Let’s Talk About a Sticky Topic

Periodically, not too often enough to be overly concerned, someone makes a statement about this or that, types in IMHO and moves on. You know that there is nothing humble about it really, just a comment tossed over the shoulder as they walk away from any kind of accountability for it. “Too much glue!”, one says, and then, “Too little glue!” from another.  From another a joint’s too tight for glue and a joint without room for glue, too-tight a recess and too loose a mortise or whatever and so it goes. Well, of course people it seems are entitled to state their opinions, but where that freedom originated from goodness knows. I do know this though, at one time, when someone gave an opinion, they were suitably and respectfully brought to task to qualify what they said. They had to back up the opinion they gave with some hard facts. In the new era of online connectivity the subject gets a bit stickier. Here it seems ever more possible to bypass accountability because the internet mostly provides an escape through certain levels of anonymity; for most that is. For our part, well more so today, we tend to just turn a blind eye. You know, tolerate it. Whereas at one time we were always face to face with the opinion, and that made a huge difference to what we said because, well, we could be challenged, people throw out opinions from anywhere in cyberspace.

These are my classic hand cuts.

In my apprentice days it was wiser to ask rather than state, especially if we were indeed novices. Just turning that blind eye today leaves the stage all the more open for even more opinion. Unfortunately, with so many opinions to consider, it’s impossible to give what opinion consumes the very most, out attention. In the age of mass information we now experience in equal measure mass misinformation by way even of false information. Paying attention consumes the very thing we are most often short of, our time. Too much information and the dissecting of it creates a dearth of what information inevitably consumes, our attention.

So mere opinion is not really enough, although personally I do think it’s important to hear from others what they might have to say where possible.  Opinion, to have any real validity, should be based on some level of relational experience rather than, well, just a random thinking spell. I know, freedom of speech is important and there will be those shouting free speech, free speech! Freedom of the press! and such like. This is not really about that at all. If the Prime Minister of the UK or President of the USA or the Prime Minister of France headings up the government, Emmanuel Macron, tell me to use less glue or more glue because of this that or the other, the weight of their influence on me will be as much value as their political persuasion and governance. I would trust them about as much as I would trust them to run their respective governments. Not much at all.

There are a thousand opinions out there about gluing up. The kinds of glues and so on. What I want to know is what’s happening with the glue-up in the reality of my work life and in my use of it. In 53 years I don’t recall a glue line failing or a joint glued coming loose when the joint was as well fitting as shown in my videos. I have however seen many joints turn loose when joints have had air around the meeting faces.

Scaleable opinion

I often think that opinions should be based on something experiential, perhaps even have some kind of scale according to hours worked, number of experiments made, such things that count. I mean, even a point of view has a point from which you are physically looking at something, but in an age when people give opinions willy nilly, opinions all the more lose any kind of real validity. That’s why I carefully look to the sources of information. Financial incentives are powerfully persuasive. I take adverts in magazines with a pinch of salt and do the same journalistic licence.  Lots of issues go unchallenged all the more, especially opinions designed more to lure you in than give real information.

Is it the glue that sticks things together or the mechanics of the joints?  Glue should never substitute for a well fitting joint and a well-fitting joint means that the faces inside meet as fully as possible so that they can indeed mate. Glues like PVA have three or more real values to us. One, it serves as a kind of bedding agent in the seating of the joints where often we cannot see. The glue dries between mating surfaces and fills any minor discrepancies between surfaces. I hasten to add here that minor means almost zero. Two, it gives adhesion to add to the wood surfaces and develops full integration between the component parts. Thirdly glue, water-based versions, swell the surg=face fibres and draw them together to make the ultimate connection and whilst still mildly wet cohesion becomes permanent even if the wood beyond the surfaces withdraws slightly from the outer faces. Elasticity in the wood allows this and the joint remains permanent. So you see you don’t really need gaps for glue even though n much modern joinery today gaps are allowed for ease of assembly because gap filling and expanding glues are used to compensate for poor standards of manufacture. I good, not too tight but tight enough joint always remains firm.

