the Ustream broadcast, and start tinkering like you normally would. Pretty soon, the woodworkers who are watching you will start asking questions. Or they might have a good suggestion to make a technique you're doing much easier. Or they might tell you about their mother in law. And somewhere along the way, your shop became a cool place for everyone to hang out....through your "shop computer".
just a little megabyte to gnaw over.