Jim Hamilton on balancing his love for woodworking and his Stumpy Nubs YouTube persona
Jim Hamilton, the face and personality behind YouTube channel Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal, has spent the last 10 years teaching woodworking tips to thousands of viewers. With over 600k YouTube followers and 700+ videos published, he understands the difficult balance between building projects for himself and choosing to create pieces to help him educate his audience.
Here are 5 quick questions with Jim to get to know the man behind the famous videos.
What are your absolute favorite projects to work on?
I enjoy the more artistic parts of the craft such as carving, marquetry and inlay. Unfortunately, these are time consuming, and I rarely have the free time to enjoy them.
What’s one of the most fun projects you’ve worked on in the last year?
We recently built a stairway from white oak with copper risers beneath each step and a small library (bookcases surrounding a bench seat) beneath. It was full of challenges including making the long oak handrail and bending the copper around the edges of the risers, which are exposed to view and leave little room for error. I still have to finish carving the newel posts, so it may be a while before it is fully complete.
What’s your favorite use for your Sjobergs bench?
I like its mass. For many years I have owned the Elite 2000 workbench with the cabinet beneath. When filled with tools the bench is very solid and heavy. This is important because all my energy is transferred into the task, be it planning a board or chopping a mortise, rather than being wasted by a moving or flexing workbench. Anyone who has worked on a solid bench like this would never want to be without one in the future.
How has your woodworking evolved since you started your YouTube channel?
Unfortunately, I rarely get to build things just for fun anymore. Every project is chosen for its value in educating our audience, and the entire process is very different when you are filming. I do find pleasure in helping others learn the craft, but that’s not the same as spending an afternoon in the shop doing whatever you like, with no thought to the camera. It’s funny because I remember my grandfather talking about how, when he retired from his job as a well driller, he hoped to have time for woodworking. And here I am someone who makes his living in the craft, yet I still say: “I hope to do more woodworking once I retire!”
Many people turn to you when they want to learn more about woodworking—but where do you turn when you want to learn?
I read books and magazines, watch videos and take the occasional class like everyone else. Woodworking is a very ancient craft which has evolved slowly. There are many different methods to accomplish almost any task. I think it’s important to keep an open mind to different ways of doing things. No matter how much we think we may know, there is always something else worth learning or something new worth trying.