If you are a regular visitor to my WoodTreks video blog, you’ve come to expect a new video with each of my blog posts. But with the arrival of the new year, I thought I’d reflect for a moment on the first year of my WoodTreks adventure, the people I’ve met along the way, and most importantly, I want to extend a thanks to all of you who have shared with me, contacted me, and encouraged me in the inaugural year of this blog.

WoodTreks has been in development for a while now. It went “live” and was viewable by the  public in June of 2008. Many viewers have written and told me that I haven’t spent much time talking about myself, my woodworking background, or why I do this.  Well let me start by saying that I’m crazy about woodworking and have been since I was a kid. So, it all starts with that. I still credit my high school shop teachers with guiding and mentoring me. Since then it’s just been decades of reading, learning from others, and the good-old “school of hard knocks”. Like most woodworkers (and probably like you), I’m always learning and I like to learn.

Some viewers are surprised that I haven’t featured any of my wood work on this blog and are curious to know what I make. To answer that, I build solid-wood furniture, some cabinets, and I enjoy architectural cabinetmaking and trim work. My latest project was a custom designed European style cabinetmaker’s bench. This bench makes a cameo appearance in the intro “bumper” to each WoodTreks video segment. Perhaps you’ve seen it?

What really gets me going is learning about you…

What has been most gratify for me in this first year of WoodTreks has been meeting so many people from so many walks of life. It amazes me to know that these videos have touched people from around the world. Many thousands of viewers from dozens of countries have viewed my little videos and some of these viewers reach out to me and share their stories. One viewer from the Netherlands, a former police officer wounded in the line of duty and now confined to a wheel chair, told me that these videos had inspired him to take up the craft once again after years of depression. Another viewer from Brazil, an extraordinarily talented woodworker told me that, in viewing the videos, he felt connected to the larger world of woodworkers beyond his local sphere. This connection inspired him. And many, many more of you have written me and shared your stories and I thank you for that, because in the end, this is what keeps me going.

People often ask me why I do this.

“Why do you spend time and money making these videos and delivering them over the Internet for free?” Well, the answer is a bit nuanced, because it’s both work and play. I do this because I’m passionate about doing it. I’m passionate about wood and I’m passionate about digital filmmaking & the Internet. And of course, I like to meet people and am gratified by helping them. I’m also an Internet entrepreneur that can’t sit still. Over the years I’ve been involved in several internet-based businesses that often grew out of experimental projects. So I guess I might include WoodTreks among my pet projects. Whether it will have some commercial future, or will remain a low-key labor of love and incubator of other entrepreneurial ideas to explore, only time will tell.

Before I wrap this up, there are many people to thank…

I’d like to bring special attention to the many woodworking bloggers who have been so very kind to me. Unfortunately, there are just too many to mention easily here (but I do list them on my “Friends, Fans, and Fellow Bloggers” links page). Many of these guys and gals have reached out and given me a boost just when I needed it. One example is Mitchell, a retired photographer and now a passionate woodworker. Mitchell (see his The Part-Time Woodworker Blog) has turned out to be a wonderful sounding board, a behind-the-scenes advocate & promoter of WoodTreks, and just an all around pleasant online friend. Thanks Mitchell and thanks to the rest of you (you know who you are) for reaching out, encouraging me, and helping me in so many ways.

Lastly, before I sign off, I’d like to extend a special thanks to the talented artisans who you’ve seen and come to know in my current library of video releases. First, a special thanks to Don Leman (and his wonderful wife Sharon) for trusting me to film Don’s talents early in the launch of this site, when WoodTreks had no “track record” and not much to show. And thanks also to Craig Vandall Stevens, Mark Damron, Todd Felpel, Brad Ramsay, Jeff Williams, John Reed Fox, Michael Hoffmeier, Dave Crossen, Eric Matson, and finally last but certainly not least, gracious hosts Rick & Brian Hearne. (Also thanks to artisans Rick Pratt and Johnathan Sanbuichi who will appear in soon to be released videos.) You guys are just fantastic!

So in closing, let me say that this has been a truly adventurous year of fun for me as we’ve discovered, together, more of the wide world of wood. Thanks for joining me in the journey and I look forward to spending more time with you in the year ahead. So as we enter the new year, please stay in touch, offer your insights, ask questions and share with one-another. I wish you and yours the very best in the year ahead.

