What's the right answer ?

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Forum topic by a1Jim posted 10-26-2010 07:09 PM 2389 views 0 times favorited 66 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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117417 posts in 3817 days

10-26-2010 07:09 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

When talking to some folks that are Lj members many with 10 -30 years experience in woodworking I find most have had experiences on LJs where a question is asked by a newer woodworker about a particular technique,tools,finishing etc. .after lots of input by the experienced woodworker the new comer decides to follow the advice of someone perhaps as new as they are. As for myself I know I’ve learned many things by trial and error and want to help others avoid the same mistakes. Of course the person asking the question are entitled to do what they want.
Having had the same thing happen to me sometimes I have felt like input is a futile exercise, but after more consideration I still give what info I can and let the new person run with it. I’m still a little puzzled why this happens but I guess it might have to do with the person having a preconceived Idea or the less experienced person having a more convincing approach with the use of phrases live “for sure this is the way to do it” or “There’s no other way”. This is not a complaint about not having folks follow my input because sometimes I’m correct in my answer to a question but others are more correct in their response( and on a very rare occasions I’m wrong :)) )

I’m just curious what others might think… How do you determine what’s the right answer?

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

66 replies so far

View Jack Barnhill's profile

Jack Barnhill

366 posts in 3605 days

#1 posted 10-26-2010 07:21 PM

Just a thought, Jim: It may have to do with what you described or it may have to do with the ability or availability of tools, supplies, time or money to the new woodworker. It may be that they pick an answer, right or wrong, that more closely fits their circumstances at the moment or what they would be more comfortable in attempting.

Again, just a thought.

-- Best regards, Jack -- I may not be good, but I'm slow --

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10374 posts in 4292 days

#2 posted 10-26-2010 07:28 PM

I’d have the tendency to say… “Whatever works!”...

What might be a simple skill to you may not be for another… but, if there is another skill that can be used to accomplish the same thing, that is more suited to the person, then, it’s the one that works best.

Good question…!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View b2rtch's profile


4868 posts in 3288 days

#3 posted 10-26-2010 07:33 PM

You can only do the best you can.
Give the best advice you can or you know and be at peace with it.
What someone does with your advice is out of your control.
Even our own kids do not generally follow our advices.
The only thing that you are expected to do is to give the best advice you can, nothing less and nothing more.
Another thing is that we are working with wood and we know that wood is not homogeneous and from one piece to another, wood will react differently, what might be working well for you might not work that well for someone else.
The same is true with tools, we use the same tools but the way we use them might be different and the result will also be different.
Jim, I always found your advices being good advices.
Thank you .

-- Bert

View Gerry's profile


264 posts in 3480 days

#4 posted 10-26-2010 07:39 PM

Jim, GREAT question! Your input to questions is NOT futile! Very much appreciated! I am one of those who has been the recipient of your and other’s expertise when working on a project. Even though I had built a workbench, a rough TV stand, and a wine rack / wine cellar over the years, I’ve only been trying to build more demanding items for the past year and a half or so. So, what I am saying is that at least I KNOW that I don’t know what I’m doing. __

Clearly, the learning curve is steep, but I’ve found by doing shop oriented projects first, watching the videos available, participating in websites like LJ and WW, reading instructions and procedures, I’ve learned how to do things the way i like to work. And, in the final analysis, I’ve learned by doing things within wood working via trial and error.

That being said, to answer your question, my approach is this: 1. Read /study the design / project until I’m fairly comfortable with what i need to do, and determine the sequence ( not always right) 2. Determine which tools and techniques that I have AND have used successfully, and apply them to the work at hand. (BTW I think THIS is where the divergence from the expert advise occurs) 3. Layout the material to size the parts needed, and 4 make the parts as needed IN SEQUENCE for the project.

I can only talk to my way of doing things, but I find a greater level of comfort in knowing what NOT to do, based on past experience. Therefore, I will take al the help and guidance i can get, but will revert to what I know will work for me.

I hope this is the kind of response you were looking for. As always, life and woodworking is a learning process.

-- -Gerry, Hereford, AZ ” A really good woodworker knows how the hide his / her mistakes.”

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9238 posts in 3159 days

#5 posted 10-26-2010 07:41 PM

Hi, Jim:
I don’t think your efforts are futile at all! I think that your experience and the experience of others like you is a vital ingredient in this forum and why many people are here. The way I look at it, there is usually no cut-and-dry right or wrong answer to a question or issue. It is usually somewhere in between. I believe that forums such as this one are great for someone to compile different information from different sources and people and then they can make better informed decisions. There are lots of factors involved in people’s decisions: their experience, the time they have to devote to woodworking and also the financial aspect. I think the best thing we can do is give our best advice and offer it to others so they can make the best decision for them. :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Tim_456's profile


172 posts in 3835 days

#6 posted 10-26-2010 07:51 PM

I don’t think anyone’s efforts and suggestions are futile but like many things, the same end can be accomplished in many ways. The way that I choose is based on my skill level, the tools I have, and how comfortable I am with doing it. Also, I don’t think I’ve ever taken anyone’s advice/suggestions to the letter. I usually internalize the advice and then mold it to what I need. Sometimes I fail and sometimes I succeed but either way I enjoy the journey with the help of those folks on here kind enough to give their two cents.