Here is a good example of the most perfect mortise and tenon joint I ever saw.

No gaps and no air in the thickness or width of the joint and it was still together after 150 years and would likely have gone on for a further 150. That’s my opinion and its right!

52 comments on “Let’s Talk About a Sticky Topic

  1. I’ve never met anybody that’s ever done anything worth while for which they haven’t been critized for, Have you?
    All it means is that you have far exceeded someone’s else’s abilities and understanding of a certain subject and in reality it’s a compliment. That’s the way I see it anyway. You keep doing what your doing and how you want to , this is what makes you who you are. The Best……
    Chris

  2. In this modern era of internet where anonymity allows fools to expound without impunity, at times it tends to drown out the sound solid voice of truth and experience. You, my friend, are that voice and have stated your point spot on. Thank you for your candor and correct opinion!
    I do have a small problem with the rocking chair you pictured. IMHO, but correct opinion, there is a large problem with the chair. It should be sitting in my library within reach of my favorite books, but alas it is not and therein lies the problem.
    Thank you for not only sharing your working knowledge but also your look at life in general.

  3. Couldn’t agree more!
    On the question of glue joints, my engineering training taught me that, according to Isaac Newton, there can be no slip at the boundary between a fluid and a solid ie. when a liquid flows along a pipe, the molecules of liquid adjacent to the pipe wall do not move at all. So when I hear “so-called” experts telling me to be careful not to squeeze all the glue out of a joint I know they are talking nonsense. Once the mating surfaces are wetted with a microscopic layer of glue, it is impossible to squeeze it out. When glue oozes from a joint under clamp pressure, it is only excess glue or slackness in the joint which is being taken up, and there is no fear of a dry joint. A well-fitting joint only needs a small amount of pressure, anyway.

  4. “Opinion, to have any real validity, should be based on some level of relational experience rather than, well, just a random thinking spell.”

    Well put. Back in the day, there was a certain amount of quality review of writings before something would be published. This tended to filter out of the public domain, a great deal of content that was the product of random thinking spells. It is probably true that some valuable work never saw the light of day. But given the irreplaceable value of our time in this life, I would prefer that to being inundated with a tidal wave of useless and at times, mean spirited opinion. Please continue to ignore your detractors. Your willingness to share 53 years of experience is a gift to your readers.

  5. IMHO, those that spend time arguing about glues and gluing should use some, if not all, of that time studying the furniture and buildings around the world that have survived thousands of years without a drop of glue in their joints. Now, THAT would be time well spent!

    IMHO, we have just become lazy and use glue as a shortcut for good mechanical properties. It’s much easier to smear a bunch of glue on the surfaces than it is to cut tight fitting joints appropriate to the task. But perhaps, for some of us, not as satisfying.

    But again, this is just MHO…

  6. Thanks Paul

    A timely comment on our life and times.

    I have learned much from your blog and videos, and thanks to you today hand planes, routers, saws and chisels, are my primary tools.

    What you say and my own experience about the marriage of glue and a good mechanical joint makes so much sense. Even so IMHO I still have so much to learn.

    Having worked in wood since the early 1970s first as a hobbyist building musical instruments, then 10 years as a journeyman wood turner (the non CNC type). Now a hobbyist who builds furniture and musical instruments.

    My first love is building instruments and, as you know many of these joints to rely on edge gluing. I have had failures, but also have builds using PVA or Hide Glue that have held together well over the years. Even here I have found the mechanical fit is the critical factor, still I wonder if you have insights you can share on the subject of edge gluing thin wood.

