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Forum topic by LocalMac posted 04-14-2009 12:16 AM 1259 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View LocalMac's profile


281 posts in 3399 days

04-14-2009 12:16 AM

I was just curious to hear others’ thoughts on the subject of commenting on projects. I notice that most comments are compliments like “great job” and “good craftsmanship” and others like that. (Well deserved because there are a lot of amazing artists here) There isn’t a whole lot of positive criticism. I don’t see hardly any comments like “you should have used a stronger joints” or “your color choice doesn’t go with the piece”. I’m not talking about rude comments but rather tips or ideas for improvement.

How do LJs feel about taking and giving criticism? I personally like it because I’m a beginner and need all the free help I can get. Just a thought. AND PLEASE NO FIGHTING!

(by the way, Odie, I changed my dog photo just for you. : )

-- Don't tell her I'm in the shop!

23 replies so far

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10473 posts in 3422 days

#1 posted 04-14-2009 12:22 AM

My ego is way to fragile for that.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View LocalMac's profile


281 posts in 3399 days

#2 posted 04-14-2009 12:26 AM

You shouldn’t worry Gene. That highboy looks pretty good.

-- Don't tell her I'm in the shop!

View johnpoolesc's profile


246 posts in 3353 days

#3 posted 04-14-2009 12:28 AM

i think if you want positive criticism you may have to ask when you post. we all started with a few mistakes, my thoughts are every woodworker is his worst critic.. time will reveal weak joints

-- It's not a sickness, i can stop buying tools anytime.

View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 3759 days

#4 posted 04-14-2009 12:37 AM

That topic has only come up about 30 times since I became a LJ member. Here’s one of the first threads not long after I joined.


View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4240 days

#5 posted 04-14-2009 12:48 AM

I think most people know how good or bad their work is. They can see it compared to some of the best work in the world right next to them, when they post. I have to agree with john if you want people to critique your work you need to ask for it. Most people just want to show others what they make, and maybe get an attaboy or constructive critiquing. No one here is mean spirited anyway or don’t like to give criticism, it does’nt feel right to them, not to say that criticism is mean spirited in anyway, some people are sensitive to it however. Just ask and you shall receive. Sometimes in spades.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 3868 days

#6 posted 04-14-2009 12:51 AM

Like JJ said, this topic has come up before. Most of the folks on LJ try not to tick off the others, which is one of the things that make it a great place. However, that also means that critiques are minimal. If you ask specifically about something in your project description, you are more likely to get critiques … “I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out, but if I were going to do it again do you thing I should use M&T instead of pocket screws?”

Also, if you blog your project as you build it and ask for advice along the way, the floodgates of ideas/suggestions/critiques/anecdotes/opinions/hearsay/advice will usually open. I think people feel more comfortable giving advice when you still have the opportunity to use the suggestions than after the project is done. If you are in the middle of a project and I say, “I think I’d use dovetails there,” then I’m helping you out. If you are done with a project and I say, “I think I would have used dovetails there,” then it sounds like I’m being a know-it-all.

-- -- --

View LocalMac's profile


281 posts in 3399 days

#7 posted 04-14-2009 01:06 AM

Thanks for the opinions. Sounds like Critiquing isn’t expected unless asked for. I’ll have to remember that. Thanks again.

-- Don't tell her I'm in the shop!

View jeffthewoodwacker's profile


603 posts in 3797 days

#8 posted 04-14-2009 01:09 AM

I learn from my mistakes and make a lot of them so I have learned a lot. Always looking for constructive criticism that will help me improve my work.

-- Those that say it can't be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

View bluchz's profile


187 posts in 3367 days

#9 posted 04-14-2009 01:11 AM

I think if you ask for criticism you can get it and it will come in a productive way. I would never try to “know it all” someones project, cause i am a greenie, and those with experience, have the experience to know how to critique a project constructively, those who don’t aren’t worth listening to.I had some nice advice from someone with my Kitchen cabinet project. It came after the project was finished, but it will help a lot on the next one, and that I value.

-- flash=250,100][/flash]

View lew's profile


12051 posts in 3748 days

#10 posted 04-14-2009 01:49 AM

It is often difficult to make constructive criticisms from the project pictures that were posted. Limited views, picture resolutions and monitor calibrations all limit what you see and therefore what you can say.

I think Peter has the perfect answer. Ask for input during the process.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4211 days

#11 posted 04-14-2009 02:45 AM

I second Peter’s thinking. If there is a particular aspect(s) of your project that you think maybe you could have done better, ask about it specifically. Just saying “criticism welcome” is not likely to get a lot of response from those who don’t wish to insult anyone. But if you say “I’m not sure about the amount of overhang on this tabletop” people will be quick to offer an opinion.

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

View TheCaver's profile


288 posts in 3832 days

#12 posted 04-14-2009 03:23 AM

There is some back and forth going on in Rick’s latest cigar humidor thread, started off as a fight, and I think (hope?) an engaging topic (laminated box construction) is ensuing.

It also depends on who is giving the critique, honestly. I mean, if you have no projects posted and you come into a post and start wailing on this and that, it’s going to be real difficult for me not to lose it :) However, if someone like Tom A., Charlie, Gary, or someone like that come in with some suggestions, then its probably fair to say that I screwed something up…..


-- Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. -Carl Sagan

View Cory's profile


760 posts in 3413 days

#13 posted 04-14-2009 03:45 AM

If these guys were giving me advice on a project then I would listen. Closely.

In my opinion, critiques and criticism from this community will only make you a better craftsman.

-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

View Don Newton's profile

Don Newton

716 posts in 3612 days

#14 posted 04-14-2009 04:39 AM

I can’t tell you the number of times I have viewed a simple project done by less expreienced Lumberjocks and learned something. Usually what I discover is that I often overthink things. If you are not careful you will find yourself learning from every corner of this site. Suggestions or criticism….bring it on!

-- Don, Pittsburgh

View Sean's profile


156 posts in 3608 days

#15 posted 04-14-2009 04:57 AM

Most of the critiques I’ve read offered here on lumberjocks has been offered only after making sure the person with the project won’t be offended by it. you know, “Looks great! Have you considered using yada yada yada? everyone here is usually very polite, and if they offer unsolicited advice/critiques, it’s usually very polite and not given in a know-it-all manner. I appreciate the atmosphere here more than anything, and i come here not only to learn but even more to enjoy everyones efforts.
I have yet to post any pictures of any projects, mostly just because Im too lazy to snap pictures before I give them away. But I welcome all critics! which reminds me, its great that spring is here, the ground is finally thawed out enough to bury all those people from this winter.

-- "Democracy is by far the worst system of government. Except all the others that have been tried." ~ Winston Churchill

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