The door to enlightenment - Woodshop News

The door to enlightenment

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I recently reviewed a woodworking article written by someone who had no idea what he was talking about, and laughably so.

Among the many editing jobs I do is to review home and garden articles for online publication. These run the gamut from general home improvement to lawn maintenance but, as you might imagine, I like to grab the woodworking titles. As with subject material, these articles also run the gamut from being pretty darned good to side-splittingly awful. One article that recently caught my attention was a particularly bad one involving the construction of stile-and-rail doors.

Not sure how or where this guy got his info; considering the wealth of valuable woodworking information on the Internet, it’s amazing he managed to stumble on all the wrong ones. The writer claimed to be writing the article from his own experience, but as you’ll see from the following description, he clearly did minimal online research and then had no understanding of what he was reading.

He instructs the reader to cut two stiles measuring 4” x 36” x 80”, then a pair of rails measuring 4” x 4” x 36”. His method of joinery to hold these massive beams? Glue the rails between the stiles.

So, assuming that the 4” dimension is the thickness, my math says that combining those two 36” wide stiles with 36” rails is going to result in a door 108" wide. Perfectly reasonable, I suppose, if he’s keeping King Kong behind those doors. And considering what the doors are going to end up weighing, he’ll need King Kong to help put them in place.

There were many more hilarious inaccuracies in the rest of the instructions based “on his own experience,” but suffice to say the article was justifiably rejected.

It’s amazing to think that an otherwise intelligent and educated writer could make so many terrible search choices, and then draw such incredibly wrong conclusions. That’s bad enough, but then not having the common sense to do the math and realize that the doors he’s creating would be too large for even your average medieval castle – well, that’s just plain sad.

If this is any indication of what the average person knows about woodworking, is it any wonder that so many cabinet shops keep bumping into so many clueless customers?

A.J.

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