Facebook Woodworking Groups: Tips and Tricks

by Dale on March 28, 2017

Recently I joined a couple of Facebook Woodworking Groups. It seemed a source of information and a venue to share, maybe pick up some tricks, tips, and solutions to problems in the trade. As you may know, these groups have thousands of members, from professionals to newbies and everything in-between. Anyone can post a question and ‘unfortunately’ anyone can offer an answer. Aye, there’s the rub, as Shakespeare said so well in Hamlet’s famous “To be or not to be” soliloquy. Many times, the answers in these groups are completely wrong. It frustrates me almost as much as Hamlet. The administrators of some FB groups do not allow wrong answers to be corrected (even by professionals) or you may be removed from the group for starting a war of words. 

On occasion, I have commented on a question or problem that doesn’t have an easy answer. So, I share a solution my years of experience has taught me. I really felt I was doing the questioner a favor by saving them the frustration of the trial and error method in their quest for woodworking expertise. Usually, someone else will immediately attack my answer and insult me. And if I attempt to explain my original comment further for the understanding of the new person a flood of rude, bizarre comments come at me as if I were a criminal. It has been a shocking learning curve for me in the world of anonymous commenters.

This is an example of what has happened to me: A person posted a photo and told how he accidently sprayed WD 40 (which contains silicone) on a finish sanded project that was still raw wood. After it dried he sprayed lacquer over the WD 40 and had the worst case of fisheye I have ever seen. He didn’t know why it looked that way. He didn’t know what fisheye is and wondered if he could fix it or just had to scrap the entire project.

When I saw the photo, memories came back to my mind of the first time I encountered fisheye and did not know it had a name and all the trouble I had fixing it many years ago. My heart went out to the guy. So as briefly as I could, yet as informative as possible I commented how to fix it with cleaning, sanding, shellac, and lacquer. Also about getting rid of contaminated (liquid silicone) sandpaper, rags, etc. and why I do not use “fisheye eliminator”. Honestly, I felt it would probably help lots of those in the FB group that would read it and hadn’t known about this problem. I’m sure as you read this you know the next part.

The next day there were many comments explaining how to fix the guy’s problem and I assure you they were all wrong because I’ve tried them all. As I read through the other comments I felt so sorry for the guy with the fisheye problem. How was he to know which was correct or who to trust?

Those very wrong and troubling answers to comments are why I’m writing this blog. Those groups seem like a good idea, but a wrong answer is worse than no answer. Some of the commenters obviously were beginners at best with no experience whatsoever. Sadly, some just wanted to argue and mislead. It is a true case of the blind leading the blind. I checked on the FB support page and found this is all you need to do to start a group:

To create a group:

  1. Click  in the top right of Facebook and select Create Group
  2. Select your group preferences, enter your group name, add group members and then choose the privacy setting for your group
  3. Click Create

Once you create your group, you personalize it by uploading a cover photo and adding a description.

Very interesting way to gather a group of people interested in the same topic, but not a way to find an answer to save yourself hours of work, or save your entire project. If you have a problem with your woodworking project, ask someone you trust and know with expertise in the field. When you find the solution, share it with friends that know you. Respect each other and share common decency online just like you would face to face. Maybe I’m old school, but the overt rudeness with online groups is unfortunate and sad. My own FB page is much like my real life dealings. I’m happy to say in the over 45 years I’ve been in business my personal experience with woodworkers face to face has been very rewarding. Facebook Groups … not so much.  

 

{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Www.mennolabee.com September 12, 2017 at 1:55 pm

Hi Dale,

You probably have seen some comments from our students.
Dont have to tell where i’m from 🙂
I know this problem i follow some facebook pages about woodworking and indeed you see some stupid anwers and people allways know it better. but thats a social media problem i think?
You see it everywhere, fake news,clickbaits,fake youtube videos and so on.
I think the best option is to have a kind of verified page that only post things that realy work or already been tested.
Now it’s just the problem that everybody can post what they want (most of the time fake trash for extra views…)

Kind regards
http://Www.mennolabee.com

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Dale October 3, 2017 at 5:39 pm

