Skip to main content
Publish date:

A.J’s guide to instructions

Tool instructions today couldn’t be more confusing. I’m here to make everything a lot simpler.

For some reason, instruction manuals now feature lots of drawings and diagrams, but no text. The idea is that by using drawings only, users of any language can understand. Spoiler alert: No, they won’t.

The drawings are nice but have no context. Sure, the manual talks somewhere about what’s going on in those drawings, but sometimes several pages away. On page 10 it might say, “Plug in the saw. Fig 5.” Of course, Fig 5 is on page 7. What logic does that possibly make? As a result, normal users (like me) just try to figure out the drawings rather than search for relevant text that could be anywhere.

For example, I just got a new pole saw and the manual has dozens of wordless drawings. Here’s how I, a perfectly normal user, interpreted them:

AJBLOG-992 image

Based on what I understood from those drawings, I should have no trouble at all pruning some trees behind my condo; no trouble at all. I can’t wait to get started. Right after I change out of these shorts.

Related Articles

Change a blade with A.J.

For those of you who’ve ever dreamed of stepping into my shoes, now’s your chance! Grab your arbor wrench, and let’s change table saw blades!

Something else I never knew

In spite of the fact that I think I know everything, clearly, there’s a lot out there I’m clueless about.

And then what?

I’m always annoyed by online posts that relate some event, but then never follow up to tell me what eventually happened. Here, then, a few follow-ups.

We’ll make more

What do woodworkers make more of than any other thing – Cabinets? Furniture? Built-ins? Lots of dust?

AJBLOG-822 image

Oops, I did it again

What’s stupider than making a stupid mistake? Here, let me answer that for you: Making the same stupid mistake a second time.