They’re handsy. And talky. But not facey.
And they’re occasionally sleepy. Sometimes I fall asleep to these channels. …More on that later.
To be considered for this list, a YouTube creator must primarily film toward their own hands, and seldom if ever show their face. Oh yeah, and they need to talk, too. So how does one make it into the prestigious top-10? That criteria’s classified, bub! Keep askin’ and you’ll end up on a list!
In no particular order:
“synth ideas tips, tricks and reviews” by Ziv from probably US or Canada or Israel – 116k subs
Loopop overlays a time-stamped table of contents on the left side of every video. This, and other examples of his attention to great user experience aren’t lost on me. As both a UX and synthesizer enthusiast, I feel near-qualified to say that loopop’s synth gear content is easily the most elucidating out there. His videos are important assets to a community of knob tweakers. Loopop’s video knowledge-drops save people so much time, but hit the wallet hard, because we end up buying marvelous, knobby toys we don’t need after watching his videos. This is one channel I can’t fall asleep to, but if you’re less of a synth gear fanboy, it might be boring enough for you. Oh, except for all the distracting beeps and boops.
“skill games and brain teasers” by Christian Ihlo from near Frankfurt, Germany – 747k subs
When Mr. Puzzle excitedly introduces himself and welcomes you at the beginning of each video, I can’t help but crack a smile. Then he dives in to solve complex 3D puzzles WAY faster than anybody should be able to. If you’re a puzzle enthusiast, Mr. Puzzle always adds a spoiler break before he solves the specimen, so if you’re looking for recommendations without spoilers, it’s all good. Mr. Puzzle recently started showing his face here and there on camera, but not enough to be disqualified from this best talking hands of YouTube list, yet.
“DIY and Crafts Videos, Animations, and More” by anonymous from southern Mississippi – 363k subs
Speaking of lovable intros, TheCrafsMan elevates the lovable intro to another level. (Sorry, Mr.Puzzle!) I’ll try not to gush too much about TheCrafsMan’s channel, but I’m a big fan. I don’t ‘craft’ per se, but I really like falling asleep to this guy craftin’. Resins, plastics, music, sculpting, drawing, you name it, he crafs it. Check out his earlier works to appreciate how he’s gradually evolved into an excellent caricature of himself. …The puppet avatar in his intros is excellent branding. Oh, and that patois of his reminds me of the friendly, quirky bayou I never knew, but now want to.
“reviews, and tutorials about computers and electronics” by Kevin from New Jersey – 106k subs
If you’re into geeky consumer goods and old computers, oh, and pedantic exploration thereof, VWestlife’s content is about as good as it gets. Kevin’s attention to the nooks and crannies of obscure, unloved, slightly archaic, esoteric tech is just interesting enough for me to want to watch, and just boring enough to help me get to sleep at night. VWestlife also makes videos featuring cars, games, and other topics, if computers and consumer tech aren’t your thing. …And he often focuses on the UX of his video subjects, so that makes me a channel cheerleader of sorts.
5. I’m not Gary
“explaining The Far Side” by anonymous from probably US or Canada – 118 subs
Speaking of pedantic YouTube content, this deep-dive channel is a bit of a head-scratcher on several levels, but totally obvious on others. I’m not Gary quickly sketches The Far Side comics, and then awkwardly explains why each is funny. For …reasons. I didn’t typo-miss the “k” up there in the subscriber-count. His channel’s newer. …And for some reason features what looks like the unholy offspring of Barbie + late-stage Mike Tyson in the upper-left corner of the frame, always.
“teardown, modify (and sometimes destroy) random electronic stuff” by Clive from Isle of Man, UK – 655k subs
Remember when I was talking about good UX in videos a while back? (see #1 above) Big Clive earns points here, too. He’ll frequently pause to hand sketch a schematic, and then often snaps and prints a very zoomed-in color picture of the PCB. …Both excellent contrivances which increase his contribution to your arcane electronic component comprehension. Bigclivedotcom is another YouTuber who’s at times crossed over into more ‘facey’ videos. But the vast majority of his usually-sleepy stuff is all hands. …And cheap crap torn to pieces, for, um, reasons.
