I did Phil a disservice last evening when I introduced him as an expert on the box joint jig. It was an off-hand remark that I regretted as soon as I made it. It was unfair because it could have put a lot of pressure on him and, in a sense, on you — the people who came to learn.
One of the things I’ve always appreciated about Woodsmith, Workbench and ShopNotes is the way they offer suggestions or solutions to a problem. They don’t present themselves as "experts." The editors for each magazine have always preferred a more open-minded approach. You’ll never hear them say this is the ONLY way to do something; instead, you’re more likely to hear them explain WHY something is done as opposed to just HOW to do it.
That point became clear to me last night after I interrupted Phil twice with suggestions. I was hesitant to do so, because I didn’t want it to appear as if I was trying to show him up. I can tell you from experience; it’s a lot easier to think clearly when you’re sitting behind the "curtain" than when you’re up in front of 120 people! (Those of you who caught my box joint jig mini-seminar at the 2005 EXPO know what I’m talking about!) On the other hand, there are times during the seminars when we’ve kept our mouths shut rather than interrupt the speaker. It’s a dilemma.
So my question to you is this. (And I’d really like to get some discussion going on this, so please respond if you have an opinion.) Should Doug or I speak up when we have some input? Or would you rather we sat in the corner and minded our own business? Let me know.