It’s now been a year since I closed my public email address, which is probably the biggest life change for me since Lucy and I had kids or I quit my job. As a result of the extra time granted me, I finally finished “The Anarchist’s Design Book” and we have two more books about to go to the printer.
Sometimes I get asked: Do you miss anything? The contact with other woodworkers? The intellectual stimulation that comes from defending your ideas and opinions with others? Insight into new areas to research?
The answer is no, and that’s because we have a discussion forum. If you have a question about woodworking techniques, tools or projects shown in our books, you can get quick answers by posting it on our forum. John and I are on there everyday to check in and are pretty darn prompt.
I quite like it because you’ll also get thoughtful viewpoints from other woodworkers. And we learn stuff, too. Check out this thread on soft wax – John Corey alerted us all to a domestic source for turpentine and rosin. I placed an order about five minutes after reading it.
You might be asking yourself: How is this different from answering emails?
Oh, it’s way different. For your amusement, here is a sample of typical email topics that made me pull the plug on public email. These are not exaggerations:
- Begging or bullying me to write a positive review of a product. “Hey we noticed we have a bunch of extra O1 dinglehoffers, could you blog about these so we can sell them off?”
- Ten-page questionnaires (not exaggerating) seeking business advice for a woodworking, tool-making or publishing business.
- Requests to publish a spouse’s romance novel.
- Detailed requests to compare, for example, five different workbench designs and their suitability for their particular work. After I answer, they come back six months later saying: “I decided to build a totally different design and now I hate it. Could you help me fix the problem?”
- Asking to come spend a day in my shop to hang out and have me teach them. For free, of course.
- Endless requests from people wanting me to assign a value to a relative’s tool collection, tool chest or workbench.
- Requests from woodworking clubs for me to speak. I’d be expected to pay my own travel and hotel expenses. “It will be great for your publishing company!” Oh and could you give us a whole set of all your books for our club’s library?
- Requests to publish a spouse’s book on the genealogy of their family.
- Books on weaving, knitting, miniature horses and spelunking.
I’d list more examples, but my fingers are already shaking a bit just recalling the nine items above.
So there’s no junk on the forum. Have a question (not about underpants gnomes)? We’ll answer.
— Christopher Schwarz