  7. Hi Paul, Periodically, not too often enough to be overly concerned, you make a statement about this or that, and move on. We are of the same generation and I know, in our time, when someone gave an opinion, they were suitably and (not necessarily respectfully) brought to task to qualify what they said. Now my mentor was an auld Pattern Maker called Wullie Troop from a Clydeside shipbuilders yard. Let me tell you that if I had walked into our workshop and announced that I was intending to become a “lifestyle woodworker” ….. after the derisory laughter stopped Wullie would have torn me a new hole and finished up with “just join the effing wood together you pretentious eejit!”. You are right in saying that we were challenged but perhaps your workplace was a tad more genteel, than mine! Glasgow produced the finest ships in the world (get along to see the Cutty Sark at Greenwich if you haven’t already) and had a legacy of the finest craftsmen, but they were hard men that did not suffer fools gladly. Wullie would tell me once how to do something. He would take as much time as required to make sure that I understood the lesson, but once I had the technique he would never check my work. “If you think you know how to do it better than me, then do it” he would say. He never stopped me making a cock up of something “I’ve told you once, the rest is a waste of breath” he would say, but he did tolerate my youthful enthusiasm for trying to find a better way, which strangely was usually his way. The point is people will always question the perceived wisdom of the day. We all die so that the new generations can take over and improve the way previous generations did it
    Now anyone who writes “… people it seems are entitled to state their opinions, but where that freedom originated from goodness knows.” IMHO is so far up his own orifice that he can no longer see the daylight. I will tell you dear Paul and I hope you take a moments reflection to consider your statement, everyone everywhere is entitled to their opinion, yes that’s right entitled. In fact, it is impossible to stop them giving opinions and thank goodness for it. If no one offered an opinion you would be doing videos on how to lap stones not sharpen tool steel! I hope we never see a day when people have to bring documented proof before they are allowed? to have an opinion other than yours.
    Also, “You know that there is nothing humble about it really, just a comment tossed over the shoulder as they walk away from any kind of accountability for it.” Sorry Paul, I can hear Wullie’s censorious and booming tones in my head. We had a traditionally strong trade union ethos where people took great pride in their “humble” opinions and if you dared to contemptuously dismiss their right to express it you would be met with “..fire and fury, the likes of which the world has never seen” Speaking of Donald Trump, in my humble opinion I think it is vitality important that people are able to air their point of view no matter how wrong they are. Mr Trump (imho) seems to be a dangerous narcissus whose opinion is the only correct one, and who surrounds himself with sycophants who confirm that he’s right. (A bit like your followers on your blog, oops). Express an opinion he doesn’t like and you’re fake news. Now I don’t know how much glue is too little, but IMHO you do use too much! The stuff that squeezes out the side is too much! Sorry if you get upset about me questioning your 53 years of experience but it is a simple fact that you choose expediency over measurement. I get that and I don’t get irate at the waste, cost to the planet or let it spoil my day. Now IMHO as we get older we get more rigid in our thinking and dare I say crankier. Let me offer you my humblest of opinions, your woodworking skills are exemplary and you sell them well but let others have their opinions too (you can’t stop them anyway) and try not to sound like the cranky old man I am. My old dad used to say, “The stupidest man in the world can tell you something, even if it’s just his name.”
    And trust me I will be holding you accountable for your comments in future, unless you want to cancel my membership to silence my opinions 😉

    • We shouldn’t mix up the respect to the expression of the opinions with the respect to the content of the opinions. Once a opinion is launched, all of us, anybody, is free to consider it right, mistaken, well-founded or without sense. specially if solid arguments exist. Too much people identifies contradicting the opinion of someone with non-respecting that someone. This is a very extended confussion. I can say -more or less- anything I want, but once I’ve said it, anyone can contradict me and evaluate my opinion, and that doesn’t mean lack of respect.
      There is an old and well known proverb in Spain: “Devils knows more from being old than from being Devil”. I think that the experience-founded opinion weights more than the just-opinion, and I’m sure that I’m not the only one who thinks so. Field experience is a value, or at least it used to be…

    • Yeah but at the same time it’s pretty daft to tell someone with so much experience and skill in what they do, that they’re doing it wrong. If it was wrong then that person would have had failure after failure after failure in their work. It’s ok to try and do something your own way, to see if you prefer it or if it works better than the way you were taught. But I’m sure as hell not going to tell a master craftsman that his joints are too tight, how many have I made? How many years have those joints been tested? Sometimes the best opinion is one you keep to yourself. Not that I’m doing that right now of course!

