Matthias Wandel doesn’t spend a lot of time working with wood.
This might be surprising considering that 1.72 million people have subscribed to his YouTube channel to watch him do just that.
But running one of YouTube’s most watched woodworking channels and doing it as a full-time job means more than his workshop in Fredericton, which he calls home since 2018. of hours spent in front of a computer.
“The amount of woodwork I do, if someone has free time to do woodwork on the weekends, if they’re not filming, they can do as much or more woodwork than I do,” he said. .
“It’s the video production that costs the money, and it usually takes longer.”
And it paid off. Since uploading his first video 15 years ago, Wandel has amassed over 588 million total views through practical, complex and sometimes quirky videos that approach the hobby through the mind of a world-class engineer. Earned.
According to Wandell, he’s far from the top woodworking YouTuber if you only consider monthly views, but his channel ranks among the top in terms of total views.
“There are people who do woodworking and are like old men with a beard in the image of a log cabin. No, I am not,” he said.
“Or, you know, highly artistic woodworking. No, I’m more practical and always interested in finding new ways.”
His philosophy is reflected in his online content. Many of his most popular videos focus on him designing and building his own woodworking tools. In another well-watched video, he uses his skills to answer a big mystery.
Other projects on this channel range from practical to challenging. Wandells can make wooden raid sirens, kid-sized chairs, and pistols to completely remove Jenga blocks from towers.
Vandel has always been involved in woodworking.
He is originally from Germany, where his father worked as a farmer and ran a lumber shop.
When his family moved to Canada, his father decided to make woodworking his main occupation.
He always enjoys making what he needs. And the ability to do so is what he loves so much about woodworking.
“If you need something, just make it. So you can make it exactly how you want it,” he said.
While studying engineering at the University of Waterloo, he created desks and dressers designed for the mobility that college life requires. He designed furniture that could be disassembled without tools.
Before publishing Internet content full-time, he worked for Canadian technology company Research In Motion (later renamed BlackBerry). In 2007, he left the company to pursue another opportunity, which did not go well. He was left with a side project.
“I had a website for some years, and I found some articles on woodworking doing really well, so I thought I’d expand it.”
After publishing several woodworking articles online, Wandel transitioned to the new format of blogging that was gaining traction at the time.
“Especially after Google bought YouTube, it was starting to catch people’s attention.
His output has adapted as the platform has grown. Initially, I used YouTube to host videos for my website. But after some viral hits of his (which meant around 70,000 views at the time), in 2010 he decided to prioritize his own video content.
Wandel attributes part of his sustained success to being a relatively early user of the platform.
He likes to say that opportunities are temporary. By the time something is recognized as an opportunity, it may be too late.
“By the time people get into the gold rush, or what is known as the gold rush, they’re not doing well. They’re the ones who got into it beforehand.”
He believes the platform is so crowded right now that it’s hard for anyone to gain traction.
The proliferation of content on this platform has also changed his approach.
“There are so many things out there right now that making another video about how to make a chair, a dresser, etc. is not going to attract attention because there are already so many,” he said. rice field.
“So we have to focus a bit more on the entertainment aspect, or some kind of interesting angle. So this is about woodworking, but it’s also entertainment.”