I’ve had many inquiries as to what’s wanted/needed to get a tour posted. Well, if you post it at one of the woodworking fora, please let me know so I can get it. Otherwise, you can send it to me directly. Here are some guidelines, both pictures and general:
- One of the most frequent questions has to do with pictures (size). With modern, high speed internet, size doesn’t generally matter, althugh some servers may limit the total packet size of images so it may be necessary to send multiple messages of a few images each.
- Think of including a picture of a project you've made in your shop.
- Throw some narrative together. Pictures are worth a thousand words, but a thousand and fifty or eleven hundred are even better. Plus, even though you know that the jointer is to the right of the drill press, it’s not always that easy to convey or obvious in the pictures. Written perspective is very helpful.
- From the feedback I’ve gotten over the years, people want to know the size of your shop. In fact, that’s the number one question. Sometimes you don’t quite know, so if you can’t measure or guess, something like “half the basement,” “just the utility room,” “a two car garage,” or the like will be better than nothing and go a long way toward their comprehension of what you’re working in.
- Viewers want to know about your tools, particularly if you have some “old arn”. You can tell about your old Lionel blurfl that you replaced with your new Whizbang if you want, but it’s the new stuff (or at least the regularly used stuff) folks want to see and hear about. If you did a poor widder lady wrong, that may be worth the tale (try to be contrite). If you inherited Granddaddy’s handplane collection, share the magnificence of that sentimental possession. Don’t forget your clamp collection and your dust collector. And this will be redundant to neanderthals, but Normites often don’t think about it—your quiet tools are just as interesting and important as the ones with tails.
- Also, don’t hire a maid. I don’t know of a single woodworker (even the OCD ones the rest of us hate because you can eat off their floor) who doesn’t understand what shop means when it comes to dust and/or debris. I have one friend, whom I tease mercilessly, who once posted what was essentially a storage area jumble of tools. Made me feel neat, and that’s an accomplishment. That was a long time ago—I hope he got his barn organized.
- When we started doing shop tours at Badger Pond we followed the forum policy of a real name (first and last to make categorization easy). I’ve continued that. It furthers the feel of community that Badger Pond had and WoodCentral continues. Ellis is less dogmatic about that at WoodCentral, so if you really, seriously, despite assurances from others, have angst over your name being seen on the internet, make one up, but because of the way the main page is laid out, I won’t put up a tour from “dustdevil” (apologies to dustdevil, if there really is one).
- I’ve had several requests over the years for contact information of a shop owner. I’m sure they’re legitimate, particularly because they usually had a specific point they wanted to address. However, I’ve never directly given out an email address, even if I knew it, and I don’t know a lot of them (some of the tours here are ten or more years old and I’ve lost touch with many authors). I always contacted the party, if I could. That won’t change. I’m ready, however, to include your email address if you want to. You can munge it to defeat the spiders (like firstname.lastname@example.org—take out the trash), if you want. I won’t post it, though, unless you specifically tell me to.
- Do not be concerned about your writing—at all. I’ll take care of grammar, syntax, spelling, etc. I’ve done that on hundreds of WoodCentral articles over the years, and I put my wife through college a few years ago punching up her papers. In fact, even if you don’t feel as if you can put together a coherent narrative, just give me some general information to work with and I’ll make you look respectable (one WoodCentral denizen proclaimed me a justifiably all-around certifiable knowledgeable article scribing senior, which ought to be endorsement enough).
- Generally speaking, we’ve eschewed commercial shops over the years. Despite my admiration for someone who can make a living at woodworking, a commercial shop just doesn’t have the cachet of a home shop. There’s something special about a home shop that people want to see. It’s like wanting to see your backyard landscaping rather than your commercial nursery.
Fred, the silent benefactor, tells me that ShopTours.org gets a lot of traffic, and I’m eager to continue the project. So get out the broom and camera, and get busy. We’re dying to see where you work. Oh, you old-timers shouldn’t forget to update your five (or more) year old tour, either. Please ask questions, if you have any.
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Posted 6 January 2015