Years of Experience - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 10-20-2019, 04:07 PM Thread Starter
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Years of Experience

It always bothers me when I find a procedure that I have used for years is actually inherently dangerous due to some unforeseen circumstance and I have just been lucky. This is why I feel the years of experience argument is often not a valid point, sometimes the curious newbie may just impart some knowledge that the "experienced" were not aware of or had learned to ignore.

Over the years I have got into a few careers backwards, I had a bit of experience, got the job, worked at it for a while, then had an opportunity to take some formal training. At times it was a humbling experience, there was just so much more to it than I was aware of. Many of my short cuts and work habits were in the long run, inefficient and some times actually dangerous.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something -Plato

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post #2 of 11 Old 10-20-2019, 04:13 PM
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I work in an industry that has done a lot of work in improving in this department over the years. In the aviation world we have learned to employ a concept known as CRM or Crew Resource Management. Basically it imparts the idea that a good crew and its leader, take as much information form all relevant sources and considers it all in their decision making. Our industry had to get over the myth that the captain knows everything and is unquestionable.

Experience matters for a heck of a lot, but that doesn't, or shouldn't cause us to disregard a fresh pair of eyes on a situation or the ways we can change what we do to make them better and safer.
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post #3 of 11 Old 10-20-2019, 06:20 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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curious newbie OR years of experience .......

i can't think of one example where I would choose a curious newbie over someone with years of experience...
air plane pilot, car mechanic, house framer, roofer, name a profession.

Years of hands on experience is different that just being an old fart with some smattering of knowledge..... just sayin'

I'd even go for a divorcee over someone with no previous relationship/martial experience, all other things being equal.

Younger hunting dogs need to get first hand experience from running with the older, wiser dogs, think bear hounds.


I will sometimes play the "years of experience card" when I'm up against a stubborn position where physics, logic and cited expert examples have failed to convince, but that usually isn't enough either. You just have to let the other guy smack his own thumb to get his own first hand experience......

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #4 of 11 Old 10-21-2019, 12:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
i can't think of one example where I would choose a curious newbie over someone with years of experience... [...]
Just to be ornery: Product Testing

Often you need people who have had no exposure to your product, so you can learn what trips them up. Experienced people are, well, experienced, and less likely to show you what a raw new user might encounter.

That's why I recommend surveying your new employees for their insights at the 3 month, 6 month, and one year points on the job. Ask them to list all the dumb stuff they had to figure out on their own that the experienced employees forgot and now take for granted. If you don't capture it, the moment will be lost forever, and the newbies will become experienced and won't remember those hard-won insights that they will soon take for granted.

Here is an example related to woodturning:

When I started woodturning, I noticed that the shavings coming off the turning can be hot from the friction of bevel rubbing and cutting the wood. I felt it, understood what it was, noted it as a scientific curiosity, and moved on.

I have been to a bunch of woodturning club meetings, taken a few classes, read a lot of books, and even found a few web pages/videos on woodturning, but nobody has ever said anything about it. Not once. I asked around, and everybody knows about it, but nobody ever mentioned to me, despite plenty of opportunities. Some people told me that they apply tape to the back of their hands (or wear gloves, the horror!) because it bothers them.

Everybody seems to know about it, but they take it for granted. Nobody seems to mention it to new woodturners.
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post #5 of 11 Old 10-21-2019, 02:07 AM
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I've had two managers that were schooled in the same theory, "An XYZ company manager can manage anything." The first one followed that with "Barf". The second one espoused that too and made the "Pointy Hair Boss" look like a management genius.

The second one threatened to fire me on the first day I worked for him. It sort of went like this:
Mgr: "You wont have a pension."
Me: "Congress passed laws to protect people like me from people like you."
Mgr: "How would you make your truck payments?"
Me: "There aren't any."
Mgr: "How would you pay your mortgage?"
Me: "The house has been paid off for years."
That was when he discovered that management by intimidation wasn't going to work with me.

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post #6 of 11 Old 10-21-2019, 11:01 AM
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I totally agree with Frank's point. "Experience" alone doesn't necessarily translate into ability. I know a roofer and a mechanic who both have over 30 years "experience" in their fields. They are both terrible at what they do.


My feeling is you can have a lot of experience doing something the wrong/inefficient/more unsafe way!!


I use a mechanic who is a young man with about 5 years experience, and has excellent abilities. Everything he has worked on for me so far has been spot on with the diagnosis and the fix. Younger people like him know how to accesses information and learn it quickly.
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post #7 of 11 Old 10-21-2019, 03:42 PM
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"Experience" is Broadly Used.

