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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Turning segmented objects is similar in many ways to traditional woodturning. But there are subtle differences. Each segmented glue-up can contain dozens or hundreds of precisely made pieces fused into a single rough blank. This construction can sometimes be more fragile than a solid piece of wood, especially during the early roughing out stage of the turn. But there are ways to minimize the risk of “blowing up” the piece. Success starts with proper gouge and hollowing tool selection. WoodTreks guest artisan and Segmented turner, Don Leman shares his thoughts on how he approaches the craft and his special appreciation for the magic that comes from putting a complex segmented stack on the lathe and putting steel to wood. (3.5 Minute Video)

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