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Forum topic by kolwdwrkr posted 08-24-2008 09:31 PM 2162 views 0 times favorited 61 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2824 posts in 4124 days

08-24-2008 09:31 PM

Topic tags/keywords: skill

Okay, So I’m new to this website as all of you know. I have been flipping through several pictures and I have to be completely honest here. I have seen a lot of work that is praised when suggestions for improvement should have been made. For instance, I just saw a table that looked nice. But if you look at it you see very poor seems on the top, the top isn’t grain matched, etc. It was almost bad enough to think the boards weren’t jointed before glued together, creating a line that looks poor. The wood is also not matched for grain. It goes from darker lumber to light, bringing my eye right to the seam again. I forget about the rest of the piece and the design because of this, and have nothing to say. I felt like I should tell them to discard the top and keep the rest of the project. But it was praised and the flaws weren’t pointed out. How is this person supposed to advance if they don’t think something was wrong?

My question here now is am I supposed to just not comment, or am I supposed to jump in like everyone else and say how great it is? Sorry if this seems rude, but I want everyone here to gain knowledge and to advance as woodworkers. Including me.

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

61 replies so far

View Roper's profile


1389 posts in 4247 days

#1 posted 08-24-2008 09:42 PM

for someone who doesn’t know what to say that sure was a lot. i think friendly advise is ok but you do not need to point out every flaw in a project, this is NOT a professional site even though there are a bunch here. this is a place for people to make friends and get help for things they don’t know. being mean will only push people away. just my 2 cents.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4849 days

#2 posted 08-24-2008 09:48 PM

At times flaws do get pointed out. Many times what we see is just aesthetics. With some types of wood I’d try to get the dark to light wood to exaggerate the seams. Sometimes I just don’t have enough wood to do more that just glue them together. More often than not I see more that enough areas I need to improve on. May be what I know to be true is nothing more than my opinion. What I’ve been trained for in cabinet doors is to glue up 4 inch strips with alternating grain for strength. Yet in furniture I want to use the widest possible boards for looks. Jump right in I’m sure we are all here to learn.

View kolwdwrkr's profile


2824 posts in 4124 days

#3 posted 08-24-2008 09:50 PM

I don’t want to be mean by anymeans. But if you put something together and it’s praised are you learning that you did it right even when it’s wrong? I just thought I’d ask. I probably won’t say anything regarding anyones work, I just thought that maybe someone should in certain instances. It really isn’t my business to see that people learn how to do their work and projects. I suppose that’s what woodworking schools and books and things are for.

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View handplane's profile


36 posts in 4394 days

#4 posted 08-24-2008 09:57 PM

I think the answer to your question is quite simple. When a woodworker posts a project and specifically asks for advice, then by all means offer suggestions, respectuflly. State them in the tone in which a person who wants to learn to be a better woodworker deserves to hear. When a project doesn’t impress you and no request for advice or comments was stated, then you simply say nothing. There are plenty of members on LJ, so it isn’t necessary for every member to comment on every project. Since this is an open site to members of all skill levels, we are bound to see projects with every woodworking mistake that has ever been made. Every LJ is still entitled to have a portfolio of finished projects, regardless of their experience or skill level. Obviously they must feel some sense of accomplishment in the project or they wouldn’t have posted it.

-- - Scott "handplane"

View Roper's profile


1389 posts in 4247 days

#5 posted 08-24-2008 09:58 PM

if your having fun building thing’s then you can never be wrong.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View Quixote's profile


206 posts in 4172 days

#6 posted 08-24-2008 10:00 PM

That’s a tough call. As different people transition through different skill levels, I find works here that represent different steps on a journey that may or may not have the same destination as mine.

What works for me , may be elementary for some, and out of reach for others.

If you look at each project, remember that that poster may be looking for feedback, or simply an oppurtunity to share a “Hey, me too…”

For myself, I want to hear input about balance, grain orientations etc. I’m always looking for ways to improve , but I have to keep in mind that sometimes I’m severely limited by my budget, available material etc.

I guess it all depends on how the poster asks for input…


-- I don't make sawdust...I produce vast quantities of "Micro Mulch."

