Hi everyone,

I'm hear with /u/MrQuickLine to answer your questions about anything I do. I'll be here for 60-90 minutes or so, so go ahead and ask me anything.

Proof: http://www.imgur.com/xiG240a

EDIT: I think I'm all done for tonight. I may check in again in the morning and answer some questions. Thanks for participating.

EDIT: Answering some more questions now... (Tues, 8:00 EST) EDIT: Ok, enough for now! (Tues, 9:05 EST)

Comments: 652 • Responses: 61  • Date: 

uint64214 karma

What are some of your favourite YouTubers? I feel like you would subscribe to people like Applied Science and AvE. Also, thanks for all the exciting videos. I have yet to build something out of wood, but I feel like I've learnt lots from watching you over the past couple of years.

matthiaswandel246 karma

Yes, am subscribed to those two. Actually, I have a list on my website, which I updated just recently.


svanstrom177 karma

I'm following both you and John Heisz and noticed that you use the metric system, whilst he is using the imperial system. What's the most common system in Canada? Do you guys use both?

matthiaswandel215 karma

Most woodworkers use inches, much like in the US. To some extent, it makes sense because lumber and tools are in inches. So when I do joinery, I'm often working in inches.

TheZenGeek132 karma

Matthias, have you been approached by some of the big tool makers about a sponsorship? and if so did you turn them down and why?

matthiaswandel286 karma

Not by the big tool makers, and not for tools I actually use. I get approached from time to time. But honestly, I'm not sure If I'd have someone like me speak for me if I was a big company. Too risky. You'd want more of a "good boy" kind of guy.

BitterLikeAHop131 karma

I am interested in the economics of YouTube woodworking as a livelihood. I have noticed (and appreciate) that your channel doesn't have ads and non-stop product placement and endorsements like many of your colleagues. Are you still able to monetize your channel or is your income mostly from plans? Thanks for all the great content.

matthiaswandel313 karma

I monetize most of my videos, but I always wait about a month before doing that. That way, my subscribers don't get spammed with ads. Most of the views actually come from older videos anyway. I did try turning on some ads earlier with the mouse trap video but that sort of traffic didn't monetize well. So I don't tink I'm missing much.

BitterLikeAHop82 karma

Thanks for answering, I usually watch right away so I hadn't noticed. Nothing against ads by the way, we all have to make a living, it was just that your videos are a stark contrast to many of the others. I think I am making your mousetrap this weekend :)

matthiaswandel100 karma

Go with the weighted can. It's much simpler. And the mouse only needs to fall off it once!

idamay101 karma

I've noticed you often use power tools in odd ways and do things that would make me a little nervous safety-wise. have you ever had a serious (or not) injury in the shop?

matthiaswandel174 karma

I just injured my right index finger, bled quite badly, taking apart a coffee grinder. I also stabbed my hand with a carving knife (almost like the one I made recently), but that was when I was 16. Oh, and also cut into my left index finger with one of those knives once. I'd say carving knives are the most dangerous tools!

fr00d80 karma

so the scaffold on wheels is still accident free then? I'm impressed :-)

matthiaswandel66 karma

It's way safer than using a ladder.

I figured with it dragging it's feet as soon as you corner, it should not be possible to corner enough to tip it, but I realized since, if I to full speed sideways with the wheel, and then abruptly stop while running to one side on top, it might just tip if I tried hard enough. Was tempting to build an outrigger to keep it from tipping all the way and then test that maneuver, but Rachel totally doesn't approve.

exige198193 karma

Matthias, what have you designed/built that you're most proud of? (for simplicity sake, lets omit your recent human invention)

matthiaswandel164 karma

The pantorouter, and the bandsaw. I thought they were kind of ridiculous projects when I built them, but they turned out much better than anticipated.

Gruntledlark81 karma

I've noticed a change in your presentation/format/content lately from the earlier videos. Your earlier videos seemed to be more serious and focused on solving problems. Your most recent videos seem to be a little more frivolous or entertaining in nature. Does this represent a need to increase subscriptions? Do you feel as if you are competing with others like John Heisz, Izzy Swan and others for eyeballs or do you feel like it is a cooperative effort?

matthiaswandel256 karma

No, just getting more relaxed abut it. And, as I see Steve Ramsey and others getting more serious, I'm thinking I should go in the opposite direction. Basically, celebrate my lack of sponsors. I can talk about killing mice or smashing bandsaws or whatever.

