Gentle critque of work is not bad!

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Forum topic by Danpaddles posted 02-21-2012 12:02 AM 1694 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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573 posts in 2336 days

02-21-2012 12:02 AM

Been following this board for the last week or two. What a nice bunch of folks! Some real talent here too.

It does seem like the whole projects section might have a little more value if we all might also offer some constructive criticism of the projects shown.

Perhaps we could borrow something from the Boy Scouts- Roses, Thorns, Buds. What is good, what is not good, what great ideas could can be offered you to help do better next time.

I can get “wow, very pretty” from my dear old mom, I can get a lack of tact and tons of criticism from my 16 y.o., but I was looking to come here to get honest intelligent guidance from people who know what it is like to make mistakes and some big piles of sawdust in the “shop” (garage in my case). Not to mention- you can blast away at me, I do not know where you live.

Anyone else here struck by the almost syrupy sweet comments on the projects we share?

or maybe I’m just an old grouch, and should look for the Curmudgeons Woodworking Forum.

I’ll post fodder tomorrow- I’m eager to see what response I get this time!

-- Dan V. in Indy

28 replies so far

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6956 posts in 2623 days

#1 posted 02-21-2012 12:07 AM

I typically only post positive comments to ones I like or I think are well done. If it something that needs “constructibe criticism” I typically pass on by. Just my method.

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72 posts in 2341 days

#2 posted 02-21-2012 12:09 AM

I’m with ShaneA

-- Adam - Langley, British Columbia (Canada)

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117115 posts in 3602 days

#3 posted 02-21-2012 12:25 AM

Wow ,good post Dan LOL
I’m afraid I do what you say about mostly giving positive comments. I understand what you mean about always saying things are good or great. I have a mother-in-law who no matter what she always sees the good side of things,Does that mean she’s wrong? I don’t think so, but it is hard to tell if what you made needs to be improved or not. I usually opt for the positive side of things just to encourage folks to keep trying, I might offer a suggestion if I think there’s a safer or easier way, but I don’t think it’s my place to tell some one there way is off base. If you ask how to do a project another
way and I know one then no problem.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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4765 posts in 2376 days

#4 posted 02-21-2012 12:25 AM

I feel they same way, however that can be a slippery slope as I have been on a few forums where constructive criticism can quickly degenerate into a total flame throwing session. LJ as has been a nice break from that type of interaction.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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19623 posts in 2699 days

#5 posted 02-21-2012 12:31 AM

As a newbie, I want & need the constructive critisism. For that same reason (newbie), I am hesitant to provide it as I don’t feel I have the experience to offer a valuable crtique. I also don’t know the skill level or mind set of the builder/artist/craftsman.
I have not posted any projects, YET. I’m just completing my shop setup. I will be posting my ‘Shop Projects” in the near future. When I do post a project, I will solicit/beg for honest criiques, just so that I may learn from those more experienced & talented.

Perhaps there could be a check box or several, when projects are posted to, to ask for critiques of: design, construction, prep, stain, etc.! Just me thinking out loud.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

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9353 posts in 2317 days

#6 posted 02-21-2012 12:39 AM

I guess people could always mention “Comments and suggestions welcomed” in their posting if they wanted this kind of feedback? Otherwise I suppose you could always outright ask “hey, is there a way to do this better”? or something to that effect.

I do somewhat agree though, as a newcomer myself, I could use some help I’m sure :)

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View StumpyNubs's profile


7598 posts in 2825 days

#7 posted 02-21-2012 12:45 AM

Unfortunately, if anyone posts anything negative on a project, he will most likely suffer the wrath of other posters. I think that is good AND bad.

It is good because some people are just too negative. They look for reasons to criticize others, and they fail to understand that not everyone is at the same skill level.

It is bad because, as you said, constructive critisism can make a woodworker better.

I look at it this way... a person who posts a project is looking to “show off” something he is obviously proud of. Why burst his bubble? If he want’s to learn from others, he’ll post a question in the forum asking for help.

I’m not naturally all blue skys and lollypops… but in the project posts area I am all about giving a compliment whenever I can.

Of course, some projects are just terrible. And I simply don’t comment on those…

Jim; aka “Stumpy Nubs”
The best woodworking show since the invention of wood.

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View Danpaddles's profile


573 posts in 2336 days

#8 posted 02-21-2012 12:49 AM

Perhaps it is incumbent on the poster to ask for both barrels! I like Randy’s check box idea, but is that workable?

Bondo makes a good point- this is a very pleasant place to hang out (I skip all the off topic posts- are they also as nice?). It would be a shame to drive off anyone.

I guess, assuming nothing will change in the big picture, I will offer praise only about a particular aspect of an otherwise unremarkable project, and I will continue to try to be positive when offering negative opinions.

And I will ask for criticism when I post!

Hey- why is crisitsism …...... criticism….. so hard for my fingers to type?

