Luthiers and Language

A Bellwether of Summer

It must be summertime. Our mailbox had more commentary about language than woodworking, a sure sign that beaches and mountains are distracting us from our shops. First up was a comment about our explanation of the word bellwether. – Editor

“Thanks a lot, guys. I always feel that I get an education from this site. Sometimes it is in woodworking, and sometimes it is in other areas totally unrelated. I really enjoy the woodworking related education, but actually read the eZine for the enjoyment of the other.” – John Holman

Next at bat was the word luthier. – Editor

“While I would certainly agree that guitar makers are luthiers, Mr. Stanecki’s comment and your reply imply luthiery equals guitar making. As those who make ukulele, violins, cellos and, yes, even lutes would quickly point out, the term is much broader than that.” – Jeff Combs

We assure you, Jeff, that we in no way were implying that luthiery is restricted to guitarmaking as we have great respect for the other arms of the craft as well. Meanwhile, another writer took umbrage at the suggestion by Tony Oliver that we avoid arcane words. – Editor

“Tony Oliver made the comment ‘You can screw up a perfectly delightful piece when you pepper it with obscure words we don’t know and won’t take the time to look up in the dictionary.’ Exactly when did Americans start defending ignorance?” – David Goen

As if to wrap it up, this writer went the other direction and complained about a word that she feels society is using too often. – Editor

“It seems ‘do’ is now the all-purpose verb. We do lunch or do a meeting. I’ve heard allegedly college-educated people in a restaurant saying ‘I think I’ll do a chicken sandwich.'” – Rebekah d’Avignon

Sorry, but there is little we can “do” about that. – Editor

Battery Up!

An article about Lithium-Ion battery tools in the July/August 2007 issue of our print Woodworker’s Journal magazine elicited this comment and praise from a reader. – Editor

“Has anyone else used a Craftsman 20-volt Lithium-Ion battery cordless drill yet? I recently bought one and am re-decking my place, drilling in two-and-a-half-inch deck screws. So far, I have done over 200 screws and still am going on my first charge. I am really pleased with this drill.” – Walt Merrill

The Jig is Up

We humans are never satisfied, though. Even when tools look good, we wish they would be cheaper. – Editor

“I just read about the new Dowelmax jig. It sounds great, but when are they going to make some of these things that we ‘poor folks’ can afford? All I can afford to do is dream about them. Your article was great; I just cannot afford it, so I’ll just keep doing things the hard way, but thanks for the info.” – Jim Cashman

Déjà Vu All Over Again

We offered a set of free plans in the last issue that we had run previously, and at least one reader was quick to comment, with just a hint of sarcasm for good measure. – Editor

“On July 20, 2005 I decided that your free porch swing plan was just the ticket for my new back porch. On July 19, 2007, I decided that your free porch swing plan was just the ticket for my almost new back porch. Of course, the plans were already neatly saved in my computer. You should just be more direct. Say, ‘Bill, when are you going to build that porch swing?’ Of course, that doesn’t always work either. You can confirm that easily by talking to my wife!” – Bill Hook

Screw Length

“I believe that for three-quarter-inch stock, the screw length should be an inch and a quarter, not an inch and a half as in your example.” – Fred Goldstein

Altered States of Wood

A whimsical online thread insisting that applying glue to a well-fitting joint makes it magically go haywire spawned this equally whimsical explanation. – Editor

“Another factor in assembling a project made of wood is the Earth’s rotation. If a piece of wood is cut precisely to the size required, then rotated so that it has a different angle with reference to the Earth’s rotation, it will change size. The amount of change is directly proportional to the precision required for the fit. This is a very convenient excuse I have used many times with my wife to explain why something I built just doesn’t fit right. I think she caught on a long time ago, though, and is just humoring me.” – Bob Kulow

Typo Corner

Just because it is summer doesn’t mean we stop creating thought-provoking typos. – Editor

“The finish smelt really strong.”

Interesting. Did it smell like a small fish, or more like liquefied iron ore? – Editor

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