The word 'experience' is so broadly used as to be meaningless to those 'in the know'.
Two people in the same field of endeavor can have an extremely wide range or very narrow range of experience over a given period if time.
Example:
One person drives pretty much from their house to their job, to buy groceries and to Walmart for roughly 20 years. Another person drives the same route to his house, job, groceries and Walmart. However, this second person also drives on alternate weekends to the beach an hour and a half away, takes several long weekends visiting semi-distant friends and relatives and a cross country run for vacation every year. He has only been driving 5 years. So, who has the most experience - the 20 year driver or the 5 year driver?

The same holds for woodworking. If you spend and entire year building a table and trying to learn and make it perfect you will not be nearly as experienced as the guy who built 6 pieces of furniture in the same year. The guy who spent an entire year on one table will only be an expert on that particular table. The guy who built 6 pieces of furniture will have more experience at planning, measuring, joinery, use of different tools, problem solving and finishes. That's why I always say "just build something!"

Another one of my expressions is "just because they been doing it for 20 years don't mean that they are doing it right."

But in the overall scheme of things, i dont think I will be taking much advice from a newbe.

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post #8 of 11 Old 10-21-2019, 04:00 PM
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Years of experience told us that adding lead acetate to gasoline reduced engine knock, we all know how that went... The only thing experience can do is tell you that you're particular method works well for you. I'm with you, years of first-hand experience should be tempered with keeping up with the times and looking around for other methods to make sure that your experience isn't in the wrong direction. How many of us have seen mechanics with years of experience jack a car up without blocking the wheels, or forgetting the jackstands?

There's a world of difference between "experience" and "proper experience". Having 30 years of experience doing something wrong just means you're really good at doing things wrong, and falling back on that 30 years of experience as evidence for why you're right is a mistake. Reminds me of a psych class, learning about the Dunning Kreuger Effect; people who actually know what they're doing never think they know everything, but the clueless people think they do. Experience is useless if it means you always think you're correct and stop learning

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post #9 of 11 Old 10-21-2019, 04:58 PM
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I agree ....

mean
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Originally Posted by DrRobert View Post
I totally agree with Frank's point. "Experience" alone doesn't necessarily translate into ability. I know a roofer and a mechanic who both have over 30 years "experience" in their fields. They are both terrible at what they do.


My feeling is you can have a lot of experience doing something the wrong/inefficient/more unsafe way!!


I use a mechanic who is a young man with about 5 years experience, and has excellent abilities. Everything he has worked on for me so far has been spot on with the diagnosis and the fix. Younger people like him know how to accesses information and learn it quickly.

Years of experience doesn't necessarily mean doing it the best way. It's more important the number of times an operation has been safely and efficiently performed, by someone with proper training and having the correct tools. Methods and devices evolve, just like push "sticks' , they still do the same function, just better these days. I had years of experience before I totally understood the physics behind using a splitter on my table saw. I had been doing it wrong and unsafely for all those years.


My 2004 Sierra radiator tank burst this past week end and when I informed my son who is a ASE certified auto mechanic with 5 years of hands on experience, and a 14 ft Snap On tool box, he just said order a new radiator, upper and lower hoses and a water pump.... those are easy to do. Within a total of 1 hour it was all apart and the new one installed. He has done several hundred of those on that series of vehicles over the years. I couldn't believe it!

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #10 of 11 Old 10-21-2019, 05:54 PM
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I grew up in construction. The standard learning system was the "tribal" method. Very few ever asked "why." And as per the Japanese system "why" needs to be asked at least 5 times before you get to the real reason. I poured a lot of concrete, much of it to government specs that was tested to be sure it met the design standards. But in residential construction I saw most work being done wrong, resulting in sub-par quality. Most of the people doing the work had no idea of what the correct methods were. They were after all, experts, they had been doing it that way for years. Almost none of them had ever heard of the Portland Cement Association and all the information they had on how to do it right. I suspect that woodworking is even worse. I've known industrial arts teachers that had no clue about the material they were "teaching." What do you say to one that brings a project to me and can't understand why it cracked when it was massively cross grained. Always challenge a person that tells you something that you don't totally understand. If they can't explain it, don't believe it. Find the answer for yourself. Old wives aren't always correct! Neither is information on forums.
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post #11 of 11 Old 10-23-2019, 01:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrRobert View Post
I totally agree with Frank's point. "Experience" alone doesn't necessarily translate into ability. I know a roofer and a mechanic who both have over 30 years "experience" in their fields. They are both terrible at what they do.
However Doc,
They are good salesmen, else they would be starving.
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