Dumb Questions Invited

Here’s a safe home for anyone who needs the answers to question that seem too dumb to ask.

The smartest person I’ve ever worked with was my friend Amit, now a professor of Physics. The key reason he was so smart: he was fearless about asking a “dumb” question that, of course, the rest of were also wondering about or should have been wondering about.

So freely ask anything: “Where is the switch for the lights near Blue Laser” (25 feet away, by the front entrance, totally not obvious), or “OMG I turned the wrong crank on the table saw, and now it’s tilted, how do I get it back to true?” or anything else you’ve wondered about.

Community: please reward bravely stupid questions with many likes, and polite answers.


Japanese handsaws cut on the pull, not the push — this lets you make them much thinner, because they don’t buckle during the cut. Is there any advantage to a western-style saw? Why are they still made that way?


YES! I am a huge proponent of encouraging “dumb questions”.

I think of it as a corollary to “we learn by making mistakes”… sure, but nobody said you must make the mistakes to learn – sometimes you can just ask instead. :crazy_face:


Muscle memory! Imagine the way you hold a pistol grip saw. You can push and pull with a more controlled motion. With a little practice, you can make very precise cuts very quickly. This makes them great for tenon cutting and dovetails, where a japanese saw can be much faster and easier for full rips and crosscuts. You can use either style for either job, but that’s how they shine in my opinion. Also, I especially love the teeny tiny japanese saws for flush trimming.

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