      • ” it’s pretty daft to tell someone with so much experience and skill in what they do”
        Is it?
        For fifty years I’ve tied my shoelaces. Then during the day I regularly retied my laces as they undone. I pulled them tighter and used different laces, all to no avail as I watched them come loose during the day. Then I saw a simple demonstration of how I should be tying the shoelace knot … 50 years of “I know how to tie my shoelaces” counted for naught as I learned that my mum had taught me the wrong way … which is why her perfect knots regularly fell apart too …
        Whilst Paul is obviously a God in these circles, and I admit to spending far too many hours watching his videos, I get the impression he’d be the first to accept constructive criticism or be willing to embrace a new idea if it had merit. It’s when criticism is neither constructive nor based in fact that it becomes a problem. A mantra for everyone is “It’s never too late to learn”
        Oh, and by the way, IMHO ( 🙂 ) glue lines always need to be the correct thickness … whatever that is!

        • Yeah ok but unlike your laces his joints aren’t coming undone now are they? I’m not saying he’s always right, but then ask the question rather than making a statement like, your joint is too tight. So I stick by my conviction that it would be daft for me to tell Paul he’s doing it wrong, because I simply don’t know enough and I haven’t made enough. Ask me about branding or graphic design and then I’ll give an opinion, but it will be backed up by experience.

    • Rest assured, John, my peers, my family and friends, my colleagues etc both face to face, on all continents and then online, keep me very accountable and I take it seriously when they do, never dismissively. It seems a little unjust to say we might consider cancelling your membership to silence you, we only cancel accounts when asked by a member to do so. That said, I did enjoy what you wrote or perhaps more the way you wrote, even though I didn’t necessarily agree with several things said.

    • How did this go from woodworking to mentioning and slamming Trump? Prime example of what Paul is talking about.

      Your opinion means nothing unless you can show or state intelligently facts (not just more opinions) that support your opinion. Your just babbling.

  8. Paul,

    I follow your blogs and have never posted a comment. I feel I must throw my two cents (or my opinion) into this one though. I am a law student in Texas and am building a career on having an opinion that will change and vary depending on finding the most zealous way to defend a client.

    I generally agree with the premise of what you are saying—people are full of useless opinions and more often than not they are just babble with no true reasoning or justification for them whatsoever. I agree that it can be really obnoxious to sift through the trash in order to find meaningful opinions.

    In my studies I often read “opinions” of judges and justices, almost all of whom are mostly well respected and seen as sophisticated, highly intelligent people. With that being said, a lot of what they write is useless babble and honestly just plain illogical. The often are forced to study a subject they had no prior knowledge of or interest in and formulate an opinion that will change the course of people lives. Often, they muck it up. Nonetheless their job is critical to the function of the government and is required for the “system” we have in place to operate. Like it or not, it is what it is. These people are selected by our society to have a job where they give opinions and they give those opinions whether they are good or bad.

    My point is that opinions are critical to our society. You say people will harp on freedom of speech as justification for allowing bad opinions. I agree profoundly but that’s not the reason I write this. The reason I write this is because I want to point out to you the reason you are successful in what you do. You have built a career on your opinion: a true need for simplistic woodworking. I subscribe to your opinion, after all, that is the reason I am on your website. I absolutely love your work and find it fascinating. You are one of a kind. The distinction between your opinion and everyone else is that you have probably the greatest ethos of anyone in the traditional woodworking community. Your opinion holds a great weight in this subject, in the exact same way that the opinion of a U.S. Supreme Court Justice holds great weight on the topic of Constitutional Law. This is precisely why woodworkers flock to you. They sift through all the awful opinions out there on the topic and look for the greatest ethos—you. It is intellectual capitalism. People seek you and your opinion over everyone else.

