Online information is great for woodworkers who want to learn more. But for nonwoodworkers who dont want to invest the time to really learn? Not so much.
One of my many freelance writing/editing jobs is editing articles for a major provider of online content. These articles come in every conceivable topic, but naturally I gravitate toward articles on tools, woodworking, home improvement and the like when I choose articles to edit. Ive been doing this for a while, and because I choose articles on similar topics its not surprising that Im bumping into a couple of writers quite often.
One of these guys is great. A former contractor and carpenter, he knows his stuff. Not a fantastic writer, but he takes his time with articles and theyre always a delight to edit: factual, on-topic, relevant and highly informative. The other guy is a better writer but hes, simply put, a hack. He knows almost nothing about tools and carpentry, and I can only assume he picks these topics because he thinks theyre easy to crank out.
This clowns idea of addressing a topic like How to Charge a Cordless Tool is to Google one cordless tool manual, skim it for key phrases, conclude that every single cordless tool on the planet operates the same way, and then toss those key phrases into an article. With no hands-on knowledge he makes gross assumptions like, When the green light starts flashing, the battery is charged, so unplug it immediately before it gets too full.
Of course, you and I know that not all battery chargers have green lights, and not all of them flash. (The cordless drill/driver battery I plugged in before sitting down to write this blog uses a steady red light to indicate charging is complete.) But this nonwoodworker doesnt know that, and didnt bother to check more than one source for information about cordless tools. I wonder how many others learn about woodworking as well as other topics this way.
The bottom line is that random Google searches cant teach you woodworking or anything else. It requires effort and hands-on time with tools and materials, and a lot more than just skimming one tool manual. Sadly, with shop classes disappearing from schools at an increasing rate, Google searching has come to replace traditional woodworking education for many. This thought will probably depress me all weekend.
Excuse me, but I have to go unplug that battery before it gets too full.
Till next time,