In a perfect individualist world, everyone would use the common-sense God gave a hedgehog and wouldn’t need some bloated government nanny to baby them into a straitjacket with the words “For your own good” embroidered on it (damn, that sounded harsh, didn’t it?). However, this is not a perfect world and some of us live in countries where the abuse of litigation has created an environment of extreme paranoia. I currently live in a place where if I tried to sue Nespresso for spilling hot coffee on myself, I’d be laughed out of the courtroom and told to go home by the lowest-level judge in the country with no appeal (I probably wouldn’t even make it to a judge). Because I realize that there may be readers out there who don’t live in such a place, I feel it is necessary to offer those readers the benefit of my own common-sense (hopefully better than the hedgehog’s).

In any article I write, whether on woodworking, bicycles, DIY projects or anything involving some “activity”, I am absolutely NOT advocating that if you do it “my way” everything will be good and no one will get hurt and “all manner o’ things wi’ be well”. It is the individual’s personal responsibility to ensure that before he or she (for my Politically Correct readers, the author hereby, categorically, states that the terms “he” and “she” shall also, by intention, refer to any other gender, non-gender, perceived gender, emu, tribble, etc. that any individual may consider themselves) attempts any action that might remotely result in a scratch, burn, illness, dismemberment, death, or any phase of California butthurt-ness, that proper instruction from whatever appropriate source is sought. If you don’t feel comfortable, DON’T DO IT. I write about how I do things, and not about how you should do them. Over many years of experience, I have become confident in my own abilities, particularly in my ability to learn. I was not always that confident and sometimes would pore over the Chilton manual and the internet for hours before finally replacing that head gasket on my 1974 Ford F-100 (a useless effort, as 6 months later I ended up rebuilding the entire engine).

Read books, take classes, search websites/blogs/youtube, ask friends or family that have experience. In the end, if you try to do something you’re not confident doing and someone loses a leg, don’t come running to me!