Canadian Woodworking

Planning for more webinars

Blog by Rob Brown

Over the past few years the COVID-19 pandemic changed the world we live in.

It’s true that many things remain the same as before the pandemic, but other changes have had ramifications that are surprisingly large.

One of the biggest changes to our day-to-day lives is how we rely more on the digital world for many of our needs. Video conferencing (Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, etc.) is now something most of us have embraced, while ordering products online is a regular occurrence for many of us, and working from home is now a way of life for a larger percentage of the population.

All of these changes have affected us at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement. Some for the better, but some for the worse. And it’s not always obvious at first why we’re negatively affected by some of these changes. For instance, the fact that people are now buying online wouldn’t seem to affect us, at first glance, but it does. Since people are buying online more often, more corrugated cardboard is needed. This means the pulp and paper industry has shifted away from making paper to put more resources into corrugated boxes. This means paper for printing, and even printing costs themselves, have increased as printing companies scramble to purchase paper as well as deal with many of their print customers going out of business.

The additional world-wide shipping, due largely to people shopping online, has also changed the shipping industry. Once it was normal to expect deliveries to arrive in a few days, but now they take up to a few weeks to reach their destination. Shipping costs have also steadily increased.

Two of our main expenditures are printing and shipping, so our costs have dramatically increased over the past few years.

What’s this got to do with our webinars?

As many of you know, we here at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement have recently had to make some changes to the way we publish issues. Instead of publishing six regular-length issues per year, we’re now publishing three double-length issues per year. Our fingers are crossed that our members will accept this and continue to support us. But to make it more enticing to become a member, and to say “thank you” to those of you who are already members, one of the things we’ve started to produce are webinars. These are free to members.

Our first webinar was in early April, and covered “4 Small Shop Finishes, and Why You Should Choose Them.” We were hoping for a few dozen, maybe 50, attendees, but were happily surprised to welcome almost 150 members to the webinar.

In the webinar I chatted in detail about the first two finishes, then realized I was quickly running out of time. Instead of cramming the last two finishes into the final five minutes of the webinar, and not answering additional questions, I decided to cover the final two finishes in a separate, additional webinar. I think our first webinar went really well, though there’s room for improvement. Our members seemed to really like the event and said they’d definitely come back for more.

The second half of the “4 Small Shop Finishes, and Why You Should Choose Them” webinar was held earlier this week and it also went well. We had a good turnout and lots of great feedback. The main piece of advice we received was that some members found hearing me difficult. The microphone on my laptop is only so good and it’s also meant to work best when it’s within about 3′ of the person talking. Because I was trying to show viewers some of the hands-on aspects of applying these finishes, I was about 6′ from the microphone. I’ll have that sorted before our next webinar, which will be in the near future.

Future webinars

We plan to hold more of these events in the future. Our members were happy to join us and they were appreciative of having the chance to ask questions about the different finishes and how they could apply them in their workshops. I think they also feel these webinars make a subscription to the magazine an even better value than it was previously.

The only question now is what topics should we cover next? More small shop finishing topics? Possibly a closeup look at how to machine different joints? Maybe you want to start adding texture to your projects and want a few pointers. An in-depth look at routers and their incredible potential in a small shop? Or maybe a focus on the material we all use to complete those projects: solid wood. Sometime soon, I’d also love to do a general Q&A session, where members can ask any question they have. We’ve got lots of ideas, and the attendees from the first two webinars also chimed in with their thoughts, but I’d love to hear yours, too. Add your thoughts to the comments section below, then keep your eyes peeled for our future webinar dates.

A big thanks to our members for their support over the past few years. And a huge thanks to those of you who decide to come onboard and support us now. We’re trying to build a larger, stronger woodworking community in Canada, and we value your help.

If you’d like to attend future webinars consider taking out a membership with Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement.

Finishing Options

Here I am, doing my thing. Shellac and hardwax oil were the focus of our most recent webinar, as they both work wonderfully in a small shop setting.

Last modified: April 24, 2024

Rob Brown - [email protected]

Rob is a studio furniture maker and the editor at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement. Instagram at @RobBrownTeaches


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  2. TGIF. I like reading your articles. I do spent time in the shop but nothing big, just toy for the great grandkids. I do not have enough money to keep your shop going because I have my son to give me WF so I can read your articles.

  3. Yes, a webinar on adding texture please. Also, it would be good if webinars were recorded and available to subscribers as I couldn’t “attend” the second part of finishing.

  4. Looking forward to more webinars. Please consider recording them for later viewing. Your first seminar sounded great but I couldn’t watch it as eastern Ontario was in a blackout due to a massive snow storm. There was talk about sending out an email with an address to the first webinar. Haven’t seen that yet; maybe soon.

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