    Often you point out inaccuracies and flaws written into magazines such as Fine Woodworking. This is precisely analogous to a Supreme Court Justice pointing out the flawed reasoning of a lower courts opinion. They do that so that it does not cause great mistakes in the justice system. You do it so that it does not cause people to be improperly instructed on their trade or hobby. The Court however does not contradict the unimportant opinions out there of ordinary people because they are just that—opinions of ordinary people. Why would they waste their time. You hold the supreme opinion (in a great number of people’s minds) on this particular topic. You have worked your whole life to earn that title. What I am saying is that people have opinions and they are often wrong. But unless it is an authority on the matter, don’t even waste a thought getting upset about. If an authority on the topic, i.e. Fine Woodworking Magazine (or a lower court in my analogy) makes a mistake call them out and get frustrated that they are not acting the way the should, but if a little ordinary person says something stupid about it, let them say it. No one listens to them anyways, they listen to you.

    With utmost respect and sincerity,

    Steven

    • I agree with you Steven, the other side of the coin is that through opinions that are wrong from the average person and Paul pointing out as such I get the advantage of learning more about his reasoning and approach. So it’s a win for me 👍

    • The problem is, in our days of Internet and telecommunication it’s often impossible to tell right away whether the person saying this or that is a sham or they’ve got a lifetime of experience backing them up. To prove the former, you need to be at least somewhat proficient in the thing they’re talking about. And chances are, if you’re doing research on some topic, that you don’t have enough experience and that’s precisely the reason you’re looking for information.

      Too often we accept something blindly, without critical perspective, only to realize some years in the future that we’ve been following a false opinion and our path could have been much easier if only we’d asked ourselves, does this man know what he’s talking about, or is it just empty babble?

      In other words, you can’t always tell in real world whether you’re reading a Supreme Court opinion, a flawless script written by Marketing in some sompany trying to sell you their latest thing, or an opinion of some amateur who’s just had his first experience on the topic.

    • Well, Steven and others, I am still learning how much is too much and too little glue on my work and then Marmite on my toast too. As the Marmite advert once declared honestly, “Marmite! You either love it or you hate it!” Thanks for all the thought through input.

  9. Paul,

    I hear what you say and I see where it is coming from, but I disagree with what you are saying: “[..] when someone gave an opinion, they were suitably and respectfully brought to task to qualify what they said.” I resent the idea that I have an obligation to defend my opinions to anyone. If my opinion is that a chair is comfortable or a movie is crap then sure we can have a discussion about it but in the end I expect we can respectfully agree to differ on the subject.

    What I’m reading in your article is more related to statements that are being presented as facts. This, I agree, the presenter should be able to elaborate on. If I say I think a movie is crap than that is not a fact. If I would say to you that round beveled chisels are not suitable for making a mortise, then that is a crap statement that you’d rightly challenge me about. And the best way to prove me wrong is to show me, so the best way to present a fact is substantiate it with proof.

    So, it is my opinion that your articles and instruction videos are the best there is on woodworking, and it is a fact that they helped me understand the importance of sharpness of my tools and my accuracy because look, what I made before learning from you needed glue to fill the gaps!

    Mic

    • Did I misunderstand something? Wasn’t this blog about factual information like joints and gluing up joints? Not someone liking a movie or how comfortable a chair is.

  10. An opinion is an opinion. If every opinion needs to be supported by facts or defended by facts, then they are facts, not opinions. 1+1 is 2 and that’s a fact, not an opinion.

    A movie crappy to you — an opinion — may be one of the best I have ever seen — another opinion; neither of us needs to defend or support our opinions.

    As an educated adult, we rely on our knowledge and experience or training to tell if an opinion is what we would agree with or endorse.

    When someone tells me it is best to cut the tails first, it is their opinions. If I had been cutting pins from Day 1, I would’ve voiced my opinion about pins first (and privately reject their opinions). I could ask questions (why tails first) but I would have not required them to have their facts ready before they could give their opinions.

    Let the opinions flow and set no preconditions.

    • PS
      Here in Orange, Australia we have “Vegemite” ( a yeast extract similar to “Marmite”) . The labeling use to say “TOO MUCH SPOILS THE FLAVOUR !”

