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Shop Talk Live 5: Compounding Errors

comments (36) April 27th, 2012 in blogs, videos

thumbs up 24 users recommend

Video Length: 58:08

Every two weeks, a team of Fine Woodworking editors gather together to "talk shop," and answer reader questions. To send in your own questions and comments for use on Shop Talk Live's regular livestream and podcast, click on the image at left. You can watch the archived video here or catch Episode 5 as a podcast on iTunes. 

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***We decided to change the title of this episode because folks were confusing it with Asa's reference to the blogosphere in the beginning of the show. To clarify, the "Perfect Storm of Stupidity" comes into play around the 30:45 minute mark when Asa and Mike talk about their latest "smooth moves". Read more about this issue, with a blog from the editor.

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Be sure to send your woodworking questions to, or just click on the image at left. We'll select the questions for each podcast out of the many that arrive in our in-box every week.

Shop Talk Live: Episode 5

This week, FWW editor Asa Christiana and art director Mike Pekovich wade gingerly, into the area of potential new tablesaw legislation in a rousing game of Pins-and-Tails, our very own crossfire-like segment. Plus, the pair reveal their most recent woodworking blunders in our regular "Smooth Moves" segment.

Asa Christiana
FWW editor

Mike Pekovich
FWW art director

Ed Pirnik
FWW senior web producer


posted in: blogs, videos, podcast, shop talk live

Comments (36)

woodcraver1010 woodcraver1010 writes: You have to make videos fun not boring if you don't no one will take then and use them to there advantage plus I hope you guys don't think your the sheriff of the content on the internet regarding to woodworking videos god help us if so
Posted: 4:57 pm on August 2nd

woodcraver1010 woodcraver1010 writes: Can anyone say boring ya this is so stupid stop attacking youtube which is better than this stupid shit learn for free there is no certin way to do woodworking this is a Creative hobbie and not a manual have fun exploring new places and new ideas and new magazines than this dum crap don't pay for something you can get for free
Posted: 4:47 pm on August 2nd

woodcraver1010 woodcraver1010 writes: Ya these guys act in a way were there better than every one else and we should only go though them there the only one qualified to give woodworking advise to beginners or who ever just because people haven't built many project doesn't mean you cant learn from them there's a lot of people on youtube that I like building from even tho that there not and editor on a magazine doesn't mean that there project aren't a great project to built or its not in the top 5 I build what ever looks challenging and nice looking you dont need to go though a magazine to learn the right way there are alot of great stuff on any part of the internet that don't need a subscription they just want you to buy there subscription to learn which you don't need to I have tought myself woodworking on internet and youtube as well for free I encourage more people to learn woodworking for free on the internet and youtube I can find more info and free jigs on youtube than any magazine which I have and don't read because of that reason so and there is no need to go though a editor in a magazine t learn the right way these people are full of it the just don't want to loose business b/c of the free content on the internet b/c they know you can learn woodworking for free just as easier or even easier than buying there mags
Posted: 4:39 pm on August 2nd

atmartin23 atmartin23 writes: Some general comments:

I just started listening to the podcasts while I exercise or working around the house, etc. I dont think the video is necessary as the videos don't really hold my sole attention for a full hour. Although i do like to listen to the commentary along with the information presented.

I understood the point you guys were trying to get across regarding reliable resources and was surprised by the amount of people that seemed to take the comments to heart. It's not too difficult to get a feel for the reliability of the data found on the internet. In your example of Youtube videos displaying unsafe methods, just look at the comments on the video. As shown in this thread, when something is wrong, people have no problem sharing their opinion.

I also found the bashing of wikipedia amusing. As a younger woodworker, I think you old guys have misconceptions on wikipedia as a reliable source. Your comment that anyone can modify a wikipedia article is correct. This is similar to a peer review on a published journal article.

The Nature Journal (International Weekly Journal of Science) performed an independent study in 2005 on the reliability of Wikipedia compared to that of Encyclopedia Britannica. The results indicated that Encyclopedia Britannica had 2.92 errors per article and Wikipedia had 3.86 errors per article. While Wikipedia is not as good as Encyclopedia Britannica, it is considered a reliable source.

