Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Attach brida A to soporte B and Good Luck with that


Clear instructions are an unexpected casualty of the Internet.

The problem is also a result of global marketing and the desire of manufacturers to print the minimum amount of directions for power tools and accessories. They often tell you to look at their websites, which usually are not very helpful.

The next place to look is You Tube. Good luck with that.

First, instructions about how to work appliances, power tools, and so on, where printed on paper in English. Unfortunately for me, I am only fluent in English, so that was OK. Not so good if you speak Spanish.

Now instructions for everything from box fans to power saws, to paint to solvents, are written in several Indo-European languages, including Spanish, and sometimes French, German,and  Dutch and some non-IE ones like Polish, Mandarin, and Swedish.

Your only option is to search for guidance on the World Wide Web. Some videos are more useful than others, but generally they are full of sound and imagery signifying nothing.  (Why am I buying power tools that I am unfamiliar with? Long story.)

I am not an "English only" Tea Party lunatic, and the more languages the merrier. However, all of those non-English instructions consume space on a limited piece of paper.

 Try to pick up a can of Drano and try to quickly find the dangerous ingredients. Not so easy. However, I have learned the words for "danger" and "warning" in Spanish, if the occasion ever arises.

Instructions for power tools are ridiculously incomplete and difficult to follow. These are products able to severely injure or kill you, and operating instructions (in English) are crammed into a small space, or printed in microscopic type, or both. Typically, sparse English instructions are repeated in one or two other languages. 

Instead, if you're lucky, you may receive a DVD with the product. If you purchase a Rockwell Blade Runner, for example, you receive a Rockwell DVD with a menu that promises to be complete: "for best results...miter gauge and rip fence...trouble shooting and a few other preliminaries. But, if you play "trouble shooting" just to see the contents of the DVD, the video man tells you to read the instructions.

Adjust the stop using hex wrench, making sure the spacer under the template is parallel to the board and does not extend to the bit measuring screw, or something like that. Refer to drawings on another page.  Several additional pages that could be used to clarify, are instead, in equally, one presumes, confusing Spanish.

It might cost a few extra cents, but how about different manuals for English-speaking and Spanish-speaking countries? 

By the way, try to find instructions on how to use the Porter Cable 4216 dovetail jig. Check he web and You Tube. What's there is intended for people who already understand how the apparatus operates.   Dovetail and related wood joinery is complicated.

That could explain the relative rarity of cabinet makers. And perhaps the number of people missing pieces of their fingers.

Peligro! Advertencia!

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