Customers complain when they miss out on a special poster, book or shirt with a common refrain: Wahhh, I don’t have time to follow woodworking blogs and websites.
I’m not sure what they want us to say in reply. Perhaps: OK, next time I’ll send John Hoffman to your house to rap on your window when we have a new product we suspect you’ll be interested in (because we’re monitoring your phone. And no, your foil-covered colander isn’t blocking the transmissions).
Truth is, it has always been the duty and obligation of individual woodworkers to stay informed on the latest findings, thinkings and crackpot theories in our beloved craft. In the 18th century you were expected to read all the books that came out, join a local mechanical society and attend their lectures. In the 19th and 20th centuries, you could join a society (or union), read a trade newspaper and read books.
And now we have the Internet (plus magazines and books – at least for now).
Luckily, technology can sort through all the new information and let you scan the headlines from the woodworking blogs. One way to do this is to visit a news aggregator, such as Unplugged Workshop.
I don’t use aggregators, however, because their interests don’t always match mine. That’s why I use a free RSS reader (I use feedly.com but there are many out there). These readers make a custom webpage for you that’s filled with the latest posts from your favorite websites. And you can add or delete sites that you follow with just a click.
Using an RSS reader is not difficult. In fact, you probably use them (or a similar technology) all the time on your mobile device (Apple’s News app works like an RSS reader).
Don’t know where to start? Below you can download an .opml file of many of the blogs I follow. You can import these into almost any RSS reader, then add or delete sites to suit your tastes. Note that about 20 percent of the sites in my feed are dormant. I keep them because sometimes they come back to life after someone gets a divorce, gets through a health crisis or simply has their chi adjusted by the local witchdoctor.
Or view the blogs I read via this link:
Give it a try. You’ll be better informed and have to wander around aimlessly a lot less.
— Christopher Schwarz