TheManOTheHour79 karma

Matthias, I love your videos! I think you were the first person I ever actually subscribed to on YouTube.

Two questions:

  1. Do you ever think you'll return to an engineering job? I'm gonna be graduating with my engineering degree this coming December, and I wish I could do what you do, haha.

  2. Do you have any lathe projects in the pipeline? I seem to recall you saying you don't really enjoy wood turning, but I bet you could come up with some really creative projects!

Thanks! Keep being awesome!

matthiaswandel105 karma

1 - Not very likely. At this point, I can make a living having fun. And there's plenty of engineering involved.

2 - Yes. Working on one right now. I'd guess I'd have it ready for publishing maybe at the end of the month.

lav1359 karma

Hello. 1. Do you often go to Germany? Were you maybe in some other parts of Europe yet? I must say that beside all your woodworking videos I loved that one where you showed your parents sawmill. Houses and everything are just so different than in Europe. 2. Do you still have VW Golf (4th generation)? :) I am from Slovenia, you have fans here to (which love your usage of metric system) :)

matthiaswandel53 karma

I go back to germany every few years. I thought I'd try a different make. Got a honda Fit two years ago. Great for hauling stuff, but it's a bit louder than the golf was.

DocktorCocktor49 karma

Have you ever thought about putting the pantorouter's template follower on an x/y axis, and the plunge on a z axis, similar to a 3d printer? Then you could load elaborate joints on a computer and have the machine cut it for you without needing templates.

matthiaswandel80 karma

Once you add motors, perpendicular gantries make more sense. As in, a CNC router. I believe that's been done before.

DocktorCocktor27 karma

With a perpendicular gantry like a CNC machine, wouldn't it be difficult to cut the ends of long boards?

matthiaswandel52 karma

Oh, I see, oke a CNC router turned on it's side. I suppose that could be done. But I have no desire to mess with CNC. Too slow, too time consuming.

PeteCollin39 karma

Do you ever miss the espirit-de-corps of working for a large company?

matthiaswandel69 karma

Having smart colleagues is a lot of fun. RIM (now Blackberry) was a lot of fun. But the company had changed so much from its early days, it wasn't worth the frustration anymore.

Einich36 karma

Hey dude, Love your videos! The word "genius" comes up often when people talk about your videos... Have you ever had an IQ test, and if so what is it?

matthiaswandel181 karma

Have played around with some online ones, but these things are, I'm sure, quite bogus. IQ tests are for people too lazy to actually get off their ass and do stuff!

terraflubb34 karma

Hi Matthias!

I like it when your videos explore or explain topics outside your usual fare. You often use salvaged electric motors for projects. You've made a few videos about electric motors’ workings, do you plan on doing any more? Maybe along the lines of the printer teardown, but where you might explain what kinds of junked items you target when salvaging.


PS. I have a “3 HP” treadmill motor which is just collecting dust. You're free to it if you haven't already got enough in your collection.

matthiaswandel42 karma

I thoght about doing a video on switching motors between 120 and 240 volts, but that probably wouldn't get many views. Maybe something on brushless DC motors, but I don't have one to demo with.

Lots of pople have treadmill motors. Usually because the controller burned out. Without the controllers, they aren't much use. And the power ratings are completely bogus.

JihadiBadger30 karma

Matthias, I really like your work. You taught me how to print from Sketchup to paper so that i could take complicated designs and actually cut things square.

I was actually interested in the business side of things - Does the viewership you have on Youtube now allow you to be self sufficient and do what you love for 'Free' ?

What is the hardest part of running the online presence ?

Thanks !

matthiaswandel43 karma

Yes, I can live off of stuff. But I charge money for some of my plans and stuff. So it's not all free.

rohanbeckett28 karma

Constantly amazed at the amount of material you 'find on the kerb'. :)

Do you have a list of projects - things you really want to try building in the future?

or is the bulk of your content/creations just come about, due to a need, an itch to scratch, or an improvement on a prior one?

