The Pleasures of Yew-Toob

Last fall, when my daughter and I both fell temporarily to the covid plague, one of my respites was sitting at my computer with Wee Jamie the Wonder Grandson in my lap, watching various videos on YouTube. We were not exactly sick … just not very well; easily tired, devoid of energy and interest in anything that lasted very long. Wee Jamie had a low-grad temperature for a day or so, and sniffles, so his health was never in any particular danger. Neither was ours, once some serious drugs had knocked out the covid-induced pneumonia … but the two of us, Wee Jamie and I came away from those weeks with a decided fondness for ten or a dozen YouTube series – some of the home renovation off-the-grid living, a couple of ‘build a shelter from raw materials and a few basic tools’ – look, hard work fascinates me, I could watch it for hours. (Our Restoration Nation, Red Poppy Ranch, Trent & Allie, Lesnoy_Craft … respectively, various locations in the south, somewhere in the inland northwest, in Utah, and somewhere in … maybe Russia? We also liked some of the model-building shows; one an Australian, the other a German, both of whom do the most amazing dioramas and small structures. Luke Towan, and Samy-Modelblau. Oh, the things that you can make from thick cardboard, and a range of model-making supplies! And wire … and resin…

But the ones that we liked the best, and from which I came away from with a severe case of power-tool envy were the various renovation/restoration channels; a variety of specialists doing amazing things in renovating, refinishing, and repairing old furniture, restoring seriously wrecked and rusted agricultural or domestic items, and restoring them to attractive functionality. It’s kind of soothing, watching rust being blasted away in a sand-blasting booth. I so wish now that I had been permitted to take wood and metal shop in junior high school – instead of cooking and sewing. I already knew how to cook and sew … but this was when shop classes were strictly reserved for the boys, and the home-making sills were likewise reserved for girls. (You know – back before the Noachian flood. Although Dad did his best to teach my brothers and sister and I, outside of school.)

The thing that does get me is that these various specialists really ran the gamut of nationalities – and that some of them never even appeared as more than their hands, doing the work. Veradona Restoration is Czech, AT Restoration, as near as I can figure out, is based in Estonia, in the Baltic States. LADB is French, and so mysterious that all one ever sees of the experts featured is their hands. I think that there are three of them – one young, one middle-aged, one old, just to judge from close-ups of the hands doing the detail work – woodwork, metal fabrication, rust removal. They have a charming ginger cat-familiar hanging about the incredibly-well equipped workshop; Avril, who appears in most episodes.

Then there is Epic Upcycling, featuring a stone-faced Canadian carpenter-genius, who builds the most ornate and substantial furniture out of old pallets and miscellaneous scrap. Seriously, never give this man an acre of old shipping containers, I think he would build a whole fantastically-original city, or at least a suburb out of them. The pieces of furniture are fantastic – complicated, ornate … and he builds his own metal hinges, handles, locks and stuff. My thought is that of course, the designs are that ornate because the wood he builds them out of is basically waste product, of which (from the occasional glimpses of his wood stash) he may have cornered the available market in used pallets. What he could do with fine wood would rival anything built for Versailles. Or any other 17th, 18th or 19th century palace.

Ah, the pleasures of watching knowledgeable craftsmen and women at work … although I am pretty certain that all the disasters are off-camera or edited out.
(cross-posted at NCO Almost a year ago, I had posted here about how we were all watching different things, through YouTube, and kicked off a long and rewarding discussion thread.)

18 thoughts on “The Pleasures of Yew-Toob”

  1. Modellbau. Very nice site, thanks!

    I’m a late adopter of all things online, but once I went to YT there was no going back. So much there–I try not to think too much of what isn’t there, and why.

  2. Lovely moments – I’m not often with my grandchildren but opening both of us to you tubes that slide into other you tubes is so wonderful – it is something to be thankful for although I wish I could remember them later, they come up and then float away so fast sometimes.

  3. I’ve been watching the off road rescue sites, the old car “will it start after 25 years?” sites and metal fabrication sites.

    It’s utterly fascinating to me; makes me wish I had been raised in an environment where the man of the house loved to tinker. Sadly, my Dad who was a great husband/father didn’t have a yen for fixing things though in our early family years; we were quite poor and Dad did have to work on the cars; but he hated it and wasn’t good at it.
    I love seeing old things fixed.

  4. ” … although I am pretty certain that all the disasters are off-camera or edited out.”
    I sometimes fiddle around with things wooden, with or without power tools. And as I like to tell folks, I never make mistakes. But then honesty kicks in, and I acknowledge that we have an outdoor woodburning furnace, and I do sometimes unintentionally make fuel for it.

  5. I know all those restoration video channels, plus The Chip Channel, which restores old toys (Tonka and Buddy L trucks), but what got me started was Hand Tool Rescue, out of Canada. He restores tools and machines from the 1970s, back to the 1870s, into working order, then demonstrates their use. His shop is full of salvaged machine tools that he uses to fix new acquisitions. Fun stuff.

  6. I often use yt to wander through the worlds of music and dance. I currently skipping from one Argentinian Tango video to another, likewise Latin Cumbia music.

    The MSM producers, including Netflix and Prime do not have the spark love of and enthusiasm for their subject, nor do their actors.

    Watching Miguel Zotto and Daiana Guspero dance the Tango and listening to their fans roar is great fun.

    It all started when our dance teachers encouraged us to look to yt for help learning various dance styles and figures.

  7. It’s hard to beat Wood Girl for woodworking projects:

    If you don’t know about Mudlarking in the UK, and the delight of found ‘treasures’ from yesteryear, try Mudlarking With Kit and Kaboodlers:
    or Nicola White – Tideline Art

    How about the amazing things being done in citizen astrophotography?

    And for wild animal lovers, the south Florida trail cam videos – panthers, bears, gators, you name it:

  8. Be careful what you search for.

    I tried “yoga pants” and it has caused no end of controversy with my wife.

  9. With bandwidth comes knowledge.

    First, papyrus scrolls, then handwritten books, then the printing press and mass produced books and magazines, then videos – and now videos via internet… and it’s surprising what you can find out there that may be of interest – or even just video wallpaper. (PZTV has a number of live channels of landscapes, Key West, and various ports.)

    Funny how you don’t recognize golden ages when they sneak up on you…

  10. YouTube certainly has a number of rabbit holes into one can fall, that’s for sure. If you like music, Rick Beato breaks everything down for you in a charming and easily understandable way. Lot’s of classic rock.

    If you like large furniture, i.e., desks and tables, is a great place.

    There’s a young woman in China who repairs old machinery and even rewinds armatures in motors with seemingly basic tools. I give her a lot of credit. She has a charming channel.

    I could go on but YouTube calls…:-)

  11. Personally I like the ones showing puppies playing with kittens.

    Back in the days with Home Depot after we got rid of employee who knew anything about actually using the products, we just told people to look it up on YouTube. What really surprised me was the number of those customers who came back in to get stuff for a project they saw there after referred them. People having fun

  12. I’m a little surprised at how many recommendations above were the same that I would make. I had thought my own selections were too much personal weirdness coupled with being too easily amused. Apparently, I’m in good company.

    I’ll observe that watching someone combine wheat on my computer is much more enjoyable than actually doing it. Especially the part about not having to either fix or pay for the breakdowns.

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