Thank you for your comment. I agree and think the verified page you mentioned is an excellent idea. Maybe you should start use a page because the idea was given to you.
Dale

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Jack September 12, 2017 at 3:52 pm

Hey Dale,
I’m a student woodworker from the Netherlands, I totally get the problem when someone is giving you a false solution. That groups are to get useful information, and not for fudge or something like that. It’s annoying that you don’t see or the comments are from an expert and don’t know or it’s a working solution. So I think it’s better to criticize the comments with a number from 1 till 10, to know or it’s useful. But Facebook have to make something for that. Thank you for the tip to go to someone you know with expertise in the field.
Kind Regards,
Jack

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Franc September 12, 2017 at 5:03 pm

Hello, my name is Franc, I’m an learning woodworker. I can understand why you get quint op frustrated about this. I would have the same feeling if I were you. A couple months ago I got commented on a metal working blog. It was about strength of different kinds of welds. I said you can make a weld with a mig welder as strong as one made with an electrode weld. And the commend section exploded! It was so annoying! I was focused on helping the blogger. But the rest was not there for help but just to say that the know it better than I do. I can tell you one thing. Just ignore them! Try messaging the blogger personal so no one can see it!

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Dale September 20, 2017 at 2:56 pm

That’s a great idea to message them direct, I will try it if I can figure out to do that.

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Sven Wenting September 12, 2017 at 5:05 pm

Dear Dale

My name is Sven Wenting. I am 19 years old and I am studding wood and furniture maker at the HMC. I am really inspired about your way of thinking just keep it close to the People you trust and some People just wants to that you crew up the project and I didn’t thought about is that way. this is a new lesson for me to. Maybe when I get stuck with my own company in the future . Do you like it if I ask you a few question to help me out. I hope to hear from you.

Kind regards

Sven Wenting

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Dale September 20, 2017 at 2:55 pm

Thanks Sven, I would be glad to help you out in the future, you could email me with questions, thank you for commenting.

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Robin N September 12, 2017 at 5:26 pm

Dear Dale,

I am a student woodworker from The Netherlands, and I do understand your experiences with those FB groups. It’s always good to share your foundings on social media, like this blog. I really see the problem about wrong answers been given by people who are not experienced enough. Some people may comment to look good in front of other people. And some comment cause they think they know everything. I think the problem is that you don’t know who is commenting. A solution for this may be a score for the comments. Than will experienced people like you be able to score the comments. And that should make it easier for students or other people to find the right solution to their problems.

Kind regards,

Robin

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Dale September 20, 2017 at 2:53 pm

Thanks for your comments, I think that is a great idea, but I don’t know how it could be implimented.

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Koen September 12, 2017 at 8:19 pm

Hey Dale.

I’m another HMC student.

Its nice that you gave us your insight about the Facebook groups, I really agree with you as I can feel your frustration although I have never been looking on there. I always go to reddit.com/r/woodworking when I just want to know what other people are making, I don’t know why but the community there is really kind and supportive so maybe check that out. But when it comes to learning new things it’s much better to learn from someone you know is a professional than someone you don’t know that’s true.

Good luck with everything and have a nice day.

Kinds regards,
Koen

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Dale September 20, 2017 at 2:51 pm

Thanks Koen

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Jens September 13, 2017 at 8:54 am

Hello Dale,

First off all I would like to tell you to keep on commenting and helping other people. Don’t be discouraged! You are doing a good thing. Probably 10% of the people who read your tips actually place a comment. I bet there are tons of other people who read your comments and actually use your tips and tricks. Now a days there are alot of people just trash talking on the internet. And a large part of the people are not bothered by placing comments they just search for a solution.

From what I can see you are a passionate fellow about your craft.
Keep up the good work,
Jens

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Dale September 20, 2017 at 2:50 pm

Thanks Jen, I will take your advice when I have the time but you can see my frustration.

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robin September 13, 2017 at 11:11 am

hello Dale,

I have read your blog and I know exactly what you mean, sometimes i need advise or help with a project or a repair.
After trying I decided to look on the internet when I see some things that looks like a solution I try them, but it is not working so then I am stuck with a problem and with no one to help me solve it.
And indeed creating a group is very easy and everyone can just lie about the selution.
if there is just something that is fully reliable and no such things as people trying to help without knowing the answer or even knowing the problem.