There's another youtuber I follow, and he usually publishes a list of 'to do projects' that he hopes to do over the following year, and it's always interesting to see what he manages to achieve, and what ends up getting canned.

matthiaswandel27 karma

I do have a list, but most of my projects don't come from the list. I don't really plan that far ahead.

BakemeacakeBeyoch27 karma

if you had to work with one type of lumber for the rest of you life what kind would it be and why?

matthiaswandel45 karma

Either pine, or sugar maple. Pine because it's very stable, sugar maple because it's very hard.

jakkarth26 karma

Hey Matthias! Thanks for all the great videos and resources over the years. I've bought several of your plans recently and look forward to building them. I've got a few questions!

  • What is a metal supermarket? You've used this term several times. Being south of the border, I'm not sure what the equivalent would be here. The local Home Depot and Lowes have abysmal metal selections. With the understanding that it's not an endorsement, do you have a particular store or online resource you'd recommend?
  • Do you have two different youtube channels? The one I'm subscribed to has a latest video of the egg hardness tester, but your Facebook page has a video about a tape recorder belt. They both have the same channel name but different subscriber counts. What's up with that?
  • Many of your projects call for small knobs, either for holding things fast like stops or templates on the quick set tenon jig, or for fine adjustment like on the table saw dovetail jig. The tensioning crank on the bandsaw or the height ratchet on the slot mortiser are similar in concept. You've either mentioned making the knobs in passing, or spent around 30s-1m talking about making them. Some have the threaded rod/bolt attached to the knob, some have a t-nut or similar. How do you determine which knob style is more appropriate in a particular circumstance? Could you perhaps do a video dedicated solely to these types of jig parts, the various types, their uses and how to make them? This would be super handy for making our own jigs.
  • Where do you find all this stuff in the trash? Whether it's blower motors or old desks or inkjet printers, it seems like you've got a huge collection stuff you've trash picked. Do you drive around housing complexes looking for cool stuff as part of your daily routine?

Again, I really appreciate your efforts to educate the masses and bring some engineering to woodworking on YouTube. Every time I see one of your videos pop up in my feed I know I'm about to get an education. And thanks for the AMA!

matthiaswandel48 karma

Metal supermarket is a store. They are in the US and canada.

Yes, have two youtube channels. Second channel for lesser videos.

Whichever knob seems right. I also bought a cool set of jig knobs at lee valley tools.

Stuff in the trash - I'm asked all the time. I only find stuff when not looking for it. Just keep your eyes open.

red_byrd24 karma

Hi Matthias, long time viewer, thanks for doing the AMA!

Two questions for you:

1) If time, money, or practicality were no objects; what would you be interested in building?

2) What's your favorite food/meal?

matthiaswandel49 karma

1) Something practical that doesn't take much time. 2) All kinds of different stuff. I like stuff with good thick gravy. When I make a roast, I fuss over getting the gravy just right. Gravy on spaezle is awesome

SuperFreakonomics24 karma

Do you play any games on your Lenovo Y510(I think)?

matthiaswandel51 karma

I'm not even sure if that's my model number. Know it's a gamer latpop computer. I hate that idea. But I needed an i7q processor for video editing.

lav1320 karma

Do you watch or are you a fan of some TV-series? Favorite movie?

matthiaswandel43 karma

Don't have a TV. There is the odd movie here and there that I really like, but can't think of any right now. I don't watch that many movies. Who's got time for that anyway?

ajtrns17 karma

Do you have any experience with "appropriate technology"? You could probably contribute a lot to, say, the be-all end-all human-powered washing machine -- going beyond the awesome things you've already done for woodshop tools and furniture. (Engineers Without Borders, Global Village Construction Set, Public Lab, Dave Hakkens, and many others...)

matthiaswandel90 karma

Inventing stuff for the third world seems to be the fashionable and politically correct thing to do. Like a wind up radio. Most of which got sold to yuppies, as far as I know. The best technology for the third world tends to be invented in the third world.

pkennedy13 karma

In terms of 3rd world people inventing 3rd world tech/ideas for themselves, I would have agreed with you, up until moving to Brazil a couple of years ago.