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4849 days

#7 posted 08-24-2008 10:05 PM

Sometimes a question is the best way to bring it up. I think I’ve seen the same table and I think the photo is making it look worse than it is. I also wonder if the color won’t blend as the piece gets exposed to more light. I’m not sure what the best question would be. “Why don’t you buy a joiner?” just dosn’t seem to do it. In which case I just won’t say anything.

View woodnut's profile


393 posts in 4586 days

#8 posted 08-24-2008 10:24 PM

for myself I do not comment on the negatives of projects 1) because by looking at a pic I don’t really know the look the worker was going for.2) I am learning myself so I don’t want to give bad advice. Now for my projects if you see anything that needs improvement then by all means help me out and tell me what I could do different and how to make my work better. Thats why in most of my post I will say All comments are welcome. I want and need to improve and the best way to do so is to have other woodworkers help me. just my 2 cents

-- F.Little

View Callum Kendall's profile

Callum Kendall

1918 posts in 4237 days

#9 posted 08-24-2008 10:33 PM

I agree with constructive criticsm!

Thanks for the post


-- For wood working podcasts with a twist check out

View Chris 's profile


1880 posts in 4525 days

#10 posted 08-24-2008 10:39 PM

Being little better than an amateur myself I don’t necessarily have an issue with negative feedback. My time in the military taught me to have a thick skin and really listen to what someone is trying to tell me even if I don’t like it.

I believe that feedback of this type can be given if we are considerate in how we give it. On a couple of occasions I have PM’d an LJ and asked if they would mind me posting that kind of feed back. I guess it all comes down to the fact that sometimes how we say it can be just as important as what we say.

Just my 2 cents…..

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View kolwdwrkr's profile


2824 posts in 4124 days

#11 posted 08-24-2008 10:43 PM

thanks everyone. I will refrain from the negatives and look at the positives. Just so everyone knows, I welcome criticism on all my projects, and actually criticize them myself. If something is to terrible I won’t even take a picture. I think the project in question is a neat table with a good design.

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 4279 days

#12 posted 08-24-2008 10:54 PM

I think if you don’t like something you see, just don’t comment on it. If there is a problem with a piece, that is obvious enough that you can see it in a photo, then I guarantee that the person that built the piece is aware of it. Most wood workers know of every imperfection that’s in every piece they make. And as already stated, if someone wants the piece critiqued, then pull out your 2 cents.
That’s my $0.02

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4834 days

#13 posted 08-24-2008 11:05 PM

I think most people are proud to show their accomplishments,

even if they’re not the greatest woodworkers in the world.

I don’t think they have to be told their faults, because they themselves

usually know their own faults.

I know I’m the first person who generally sees my own faults.

Just looking at some of the outstanding projects that are on this site, helps me ,

& I’m sure many others. This is a great place to learn things if you want to.

I don’t think we should criticize, unless we’re asked.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16284 posts in 4752 days

#14 posted 08-24-2008 11:27 PM

I can see both sides. On one hand, I’m always willing to hear constructive criticism. I think most of us here are, BUT…. As has been pointed out, jocks of all skill levels post here, from professionals whose work I have no hope of ever equaling, to newbies just nailing two boards together for the first time.

If someone posts a project that is really rough looking, but they seem proud of it, I’m not going to point out any flaws. The fact that they are proud tells me they did their best with what they had to work with in terms of tools, skills, and experience. If they express that a certain aspect of the project was particularly challenging, I might offer suggestions on a better way to do something. I also know that a lot of flaws are due to people working with limited budgets for tools and lumber. (All my projects are produced with no jointer and a $100 table saw.)

I think you have to take it on a case by case basis. From looking at a project, reading what the poster says about it, and also by looking at the poster’s other projects, you can get a good idea of what level of criticism is appropriate.

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

View Dennis Zongker's profile

Dennis Zongker

2797 posts in 4126 days

#15 posted 08-24-2008 11:49 PM

I think this is a great question! But, “who like’s a critic anyways”? I think this web site is one of the BEST sites I ever seen. It’s a feel good, have fun, woodworking for all kinds of woodworkers. For instance: I think you do some really nice work. But, your carving needs alot of work. Also I could go on and on and on. But who am I to tell you if your good are not. It’s just my opinon. This is one of the best topic’s I’ve read. Thank’s for posting.

-- Dennis Zongker

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