Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by john lucas, Jul 11, 2008.
And there is a trail of shavings from the back door, through the house, to the bathroom.
I don't think a magazine article has enough room to teach a beginner. The volume of instruction is best addressed by books and videos. However, I do believe we need to project articles for all levels from beginner to artist. Specific questions can be answered in a how to question column like Dale Nish in Woodturning Design.
Lets face it with this many people in a group its not likely that very many are going to agree on anything. It would be a real boring world and hobby if all everyone did was turn bowls ( or whatever ). Some people like doing just one thing and others can't stand to do more that two of anything and are constantly looking for a new type of project The trick is be understanding about the likes and dislikes of others.
Different beginner perspective
I'm still a beginner. And I believe that magazines have very limited utility when it comes to beginners. Most "beginner" articles in mags like Woodturning Design are project articles in which I may or may not be interested. In any case, there are plenty in that magazine, and also in the British Woodturning magazine (available in the US by mail subscription, which is not perfect but does work).
Videos and books are somewhat more helpful, because of the detail, variety of levels of technical information, etc.
But what I have discovered is that there are two -- and only two, IMHO -- ways to learn woodturning -- self-teaching and hands-on teaching by others.
Many of the outstanding woodturners in the world today are self-taught. A few came up through an apprentice system of one kind or another.
For me, being taught by someone else who is both an expert woodturner and a great teacher (the two are by no means synonymous) was the key. And I was fortunate to stumble into a demo by Stu Batty at a woodworking show, which led to a class with him which has led to several others. In those several days I learned far more than all the videos I had watched and books read (not to mention magazine articles).
This organization, through its local chapters, and regional shows, provide a tangible way for newbies to meet and interact with seasoned turners, and the opportunity for teaching.
If you're too far from a local club to attend regularly, then your best bet might be to bite the bullet, spend the money and go spend a weekend (or longer?) with the best turner and teacher you can find. I guarantee it will be the best investment you ever made.
I love the AAW Magazine. I do not always have high interest in every article. Sometimes a lot of it is over my head or in a different direction than my interest. But I would hate to start tampering with its content by requiring articles that in my judgment and experience will not achieve much for the novice turner but will take up a portion of very limited available space. There are far better avenues available for beginners, especially the resource of skilled and experienced turners all over the country (world).
If the $45 to get the AAW membership, magazine and access to the site is more than you can handle, the entire Internet is FREE. I know you have a computer because you are here. Use it.
In addition to all of the other sources, there is an abundance of woodturning instruction as near as your Wal-Mart store.
Most Wal-Mart stores carry Woodtruning Design magazine that is 100% woodturning and most of its content is written for the beginner. Yes, it tends to be project oriented, but if you take the time to read the project, you might learn something. IF you go so far as make one of the projects, I will guarantee that you will get some of the much needed PRACTICE that it takes to become a more proficient woodturner. You will never become a woodturner if you never turn on your lathe.
While at the Wal-Mart, you will also find most of the major general woodworking publications, all of which have regular woodturning articles. Some are projects, some are skill building with a tool or technique, but all of them are pretty basic. And, you get to look at it before buying.
If this sounds like a rant, that's because it is. I for one am tired of listening to the beginners complaining that "there is nothing here for me".
And some wonder why beginners feel alienated here.
If you don't like beginners...
Actually your rant sounds like a rather condescending shut up and go away demand. No one is saying "there is nothing here for me." What's being said is more like "I joined because the AAW represented a large number of viewpoints and now I'm wondering if that is changing." It's a weakness if the leadership of an organization doesn't encourage that conversation. This isn't an oligarchy, after all.
The Internet isn't free by the way. Since your rant makes it quite clear that if I want technical information I should look on the Internet instead of joining the AAW, maybe you could offer to pay my access charges in return for my membership fees.
I've been creative all my life. What I want is articles and teachers who expand my tools and techniques. I like lots of inspiring pictures too, but the truth is that my originality depends on the breadth of my horizons, not on membership in a royal academy of woodturning. The last thing I need is an organization the wants to tell me what's good art and what isn't. I can always go to a museum or gallery for inspiration.
To paraphrase, you can find lots of compliant people on the internet. You don't, after all, have to read a thread that is a healthy expression of contradictory opinions if it's going to upset you. That doesn't mean that I don't want to hear your opinion. And I promise not to be condescending. But I get really tired of people who use the word 'beginners' and 'noobs' in a derogatory way. And I'm tired of my way or the highway rants. That's just plain out of line. It's also a heck of a way to reduce membership.
Not a "shut up and go away", but rather a "look and you shall find", and a few suggestion on where to look. If it came across as more than that, I apologize.
This thread has gone down the same road as so many others of late.......... "I'm right you're wrong, vice versa, verse vicea, good idea, no bad idea. The only thing missing is some reasonable consensus. I only hope a few of the posters will take the suggestion of a couple of Board Members and submit articles to the Journal. Beginner or otherwise, that will let the Journal know what the membership is interested in and will hopefully respond. Yawn,..... is it Miller time yet?
Thoughts from another beginner
If you look up beginner in the dictionary you'll find my picture. As you can notice by my post count, I am also a beginner to this forum. I did join as a member, and was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Richmond symposium (it was 30 miles from my home). There are many great opinions posted here, and the passion for the art comes shining through.
