Another in the series of reviews of DVD’s from the SmartFlix Woodworking University, this time I review two profile DVDs: Sam Maloof and Tage Frid from Taunton Press. While these DVD’s do not solely contain content on woodworking technique, if you have any interest in what goes on in the shops and minds of two of the great woodworkers of our time, then they are certainly worth a look.
This DVD is a profile on Sam and includes insights on his life and work. He covers a good deal of information on how he approached designing his furniture as well as taking the viewer through a lot of the actual steps to create one of his famous chairs. Interspersed within segments of work in Sam’s shop are vignettes of the extraordinary house that he built and a good deal of the furniture and artwork within it.
This DVD does not disappoint if you are considering building a chair in the Maloof style. Sam takes the viewer through building the seat, executing the specialized “Maloof Joint” and some of the process for shaping parts of his famous rocking chairs. He covers both aesthetics and function in his discussions.
If you are anything like me, just hearing Maloof talk about his work and watching him in the shop is an inspiration. Profiles such as this one offer a unique glimpse into what motivated Sam the woodworker to build what he did and how he did it . Maloof was a generous man and that comes through clearly during the time you spend with him while watching the DVD. We are fortunate to have this record of his life, techniques and work.
In this DVD, Tage takes the viewer with him into his shop as he completes several projects. Along the way, Frid demonstrates his methods for sharpening, creating a keyed-miter joint, doing half-blind dovetails and veneer work. Watching you will be surprised at the simple techniques he uses to do complex work.
In addition to the woodworking techniques and tips that he shares, Frid speaks about his approach to designing several pieces of furniture that you see displayed in his home. He walks the viewer through the subtleties of some of the design elements of each piece as well as his rationale for creating them.
While the video is a bit dated and it has very simple production qualities, it is easy to look past those trivial things into the mind and spirit of a true craftsman. It is easy to understand why his techniques have been revered for so long – simple and efficient are the perfect words to describe them. You may or may not like the style of his furniture however; his techniques and insights into furniture design are definitely worth a look.
Don’t forget, if you are a new customer and interested in renting these DVD’s, SmartFlix has offered readers of The Craftsman’s Path a $2 discount coupon for your use. Simply use the coupon code: CRAFTPATH when you check out!