In the end you (in general) must understand where the data is coming from and how to use it.
Posted: 6:36 pm on March 18th

vinflictor vinflictor writes: Jeez, what a bunch of hot air from these guys.
Here's some bullet points on your content as viewable media:
- You have no presentation talent and/or humor

Posted: 9:46 am on September 13th

rbailey280 rbailey280 writes: Terrible Video. The whole video should be retracted, just like the title was, and apologies handed out to the woodworking community.
Posted: 11:27 am on June 28th

ausworkshop ausworkshop writes: At least I can watch other people's videos. This one gets to the 1.20min mark then its been buffering for about half an hour with a little circle spinning around forever (which tells me nothing) I tried refreshing and now its started buffering from the start again. Very frustrating. I never have these problems watching YouTube videos or The Wood Whisperer's so I'm not sure why Fine Woodworking use such an annoying player. Is there anyway I can download the video?
Guess I'll try again tomorrow, wasted too much time on this today. Wanted to see what everyone has been talking about.
Posted: 6:10 am on June 10th

Bored_Cutter Bored_Cutter writes: I think I was far more offended by poor Asa's apology than anything he said originally. He did MORE than he needed, when he apologized for his "unproductive" comments. I listened to his original comments several times. Guess what, all you over-sensitive woodworkers: He was right about everything he said!

OF COURSE there are well-trained and vetted teachers on the Internet who can give a person a safe, reliable forum for many disciplines. That's common knowledge.


The internet is also littered with poorly-trained rank amateurs who want their 15 minutes of fame and think of themselves as 'woodworkers'. The problem is, because of various video websites ..... they won't get off the stage after 15 minutes!!!!!

It seems that it is far easier these days to cultivate the role of the "put-upon victim" or of the "offended" than to simply laugh off some viewpoint with which we might not agree.

Threatening to 'rethink' one's subscription over this? Honestly. Put on some big-boy pants and grow up, poor little 'victims'.

You all know who you are.
Posted: 8:08 pm on June 5th

Mendoguy Mendoguy writes: I'm enjoying the comments section as much as the show.
How about about bringing "Norm" in as special guest?
FWW & Norm inspired me 25 yrs. ago. I've made a nice living since.
I miss those days when Norm made the cover & chips hit the fan.
I love FWW, shop talk live, & Norm, and look forward to watching/listening to all
of this unfold.


Posted: 9:29 am on May 25th

Mendoguy Mendoguy writes: I'm enjoying the comments section as much as the show.
How about about bringing "Norm" in as special guest?
FWW & Norm inspired me 25 yrs. ago. I've made a nice living since.
I miss those days when Norm made the cover & chips hit the fan.
I love FWW, shop talk live, & Norm, and look forward to watching/listening to all
of this unfold.


Posted: 9:29 am on May 25th

Northerner26 Northerner26 writes: you said it right at 6:25 you should have quit talking!
Posted: 9:39 am on May 20th

pcott pcott writes: I think changing the title after the fact is cowardly, and misleading. I also read a great deal of the other blogs where you responded to criticism, and see a pretty significant lack of humility about this whole thing. I think I need to rethink my online subscription. Not that I imagine you would care.
Posted: 1:50 pm on May 17th

AsaC AsaC writes: I'd like to apologize to everyone who was offended or hurt by the unfortunate original title of this episode of Shop Talk Live ("Perfect Storm...") and by my comments about online expertise. I’ve learned a lot in the past few days, the most important being that the online woodworking community is mostly about being supportive and helpful. My comments were neither, and served no good purpose. For the record, Fine Woodworking supports and celebrates the work of ALL woodworkers, despite what my comments may have implied. For more info on what I’ve learned, go to
(For the record, the Perfect Storm of Stupidity was a quote from later in the show when we were talking about our mistakes in the shop...another dumb move on our part)
Posted: 12:56 pm on May 17th

Hazy82 Hazy82 writes: You guys have shot yourselfs in the foot, why would you go and insult people who have subscribed to your website and take the time to watch your videos. On these "unveted" videos you talk about I have always seen people take safety precautions, I remember when I first started watching the wood whisperer the podcast was sponsored by finewooding. Either you are hypacrites or you are in desperation for people to only watch your podcasts !!!
Posted: 10:50 pm on May 16th

VesterSylvester VesterSylvester writes: This is my first AND LAST involvement with Fine Woodworking. Your holier-than-thou attitude is incredible. Arrogant asses.
Posted: 8:27 pm on May 16th