      Has all this opinionated criticism now passed the manufacturer’s recommendation?
      Roger

  11. Great post Paul….

    I have to say that I have found so much of the advice and teaching Paul offers to be utterly invaluable and real to my learning as a woodworker. Without a doubt if I had followed the myriad opinions and teachings that are out there I would not have had the results or satisfaction I now gain from this craft.

    Although I believe Paul doesn’t often use hide glue, I use almost exclusively hide glue. Although Paul often favours bevel edge chisels for mortising I like to use something heavier etc etc…

    The point is I do make my own choices but I never could have been in a position to make those choices without the gift that Paul Sellers has given me of his teachings. There are not many opinions I am likely to value over Paul’s in this craft.

    Thanks again Paul,

    Regards,
    Richard
    Ireland

  12. I watched a YouTube video of a Japanese cabinate maker putting a joint together with just water to swell the riders of the wood the other day. If will fitting joints have worked for thousands of years in Japan an all through your working life as a professional cabinet maker that’s “fact” enough for me that a good joint is more important that glue.

    Thanks for sharing your knowlede and wisdom.

    Ian

  13. As a scientist i should point out that using ‘experience’ and anecdote as you do, does not provide truly reliable information. It’s merely more opinion, based on personal learning – which of course has great value. The number of years these have been gathered over is irrelevant.

    Without randomised controlled trials, blind testing etc – observation simply remain as such and are subject to the usual biases and artefacts such as ‘noting’ or observing & remembering ‘results’ that confirm ones bias.

    However, crafts are not sciences – but use scientific ideas as well as aesthetic and artistic principles. So, opinions will always vary as craft activity is unlikely to attract a rigorous research culture to the extent i refer to.

    • I stumbled across a somewhat more scientific approach to test the effect of a the thickness of the glue film on the strength of a joint. The video is by Matthias Wandel https://youtu.be/14Mkc63EpMQ
      And I think it’s worth watching. Spoiler: on the test conditions a thicker glue layer makes for a much stronger joint.

      All the best to all woodworking friends!

    • At the end of the day, scientist, Glaswegian dock exponent, professional woodworker and amateur like myself alike, there is a much higher authority that no one seems wont to mention or indeed be in awe of. This is the one I turn to and listen to and strive to find for, yes, an opinion. This person often defies defining beyond a single word and that is the wise. When you hear a man, and it’s not gender specific, who has wisdom, there is usually no more to be said. I am not saying that a man of science wouldn’t/couldn’t have wisdom, just that wisdom (IMHO) is the higher ground. Just an added thought on the issue before we close really.

  14. As usual, Paul, you have given us much very good information while simultaneously giving us much to think about. WELL DONE!

    As an aside, I’m very pleased to report that our small Aldi’s here in central Texas has just this week offered the chisels you’ve recommended. I got 2 sets, 8 good chisels for under 15USD. Why 2? One for me and one for my son-in-law who I’m gently nudging toward hand tool work.

  15. Paul,

    You sure know how to get a response.

    It is human nature to have opinions. When in the form of theories, they are what leads to invention and advancement in every walk of life. Until tested they are only just opinions.

    Most of us watch you in recognition that you have done the testing for us, and for that we thank you.

    When offered the free opinion, the best response is simply to say go home and try it. If it works for you fine. This is what has worked for me for 50 years.

    Dave Larson

  16. I’m afraid your assertion that an opinion should be based on fact is quite wrong. The OED has an opinion as ‘A view or judgement formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge’. Point is opinions are sometimes formed on facts, sometimes on genuinely held but misinformed facts and just as often on feelings and emotional responses.

    • I have noticed that if someone just doesn’t like someone they will usually be offended by whatever the person they don’t like says and thereby prejudice their opinion against that one in some way.

      • Yes. Good example of an emotional opinion. Personally I’m quite at ease with people having groundless opinions. If it’s codswallop I know it for what it is. As Vicki Pollard would say ‘ Bovvered!’