There is a major cultural difference, one of productivity increases. People simply don't think in terms of improving their productivity, while they can get very inventive when they need to, they won't do something unless it's forced upon them. Essentially there is no recognition of "I could save 10% of my time by investing 3 hours into building this widget".

Our culture allows us to see solutions to bettering our position in life by changing how or what we do, and not all cultures are like that.

These ideas might seem fashionable, but they're most likely helping a lot of people who never realized they had a major problem that could be solved.

matthiaswandel13 karma

Well, what becomes of all these first world inventions for the third world? High tech is really not the way to go. Needs to be simpler so the village blacksmith or whoever can fix it when it breaks (and it will). Also needs to be cheap.

svanstrom17 karma

Any plans to do a project combining woodworking and electronics? Maybe combine your elaborate wood machines with some electronics components controlling servos and such? Like when you built the Raspberry Pi holder, only with more integration between the electronic hardware and the wood construction?

matthiaswandel36 karma

I built a computer controlled box joint jig years ago. But upgraded it to gears. The gears have never crashed on me, never ran out of power, and they just work.

rajrdajr15 karma

Would you consider using a SawStop table saw?

matthiaswandel99 karma

I would, but I'd paint it to make it unrecognizable. The thing is, the inventor, Steve Gass, is a patent lawyer. He very much helped the idiot who cut his finger off to win the million dollar lawsuit against Ryobi. If he had it his way, every table saw would have to have the sawstop technolgy. Which is patented by him. So if he had his way, he would take a cut on every table saw sold. There is the "it's about the safety" factor, but him trying to keep Bosch from selling saws with their own blade retraction system makes it clear that it's more about money than safety.

And having worked in tech, my company was vicitimized by patent trolls. So the idea of promoting sawstop is just galling to me. I would consider it unethical to promote their saws.

svanstrom15 karma

How often do you use your big workshop? Do you have any specific plans for it, like building something big that wouldn't fit in your ordinary shop? :)

matthiaswandel17 karma

I already built some stuff there that wouldn't fit in my basement. Like the scaffold, or shelving. No particular plans. Just puttering away out there. My goal is to spend almost no money on it. So only used cheap stuff and stuff I no longer use in my main shop.

xdetar14 karma

What's up with the two Youtube channels? I only noticed earlier when you posted your tape recorder video.

matthiaswandel14 karma

Other channel is for lesser videos.

liarandathief10 karma

Like you don't want to dilute your brand with inferior stuff?

matthiaswandel19 karma

Not everyone carese enough. Those that do can subscribe to the other channel, or follow me on fb or g+

svanstrom12 karma

Does it ever get lonely working by yourself, compared to working with a lot of colleagues in an office like I guess you did before? Do you interact with other woodworkers, sharing ideas and tips?

matthiaswandel43 karma

Not really. I don't mind working alone, as long as I can interact with people in other ways. Any real work is solitary in nature.

SenseIMakeNone11 karma

What's your preferred sharpening method for edged tools?

Most cherished thing you have built?

And what's something you've always wanted to make but never had the time/resources/ect?

matthiaswandel22 karma

I like powered grinders for sharpening. After that, straight to the buffing wheel. So not big into water stones and such.

Always meant to build a chaotic double pendulum machine, but a mecansim to give it just the right kick is very difficult. If you let the energy get too low, it stops, let it get too high, and it ceases to be chaotic.

SenseIMakeNone8 karma

Cool! Thank you for sharing mate. I'm a novice woodworker myself, I've always liked your videos. I made my own wood lathe after your wood bandsaw video made me realize it's possible.

What's your next project in the works? Feel free to join /r/woodworking ! Wed love to have you there.

matthiaswandel17 karma

Sorry, but I try to avoid adding extra time commitments. I spend way too much time answering emails and keeping up with what's happening as it is.

Fromatron10 karma

Financially, how well off are you now compared to five years ago? Would you say comfortable? Broke, or wealthy? How much has Woodgears.ca played in establishing your current standard of living?

As a well-know public figure on the internet, you must run into the occasional crazy-person online. Have any stories?

You should know that https://www.reddit.com/r/Woodgears/ exists...I created it! Also am supposed to be a mod there...