Tom47 Tom47 writes: What an elitish, snobbish attitude, Asa. You owe the woodwoking community a big whopping apology!!
Posted: 10:44 am on May 16th

ecruschsr ecruschsr writes: You guys think waaay too much of yourselves.
Posted: 10:34 am on May 16th

kshipp kshipp writes: I have been a subscriber for three years and I thought I could deal with all of the ads that litter the website and all of the ads I get emailed to me about books and DVD's from Fine Woodworking.
But this video is the last straw in my decision to end my subscription to Fine Woodworking. Admittedly, I only watched the first five minutes of the video but that was enough for me to question the entire production process of FWW that allowed a video like this to be posted.
Good content will bring visitors and therefore dollars. I am choosing to take my dollars elsewhere.
Posted: 12:01 am on May 16th

lawrence.r lawrence.r writes: "Perfect storm of stupidity" indeed....

Holy smokes guys... you are certainly both knowledgeable, but your approach in this video is pretty insulting to a fairly large segment of your subscribers... probably not the best editorial move.

FWW is a magazine I've subscribed to for many years (paper and electronic format) and it is certainly a serious publication. The line between seriousness and snobbishness is a fine one though, and parts of this interview could be seen to reflect the latter.


Posted: 11:51 pm on May 15th

CallMeFlossy CallMeFlossy writes: I love Fine Woodworking and have so much respect for the knowledge behind that and other major woodworking publications. If not for those magazines, I'd be no where near the woodworker that I am.

And, while there is no need for these guys to be insulting about it, they do make a good point—everything you find on the Internet is not guaranteed to be accurate. Here's the thing, though: no kidding. I mean, who regularly spends time online and assumes that everything they find is gospel? No one.

It's not just for woodworking. Anything the typical DIYer wants to learn how to do, he can get proper direction online that will get him about 90% of the way to completion. The rest of the way he'll need to find for himself. This is not a news flash; this is par for the course when learning using this medium.

Then, these guys use the term "crowdsourcing" in a completely wrong context. Crowdsourcing is getting a bunch of people to perform a professional task and only paying for the one you want—everyone else gets stiffed.

Conversely, online woodworking resources aren't devaluing Fine Woodworking; Fine Woodworking is still a high-end credible team of experts and all the YouTube videos in the world won't take anything away from that. What all of these resources actually do is get more people interested in woodworking, instilling early levels of confidence and widening Fine Woodworking's potential customer base.

So, a sharp rap of a dowel rod to the knuckles of everyone behind that video podcast for being arrogant and short-sighted.
Posted: 12:55 pm on May 15th

steved328 steved328 writes: What an insulting video!! I've learned far more about woodworking from youtube videos, from the very people you are attacking here, than I ever learned from all of your magazines that I have purchased over the years. I believe it is safe to safe that I will NEVER purchase another copy of your elitist magazine.
Posted: 12:23 pm on May 15th

Beacon Beacon writes: I'd like to know if you boobs are going to video a retraction/mea culpa. Seriously, how clueless can you be?
Posted: 12:12 pm on May 15th

tom8021 tom8021 writes: What! Why would FWW allow this video? Don't they have anyone "vetting" out these things?

Seriously, you have a right to say your opinions, but in 58 minutes, when it could of been said in 5 minutes? I think your website has a lot of great information and feel like it was getting better all of the time. Draw me to your site/magazine with content, not with elitism.

Posted: 11:15 am on May 15th

bmw325e bmw325e writes: I am new to woodworking but I have made about 25 cutting boards so do I have your permission to post a video on the web. You mention at about the 6 minute the dude zeroing in on the best way to do it. So I should be a pro at making cutting boards.
Posted: 10:33 am on May 15th

Sandhill_bob Sandhill_bob writes: Asa Christiana, I can't believe how far out of touch you are with reality with a statement that asinine. I disagree with your entire venue. What you are suggesting is the equivalent censorship and is a basic right as in the First Amendment to the Constitution. Freedom of speech. Keep making statements like that and I will exercise my right to cancel all my subscriptions to you magazine. If you are going to make POD casts do something of value.
Posted: 12:00 am on May 15th

drfrancov drfrancov writes: Disagree...why don't you just try to compete guys!...sorry you don't have the monopoly anymore!
Posted: 11:28 pm on May 14th

rolo73 rolo73 writes: What is this?!

Asa, i highly respected you until this podcast. Why would you take it to this level?