        • I am also perfectly at ease with groundless opinions because like you I can filter out the dross on issues I am knowledgeable about and so they don’t have any negative effect. This is so until it confuses those that I know can’t base their assessment of it on any previous experience they might have, that becomes the game changer for me and that is mostly the way this was presented. Anecdotal experiences, opinions for the better part, can often offer very little by way of valuable help. The joint discussed was not too tight, in fact it was as near as perfect as I know to get, and for the main part I always use precisely the right amount of glue that by my judgement and experience I feel necessary to seat a joint and prevent glue freeze. If incidentally you have used too much glue on an occasion, what are you going to do with it? Take off the excess and put it back in the bottle or just carry one and remove the excess with shavings. The discussion gets sillier. Excess glue and the excess of groundless opinion generally seems more the waste but excess opinion at the wrong time leaves a percentage of new woodworkers in my audience confused and therefore looking for experience based experienced knowledge, which in and of itself becomes wisdom. It’s all been quite simple if you distil down one or two of the opinions.

    • Oh I think that we will all have noticed that if someone just doesn’t like someone else they will usually be offended by whatever the person they don’t like says no matter what and thereby prejudice their opinion against that one in some way.

  17. One good effort to reveal some truth about glue (Gorilla “foaming Glue) can be found on youtube where he tests this peculiar glue in all kinds of ways and makes notes and improvises test rigs to understand why this foaming stuff works or does not work .I had to admire his tenacity . I found it useful for mending some split floorboards and I strapped it up with masking tape to keep it in the crack . I am trying to avoid mentioning No Nails etc. What`s not to criticise there ? Great to see the fiery response from Glasgow . I am sure you would become best mates and it would certainly be entertaining .

  18. Dr Gary,
    When science returns to the scientific method. When the hypothesis is not declared valid until proven irrefutably (and independently of funding). Then, and only then, will science regain an equal footing with craft. Lord Kelvin and Isaac Newton etc all must be turning in their graves at the state of modern science. Craftsmanship relies solely on what truely works and what does not, while science has become based on popular opinion and lucrative finance.

    Andrew

    • Andrew, I have spent my life doing science and will say that the current fashion of assuming that scientists are corrupted by their funding is abhorrent. It is in vogue to bandy that about amongst people who have no idea how scientists work. Scientists have done more than any other profession to recognize the essential, unavoidable presence of bias in all analysis and have therefore developed methods that either mitigate bias (“closed box” methods in physical science, blinded studies in other disciplines, and generally developing controlled experiments with isolated, non-confounded variables). Similarly, they have developed external review mechanisms to deal with quality control/acceptance, including mid-project termination for inadequate performance, and to put funding decisions at arms length (or further).

      What screams to me that you have no science training is the assertion that hypotheses are to be proven. Every scientist is taught early on that hypotheses can never be proven. They can only be refuted. The structure of an experiment is to formulate a null hypothesis that is rejected by the experiment at some (statistical) confidence level.

      You are illustrating Paul’s point. On the points you raise, you act as if they are opinions and therefore things to which you have a right to fling about the internet, when they are actually harmful mis-information that others with experience immediately recognize as bunk.

      I refrain from attacking people’s opinions in these discussions, but your disrespectful, ignorant statements are harmful to others. They so illustrate Paul’s point about misinformation on the internet, that it just cannot be left to stand.

  19. And yer darn tootin’ right. You only have to look to old furniture to see that the things that the joint really fit do no work loose with time or abuse.

  20. In case any new woodworkers read this we have not mentioned Hydraulic Pressure if there is no allowance for excess glue to escape through a small groove . Are wooden dowels allowed in a lifestyle wood worker`s methods ? LWW what would that stand for I wonder ?

  21. Along with freedom of expression comes taking responsibility for what you say. Paul, I like how you say things as much as what you say. You speak from a passion for the craft and you back up what you say with experience, testing and thoughtful reflection.
    On the lighter side, on the subject of opinions this comes to mind: opinions are like toothbrushes, everyone has one so there is no need to share.

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