Knowledge...what kind are you giving?

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Forum topic by DKV posted 10-22-2014 09:25 PM 2133 views 0 times favorited 47 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3940 posts in 2503 days

10-22-2014 09:25 PM

On this site a lot of questions are asked and we hope answered correctly. This site is a knowledge database of all types of woodworking experience. In my opinion answers on this site come from various different sources. They can come from experiential knowledge, book knowledge with no experience, heresay knowledge from a friend at the watercooler and “best guess” which I’m not even going to call knowledge.

I’ll give an example. Some time ago a person asked about building a lathe using a drill. There were many answers and examples given. A couple of the answers seemed to be in direct conflict. One person said when using a drill the lateral force of the lathe work would burn out the bearings of the drill. Almost immediately another said I have been using a drill lathe for over 5 years and my drill is still running strong with no noticeable wobble or runout. And then you get the nonanswer you always see, “why don’t you just buy a lathe?”. Or, my friend built one and told me it’s working good.

It almost seems that some folks like to participate in discussions for the sole purpose of participating whether they are awake and cognizant or just lonely. If you had to label your answers with the type of knowledge imparted prior to imparting said knowledge would the number of answers decrease?

I do not participate in woodworking answers unless I have experienced what I am saying. How about you guys? If you had to be honest how would most of your answers be labeled; experiential, book, heresay or best guess?

Thanks for taking the time…

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

47 replies so far

View Ocelot's profile


1975 posts in 2637 days

#1 posted 10-22-2014 10:02 PM

I understand your concern. However, we are all grownups here and should by now know that not everything somebody tells you is going to be correct. I always consider the source of any advice I get, online or elsewhere in life.

If shipwright (LJ user) gives you advice, you can take it to the bank. If I give you advice, well… wait to see what others have to say. ;-)


View dlgWoodWork's profile


160 posts in 3753 days

#2 posted 10-22-2014 10:10 PM

I would say the majority of my answers are from my own experiences. But I do read a lot, watch lots of woodworking videos, and visit several forums. I may know the correct answer to a question even if I don’t have first hand knowledge. But that also relates to what Ocelot said, I know who I can take advice from and who I need to get a second opinion on.

Edit to add: most questions have opinion type answers, so saying the “correct” answer is not always accurate.

-- Check out my projects and videos

View CharlesNeil's profile


2399 posts in 3869 days

#3 posted 10-22-2014 10:13 PM

Just the Facts… but don’t bother to respond any more, folks like to deliberate and chat.. Im not one of them

View JAAune's profile


1798 posts in 2315 days

#4 posted 10-22-2014 10:20 PM

My information is almost always labeled but most of it is personal experience anyway. If it seems useful to someone else, I’ll post it but it’s up to others to carefully adapt the ideas to their own situation. When people are writing posts, they almost always neglect to describe every circumstantial detail that can change the outcome of a process.

Answers are often conflicting due to an incredible number of variables that change from person to person. Given the drill example, it’s true that they are not designed to handle lateral pressure. In reality, one drill brand might be beefier than others or the user might be working on tiny projects with sharp tools and doesn’t put much stress on the drill.

Also, a forum is not meant to be a source of perfect answers. It’s more of a place for people to exchange information and use that as a reference point for further practice or study. If I ask people if they know something about tumble finishing, I’d appreciate vague responses such as “I saw an obscure article in some trade publication last year that was referenced in WoodWeb.”

Silence on the part of others does nothing whereas even a tidbit of information is often enough to put a person on the right track. It’s hard to conduct a search if you aren’t sure where to search.

-- See my work at and

View bonesbr549's profile


1549 posts in 3066 days

#5 posted 10-22-2014 11:27 PM

I respond from the only basis I have my 50+ years of being alive. If I see a topic that either don’t interest me, or I don’t have a dog in that fight, then I don’t get in. And when I ask, I too keep in mind, just because it’s in print don’t make it true!

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

View distrbd's profile


2252 posts in 2445 days

#6 posted 10-23-2014 12:49 AM

I do not participate in woodworking answers unless I have experienced what I am saying.


