Beginners articles or questions

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by john lucas, Jul 11, 2008.

  1. john lucas

    john lucas

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    My brain must not be working. We have been talking about putting beginner articles in the journal which is all fine but they can be answered here so much better. Instead of one person answering your question you get maybe a dozen or more. We can include photos or even videos to try and answer your questions. You don't have to wait 2 months to get the answer.
    An article in the Journal is kind of generic and may or may not answer your question. Why, because it's pretty obvious that we all don't write and understand exactly what we think. So you can re ask the question if the answer isn't clear. You can't do that in a magazine.
    Now granted the question may not get answered by the top Guru's but there are some awfully sharp people who frequent this site and I'll bet you get a good answer.
     
  2. Ruth Niles

    Ruth Niles

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    John, I agree with everything you said. There can not only be answers to beginners questions posted here, they can come back after they've tried a process, tool or finish and have further questions.

    That said, I can also see where having beginner questions printed in the Journal would be nice. Woodturning Design has "Ask Dale" where Dale Nish answers questions, most but not all are beginner and I've learned some neat stuff. You can keep a magazine or even one page where you can't keep the post to a forum. Yes, it's in the archives but............. well, "but" is enough.

    I cut out the Q & A that I like, tape them wherever in my shop until I've either tried it or find I'm never going to need it. Yes, I've printed out responses on the forum, but I'm paying for the magazines, I enjoy sitting outside reading them and I do learn from beginner questions or articles while the birds feed and the cats stalk but don't touch.

    Ruth
     
  3. Ron Sardo

    Ron Sardo Guest

    Good Idea John. The problem with beginners articles is that they need to be republished again every couple years. This isn't easy when a magazine is printed only 4 times a year.

    Maybe a Beginners Forum/Section might be a good start. This way all articles can be viewed at any time depending on where the person's skill level is. I think Ed posted somewhere that there is a section online already.

    Sure gotta be better than talking politics.
     
  4. MichaelMouse

    MichaelMouse

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    OTOH, we're all beginners the first time we take tool in hand to do something unfamiliar. Difference is some have more theoretical and experiential background to fall back on. If the article were written as "project" articles in other woodworking magazines are written, with accompanying "technique" articles or sidebars, might serve everyone well. Those who take "Woodsmith" magazine will recognize the mix.

    Might even take some long lead time and solicit six people to produce a similar object and see what differences crop up. Whole magazine there.

    Thing to avoid, as I see it, is the categoricals. No articles about "don't do this" or "must do this," just "here's how I did it, and why." Shed the pretense of artist statements whether political or merely third person and self-serving. For that matter, solicit someone besides the "famous names" who are peddling their gouge, book, or DVD. We can find them on the web and buy as we care. The guys who are still in the "gee whiz, I did it" stage are what I'd like to see.
     
  5. Bill Grumbine

    Bill Grumbine

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    Yeah, I was a beginner the other day. I turned my first bolection molding, making a radius to match a profile provided by the customer. He gave me a sample piece of the straight molding, a template that matched the cutter, and the blanks. It was quite the challenge.

    I think publishing beginner articles here has a lot of merit. The big downside is those who aren't on the web. I realize that number is dwindling daily, but it is there, and it ain't all old coots. That is not to say it shouldn't be done, just to say that there are more people in this world than on the web.
     
  6. Barbara Gill

    Barbara Gill

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    I probably shouldn't say this but I doubt that I am the only one thinking it. I am tired of beginners whining about "no beginner projects" in our magazine. IMHO magazines such as the American Woodturner and Fine Woodworking should serve to inspire all of us and not spoon feed us. Exactly what is a beginner project? As Michael said each time we try something new we are beginners.

    There is an abundance of information for the beginner not only on the Internet but also in books, other magazines, classes, clubs etc. If you look at the contents each month of the American Woodturner, there are basic projects and articles. If they are beyond the skill of a beginner it should serve to encourage rather than discourage. If it discourages a new turner, maybe that person should spend some time evaluating their motivation requirements.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2008
  7. Ron Sardo

    Ron Sardo Guest

    Take a look at how this site has setup a beginners section (you need to register to read the discussions after each article)

    http://www.howtoairbrush.com/airbrush-lessons-index.htm

    I'm not saying we should copy it, but to use the idea as inspiration.

    George, I agree with everything else you have said, but I think the "famous names" may be the best type of people to enlist.

    These folks have taught many people and have a good handle on what beginners need. Of course the article should not end in "For more information on how to do this buy my book at..."
     
  8. Joe Greiner

    Joe Greiner

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    Until a couple hours ago, I was all in favor of the direction this thread was headed, even with repeating articles every few years. But now I'm not so sure.

    At what point does a "beginner" start? Lathe selection? How to hold basic tools for simple objectives? And things like that? Those things are better learned from books and hands-on experience. Local chapters provide the personal guidance, and the Resource Directory comes with membership. I think a "beginners" section in American Woodturner could include a list of books that various folks have found useful, updated as available. One of the best on my bookshelf is "Lathes and Turning Techniques - The Best of Fine Woodworking" - ISBN: 1-56158-021-X.