Happy New Year!

Keith Cruickshank

Thanks guys, so much, for your feedback and insights! (To see comments click here)

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Comments

Keith,

What a nice wrap up to a great year for WoodTreks. Please keep doing this! It’s a real pleasure to see top-notch woodworkers doing their thing calmly, in their element, with no pressure “from the clock” or advertisers. Congrats!


Murray King

Thank you Keith. Your site is great and I wish you the best of luck in the future. The quality and content of the videos is first class. I look forward to each new view. Bravo.


Happy new year Keith, to you and yours, fellow wood workers and wannabe’s. Be safe and well and at the least break even and may we all continue to learn. Good luck with your future site decisions.
C. Alan Robertson-Red Whale Woodworks W.O.C., Md.


Dilo Márcio Fernandino

Dear Keith,
Assuming that the kind praise you have expressed concerning that Brazilian viewer was in fact addressed to me, I feel really happy and proud to have been “officially” inserted by you in the woodworkers’ international community. I wish you to be very successful in 2009 too. Many thanks.
Dilo Márcio Fernandino, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Keith’s Note: Yes, Dilo – I was referring to you. What a treat it’s been to see your work and to get to know you.


IC Chestney

I want to thank you for your many hours putting this blog on the net.
I am retired and have been in and out of wood working for 60+ years. I worked in the housing industry for any years, I seen wood working in Germany, when I was in the military, that just knocked my socks off.
Now I have the time to do what I love. Mostly I love intarsia and others scroll sawing. I also love turning and am getting better at it as time goes on. I belong to the Dixie Wood Scrollers,one of many wood clubs,associated with Scrollsaw Association of the World. We are a small club,only 5 members. This year we started in Sept. making wooden toys.We donated 80 hand made toys to Toy For Tots. We were proud of a whole page write up with pictures in or local paper.
Sorry, but I get carried away when talking about wood.
Please keep up the good work. I enjoy all of your videos.


J.C.

Thanks for the vids, Keith. But wait, this isn’t a year yet. You admittedly started putting them up mid year. That means we’ll have a real celebration come next summer. Woohoo! Great stuff, guy. Keep it up and we’ll keep tuning in.

Congrats!


Michael Rogowski

Keith,
I think it’s amazing that in this day and age that you produced somthing so great for free. The video is top notch and the content really shows the passion that people posses for the art of woodworking. Please keep it up, I really appreciate what you are doing.

Much Thanks!


Mark

Keith,
I’m so glad to have an opportunity to tell you how much I enjoy your videos. I bought my Shopsmith Mark V in 1959 while in the service and it serves as my drill press now in my full shop. Like so many woodworkers out here, I never advanced beyond furniture making and toys for the family, kids and now great grand kids like Dilo has but, we all love doing it so this site and the fantastic videos you have put together are a real source of enjoyment to us.
Thank you for your dedication to this project that is reaching woodworkers around the world.I look forward to each an every e-mail reminder.
Happy New Year!


Don Clifton

Keith,

Happy new year to you too and everyone else. You production of these videos shows how talented you are and is the first email I open when I get it. Congradulations on your first year and stay safe on the road. Lets all go make some shavings on the first day of 09.

Thanks Keith!


your web site…………great!!!!


Tom Hoffman

Keith: The thanks goes to YOU!! Your high quality professionalism is second to none. Thanks for all the inspriation.

Orangevale, CA


Rex Bostrom

Thanxs for the inspirational and learning content of your videos. It is much appreciated and enjoyed. You are dong a excellent job and a servce to the woodworking community.


Chet

Keith,
Love your site and look forward to each addition. I’m returning to woodworking after many years and find your curiosity and interests in every episode feeding my desire to get out into the shop. Thanks. Chet


Leonardo Godínez

Hi Keith
Things we do for pleasure are the best ones. I enjoy your videos the same as you. When I have notice of a new video is my first mail choice. Thanks for it.
Best regards from Mexico. Leonardo


Miguel

Happy New Year to you also Keith!
I look forward to yo next WoodTreks installments. By the way, nice work on the bench in the intro!