-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View distrbd's profile


2252 posts in 2445 days

#7 posted 10-23-2014 12:50 AM

+1,mainly give my opinion based on my own experience but,I also give a few “hearsay” if it makes sense,or it’s based on common sense / fact.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View REO's profile


928 posts in 2073 days

#8 posted 10-23-2014 01:36 AM

If I don’t have direct knowledge backed up with the experience I will keep mu thoughts to myself. I can certainly understand where you are coming from though. Often questions are asked rhetorically just to back up someones assumption and then the answers can get to be pretty wild. sometimes I feel information is given in order to establish an association with others. I read lots of posts just for entertainment. some I answer for entertainment but from what I feel is a knowledgeable understanding. Others answer because I feel I can help someone to learn with out having to follow the try and fail rout. I stick to what I know and can back it up with facts, experience and ability. I am not an artist. Dont much ascribe to what others may think or preach.I am down and dirty in my approach to wood work. My tailstock centers on my wood lathe don’t have to line up. My miter slot doesn’t have to be within .001” to the saw blade to get fantastic results. I don’t need a sawstop to keep from loosing parts of my body. I understand the mechanics of equipment to have stuff that I have designed and built still running in an industrial high production mode for thirty years. I guess I would have to say as Charlesneil did “just the facts”

View Woodknack's profile


11626 posts in 2379 days

#9 posted 10-23-2014 06:05 AM

It’s true of woodworking that there can be more than one right answer. Doesn’t mean there is, but there can be.

As for my answers, I’ve taken classes, read books, watched shows/videos, and been woodworking since the 80’s during which time I’ve made a variety of projects. I can’t always say how I know. If I learn something over the web from another credible woodworker, sometimes I’ll pass that along as, “I’ve read.” Otherwise anything I write or say is from my own noggin. Woodworking isn’t a mysterious art, most all of it was figured out a long before any of us or our grandpappy was born but some folks did not have the resources, the time, or the inclination to learn so I don’t mind passing along what I can. If I am simply speculating and not sure, I’ll make that clear.

What amuses me are the wood ID threads, some guys must have bad computer monitors or just enjoy befuddling people because some of the guesses are so far in left field they come from a different zip code.

-- Rick M,

View Wildwood's profile


2305 posts in 2133 days

#10 posted 10-23-2014 11:21 AM

JMHO, if want to turn wood get a wood lathe and basic turning tools.
Lot more too turning wood than wood lathes, turning tools, and other turning accessories. Stuff like tool control (grip & stance), wood species, sanding finishing and design & form bigger part of the process. Been turning for more than twenty years and still learning with every piece of wood, and type of turning I try.

Yes you can and people do use drill presses and electric drill lathes to turn wood. So you built your own electric drill lathe and having fun, do you want a medal or parade too?

I speak from experience, if cannot express myself clearly or not sure will try and link someone or web site that explains it better than I can.

-- Bill

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2368 days

#11 posted 10-23-2014 12:43 PM

I heard from a guy that knows a guy who said that BinghamtonEd tries to stick to giving advice on things he has experience with.

I prefer to respond with things that I’ve done that I’ve found useful, or things I’ve done that weren’t useful that can hopefully save someone some time. Sometimes if the responses are low, I’ll toss out some knowledge from a book I’ve read, but I find that the things I know the most about are they things I’ve actually done. That doesn’t mean I’ve done them the best way, and it often means I screwed up along the way, but that’s how knowledge is formed.

I think this forum provides a great medium to combine such experiences, as long as there’s an understanding that some of the responses have no backing experimental data, or, do have some that someone read about but has not put into practice (which is not always so bad, I mean, I get plenty of data from books, that’s not too far off).

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View oldnovice's profile


6850 posts in 3366 days

#12 posted 10-23-2014 10:03 PM

In my opinion, woodworking is not rocket science where a miscalculation can make you miss the moon. There are probably a number of answers to any given problem; some are correct and some are not but there are probably many in between.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View bowedcurly's profile


519 posts in 1727 days

#13 posted 10-23-2014 10:24 PM

the only good knowledge I can give is spray your machine surface with shellac and be rust free. That I know for a fact all other is just Watercooler JIVE. Go COO COO

-- Staining killed the wood<<<<<>>>>>Dyeing gave it life

View Richard's profile


1916 posts in 2689 days

#14 posted 10-23-2014 10:48 PM

Always get a second opinion , wether it be Medical conditions or Woodworking. More so for the first one of course. And then there is the part of thinking about the instructions given and making up your own mind about if it is Safe to do or not , if it dosen’t sound or feel Safe it most likely is not.

View Picklehead's profile


1041 posts in 1928 days

#15 posted 10-24-2014 12:14 AM

I have no respect for anyone who would follow my advice.

-- You've got to be smarter than the tree.

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