    From that point of departure, specific projects can proceed pretty much as they currently do, both simple and complex. I expect, and hope, to be in the "gee whiz, I did it" stage for a long time. I've placed a few WIP series on another forum, but haven't had the time to reassemble into an article. For example, the link at this URL: http://www.aawforum.org/photopost/showphoto.php?photo=4846 is very descriptive. Unfortunately, the linked site no longer allows viewing pictures by visitors. Same thing happens with Google ["birdhouse earrings procedure"]. They're both kinda big for this forum, unfortunately, and I don't claim to be using valid processes anyway.

    Pretty much what you said, Barbara.

    Joe
     
  9. Garmar

    Garmar

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    I take exception to what Barbara has said. I/we beginners pay the same amount for our membership (general membership) as anyone else does and as such reserve the right (speaking for myself) to ask for articles in the journal that are focused on our/my abilities. If you want to classify that as whinning, maybe you ought to step back and look at the request again. Michael's suggestions are right on target in my opinion and should be seriously investigated by the AAW Board for implementation. After all, new members to AAW are most likely to be newbies.
     
  10. Beginner articles do not only have to be in American Woodturner...

    When a beginner asks me what a good source of basic how-to articles is for woodturning, my first thought is NOT American Woodturner, but, rather, Woodturning Design. WD is not the journal of the AAW, (which, by definition, has to include society-related articles and informational pieces on the organization) which constrain publishing/page space to some degree, and WD has a bit more latitude to publish articles with step-by-step instructions (even almost to the ad absurdum level), and include a greater number of step-by-step photos. It's clear that although there have been a few articles in WD directed toward the accomplished or advanced turner, the majority (....at least as it seems to me) are directed at the beginner. Even Gulley's "light along the path" articles that appear in every issue are clearly directed toward the beginner, and that David Reed Smith's articles are also (in my perception) also directed toward beginning turners. I wonder if others agree with this? I have toyed with the idea of dropping my subscription to WD because it is so basic, but have resisted because once in a while there is an interesting article on an artist, or on a more advanced technique.

    Personally, my opinion is that AW should include a balance of 'advanced' and 'beginner' articles (assuming there are people willing to write them), something on the "art", "science", and professional activities of woodturning, as well as maintain its role as a communication vehicle about the AAW and its activities. I think Carl Voss does a great job putting this publication together, and I would hate to see a significant infusion of beginner's articles into AW when there are other publications that already fill this niche.

    Other thoughts?

    Rob Wallace
     
  11. Garmar

    Garmar

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    Rob, I just looked at your turning website, very impressive. So, I have to conclude you aren't a beginner and its understandable your feelings concerning beginner articles in AAW's Journal. One could conclude from your post that you would prefer/direct beginners to subscribe to WD for articles of interest while accomplished turners should concentrate/cultivate there interests with AAW's Journal. You are probably right, can't really disagree, if I understand what you are saying. However, remember that the Newbie member of AAW is probably just that, a Newbie.
     
  12. Chip Sutherland

    Chip Sutherland

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    2 cents from a lurker

    Interesting conversation thread. I compliment you all on your commitment to beginners. Here's my 2 cents....what Rob Wallace says resonates with me the most. I received a subscription to Woodturning Design as a gift but I regularly pickup AW, too. I'm not a beginner but I'm still building my skills so WD is my choice of the 2 publications for how-to or technique discussions.

    AW is my source of form and design inspiration; I don't pickup back issues of AW looking for how-tos and techniques.

    Case in point: I'm looking at doing some pyrography with my turnings so I pulled WD to re-read an article by Molly Winton. I'm also coloring some pieces. My first choice was to take a class with Jimmy Clewes where I learned some coloring techniques. I've tried them at home. Now, I want to do it better so I turn to my AW back issues (and AW galleries) to see what others have done to guide my artistic eye.

    However, I wouldn't be upset if AW did some catering to newbies. I forget skills all the time and articles may be a good tune-up for me.
     
  13. MichaelMouse

    MichaelMouse

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    Don't think of it as "catering to newbies." Think of it as a review of skills which have become such habit to you and famous-names that you forgot why you were doing them, or assumed (which, as we know is risky) that everybody else does what you do.

    The best teacher is a learner, not necessarily a doer. Interpretation is superior to imitation when it comes to knowledge-building.
     
  14. Articles on turning skill development are desirable....

    You are correct - I have been turning for over 14 years, and for the past few have been selling my work at several local galleries. I guess I am not a beginner, but I do teach beginners through our turning group, so I am familiar with the needs of intermediate and advanced turners, as well as those just staring out. I also do several public demonstrations each year, and explain the very basics to complete newcomers who express an interest in turning. Knowing what questions beginners ask, and being a teacher (both in my 'day job' and as a turning instructor) gives me a pretty good perspective about the learning needs of beginners and interests of more advanced turners...

