You Don’t Get To Tell Me What To Do

I’m a hobbyist woodworker. I’m by no means an expert. I learn a lot from a variety of sources, including videos, the interwebs, books, magazines, and by practical experimentation. I am part of a growing group of Google+ woodworkers of various experience, and it’s cool to see the things they make and how they make them.

Recently, a member of this group on G+ posted a video from Fine Woodworking Magazine, which was basically a couple of guys from the magazine talking about how individuals online are posting “how to” or project videos online, and how they should be “vetted” by a professional group (such as a publishing group like Fine Woodworking) before they are posted. Entitled “A Perfect Storm of Stupidity”, they basically bash hobbyists like myself and the people I follow online that post videos or project information (although honestly I haven’t posted anything yet). Now a couple of the people I follow, they are professionals. As one of them put it, if you make your living doing woodworking – meaning feeding your family – you are a PROFESSIONAL. You don’t have any higher “vetting” process than that.

This caused a bit of backlash from a number of people, and rightly so.

Woodworking to me is a hobby. It’s fun, and if someone can use what I’ve done and enjoy it, huzzah! I always learn something (or at least get ideas) from watching online content from people. And if there’s some reason that people aren’t performing safe work with no safety equipment, googles, no table saw guard, or poor working conditions, the community is right there to tell them so.

But no one can tell me I can’t do something unless it is harmful to someone else, someone else’s legal property, or against the law. So far, none of these videos have harmed anyone. Rather, they’ve helped me learn something new. Sure, not everyone looks fantastic on camera (neither do the FWW guys) but it doesn’t have to be an expensively produced video for me to learn something from it, nor do I need a panel of snobby experts reviewing said videos beforehand for content issues. Bah.

Fine Woodworking, this has completely turned me off from your magazine. I will not purchase any of your magazines or supplements (the Workshops supplement you do every year was cool too) any longer due to this. It’s a shame, really, because in the long run you’re only hurting yourselves alienating the woodworking community like this. We are the people that keep your dwindling magazine market alive. If you continue to have an elistist, snobby attitude, we just will go somewhere else.