Pete Passof

Keith: Many thanks for a year of great content at a great price. I especially appreciated your personal concern and interest when I had difficulty in downloading one of your earlier videos. Looking forward to seeing more of your top quality videos in 2009.


Paul

Keith: Your productions are great, Thanks for letting us all see what you and so many other people have to offer in the way of inspiration and willingness to share knowledge that we can all can use. I am a Turner and would like to see anything related to my passion of Turning.
Thank You,


Mark in Carrollton, Texas

Thanks for sharing your labor of love. You take us on the journeys we can’t imagine, to meet people we don’t know, who are willing to share our common love of woodworking. Each ‘trek’ video is like being there and the things we learn we can take with us for future use. The best to you and the future of Wood Treks for 2009.


Hi Keith,

I just wanted to stop by and tell you how much I have enjoyed your work on WoodTreks this past year. Your videos have been both enlightening and inspiring to me in many ways. Getting a glimpse of how other craftsmen work is a real treat and I have enjoyed each and every one of them.

Please continue your tremendous work and best of luck with Woodtreks in the New Year!

–Mark
The Craftsman’s Path


Harry Cade

Thank’s Keith for sharing your woodworking passion with us. I’ve learned many technicques that I thought I would never learn. Keep your fire burning and bring us more of what you love to do.

Your buddy, Harry.


Keith,
As you probably noticed, by my constant posts in probably every video blog post you have, I’m a huge fan of your site. I’d rather turn on my computer and watch a few videos than turn on my TV! I appreciate the time and effort you put in this project and I hope it continues! Happy New Year!
-Michael


Bob

Thank You Very Much. Your video’s are just great. Please keep up the good work.

Have a great day,

A neophyte


R. da Silva

Absolutely ‘top notch’. Keep the focus where it is. The stuff you present here is sorely lacking in the rest of the woodworking media.

Looking forward to another year of WoodTreks. I think you can bump it to beta v.6… ;-)

Keith’s Note: You made me laugh on the site’s beta status – Since you think it’s warranted, I’ve bumped it!


Albert Franklin

I enjoy your videos and just want to say thank you.


Larry Maykin

Mate very cool site.. happy to be here. I will spend a few [many] a night looking at all your videos.
TKS
Larry from the land downunder


David Eisaman

Thank you for your videos


M Haines

I recently found out about your site and I have enjoyed it ever since. Keep up the good work. You probably have one of the best jobs.


Albert Franklin

Thank you, great videos – really enjoyed them.


Eric Rusch

Your videos are incredible.
Thank you sooooo much!


ROBERT LINDH

WHEN WILL YOU ISSUE NEW VIDEOS????

Keith’s Note: WoodTreks is on hiatus as I relocated my shop and editing studio to our new family home in San Diego. Thanks for your patience!! …And it’s nice to be missed… I think :-)

12/2010 UPDATE: I’m back posting now.


DouginDenver

I discovered you several months ago. I became interested in woodworking over the last few years and have been slowly aquiring tools and making a few things. There isn’t much in the way of woodworking schools in my area so I have been entirely self-taught through TV, books and now the internet. I have to say that of all the webblogs I’ve seen yours is, BY FAR, the highest quality. The sound as well as the videography are wonderful. I can’t wait for more videos. Thanx-


Leo Halloran

I am a retired construction manager former carpenter in a town named Batley in Yorkshire England ..Woodworking seems far more respected in the US than th UK .. here it is considered just a manual trade so I keep my interest going with US websites and yours is the best so far


Martin

Good job I checked out this page – I’d been worried what was up as there haven’t been any updates recently. Good to hear your ok :)

Perhaps a similar note should be put on the homepage to let other visitors know what’s up. I’m sure there must be others who used to check in every week for updates, then every month, and who may forget to check back once your up and running again.

Anyway, good luck with the move and I look forward to the next update!


Jim Hallada

Keith, As a novice this is the best experience a guy like I could ask for. I find myself so wrapped up in the video I get the urge to ask questions…hey but it’s a video [smile]. I guess that is a tribute to how excellent they really are. This is a area most of us miss when trying to learn the craft…to learn the skills from an expert who “has the time” to teach it. Your videos give that private lesson to…well I’m not sure how many, but more than that craftsman could have the time to see in their lifetime and reaching all those folks at once with the speed of the internet. You have found a place in the internet and woodcraft worlds that was badly needed and you’re doing it to perfection. Can’t wait to see more! You truly have provided us with a great gift, thanks so very much.