Yours sincerely,

Robin Huisman

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Dale September 20, 2017 at 2:48 pm

Thanks, Robin, Sometimes I will qualify my answers with my age and experience but it gets very old having to justify my response when I am just trying to help someone avoid the things that don’t work. I’m finding I just don’t have the time for anything but a quick reply. It is a problem for young minds to consider and find a remedy. -Dale

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Marc September 13, 2017 at 11:20 am

Hello dale

First of all, I would like to say that you are good at responding to others’ questions. Keep going on with it I would say. And do not care about other people’s reactions. Unfortunately, there are people who speak neglectively.

Stay positive

Sincerely,

Marc Honkoop

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Dale September 20, 2017 at 2:44 pm

Thanks, for commenting Marc. I will continue to respond to a few questions but much more selectively.

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Amos September 13, 2017 at 1:15 pm

Hey Dale,

Man, do I feel your pain. Whenever I was having a problem I could not solve myself, I used to turn to google, for it is known to have all the answers. Well, maybe it does, but unfortunately a great deal of shitty ones. When I visited forums or Facebook groups, it was so hard to filter the comments on their value. Everyone claims to be the expert, but they all speak against each other and you end up more confused then you where before. I totally agree with you about looking up the experts in real life. Most of the times they are more than happy to help you out.

Keep it old school!

Amos

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Dale September 20, 2017 at 2:42 pm

Thanks, Amos, we are on the same page.

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Michael de Bruijn September 13, 2017 at 5:25 pm

Hello,

My name is Michael de Bruijn. It’s nice to see how you can share your experiences with other people through, for example, facebook. The world has become a lot smaller. You ask a question on the internet. And everyone can answer. In fact, only a lot of people react to those who have little understanding of it. Well, he explains how to make a group with only interested people. You are indeed a bit old school because you do not really know how useful facebook can be. Your network becomes less personal, but much wider. And you can do that in business.

Kind regards,

Michael de Bruijn (3MC4O

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Dale September 20, 2017 at 2:40 pm

I agree that Facebook can be useful, but the blog was focusing on the technical groups and whether they are really useful or not. The real problem is that people assume that if it’s on internet it must be true. Whatever I am trying to let novices know that much of it is not to be trusted. Ultimately, each reader much make their own choice. It’s creates a situation that at this time in my life, I cannot give my full attention because I am so busy. which is really good!
Dale

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Imke September 13, 2017 at 6:57 pm

Dear Mr. Barnard,

So, I readied your blog and I agree with your opinion about Facebook groups. Everyone can create a Facebook group without even noing were it’s about. There will always be people how say the wrong answer. The best way you can look for your answer is to compair the answers with each other.
Also I agree that you better can ask a another furniture maker for advice.

Kind regards,
Imke

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Tanya September 13, 2017 at 7:21 pm

Hi Dale,
What you are mentioning is so true.
It’s very annoying when people comment on a post and their answers are wrong or only slightly true and then when you try to help with an answer you think is true someone cuts you off or says you are wrong.
I also think it’s better to just ask someone you know (and know they know a lot of stuff about this) to help you with the problem.
Sometimes they can help you a lot better than people on the internet or just show you how.

Kind regards,
Tanya van Santen

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Geert Pallandt September 14, 2017 at 11:28 am

Dear Dale,

It feel sorry that your experience on the internet has not been as pleasant as it might have been. As a carpenter with years of experience it is very generous of you to be willing to share your knowledge with as many people as possible. The internet can be a great asset for young apprentices like myself and it would be a shame if more experienced carpenters like yourself would stop with sharing their knowledge with people who are willing to listen and learn from people like you. I don’t want to be rude or try to argue with you, but I do have to say that going on the internet is not without the risks of encountering people who apparently miss some common courtesy. That being said, I agree that there is absolutely no valid reason to be rude to persons on the internet, just because your identity can stay anonymous. I really do hope you won’t stop sharing your knowledge with the people who can really benefit from them! It would be a shame if a couple of rude people would spoil the opportunities for people like me to learn a couple of handy tips and tricks from people who otherwise we never would have met. Keep up the good work and keep sharing your experience with the people who are willing to learn and can really benefit from them!

