Sunday, September 9, 2012

Review: Doucette and Wolfe YouTube Videos

Whenever I get a notification from YouTube that someone has subscribed to my video channel (which I've recently switched over to using my real name instead of a rather random account name), I always go check their channel to see what other videos they've linked to.

Since we can't shake hands and introduce each other, it's a quick way to get some idea of who they are and what interests them. However, I usually don't go watch those other things, just because there's so much, and I don't have the time.

This time, fortunately, was different. I don't know what made me click on this one, maybe it was the title, "Nightstand with Reeded Legs Building Process". I'm glad I did; thanks, Fisch8441!

This is one of nearly 80 videos posted by Doucette and Wolfe Furniture Makers, a small shop in the White Mountains of New Hampshire run by Matthew Wolfe and Moriah Doucette. They specialize in custom period and contemporary furniture, with testimonials from customers all over the country.

The videos are a fantastic resource. They're a combination of finished work display and build process. The style is very simple and dynamic, brief video shots interspersed with stills, nice background music and no narration. What makes them so valuable is that they focus closely on all kinds of design and construction details.

And these are top quality pieces they're working on, jaw-droppingly beautiful. It's just a wealth of information, like being a fly on the wall watching masters at work.

They use a combination of power and hand tools. I of course love to see all the fine details of the hand tools in use. Ah, see how he skews the plane; note the specially-ground chisel for cleaning out the half-blind dovetails; see how to trim the breadboard tenons; see the Al Breed carving vise in use; look at the incredible precision of that fit.

One of my favorite images was a tall cascade of drawer sides stacked up for cleaning out the dovetails. These are production techniques for precise, efficient work.

For hand tools, they use a mix of top-end Lie-Nielsen and Veritas planes, Japanese dozukis for sawing out dovetails and tenon sides, and humble Irwin blue-handle chisels for chopping out the dovetail waste. It's just a joy to see the planes in the hands of real professionals. Wow, that's how I want my plane to sing!

Not only do these show how to handle the tools, they show the standard of workmanship you can shoot for. I find this both educational and inspiring. I'm not there yet, but it points me down the path.

I posted a couple comments, and the icing on the cake is that Matthew responded, saying he's looked at my site many times and likes the information I post. I was so flattered that someone doing this caliber of work is reading my blog. Thanks, Matthew!

I'm just a hobbyist working my way along through trial and error, sharing what I learn with others. I show both my successes and failures, since I know from forums and comments other hobbyists are dealing with the same things. That includes the occasional bone-headed mistake like misunderstanding how someone sharpens, or sharpening my paring chisels at the same angle as my bench chisels. It's all a learning experience.

These videos kick that learning experience up to level 10. So grab a cup of coffee and check out their YouTube channel for a couple hours of enjoyment. And a huge thanks to Matthew and Moriah for sharing their knowledge with the rest of us.


  1. Their videos are a joy to watch. The furniture is not my style but the craftsmanship transcends. Thanks for introducing me to their channel. I've subbed to both theirs and yours.


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  3. They also regularly post photo updates of projects on Facebook. The photos are really nice and as you say inspirational.

  4. Thanks for sharing their work. It is refreshing to see actual furniture building!

  5. Thank you for theri links. It was truly pleasure watching theri work.

  6. Been a fan of their's for a while. Going to check out your channel now.

  7. Been a fan of their's for a while. Going to check out your channel now.


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