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PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 10:47 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 23, 2006 8:00 pm
Posts: 5132
Location: United States/Rhode Island
If you've just happened on this forum and have been bitten by the pipe making bug, we welcome you and are here to help in any way we can. That said, please consider that there are a few things that you can do for yourself that will allow us to help you more efficiently and with much better results.

  • Read. This forum is a wealth of information, and it can be rather daunting at times, but with every post you read, your knowledge will grow. Especially pay close attention to the feedback others have received in the Gallery section.
  • Be open to critique. The pros and semi-pros that frequent this forum are here to help you grow and gain knowledge. To that end, you may sometimes receive feedback that stings a little. This is normal, but please consider that if you're offering wasn't worthy of feedback, it wouldn't have been provided.
  • Sometimes you won't get feedback. New makers that post their first pipes here sometimes don't get any feedback at all. Considering that a lot of "first pipes" sometimes look a lot alike, take the silence as a cue to consider feedback you've seen others get. Sometimes the best critique is none at all, and it can help you to look at your own work with a very critical eye - and this critical eye is something that every maker needs to develop.
  • Take the critique and use it. It was once said "I've offered my advice, you may use it, or not.". When a more seasoned maker offers advice, it's usually because he or she sees something in your work that has driven them to comment on it. This is the same as the lack of critique you may have received in the past, but now you've progressed to the point where the makers that have been doing this for some time feel that you're able to take the critique and make good use of it to improve your artistic vision.
  • You didn't actually mean to do that. Look, we all made an ugly pipe once. Sometimes we still make ugly pipes - but we know we didn't mean to make it like that. When you're offered advice on how to improve, arguing with the established makers presents an image of you that isn't favorable. Arguing that you truly did mean to make an asymmetrical and lumpy pipe with toolmarks still visible and a crooked stem with premold flashing still on it doesn't help. Instead your future work tends to get ignored, and you won't directly benefit from the good critique others will receive.
  • It's not the tools' fault. Tools are just tools. What is important is what you do with the tools. There are makers that have shops full of heavy machinery, lathes of all kinds, milling machines, drill presses, grinders, sanders, and drawers full of specialty tooling they've made themselves. However, this is not what made them a great pipe maker. All that tooling does is enable them to make the pipes faster. There are also makers here that use nothing but a dremel, some files, and sandpaper wrapped around their fingers - and while the pipes take longer to make, they're considered a very good pipe maker by most accounts. Frankly, it matters little what tools are used, as long as you make good use of them, and don't blame them when your intent varies from the final product.
  • Your way isn't working, lets try mine. Sometimes we will offer advice on how to best go about performing a given operation. This shouldn't be viewed as a dismissal of your methods, but rather a helping hand in getting something done more efficiently or accurately. It's been said on this forum a hundred times - the "best" way of doing something is the way that allows you to do it in as little time as possible while still being very accurate. Sometimes a new maker comes along with a brilliant idea on how to do something, but those times are rare. And sometimes a seasoned machinist or woodworker will have already developed a skill that transfers directly to pipe making, allowing them to perform a given operation in a much different way than others, but still be just as fast (if not faster) and highly accurate - but those times are rare.
  • Don't be afraid to ask. There are no stupid questions, but there might be silly answers. Feel free to ask your question, but don't be surprised if you get pointed to the Search function or to a thread you can read where some asked the same question. Some questions have been asked a hundred times before, and people get tired of repeating the same thing over and over.

Kurt Huhn
AKA: Oversized Ostrogoth

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