I was hoping that the subreddit would compliment the role of your "reader projects" section on your blog. But activity there is somewhat infrequent, however any & every post made there is commented on and noticed at least :)

You told me once (via facebook) that you believe your biggest audience following was middle aged, and wouldn't likely be found on reddit. Has your opinion changed?

What led you to do this AMA? Did you get sick of answering brain-dead youtube comments & questions with "watch the video"?

Last question: Will you come back to Reddit on a regular basis after this? It would be nice to have your username show up in the comments section there from time to time.

Your #1 fan -Fromatron

matthiaswandel7 karma

A friend suggested it and actually created the account and everything. So it was a small time commitment. I should perhaps ignore reddit less than I do, but it would be yet another demand on my time.

dagger85210 karma

hey Matthias, big fan! been watching your videos for years now and always want to replicate your wooden machines and one-off gadgets. I'm sure you have a huge list of future experiments/creations, what are you most excited about building next?

matthiaswandel18 karma

I don't know. I have a list I keep, but quite often I just end up playing with something and it turns into a project.

What's your favourite kitchen utensil? Do you know? Hard to answer, eh?

TheManOTheHour7 karma

What's your favourite kitchen utensil?

Definitely that one spatula that has a bendy blade and a firm metal handle. Perfect for getting up underneath fried eggs and pancakes. Why aren't all spatulas made like that? Seems like a no brainer.

Yes, I've thought about this before...

matthiaswandel15 karma

Actually, have one of those too. It's awesome for scraping stuff on the bottom of an enamel pan. But it's starting to show metal fatigue cracks near the welds. Still haven't found a suitable replacement!

nerd81929 karma

Hi Matthias, I have been watching your videos for at least 3 years now. I am always very interested by your approach and your ways of working. I have Asperger Syndrome and recognise a few traits in you from what I see from your videos, have you ever considered that you might be Aspie? Thanks, Seth

matthiaswandel25 karma

Have not considered that. Just that there are a lot of shallow people out there, from my vantage point :)

jq86789 karma

Anybody notice the proof said 2015?

Cheesius12 karma

Ha, that's pretty hilarious. Pretty sure that's a typo, every response I've read definitely seems to be exactly how I'd expect him to reply. Add to that the fact that he's not really promoting anything, I'm sure this has really been Matthias Wandel answering.

EDIT: Also he announced the AMA on his facebook and google Plus pages.

matthiaswandel29 karma

You need to buy some pantorouter plans :)

NoName_25168 karma

Hi Mathias, I've been a long time viewer of your channel and you are my favorite woodworking channel by far. You're actually a huge inspiration to me in fleshing out my skill set and my tool collection.

Anyway - I've always wondered if you've tried 3d printing. Have you ever run into a situation or a problem you that you wish you could print out a part that would solve it?

matthiaswandel9 karma

Have yet to run into a problem where 3d printing would be the solution. was thinking, some bottle cap that attaches to an air hose fitting, but 3d printing isn't suitable. Or maybe pantorouter templates, but I can make those faster by hand. But saw some 3d printed architectural models. That's a cool use.

comhaltacht8 karma

Pineapple on pizza? Yes or no?

matthiaswandel16 karma

Definitely yes.

yash7316 karma

Hey Matthias Wandel, I've been watching your videos for quite some time now, and I really love them I was wondering where do get your Ideas from? what major did you take in College and where? And what other youtube channels do like to visit or subscribe to?

It's great to have you here. Thanks.

matthiaswandel6 karma

Ideas come from everywhere. I usually mention where the idea came from in the video, and if not the video, then the linked article.

Einich6 karma

Off topic a bit, but I really enjoy your quriky sense of humor. Are you a Monty Python fan? If not, what comedians/movies do you enjoy? Also, what are some of your favorite musicians/bands?

matthiaswandel4 karma

Quite like steve martin. There's others I like, but nothing comes to mind at the moment. Music - haven't listened to much lately, but like Simon and Garfunkel, Tom cochran (especially the earlier stuff), Jesee Cook.

robeot6 karma

hi Matthias, i recently got into woodworking, ~ 8 months or so in. i don't currently have the space and/or realistic necessity to own a nice jointer. do you have any tips on how to roughly (emphasis on roughly) approximate a jointer with my main two tools: table saw and router?

matthiaswandel13 karma

Edge jointing is easy on the table saw. And some people make router sleds for flattening. I think I'd sooner use a hand plane.

