I don’t consider myself to be a woodworking noob anymore but I have been participating in conversations in the Wood Talk Forum quite a bit lately that have been started by very new woodworkers. I’m talking about guys that have nothing in the way of tools besides maybe your standard cordless tool set from the big box store for DIY type projects. They have been bitten by the bug and are anxious for information and advice on next steps. The enthusiasm is contagious and the more experienced ilk are all ready to help. However the more I read through threads about which tool to buy next, how to flatten stock, which joint when, etc, etc, the more concerned I am that we the woodworking community are not helping but rather hindering. There are so many ways to build that our eagerness to help inundates this hapless neophyte with differing opinions and he/she leaves the conversation with more questions than when it began. I can’t say that I really have a solution to offer here because you never want to close someone’s mind to the alternatives and options that abound in our fine craft, but this feeling of being daunted by the overabundance of information and perspectives is something that I can relate to intimately.
If you’re reading this you know that I recently redesigned my site, changed hosts and domains, and now I’m building a virtual hand tool school. Despite many years working in IT, I am not programmer and developing these sites has put me directly in the noob chair wondering which way to go. I have been the initiator of many forum threads like, “ftp? what did you call me?” and “CMS or see my mess”. In other words, I am the web development version of that poor, lost soul with a cordless drill and reciprocating saw wanting to know how to build fine furniture. Being so new that you don’t even know what questions to ask or what terms to use is tough and you have to reach out to someone because the Internet just seems to fill your head with more questions. The blessing as I see it is that the woodworking community is so welcoming, respectful, and friendly whereas I have seen some nasty stuff going on in the developer forums to the point where you find yourself afraid to even ask questions.
My point is that woodworking is awesome, we all know that. More and more folks are coming to this same realization too and wanting to be a part of it. Reach out to a newbie, virtually shake their hand, and offer to be their guide. Just remember that micro bevels, fleam, foxtail tenons, spelching, tear out, A2 steel, ogees, breadboards, Goncalo Alves, medullary ray flecks, alternating tooth bevels, Roubo, Jennings Pattern bits, riving knives, and bentback gouges are the woodworking equivalents of HTML, tags, XML, frontend/backend, SOAP, Cold Fusion, .NET, encapsulation, htaccess, instantiation, and database joins.
Now go rive some Quercus Alba and bodge already!Google+ Profile