Kind regards,

Geert Pallandt (Wood and Furniture College in the Netherlands)

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Dale October 3, 2017 at 5:34 pm

Hello Geert Pallandt, Thanks for your response to reading my blog. As you mentioned it is odd people become so rude on social media. Possibly this is due to the anonymity they feel. Being anonymous perhaps allow their true nature to surface. It is probably an issue that is in a psychological study now, but for the time being it is very frustrating. I enjoy reading your comments and agree that the internet has certainly brought the students in your college in the Netherlands into good standing with The Cabinetmaker! Best wishes to you as a future craftsman. – Dale

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Deveron Verloop September 14, 2017 at 11:29 am

Dear Dale,

It’s a shame to hear that you feel that way about the Facebook groups. It is even more rude to talk to a real craftsman like you that way.

I think you did a good job by telling him what the real solution is to the problem. Unfortunately there are people who think they know better than someone with 45 years of experience.

Maybe a solution is that you just say in your comment how much experience you have in wood working, then they know who they talking to and maybe argue a bit less with you. I hope you don’t experience this again.

kind regards,

Deveron Verloop (Wood and furniture college the Netherlands)

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Dale October 3, 2017 at 5:25 pm

Thank you Deveron Verloop, best wishes on your career in the Netherlands as a true craftsman.
Dale

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Luka Wasch September 14, 2017 at 11:29 am

Dear Dale,
I am very sorry to hear about the way you’ve been treated on the internet. To me, it seems rather rude to treat a man with the experience and knowledge like you do with such disrespect.
I think that answering someone’s question to save them a lot of trouble and money is a very kind gesture and they were wrong to have reacted the way they did. In my opinion, even if you don’t agree with someone, there’s no reason to be rude and especially not if that person is just trying to be helpful.
Hopefully you won’t experience such bluntness online ever again.

Greetings from the Netherlands

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Dale October 3, 2017 at 5:24 pm

Thanks Luka, Social media is still evolving and I hope that some type of solution is brought to the problem soon. Thanks for reading my blog.
Dale

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Floris van Gulik September 14, 2017 at 1:37 pm

Types of people on the internet

Reading you blog I see you are rather frustrated about the actions of people in the facebook group you mentioned. You want to help others and you have lots of experience but you overestimate how nice people are anonymously. When there are no eyes to look into and when there are no consequences of actions, people can become pretty nasty. People might deliberately post wrong solutions. It gives them something to have control over, even if it has a negative outcome for others. Some do this just for fun, to ruin things for other people.
Then there are the inexperienced ones who think their solution is the best one, just because they haven’t found a better one yet. They are uncertain about their craftsmanship and are too prideful to admit their solution isn’t the best.

Cheers

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Dale September 20, 2017 at 3:32 pm

Floris, I agree. Its a modern problem I hope will be solved in some way to help the individuals who are sincere.
Dale

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paul melief September 14, 2017 at 1:38 pm

you got experience that some other woodworkers, and people who aren’t woodworkers, don’t have. The problem is that you don’t know if someone else has experience, in contrast to having conversations face to face: in real life you can see if someone knows what they are talking about. Personally I think the best way to talk about profession related subjects is face to face. you are trying to help others but on Facebook nobody can check if something is actually correct.

Besides the unexperienced people there are also people who like to comment crap because they like to see someone fail, sadly enough.

I hope you will continue with trying to help people out, and that the whole Facebook ordeal doesn’t demotivate you from doing so.

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Dale September 20, 2017 at 3:30 pm

Paul, I agree. Face to face is the best way to communicate and understand each person. What amazes me, that people purposely give bad answers to ruin another’s project. So far I cannot wrap my mind around that kind of thinking, it is beyond evil. But hopefully, the novice will learn in spite of the fraudulent responses on FB and other groups.
Dale

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Mika September 16, 2017 at 12:49 pm

Hi Dale,
I did the same thing as you did i lately joined a couple facebook groops also. The best facebook group in my opinion is a facebook group were you can buy and sell tools so lately i bought a Makita drill for 1/2 of the price. My second best facebook group is a group with about 12 thousand people of age 14 to 80. I that group i have seen the best projects you can imagion. So lately i saw a old school sling shot a man made in his free time.

