There I was flipping through a copy of "The House Book"
(Amazon.com product link shortened) at a
customers place today. I happened upon the "Refurbish Your Kitchen"
It suggested replacing kitchen cabinet doors using Beech veneered MDF. It
was apparently easy!
"Cut to size using a handsaw" it said. No mention of chipping the veneer,
or getting a straight cut. No mention of what to do about the edges.
"Drill new holes for concealed hinges using a spade bit". No mention of
what to do about the point breaking through.
"Mark handle positions using a spirit level". The pictures showed a door on
a bench, with the handle positions being marked with a combination square.
The 'What You Need' box said you needed a spirit level, no mention of a
Who writes these books?
On 2006-11-20 23:42:51 +0000, "The Medway Handyman"
Apparently the "Editors of Phaidon Press"
They do childrens books, fashion paperbacks, you name it.
With that range of skills, books on kitchen refitting are easy.
I am afraid that the press is not what it appears. There are the
occasional good writers of material, but a large amount is junk padded
with pictures. Unless there is someone or some people who know what
they are doing, then the results can be dire.
There is a huge range in quality as well. For example, I quite like
books and magazines related to woodworking published by Taunton Press.
There is some questionable material, but in general the standards are
At the other end of the spectrum are the monthly magazines. In the
DIY and craft sectors they are variable, but one can soon figure out
which are good and which are not.
What often happens is that individuals write for different publications
- for example, a PC magazine this week and one on motorcycles next.
Some years ago I had an opportunity to have a review on a product I was
involved in done and published by a very well known IT magazine which
will remain nameless. The reviewer wanted to have the product,
connect it up and test it. There were two problems with that.
Firstly he didn't have anything remotely suitable to connect it to and
secondly he didn't have much more idea about what it was supposed to
do. Nevertheless, the product was duly delivered to him and came
back about three weeks later. The box hadn't been opened. A couple
of days later I received a phone call from him asking whether I had any
suitable information that could be included in the review article.
The final result was that I wrote the complete article for him and it
was published verbatim. I even put in a couple of minor spoilers so
that the review didn't look totally glowing.
Everybody was happy, but I know that this is far from being unknown.
If you then consider that unaided, these barely literate individuals
end up writing books, then there are no surprises. It's very hard to
detect anyway because they hide behind noms-de-plume and group names to
The warning page must have fallen out "Strictly for placement on coffee
tables and perusal by daydreamers".
The best joinery books I have are the Brian Porter and the like type
books intended for joinery apprentices - no glossy pictures at all.
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