I thought I would at least join in to give you the opinion of one true beginner. While I am most appreciative of the responsibilities that many folks take upon themselves to make sure content is available to me as a beginner. I do believe there is ample opportunity to learn no matter where the content resides as long as one has the passion to pursue it (and a few dollars don't hurt). Take this forum for example. I have no doubt that I could start a thread with any beginner question and advice would pour in. All I have to do is scan through the historical files to see just that. I've read books, watched videos, and much more. "Beginner" content is all around me, and the "Advanced" projects serve as an inspiration of what a fellow human being can do, not a disappointment in the lack of complete explanation.
I really find that no matter how many books/videos/tools I have, it comes down to the sheer enjoyment of moving a skew across a cylinder for the first time without creating that spiral effect (you know what I mean). Learning how to make shavings fly instead of the piece you are trying to shave. Every catch, crack, worm hole, and appreciated gift is part of the journey that drives at least one beginner. I'll find the content wherever it is, or is not displayed, or just take one of your great examples and make a bunch of firewood until I can duplicate it.
Don't let my need to learn drive extra stress into your life as some of the posts display. Just answer questions, let me look over your shoulder, and catch my bowl if it comes flying by.
Thank you James; that was well said. I took the same approach when I first started turning and expect that most do also. I started my subscription to the American Woodturner before I bought my first lathe.
A lot of excellent posts here, a lot of good information and Justaccord and James Smith said it best.
Now, after all the dust settles, the beginners who complained that there wasn't anything for them never once mentioned their skill level ("beginner" doesn't cut it), or if they have even turned a lathe on yet or have turned 5 bowls and aren't satisfied with the results. Nor have they mentioned exactly what they want to learn or a topic for the articles, apparently it's something that has never been written in the Journal so we need to know what to write about.
There are, at this very minute, a bunch of other threads on this forum discussing turning, problems, processes, wood, trouble with a tailstock, etc......it's sort of blowing my mind that anyone can say "there's nothing for beginners", we're all about beginners and turning and helping and answering questions. Good Lord, this is frustrating, we all want to help, we offer suggestions, you don't like them and we get criticized, we ask questions, you get offended and we get criticized..............
You know what blows my mind, its other members on this site complaining about "beginners". When are you myoptic people going to wise up an see the problem for what it really is - some beginners are trying to learn and like to READ IN THE JOURNAL about "how to", "where do I begin this type of turning" ect. NOT have to research an endless Internet, dig through tomes of articles, or at least in my case not be able to attend a symposium or join a turning club. What about that can't you understand? I LOVE the Journal, I would just like to see more articles about beginner turning. Its not a demand or an ultimatum, JUST A SUGGESTION. Encouragment, not discouragement is the way to address this situation. I consider myself a beginner although I have entered AAW's online contest before and placed third with one of my turnings. Made me quite proud.
I agree with suggestions offered by Rob Wallace in an earlier post, what's wrong with that?
Garmar, I have no problem understanding beginners need, and should have, articles.
Ok, next issue, what article would you like to see in the Journal?
going to try this one last time. I've learned alot in the last 20 yrs in woodworking. saw usage to expert sharpening. I've handed down my abbilities to many others but lately nobody seems to want to listen to what is being asked. people have answers but seem not to here the question. I've been turning for 2 yrs. But been sharpening 20 plus. I've been reading whats been talked about now i believe i'll stop my membership and go old school learning. Keep yrs of self taught knowledge to myself and teach those that want too learn who ever stops by the shop doors open. sorry bout way I am but I was happier that way. 20 yrs learning yours for the asking my address is in the book. goodbye from experianced woodworker
It's not about me Ruth, I suggest you read Rob Wallace's post.
So, what do you want to know?
On another note, what are we arguing about again?
This very website has a Youth Program link that contains over one dozen well written, illustrated articles that I as a new turner would consider to be beginner projects. Accessing this information does not entail searching an endless internet nor digging through tomes of articles - it is two clicks away from here! There are also publications available on this site, at a modest cost, that have captured numerous projects from the Journal going back to the beginning.
The Journal can not and should not be all things to all people all the time. Take the advanced articles as an inspiration and ask away on this forum for help as you progress. There is never a shortage of help nor perspectives when tackling a new problem. Hell, even as a beginner, I was able to help someone with making a baseball bat! Not so easy on a midi lathe, BTW!
Thanks John...two clicks away, and here ya go: AAW Youth Turning Program
How about this
On the hme page tab banner, right under the AAW title, the one that starts with "HOME" and ends in "Resources", how about adding another tab called "Projects".
Have that link to a page with links for projects of all levels (or just beginners).
I'll bet there are allot more projects floating around this website that no one knows about because they are nicely hidden.
If you want someone to volunteer to put some order to that page, give me temporary access and I'll do it.
Unfortunately, the website was not designed with CSS features optimized, so to make the change you're suggesting would require every page that contains the AAW header (over 2,000 pages) to be manually updated. Also, there are security issues with allowing non-AAW employee's access to the server. Sorry...
If you'd like to discuss what can be done to improve site design and navigability, feel free to send me an email or give me a call.