The True Value Of Free

I’m still what I would consider a novice woodworker, and ever since I’ve become interested in woodworking, I’ve been soaking up any information I can get. Books, magazines, DVD videos, and especially online content available for free.

As someone who wants to learn about all facets of woodworking – not just techniques, but also ideas from others on how to build one’s hobby, shop ideas, etc. – I very much value any information I can get for low cost or free. Let’s face it, I think most of us are on a budget; and I sometimes struggle with finding time and money to keep my modest hobby going consistently, especially since we’re currently a one income household with a young mildly austistic son.

And yet, there are some that would find fault with a few seconds of advertisement in one of these free online videos from The Wood Whisperer (Marc Spagnoulo). And to boot, it’s only the online embedded version of the video that has the ads. The iTunes podcast and downloadable versions of the videos don’t even include the ads! At first I couldn’t believe it, but remember that it takes all types, and that some people are just not happy unless they’re complaining about something.

What these folks, who provide their content for free, have invested in their craft cannot be measured – in their shops and in their own learning. What they then do is invest yet more: their cameras, microphones, editing software, computer hardware, writing ability, and TIME. Time to create the content, edit it, answer email questions, administer online forums, scour the internet to let us know of the upcoming deals, and the list goes on.

Some have made woodworking their full time career; guys like Marc Spagnoulo and Tommy MacDonald. Others have been doing it as their hobby, while maintaining their work and family life balance, such as Matt Vanderlist and Tom Iovino. Then there are the others I am continually discovering, such as Shannon Rogers, Kari Hultman, David Pruett, and so many others.  All these people who create content and share their knowledge and ideas, and those who offer their insight via sites like LumberJocks, other community forums, and their blogs, do so to the betterment of the entire woodworking community. Those that need to add a few advertisements or sponsorships to keep doing what they are doing is certainly more than understandable, it’s common sense.

Knowledge sharing in exchange for a few seconds of ads – I’ll take that any day…

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