Welcome to WoodCentral's "Frequently Asked Questions" (FAQ) page. Here you'll find answers to many of the common questions that are asked about this site and the messageboards in particular. Please take time to read them, and send us an email if you have other questions that you think we might want to include here.

...Ellis Walentine, Host

  1. How do I register to use your forum?
  2. What are the forum rules?
  3. Can you elaborate on the "commercial posting" rule?
  4. How do I create a User Profile?
  5. What are all the WoodCentral messageboards about? What kinds of messages should I post on which boards?
  6. How do I upload photos with my messages?
  7. How can I get pictures into the right size and format for posting on WoodCentral?
  8. I notice that some messages contain text formatting? How do I do that?
  9. How can I upload multiple photos in messages?
  10. What about posting links in messages?
  11. What is the significance of the cherries () in front of some of the message titles?
  12. What does *NM* mean?
  13. When I post a message, the message title and my name show up with lots of hyphens and alphabet soup after them. What's going on?
  14. What are the photos in the lower frame when I sign on to the various messageboards?
  15. What are some of the other attractions here at WoodCentral?
  16. How do I submit an article or review for inclusion in your Articles & Reviews section?
  17. How do I submit a new Shop Shot? Do you accept all submissions?
  18. Is the chatroom open to everyone?
  19. How can I help you defray some of the costs of maintaining this website?

Q: How do I register to use your forum?
A: Our messageboards are open to all. No registration is required. If you'd like to tell us something about yourself, you may fill out a profile.

Q: What are the forum rules?
A: Historically, we have not had a lot of official rules at WoodCentral, yet our forum has always been very civil. We abide by the generally-accepted, largely-unspoken rules of respect, courtesy and common sense that guide all communities, real or virtual. When in doubt, treat others as you would have them treat you. We do ask, though, that you refrain from discussing religion or politics, and we never allow:

  • Spam in any form.
  • Off-color posts, dirty jokes or swearing. Please refrain from saying anything you wouldn't say in polite company or in front of your children.
  • "Flaming" or personal attacks on others. Healthy debate and respectful disagreement are welcome; name-calling, bickering and back-biting are not.
  • Commercial postings and links. (See next question also). If you are an individual with something to sell, feel free to post it on our classified board. If you have an Ebay link to the item, you are welcome to put it in your classified post, along with any other explanatory details and photographs that you wish. You can also make a brief post on the appropriate forum pointing to the listing in 'Classified'. If you're a business and would like to advertise on WoodCentral, please send an e-mail to ads@woodcentral.com or call toll-free 1-877-933-4637 during business hours.

Q: Can you elaborate on the "commercial posting" rule?
A: Unsolicited commercial messages and links are not permitted on our messageboards and will be removed at the moderator's sole discretion and earliest opportunity. You may post a link to your commercial website and/or mention your commercial product or service in a message only if it is an appropriate and relevant response to a question posted on the messageboard by someone else.
     Also, please don't "sign" your messages by posting a link to your website in the message form's "Optional link URL" box unless the linked page is relevant to the question you are responding to. The User Profile area is an appropriate place to post a link to your commercial website.
     You may post a link to your non-commercial website anytime. Non-commercial sites are those that do not offer products or services (Exception: woodworking projects) for sale to other visitors.

Q: How do I create a User Profile?
A: Click the "Create a Profile" link at the top of the message index frame and fill in as much information as you are comfortable with. Use the "Optional Link URL" box to provide a link to your web site. (Be careful not to repeat the "http://" or the link will not work. Contact the Webmaster with any problems.) Use the "Optional Link Title" box if you'd like a name for your web page instead of the URL itself. The password is optional. You do not need to choose a password in order to post messages. A password assures that nobody else can post a message using your name and e-mail address, but we've never seen any such abuse on this forum. If you'd like to use a password, fill out the password box. Ignore the "New Password" box below that; it is for changing your password later. When you have filled in the form, click the "Edit Profile" button at the bottom to submit your profile. From then on, the "Create a Profile" link at the top of the messageboard will read "Edit Your Profile." Click it at any time to edit your profile. To view any of the profiles, just click on the "View User Profiles" link.

Q: What are all the WoodCentral messageboards about? What kinds of messages should I post on which boards?
A: We have nine different messageboards with distinctly different themes:

  • Messages - our main board where you can post messages on all topics.
  • Hand Tools - a place to discuss hand tools and methods.
  • Turning - our forum for turning and related topics. There are many excellent turners that frequent this board and they are happy to answer any questions that you may have.
  • Carving-This board is dedicated to questions/discussions concerning woodcarving in all of its forms.
  • Looking for Something?- This is the place to put questions regarding where to find just about anything: tools, plans, articles, materials, etc.
  • Classifieds - the place to advertise your personal items for sale. It is not intended for businesses. If you would like to advertise on WoodCentral, please contact the Webmaster.
  • Events - a free bulletin board for upcoming events such as gatherings, or club activities.
  • Trivia - an eclectic forum with daily questions -- usually related to woodworking -- to test your knowledge and have a bit of fun.
  • Benefit Auctions- WoodCentral is a free site, supported by advertising, volunteers and donations from our visitors. The Benefit Auctions board is a place where visitors can offer items -- things they've made, tools they don't use anymore, etc. -- for public auction, with part or all of the proceeds to be donated to WoodCentral to help support the site.

