A few years ago as I was hunting for new “bushcraft” knowledge to gather and projects to try, I happened upon a favorite YouTuber, Dave Canterbury. Dave is a wilderness enthusiast with dozens of videos full of interesting content. He has a devoted following who look up to him as an authority on wilderness skills and see him as a source of reliable knowledge and unique content.
On May 19th, 2015, Dave posted a tutorial video to YouTube on building a “Woodcrafter’s Bench”. I’ve chosen not to link his channel on this site, but the video is easily found with a quick search.
The video demonstrates construction of a bench to aid in holding woodwork projects for ease of carving. I thought it was a neat design and chose to make my own, which I did the following day. As usual, I decided to take the design further and developed a modular system for the bench. I cut a hole near one end, and used this to mount various devices to increase the bench’s utility. The first removable head I built was a “spoon mule” for clamping spoons or other small items being worked. I built the device, took photos, and uploaded them to Imgur.com and Dave’s personal Facebook page on May 20, 2015. Link
I was a little disappointed that the FB post received no feedback, but figured Dave is a busy guy and didn’t have time to respond to all his followers.
Then, on May 31st, 2015, Dave posted a new video.
I was thrilled! I clicked “play”, and waited excitedly for a mention, a shout out, a “thank you”, anything. It would have done a great deal to help me, a no-name hobbyist with far fewer resources than Dave, struggling to squeeze out content, to be noticed and recognized for a unique concept.
Then, the video was over and my spirits had fallen hard. Nothing. A note in the video description perhaps?……nope. Dave had taken my idea, scrubbed my name from it, and posted it to his channel as his own without the slightest nod in my direction.
To say the least, I was disillusioned and stopped heading to his sites for updates.
Dave Canterbury is a professional wilderness skills instructor, running his self-branded school of bushcraft in Ohio. He has over half a million subscribers on YouTube, and appeared on Discovery’s “Dual Survivor” until he was fired when it was revealed he’d lied about his military history. I am a lone individual working full time as a nurse, and have no other source of income. I develop my own unique content in my spare time as resources allow, and continue to struggle to attract visitors to my site and efforts, as I try to balance the complexities of this project with a full time job and personal life. I assumed Dave had no shortage of ideas for new content and had long since climbed the steep incline of gaining the attention and following of like-minded individuals. I never would have thought Dave Canterbury would feel the need to take a new concept shared enthusiastically by a fan, and present it as his own innovation. I was wrong.
Dave, maybe this is a small gripe, but that’s pretty poor behavior, especially given your current momentum and notoriety. It would have taken less than ten seconds to simply mention my name and say thanks for the idea, and would have been no detriment to your video. You could have taken the opportunity to support the bushcraft community as a whole and encourage folks to innovate, contribute, and share. Instead, you took it as an opportunity to steal an idea from a fan and sell it as your own, community be damned. Personal profit over the field of interest you claim to defend.
So it goes. Lesson learned.