R. da Silva

Welcome back, Keith. Hope the relocation wasn’t too taxing. Now that you’re in California, if you find yourself up north, drop me a line.

BTW… I see that you’ve switched to Vimeo. I can now view the videos in Linux! Fabulous!

Keith’s Note: Thanks for the hello. And when I’m headed up your way, I’ll certainly ping you.


Don

Welcome back. I was beginning to think that house was going to take all of your time. Keep the videos coming – I enjoy the subjects.


TJ71

Keith, great great site. I am over-the-moon that you are making videos again.

Thanks for all your hard work.


Bruce

This is the most info I have found. It is Great. The work and time you have put in this is just outstanding. Thank you to all of you.


Bob Carpenter

I like this web site except for one thing.
I could not find a place on your web site that lists all the videos by title so I can choose which ones I would like to see. There were a couple of instances you listed videos that I could not select. I am still interested in viewing those videos. Secondly on your web site please list all the videos for each woodworker.

Lastly I hope you could go to Warren Maine and do a program on Tom Lie-Neilsen. I was there 2 weeks ago and visited his show room.

Thank you


Mark W.

What a great job you do! I needed to learn more on stringing and came away with much, much more. Keep it coming, Keith!


Hi Keith

An excellent and inpirational journey. I’ve only just found this web page and look forward to viewing all of the content over the next few weeks. I also have a web site up and running (in the very early stages), and hope eventually to take beginner from timber selection, design etc etc right through to a completed dovetailed project. It’s facinating, time consuming and very very enjoyable. All the best for the future.

Alan Wood http://www.hand-cut-dovetails.com


Tom O'Brien

Keith, thank you for taking us along on your woodtreks. Last Sunday, I used a skill from one of the treks as I took a big piece of white oak from rough to near finished dimensions. My daughter and I are building a dining table for her home, and your featured guests have shown us refinements and nuances that make the job easier and the product better. Thanks!

Keith’s Note: Thanks Tom!!


Tom Ware

30+ years in the hardwood lumber and plywood business these are the most informative and relevant video’s I have found. I am very impressed and look forward to many more.

Keith’s Note: Thanks Tom. That means alot to me.


It sure is impressive to see quality wood working videos like these. The guys you’ve filmed are truly blessed with talent! It’s humbling to see them work and inspiring at the same time! Their tips in wood working are given casually but are so critical in fine wood working! I simply wish I could work with them all to learn. Thank you for all your time and effort on your web page. (AWESOME!)


Stuart F in England

As a newcomer to this site i’m most impressed by the clarity of explanation of various tecniques in woodworking, all of which can be enjoyed by all skill levels from beginers to experts, we are all still learning.


Keith, this set of videos is like the better pieces of hardwood you keep in the shop for a special project. It comforts me just knowing they are here. With your videos I get a real sense of who the craftsman is. Perhaps someday you will video some joinery techniques as they are used in fine furniture. Thank you.


Hey Keith,
I’ve just found your video blog and I think it is excellent. Thanks very much for sharing your skills with us all.
I’m based in UK


Thanks for sharing the amazing videos with all people. I use your techniques im my woodworks and your web-site is a database for me and my brazilians friends. Thanks.


Keith,
I’m 66 now and getting ready to retire from remodel (work). The last 12 years were devoted professionally to custom woodworking, which, of course, is done primarily with power tools. Last year I began to modify my shop for hand tool woodworking for my own enjoyment. My shop is now a mixture of hand and power tools. I’m not a perfectionist by nature, so like many of the craftsmen here, it was hard work to develop the patience and methods to do high end work.

My comment to those who considering taking up woodworking is that it is worth the effort to learn how to make nice things. It’s been five years since I worked on any project just for myself, but now that I am, it has become a very pleasant way to spend time. I craft. I think. I listen to the radio. I reminisce. And I can share what I make with whomever I want. I encourage those who are fascinated by wood to take up woodworking if for no other reason than peace of mind. And watch these videos. They are excellent.

Keith’s Note: Well said Will.


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