A woodworking handshake of the Netherlands
Mika

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Dale September 20, 2017 at 3:25 pm

Very interesting Mika! send me the name of the group to my email dale@the-cabinetmaker.com

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rick van oers September 21, 2017 at 11:52 am

Dear Dale,
On school, for English, I have to read some blogs and comment on them. I really didn’t like to do that, but I actually I liked this blog. Because I know the problem of people that are just starting and who do not really know what they are talking about. Sometimes I am searching for answers for hours and I still don’t know the answer. Or I have so many answers that I can’t choose which one is the best or which one is just wrong. So I am more the kind of person that makes some calls and meets people to get the right answers. In other words, the old fashioned way.
Kind regards,

Rick van Oers

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Dale October 2, 2017 at 3:22 pm

Rick, I am glad you enjoy my blog. I’m incredibly busy at this time and cannot write much of what I would like to for the blog. As you say, the old fashioned way is something I am most familiar with and enjoy. Teaching is something I love and for which I have a natural propensity. I’m looking forward to improving my own social media skills in the future and perhaps solving some of the problems caused by misinformation online. From reading your comment I can tell you are doing very well in your English class, best of luck to you in the future.
Dale

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Vera September 24, 2017 at 10:34 am

Hi Dale,
I agree with all of your points, except for the part where you tell it is irritating that people react with wrong answers. They are also just people who try there best.
I know how frustrated and impatient people can be online. It sometimes is very immature of them to not respect your way of thinking.
It is and always will be better to talk face to face.
Maybe you can make your own FB group with more mature people. You can even set some rules in a FB group, like: they have to respect each other and all of their ideas.
I wish you all the best.

Kind regards,

Vera Pullens

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Dale October 2, 2017 at 3:16 pm

Thanks Vera Pullens, face to face is the best way and learning the social media is a new expression for all who get involved. It will be interesting to see how it evolves in the future. Could be an avenue for someone to develop a panel to judge most accurate answers. At this time, I must focus on the busy work schedule I have and hope the work keeps coming in. Best Wishes, Dale

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Romy September 27, 2017 at 12:51 pm

Dear Dale,

I understand your opinion about the facebook groups. I do not have as much experience as most of the people in those groups, but when I gave an answer on a problem I have deal with I hope that the one who posted it reads it and maybe does something about it.
So I have a question about the example you wrote about. What is a fisheye and how you would fix it? And what you definitely would not recommend?

Yours Faithfully,
Romy

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Dale October 3, 2017 at 5:20 pm

Hello Romy, thanks for reading the blog and the questions. Furniture owners use furniture polish because of its many attributes which I cannot discuss here. But for the restoration process of antique furniture silicone that is in almost every ‘polish’ is a problem if you have not learned to first clean the silicone out of the wood before applying the finish. Fish eye is caused by liquid silicone in the wood grain. It is unsightly and ruins the new finish when restoring antiques. The lacquer pulls away from silicone causing a crater in the finish, usually lots of craters and they look like fish eyes. You can try to remove it with T.S.P. (Trisodium phosphate) and water but it doesn’t always work. I seal it in with shellac, and then re-coat with lacquer. Two coats of lacquer in severe cases, it works every time. What I would not recommend is doing anything else.
Dale

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Marit September 30, 2017 at 12:37 pm

Dear Dale,

In your blog you have appointed that everyone is welcome in most of the Facebook groups. Beginners but also professionals may give their opinion about problems from other peoples. I am also a beginner in woodworking. At this moment I am a student in Rotterdam at the HMC in The Netherlands.

As you already mentioned is that everyone thinks that the know the right answers. But unfortunately is each answer not right every time. When I looked around at some Facebook groups or anywhere on the internet I found a lot of different answers.

I hope that you can find some people that need your information and that you give it to them.

Yours sincerely,
Marit

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Dale October 2, 2017 at 3:12 pm

Thank you for reading the blog and for your encouragement. Best of luck with your woodworking career.
Dale

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