-- Dan V. in Indy

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4152 posts in 2976 days

#9 posted 02-21-2012 12:52 AM

When I post a project, I’d like to hear that I’m God’s gift to woodworking. :-) In all seriousousness, I think constructive criticism is helpful (obviously, it’s constructive) and I will try to gently convey some if I think it’d be appropriate. Most often, however, I just comment Wow! or ask someone to clarify something such as wood choice or joinery etc.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

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768 posts in 2881 days

#10 posted 02-21-2012 12:58 AM

If you post a project and ask outright for suggestions you will get some.

-- Mike.... West Virginia. "Man is a tool using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.". T Carlyle

View Brit's profile


7385 posts in 2867 days

#11 posted 02-21-2012 01:11 AM

I think being critical is a different thing to offering a critique, but even offering a critique is difficult on an internet forum when you are dealing with multi-cultural, multi-language participants. Whatever you type on an internet forum has the potential to be taken the wrong way and then there is the potential for confrontation or worse, the project owner might get discouraged and not post again. I tend to agree with Stumpy, that if someone posts a project and doesn’t explicitly state that critique is welcome, I don’t tend to offer any. I do sometimes post positive comment on projects that I personally wouldn’t be proud of because LJs has woodworkers of all levels of ability. Of course expertly done projects are going to get lots of wows, because most of us are in awe and aspire to be that good. However does that mean that someone who has posted their first gappy dovetailed box does not deserve to be praised for it too? It might not be fine woodworking, but it IS a milestone in that persons woodworking journey. True, we do learn from friendly critique, but I would rather do that in response to a person explicitly asking for it.

-- - Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3712 days

#12 posted 02-21-2012 01:27 AM

When I post a project , I ask for honest opinions / critiques of my work . That’s what I give in return.
I truly dislike all of the ooohs and aaahs that are dispensed by some people here that seem to be in a contest for “most comments made”, especially when a project is really subpar. I understand that we were all newbies at one time , but to say something is fantastic when it really isn’t , isn’t doing the poster any favors in the long run. For example , Yeah , Johnny , I really like the way you stained the Maple black !! Keep up the good work !!
A lot of postings aren’t even real projects or completed projects , yet get posted and cheered upon here anyway.
The same goes for reviews here.
For example , I haven’t even taken it out of the box yet , but I’m giving it 5 stars anyway ! and my most recent favorite , a dust mask placed over a brad nailer and reviewed at 5 stars…not the mask , but the nailer !
It’s really no mystery why a lot of the “founding members” have drifted off into the sunset.

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

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2630 posts in 2907 days

#13 posted 02-21-2012 01:34 AM

Every 4-5 months this topic gets re-hashed on LJ’s with the usual outcry against the “attaboy” type of comments some post about projects. Personally, as a relatively new WW, I’m quite aware of my project shortcomings, but I really enjoy and appreciate the helpful comments of the LJ community.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

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1829 posts in 2413 days

#14 posted 02-21-2012 01:44 AM

When I am acting, singing or playing I have several people who I always ask for their critique of my performance. I also have a recorded and I find I am often my worst critic. When my wife critiques my music, it is to help me improve. Every artist really needs an honest critic. Having said that, I am not sure it is possible to really critique a wood working project. We only have six pictures, and so much of what I judge in quality requires touching and closer examination. For example, the case I made for my bass amp I recently posted has some pretty significant flaws in it. I know them because I made themnow, I would appreciate comments on the design and proportions and those kind of things, but that project was pretty much dictated by the function it performed. I am not sure how valid a critique would be unless you saw me cut the dovetail on the wrong side of the board. I think the place to ask for a critique might be in the forums not the projects, but I also appreciate an ooh and ahh just like the next guy.

-- Haming it up in the 'bash.

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334 posts in 2932 days

#15 posted 02-21-2012 01:48 AM

A few days ago I asked about the handle cut outs on a serving tray. I got some good suggestion and I made a template to cut the hand holds. This weekend I made a tray. The thing was a nightmare. I have gotten pretty good at making tight miters but not this time. The ends were wider than the side rails so I trimmed them down. Now the bottom I made was too thick for the rabbits I cut so I planned down the bottom panel. No big deal right? Well, I used biscuits to make up the bottom panel out of 3 boards but I didn’t center the biscuits in the boards. So, when I got the bottom planned down to fit glued the thing up. I went out the next day and removed the clamps and flipped it over only to discover then I planned too much on one face and exposed the biscuits. I spend the rest of the day fixing screw ups. Once all was said and down all the non-woodworks I showed it too thought it was just beautiful. What I’m getting at is I won’t post this project here because I know it’s not my best work and I know that and don’t want to embarrass myself by showing something that is flawed. I post projects that I am proud of. If someone offers some “constructive criticism” that helps me to do a better job the next time it’s very welcome. Am I looking for a pat on the back? Well yes. Everyone here, for the most part, have been doing this woodworking thing for longer that I have and I want to show my progress in the craft and be recognized for my efforts.

-- "Courage is being scared to death -- but saddling up anyway."

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