DJ-Anakin5 karma

In case you check back in the morning, just wanted to say thanks! You've provided countless hours of entertainment, and i've learned a ton!

Do you have any more ideas where you test tolerances, like when you did mortise and tenons, or pocket screws?

matthiaswandel9 karma

I do, but those videos aren't as fun to make and aren't as popular.

RedGreendit5 karma

Hi Matthias, I first ran across your projects while searching for scanner hacks and came across your scanner camera and have been following ever since. I noticed you did an ink jet printer tear down recently for spare parts and I wondered if you might do more scanner camera projects?

matthiaswandel5 karma

No. The newer scanner sensors aren't suitable, and digital cameras have gotten that much cheaper and better. Fact is, I use my camera as a scanner these days.

thepombenator5 karma

Hi matthias,

How do I keep my girlfriend from going crazy about the mess and the noise of me tinkering with things in our small apartment?

matthiaswandel18 karma

Make something useful, finish up, and clean up afterwards. Not to say that will work, but it would certainly help.

zeth_895 karma

Are you happy with your life?

matthiaswandel11 karma


hopelesswanderer214 karma

I saw your video from /r/videos and thought your machine was very satisfying to watch. What other videos of yours do you recommend that are satisfying to watch? other nice inventions that work super smoothly?

matthiaswandel14 karma

Go to my youtube channel, watch a video, then look at the suggestions youtube makes. Youtube knows you better than I do.

pielover9284 karma

Hey, Matthias! I've been a fan for a while. Remember the marble block toys you created, the ones you never got a response for? I think you should try to release them yourself, I bet you could even make a successful kickstarter for it. I've watched all of your videos on them several times, and I fucking loved them.

matthiaswandel3 karma

If I did that, I wouldn't have time to make videos and invent stuff anymore. and it would be a lot less fun.

_rafal3 karma

How's baby doing? Do you miss the corporate world a bit?

matthiaswandel3 karma

baby's doing fine. answered the other part previously.

mushygrapes3 karma

I'm so happy that I stumbled upon this AMA. Your Youtube channel makes me so happy and relaxed. I've never been into wood working but your pantorouter videos are actually mesmerizing

I was wondering what got you into woodworking in the first place? Also when did this passion start?

matthiaswandel3 karma

Always had access to a wood shop. So it was just the easiest way to build stuff.

liarandathief3 karma

Hi, Matthias. I really enjoy your videos and I find them very motivating for getting off my butt and doing my own projects. I have even built a version of your work table.

My question is, if I were to attempt to build my own band saw, will I die or just horribly maim myself?

matthiaswandel9 karma

Neither if you are careful. Honestly, the most dangerous aspect of building that saw is that it might tip forward onto you when you try it out before it's quite done. The frame alone can easily tip forward.

weiss_schneenis3 karma

what respirator and dust control do you use?

matthiaswandel3 karma


Lots of info about that there.

revstickman3 karma

What was the funniest/weirdest thing that ever happened during a project?

matthiaswandel3 karma

maybe the air raid siren losing a fin and then falling off my workbench while the rotor was turning full speed

[deleted]3 karma


matthiaswandel4 karma

See previous answer

frogsbollocks3 karma

Hi Matthias, you're very persistent with your projects, often fixing issues that many of us would live with. Has there been a time when you've just given up and walked away? And is there a point at which you will persevere no matter what, because of the time already invested?

matthiaswandel6 karma

The giving up happens way early, before the effort is worth making a video on. I usually do some preliminary experiments first. For example, the pantorouter, I hacked together a proof of concept before going too far (I wrote about that on my webiste).

I did make a video about my failed helical glass cutting attempt, but that sort of video isn't so popular.

[deleted]1 karma


matthiaswandel17 karma

I believe in the laws of physics. No time for that kind of quackery. And funny thing, these guys are always looking for investors. Really, if you have a perpetual motion machine, why not just sell electricity?

MisterRandyMarsh-7 karma

Did you build your time machine out of wood? Why just go back to 2015 instead of, say, 1986?

matthiaswandel9 karma