    If you read closely, I said I would like to see a balance between articles for beginners and those targeted for more advanced/professional turners to appear in AW. If you compare turning publications, the "beginner article density" is probably highest in WD, and thus it would be the publication of choice to recommend to beginners. That does not mean that I disapprove of beginners articles in AW, nor does it necessarily mean that beginners should not look at AW. I guess my point is that I would like to see a few beginners articles in AW occasionally (see below), but not to the level where it dilutes the other necessary unique functions of the AAW's journal.

    Were I the editor of AW, I would be soliciting beginners articles that focus on turning skill development as the major focus of the articles. These would be useful to EVERYONE, beginner or advanced turner alike. In general, the articles in WD are what I call "project-based" and are fine to get beginners accomplishing things at the lathe. In contrast, I would like to see articles published in AW which emphasize not just HOW to use tools and techniques, but also WHY these specific tools and techniques are used. Probably because I'm trained as a scientist, it is important to me to understand the 'why' and the reasons behind using the tool in a certain way (I suppose that's why I developed a demonstration on "The Geometry of Woodturning") - I'm a big fan of Mike Darlow and his books, since he is, perhaps, one of the best 'explainers' of the "why" of woodturning techniques. I recommend his books to beginners with a "technical" background or interest in the "why" aspects.

    I consider a well-written skill development article as one that can be photocopied, handed out, and used in a beginners class on a particular tool or technique (...that's the college professor in me coming out...) - This is not unlike some previous articles written by Alan Lacer, Mike Darlow, and some others. Unfortunately, articles such as this are not very common.

    One consideration about beginners articles about turning techniques is that writing such articles is difficult, particularly when it is easier (...and maybe even better?) to SHOW how the technique is done with a video instead of using printed words. I also agree with John Lucas that it might be easier and more efficient to discuss techniques, etc. interactively on forums such as this, than it would be to write and publish an article in a major journal.

    Interesting thread.....

    Rob Wallace
     
  15. Garmar

    Garmar

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    Well stated Rob, I agree with your thesis.
     
  16. Ruth Niles

    Ruth Niles

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    How "newbie" are you? Exactly what beginner things are you looking for?

    You haven't asked for a specific "beginner" article and I'm a bit confused as to what you think should be included for Newbies. Have you ever worked with wood before?

    I'm asking this because I've been turning for 18 yrs., I just decided to get a burner and am a Newbie, looking for beginner articles. I did spindle turning for 8 years before I had a desire to turn a bowl, when I got my first bowl gouge, it purely intimidated me!

    Perhaps there should just be a "Beginner" magazine? Maybe that's the answer because once you learn how to do whatever it is you want to do, you will move away from those beginner articles and new beginners will be interested so maybe the beginner magazine is a good idea. Or not, it would have to publish the same articles over and over and over and over.

    I pay the same AAW membership dues, I'm a spindle turner by trade, there are very, very few articles on spindle turning, that's fine. I choose to be a member, I can go to the library or Barnes & Noble and get good books on spindle design. I learned beginner turning out of Richard Raffan's first 2 books, still have them, still reference them from time to time.

    Barbara Gill had a good point, to really paraphrase; if you want to do something and have the initiative, find the information you need from a lot of places, don't look for it in one place.
     
  17. Garmar

    Garmar

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    Are you talking down to me Ruth??:confused: Sorry you are so offended by this thread and feel it necessary to speak to me in this manner.:confused: I like others see a need; I/we shell out the same amount for membership as do you. What's the matter with asking for certain articles to be included in OUR AAW JOURNAL? Maybe one day I might arrive to the turning status you have achieved, but I certainly don't need to be discouraged by you or anyone else for that matter.
    If you look carefully throughout this thread, you'll see I have agreed with Rob and his suggestions for finding a solution. I don't what to offend you Ruth, but lighten up a little.
     
  18. john lucas

    john lucas

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    I agree. It's up to us to discuss this without getting uptight about it. The editors need to see both sides from a straight forward view point and then decide what, if anything can be done about it. It doesn't do anyone any good to get tee'd off about the subject because then we get into name calling and defending our stance and that just runs people off. We need to agree, to disagree on things because that's the nature of woodturning. You use one finish and I use another and can both give a million reasons why so there isn't any reason to get nasty over it. Just agree to disagree and get back to talking about wood.
    I've always been interested in the "high road" type magazines and have been a long time subscriber to Fine Woodworking. I personally would love to see a turning magazine in this vain. Turning Points as put out by the Woodturning Center is sort of this way but almost too far over the top. EVen though I subscribe to almost all the woodworking magazines I don't really "read" the ones that cover beginner topics.
    American Woodturner as a Journal for the AAW fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you look at, has to do both. We don't want to lose the advanced turners, and we don't want to lose the beginners but at the same time have to please both. All we as readers or members of AAW can do is express our opinions and let the editors know and hopefully they will try to fill a very difficult role of making the magazine appeal to us all.
     
  19. Ed Reiss

    Ed Reiss

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  20. Bill Grumbine

    Bill Grumbine

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