In addition, I also read LJ’s solutions to problems I don’t have and realize that tricks and ideas can be applied to other things I’m doing so even when the original poster doesn’t seem to follow the advice, there are plenty of readers out there that do learn from the suggestion.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4458 days

#7 posted 10-26-2010 07:52 PM

Jim, I think there are lots of reasons. Sometimes people just hear what they want to hear. Sometimes, as Jack suggested, they are limited in tools and /or budget.

I think I can speak for the new guy, because I don’t have all your years of experience myself. If I ask a question, I might already have a certain idea in mind of how I want to proceed. If you tell me I should do “XYZ”, but Joe Blow, another relative newbie, tells me he has done exactly what I was planning to do, with good results, I’m probably going to go ahead and take my chances and do it the way I was thinking. No offense. lol!

Later, I might find out you were right after all. But at least I learned from the experience. Usually though, it turns out to be a case of there being more than one way to skin a cat.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 3952 days

#8 posted 10-26-2010 07:54 PM

Whenever I’ve sought advice (either by posting or just reading past posts) I kind of look at more than the answer I am seeking, I look at other answers the same person has posted on other see if they are sensible answers and the general tone of their answers. If I think the tone is too arrogant or too simplistic I’ll keep looking, if the general tone is positive and supportive and the poster sounds like they know what they are doing on many posts I will follow that advice. A personal gripe I have with posters that spell badly… if you can’t take the time for something as simple as spelling I will suspect how much time you take to come up with a solution to more complex problems. I guess that comes from my years of being a teacher at a college and years of writing code where spelling really matters.

For what its worth Jim I have read many of your posts and gleaned a lot of information from them, so from my perspective your posts are far from futile. I guess I should advertise it when I use someone’s advice…but then that is probably all I would post is thanking folks for their great advice.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View stefang's profile


16214 posts in 3574 days

#9 posted 10-26-2010 07:56 PM

Hi Jim, I think it is human nature for many to only take advice they want to hear (think back to your teens). Also younger folks sometimes don’t appreciate the worth of someone’s long experience and depth of knowledge. We are probably all guilty of this on occasion, so don’t feel too bad if some don’t heed your words. They might also not have read your profile and be aware of how experienced you are. I’m sure for everyone who hasn’t heeded your advice, that there are many more that have. Your wisdom will be reinforced eventually with those who chose the wrong approach, and you will eventually be vindicated when they realize you were right. So please don’t give up on us!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View a1Jim's profile


117417 posts in 3817 days

#10 posted 10-26-2010 07:59 PM

All well thought out and good points. I was not whining about my info being futile just a fleeting thought.
Your are all such good folks.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View canadianchips's profile


2616 posts in 3237 days

#11 posted 10-26-2010 08:05 PM

You have a good point. When I offer my advise I always try to say “If it were mine, this is the way I would do that”. I do have many years wood working, over those years I have made a lot of mistakes, I admit it, I share them with others. (We even learn from our mistakes) Our family has an expression “There is the RIGHT way, the WRONG way and then there is OUR way of doing things !”. My brother works in a different field than I do, he deals with public all day long, puts on seminars, has 6 years university.He constantly asks me “How do you tell people that PROOVEN research methods are the way to go”. I grin and say to him “They are People, People do not like to be told what to do, plant the information in ther head and let them think it is there idea.”He came back from his next information seminar and grinned. IT WORKS ! I still do things today knowning it is not the “right way”, I do it because of personal or financial necessity. What works for one person doesn’t always work for others. My main point is: I SLEEP well at night because I made the decision.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View Skylark53's profile


2684 posts in 3300 days

#12 posted 10-26-2010 08:16 PM

I’ve sure noticed the wide range of suggestions and problem solving solutions and for that reason, when I am seeking solutions I research for the LJ I think can best answer my question, then I PM him or her. Each and everyone has been open and concise and I’ve not been confused by a mulitude of ideas and theories, although I do enjoy seeing the various methods and means found here.

-- Rick, Tennessee, John 3:16

View b2rtch's profile


4868 posts in 3288 days

#13 posted 10-26-2010 08:27 PM

Psalms 1

-- Bert

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3106 days

#14 posted 10-26-2010 08:41 PM

Jim, I’ve seen your shop and some of the work that you have done and knowing that your projects are just a small percentage of what you have done your projects would not come close to displaying your know how and experience. Years of experience in woodworking and different kinds of projects is invaluable knowledge that is not easily acquired. I do not know why some newbies would not want to take full advantage of it when offered. However, if I personally get stuck on something you can bet that you would be one of the first lumberjocks that I think of for advice, and that is the truth.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Wfarm's profile


33 posts in 3015 days

#15 posted 10-26-2010 08:46 PM

there is more the one correct way to accomplish the same sometime a woodworker with five or tem yeras work has a solution that is the same or better but different

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