Steady Craftin’ with The CrafsmanComments (1)
His remarkably soothing voice is like a mix of a southern Bob Ross and Snoop Dogg. One fan said his voice was “like a cool mint julep on a hot night.” He’s a south Mississippi woodworker whose YouTube views have topped two million in just two short years. He goes by “The Crafsman” with an emphasis on “man.” That moniker is a tribute to his grandmother, he said. “That’s how she says ‘crafts.’ She leaves the ‘t’ out of a lot of words. Bless her heart.”
Who is The Crafsman?
Sort of like Tim the Tool Man’s elusive neighbor on the TV show “Home Improvement,” we never see The Crafsman’s face on camera, only his hands wearing gloves. “Really I want people to formulate who the Crafsman is inside, based not on skin,” he said. He never reveals his name. His trademark introduction is “my name is your host, the Crafsman." What started out as kind of a silly gimmick has turned into his signature style — wearing gloves, occasionally using a puppet that was left over from an old project he worked on with his (now grown) kids and that warm, mellow voice. But make no mistake, The Crafsman’s tutorials aren’t fluff. Besides his smooth talking and kind-hearted demeanor, he imparts knowledge on a variety of subjects that resonate with his adoring fans. A self-taught woodworker and furnituremaker by trade, he shares his how-to’s with an equal mix of quality production, incidental entertainment, smooth delivery and spot-on instruction.
Why does he maintain an anonymous persona? He blames a little paranoia but said he would rather people be entertained by his character. “I was honestly apprehensive (knowing how negative people can be online), but people make this worth it,” he said.
His videos and comments to viewers are sprinkled with some of the southern vernacular he was raised around, like “bless her heart,” “oh mercy,” “goodness gracious,” “mosey” and “hurdy gurdy.” Like a true Southern gentleman, The Crafsman loves sweet tea, biscuits, cornbread and Jesus. He’s also a fan of old keys, tools, cameras and oilcans, fig preserves, tobacco tins, action figures and the sound of raindrops on a metal roof. And he just seems so daggone nice.
The Crafsman’s video topics include how to remove rust, how to silver solder, DIY stone veneer and how to make spoon rings. He said he likes sharing anything relating to woodworking, arts and crafts, and “any practical DIY knowledge I’ve learned which I feel may be useful to someone else.” His concise but effective how-to’s are around 5-10 minutes each, which makes it easy to binge watch his channel on YouTube – TheCrafsman SteadyCraftin.
His first video and one of his most popular techniques – “How to Transfer Photos to Wood” – shows the method he discovered for transferring images with acrylic poly. He later replaced that video with his follow-up called “Ultimate Photo Transfer Technique,” which has been his highest viewed so far with more than 570,000 views as of this writing. In “Make Wood Look Old,” he demonstrates his weathering process as well as a fast graying trick. “Concrete Basics” shares his simple concrete recipe and some tips for best results. In “$7 DIY Photo Light Box” he shares his smart, simple solution for taking better pictures for online selling. P.S. it involves a trash can. Another fan favorite is “Here Go Some Honey” where Mrs. Crafsman makes an appearance in a bee suit.
His talents extend beyond his tutorials, as he also films and edits his own videos. Though he said he doesn’t have the most up-to-date camera (it’s a Canon t2i he bought to take family pictures), “it does turn out some pretty decent video, so I went with that.” He upgraded to a shotgun microphone for better sound quality and clarity. Viewers often suggest video topics as well. “I honestly really like that!” he said. “Coming up with ideas is one of the hardest parts of this YouTube process.”
Crafsman’s CreationsThe Crafsman sells a line of characters on his Etsy site (Steadycraftin) called Bentfolks, which are “little musician figures” made from stainless steel forks. Each numbered creation holds an antique key as if it were a guitar. After he posted a little video trailer about them on his YouTube page, fans grabbed them up in no time. “They sold out right quick,” he said.
He also sells wooden
characters, small metal sculptures, vintage keys, spoon rings and pendants. In
fact, I have my own piece of TCM jewelry – a lovely little pinky ring that I
purchased from his Etsy site. The handmade Bolivian Rosewood pendant pictured
here has a crushed Paua Shell inlay. The Crafsman’s “Reminder Robots” are
made from real antique cameras, featuring arms and legs with color and distressing
to match the age of the cameras.
My very own TCM ring
Bolivian Rosewood pendant
The Crafsman’s cult-like following truly can’t get enough of his YouTube channel. “When I did that first video, I put it up because I figured out it was possible to transfer photos to wood using acrylic/water-based polyurethane and I had never seen that done,” he said. But he found that people really, really liked watching and listening to him explain his methods. “People came back with ‘this relaxes me,’ ‘I could watch anything you do.’ Right now I have over 58,000 subscribers and would NEVER (EVER) have guessed that two years ago.”
When asked if that was his normal voice, The Crafsman replied, “This is almost my real everyday voice. My wife would tell you I’m more laid back when I do videos. It actually started out as me trying to sound PROFESSIONAL. Ha ha ha! But then come to find out, people find that relaxing, and some compare it to a couple of other TV personalities. I am not trying to imitate anyone else. It’s just me wanting to sound smooth, I guess.” And smooth, he is.
So smooth, in fact, that his fans – which he still finds humbling to say – have mentioned “ASMR” many times in the comment sections of his videos. What’s ASMR, you say? Autonomous sensory meridian response – a calming, pleasurable euphoric experience that gives people a tingly feeling through stimuli like whispers, white noise and the sound of rain – and there is a huge community out there. “I did some research and, while it seemed odd at first, I’m seeing that people are benefiting from the relaxation potential,” The Crafsman said.
See Mrs. Crafsman in her bee suit as The Crafsman shares how they harvest honey and process beeswax.
The Crafsman Phenom
The Crafsman himself said he never could have guessed the outcome of “doing this YouTube thing.” He thought some folks might find his transfer technique beneficial, so he posted the video that started it all. But if things keep going this well, he said, “The Crafsman Steady Craftin could turn into a job-job, instead of just an every-once-in-awhile type deal.”
At the encouragement of his adoring fans, The Crafsman is now looking into doing some voice work and other projects. “They are so encouraging to me, and it makes me want to keep on putting up these videos. I want y’all to know it really does mean a lot to me that people find my videos interesting, useful or entertaining.” Stay tuned!
To see The Crafsman’s videos, check out his YouTube channel here.
In the wise words of The Crafsman, please be good to each other and keep steady craftin’.
We hope you’ll be inspired!
I <3 the crafsman! If you don't know bout him, you're missing out.
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