“tears apart power tools, engines, pump components, etc.” by anonymous from somewhere in the great north – >1.0mil subs
Gentlemen! One of the more awesomely Canadian personalities around, this powerhouse engineer/entertainer will fabricate something from nothing on a CNC router in one episode, and tear apart what appears to be perfectly good (aka skookum) power tool in the next episode. His colorful, backwoods, blue-collar, Canadian lingo (e.g. dollars = doll hairs, Milwaukee = Willfukyee, etc.,) somehow doesn’t get old, or seem contrived. With personality to spare, this one’s not something you’ll want to try to sleep to, most nights.
“exploring different ways to overcome security devices” by anonymous from likely northeastern/midwestern US – 503k subs
This channel, aka the Lock Lab, helped get me into lock picking several years ago. I got a cheapo lock pick set, and eventually graduated to a slightly better set of tools. But I ain’t got nuthin’ on Bosnianbill. This guy picks so well, he probably DOES pick his friend’s nose. Ahh… I kid. Bosnianbill regularly rips on Master Lock, which is fun. He inspired the only other locksport personality I know of, LockPickingLawyer. And Bosnianbill always ends videos by encouraging viewers to not break the law. Me? I’ll end this paragraph encouraging civil disobedience, because that’s how I roll. Do it!
“retro computer and video game programmer” by Robin Harbron from Canada, obvs – 28k subs
Robin focuses most of his videos on the Commodore 64 and its slightly older, crustier brethren, all the while delivering delightfully pedantic patter. 8-Bit Show And Tell has been at it for less that two years, hence the lower sub count than most others. I’ve been watching his recent programming book video for the past three nights; I keep falling asleep. Don’t quiz me on it, please. There’s an ‘8-bit’ and otherwise ‘retro’ content rash of sorts on YouTube of late, but 8-Bit Show And Tell is the cream that rises to the talking hands top of the heap. Or is that crop of the heap? Is that a thing?
“transforming ordinary gelatin into edible masterpieces” by Rachel Cohen from N. Hollywood CA – ??? subs
Whoa. That channel name is a mouthful! (pun :/) Rachel was a real talent – at something I didn’t know was a thing before I found her channel. I haven’t seen, heard, or read anything about gelatin art since then, either. I mean, to be fair, I haven’t been looking for any. Once you find the best, you stick with it, right? 😉 Sadly, this skilled artist and YouTuber passed away in early 2018. RIP. Both her channel and AvE (above) choose to hide their subscriber stats from the public for whatever reasons. If I had to guess, I’d say there are a few thousand or maybe ten-thou or so subs here. More than 18k follow her on facebook. Did you know about gelatin art? Had I been living in a cave? Who’s the target market for this stuff?? So many questions.
Some of these YouTubers are artists. Some channels feature problem solving. There are a few tech-oriented channels in the list. Some channels touch on all three of those, right? So, yeah, I guess I like art, problem solving, and tech. Surprisingly, perhaps, I don’t have a hand fetish, thank you very much. But there’s another common thread to several of these channels. I hinted at it in the intro, and along the way.
I fall asleep to some of these channels. And that’s good.
I used to have trouble falling asleep. Several things have helped me get over that. Working from home starting in 2004 was the first step. No boss. No commute. No problem. And while there were several intermediary steps along the way to being able to fall asleep easily, (habits, health, meditation, bionic brain implants, etc.) the most recent sleep-secret has been the proverbial icing on the cake. A few years ago, I found that boring-ish videos played at low volume help to put me out like a tired candle in a sleep hurricane.
Most of these channels are almost as good as Ambien, but better for your liver.
Honorable mentions. (Too facey.)
Tech Tangents and Mr Carlson’s Lab were both contenders, but they lean on their mugs too regularly for this list. I wish they’d ditch their head shots and focus more on the archaic, pedantic tech exploration; their strong points. I mean, I’m not saying any of these creators hit the ugly branch when they fell from heaven, but I guess this blogger sometimes likes NOT knowing what his ersatz celebrities look like. I find the mystery somewhat novel.
Do you know of any other good channels for v2.0 of this list? Please let me know about other handsy YT channels in the comments. Especially if they’re not guys. The only double-X chromosomer to make this list is no longer with us. I need moar! (You know, for my binders full of women.)
Dan Dreifort writes about himself in the third person pretty often for a guy who allegedly dislikes that sort of thing. He votes. You should vote too. Dan’s local elections issues group (Pizza and Propositions) is getting ready to rev up weekly meetings again. If you don’t know about your local-ish (aka down-ballot) issues, please take a peek at one or more of the concise voter information resources available. Thanks for reading.