An outsider’s perception

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Those who understand the subject can always answer the question, “What’s wrong with this picture?”, if a photo is set up by someone who doesn’t. That’s especially true with woodworking.

Since I visit a lot of woodworking sites online, it’s no surprise that I get bombarded with woodworking ads wherever I go. Recently, an ad popped up with a photo of some guy using a portable table saw on a jobsite. The photo was simple enough, and depicted the guy crosscutting a board – a basic, generic wood-worky shot.

So, as the saying goes, what’s wrong with this picture? Several things. To begin with, the guy was cutting the board free hand without a miter gauge or sled. That’s way up at the top of the list of woodworking no-no’s; an injury just waiting to happen.

Worse, the offcut side of the workpiece wasn’t supported by anything solid, the guy was just holding it. It also appeared he was squatting on the ground – his knee is nearly leaning on the front of the saw, making for a really awkward cutting position. Finally, when I looked closer, I could see that the board he was feeding into the blade had already been cut nearly all the way through. Apparently, the photographer didn’t like his first shot and asked him to recut the same board in the same place.

I was amazed anyone would use the photo in a woodworking ad, but when I followed the link to the product being advertised (which was actually pretty awesome), I noted that the photo wasn’t anywhere on their website. Curious, I did some Internet sleuthing and traced the photo, and sure enough it’s a stock image that anyone can use. Apparently, whoever designed the ad wasn’t a woodworker and grabbed the photo because it looked good, unaware of how dangerous the actions depicted were.

Clearly, the ad should have been reviewed by a knowledgeable woodworker and the image replaced, but it just goes to show what happens when outsiders try to depict things they’re not familiar with.

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