No one company has the right to suppress any thought, idea or expression of anyone. People making their own woodworking podcast and videos do it because they can.

And to think of a big outfit like Fine woodworking even remotely concerned about it. Well if your video's were free, maybe there would be less self produced content out there.

And by they way, your so called contributor videos on your paid site....My 13 year old can manage a camera, lighting and sound much better than these so called "experts".

I think FW just shot themselves in the foot with these 2 bafoons.
Posted: 6:26 pm on May 14th

slicksqueegie slicksqueegie writes: and seriously.... the "art director" wasted company time here... I hope he wasn't paid for this!
Posted: 5:47 pm on May 14th

slicksqueegie slicksqueegie writes: In all honesty, I think you are all a little intimidated by some of the "video makers" out there... Some of (a lot of them) have Excellent and original content... that does cut into your profits a little doesn't it? I subscribed to your magazine for 1 year and found little to no value in any of the magazines I received...
Posted: 5:42 pm on May 14th

user-414424 user-414424 writes: In the bottom corner of my screen it says this video is 58.08 long. That is about 58 too long. This is terrible.
Posted: 5:34 pm on May 14th

rdennis303 rdennis303 writes: Dear Shop Talk Live:

I have enjoyed the informational content of your first five shows. The attempts at comedy is mostly a waste of my time and your opportunity to convey value.

Given the hour format, topics such as the design aspects of choosing component thickness proportions might be a very good topic to dwell upon indepth.

Given your reliance on advertising revenue, I applaude your discussion of the pros & cons on tablesaw safety. I hope the Pins & Tails segments continue.

Do you have any plans for FWW Live in the Denver/Colorado Springs area?


Ron Dennis
Parker, CO
Posted: 2:17 pm on May 10th

would_block would_block writes: Great show again - thanks. Is there an article about Asa's splitter? I have an old General with an aftermarket splitter which I'm not happy with. (PS - less sound effects is good!)

Posted: 3:41 pm on May 5th

scrabtree46 scrabtree46 writes: Just wanted to say thanks for the podcasts, they are enjoyable and Mike, your the bomb in woodworking! I wish you did more videos of the work your doing...
Posted: 3:45 pm on May 3rd

Ed_Pirnik Ed_Pirnik writes: Hi nslewis:
Indeed - "oil-based lacquer" was a slip of the tongue. As you state: an impossible formulation! It was actually a lacquer-based sealer, which is-or was at least, the industry standard for doing polyurethane over raw wood.

Also, you raised some great points/food for thought. There is most certainly a sort of "crowd-sourced" editing of less-than-stellar content that does go on in the online world. Good point!


Posted: 9:07 am on May 1st

nslewis nslewis writes: Another great show, thank you! But...

First: I think sketchy content on the internet mostly weeds itself out. For instance, I saw a video on butterfly keys where the fellows had the best intention and made some good points, but also made some critical mistakes, and were ruthlessly criticized in the comments - more so than they really deserved, but enough to make sure an attentive information seeker didn't follow their exact procedure.

Second: Asa, what is the deal with you and your lacquer floor sealer under polyurethane? You seem especially proud of it. I wouldn't bring it up, but since the topic is misinformation on the internet, I'm almost positive there's no such thing as an "oil-based lacquer." Also, lacquer is a hard, brittle finish, and polyurethane is a tough, more flexible one. Assuming you get them to stick together, don't you think they'll want to go in different directions?

Third: just because somebody's done something a bunch, doesn't mean they understand the larger picture. What if somebody's built a hundred Shaker pieces, but ten years later, all the joints cracked apart? Conversely, just because somebody hasn't produced a beautiful piece of furniture doesn't mean they're not an expert at mortise and tenons, or upside down double twisted bent laminations, or whatever. Just looking at the immediate end result of a project doesn't tell you all that much, especially if it's based on a picture.

Just some food for thought. "Pins vs. Tails", call it.
Posted: 7:54 pm on April 30th

beem beem writes: Funniest episode yet guys.

Asa: "Mike is a woodworking nut job in the sense of... he comes out of the lunchroom and all of a sudden there's a ballet of like BOOM, he's got half-blind dovetails..."

Now just imagine that sentence being read by Wolf Blitzer.
Posted: 7:44 pm on April 30th

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Fine Woodworking magzine's biweekly podcast, Shop Talk Live, allows editors, authors, and special guests to answer your woodworking questions and connect with the online woodworking community.