Q: How do I upload photos with my messages?
A: Uploading a photo is as easy as browsing to it on your computer from the message form. The only requirement is that the image filesize not exceed 80Kb.
    [HINT: If you want to upload scans or large digital images, the filesizes are sure to be way too large. We've found that it helps to resize the image so that the longest dimension is no more than, say, 500 pixels. That's plenty big enough to display in a message, yet it won't take up more than 80Kb if you save it at the right amount of JPG compression. You will need an image processing program that enables you to resize images and vary the JPG compression, such as Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro or Photo Deluxe. There have been numerous discussions of these matters on the messageboard that are accessible through the Search function of the Message Index.]

Q: I notice that some messages contain text formatting? How do I do that?
A: Our message forms accept standard HTML tags. If you don't know HTML, there are plenty of web sites that explain the simple tags needed to format text and include images in your post, in lieu of using the "Optional Image URL" text box. Also see the FAQ on posting multiple images.

Q: How can I upload multiple photos in messages?
A: It's easy. First, each image you want to include must have a URL. In other words, it must reside on an Internet server so that it may be accessed by any browser connected to the Internet.
    Once you know the URLs of your images, you can insert them into messages by using HTML "image tags" wherever you want to place an image. A sample image tag would look like this:

<img src="http://www.domain.com/imagefile.jpg">

    Note that the URL is enclosed in quotation marks. Don't forget to use both opening AND closing quotation marks. If you like, you can highlight and copy this sample image tag and paste it into your message, replacing the domain and filename placeholders with the actual URL of your image. To make sure you've done everything correctly, be sure to preview your message before posting.
    You can make images appear to the left or right of the text that follows them by using the "align" attribute inside the image tag.
    For example, to place the picture to the left of following text, your image tag would look like this:

<img src="http://www.domain.com/imagefile.jpg" align="left">

    To place the picture to the right of following text, your image tag would look like this:

<img src="http://www.domain.com/imagefile.jpg" align="right">

Q: What about posting links in messages?
A: You are welcome to post any links that you think will be of interest to other visitors. Please do not post links to your commercial site; it isn't fair to WoodCentral's advertisers. Links to relevant business pages that you do not have an interest in are fine.

Q: What is the significance of the cherries () in front of some of the message titles?
A: Those cherries are "new message" notifications. Messages posted since the beginning, rather than the end, of your last visit are flagged as new, including your own messages from your last visit. The script considers a new visit to begin once you've been away from the board for at least thirty minutes, so if you return to the board before half an hour has elapsed, the cherries will not have updated. This may seem a bit confusing at first, but it's actually handy, as it makes it easier to spot new messages and responses to your messages. You need to have your browser set to accept cookies for this feature to work. No messages will appear as "new" on your first visit to the board, or on your first visit after deleting your cookie files. If you've visited the board several times, and the notices still aren't appearing, or aren't appearing correctly, you may just need to delete your cookie file and start from scratch.

Q: What does *NM* mean?
A:The *NM* at the end of a message title signifies there is nothing in the body of the message, so you don't need to click on it. Any time you post a message with nothing in the message box, our messageboard software automatically adds the *NM* to it.

Q: When I post a message, the message title and my name show up with lots of hyphens and alphabet soup after them. What's going on?
A: This is a known anomaly with Opera browsers (and only Opera browsers). To fix it, first erase your WoodCentral profile, then find and delete your WoodCentral cookie (usually in the Windows or Documents and Settings directory), and then re-create your profile in Internet Explorer or Netscape instead of Opera. From that point onward, you should be able to post in Opera without incident.

Q: What's with the "Sightings" pictures I see on the messageboard entrance page?
A: When you navigate to the messageboards by clicking on any "messageboards" link on the site, you are directed to our gateway page where you can choose which of our forums to visit. Every week or so, we publish "Sightings" pictures, sent in by our visitors, of their WoodCentral headgear in far-flung places or interesting compositions. Here's your chance to send in humorous, scenic or otherwise interesting photos, preferably with your WoodCentral hat somewhere in evidence. We've had Sightings of WoodCentral hats in airplane cockpits, Mayan ruins, Stonehenge, the Great Pyramid, French cemeteries, high deserts, the Outer Banks, National Parks, amusement parks and other places too numerous to mention. Someday, we hope to archive some of our hundreds of sightings for posterity; for now, some of the best are available as desktop-sized images in our Wallpaper Collection. Submit your photos and descriptions to sightings@woodcentral.com.

Q: What are some of the other attractions here at WoodCentral?
A: There are several other features here that you may want to check out. They include:

  • "Articles": Check out our growing collection of hundreds of woodworking articles that have been submitted by visitors or collected from significant messageboard discussions.
  • "Shop Shots": This is a place to post pictures and commentary on your shops, jigs, projects or other items that you think may be of interest. The original focus was on shots of people's shops, but there are also a lot of pictures of finished projects.
  • Contests: WoodCentral promotes regular online craftsmanship contests, each with a different sponsor and theme, and the results are archived here for posterity. You are welcome to browse past contests and enter current and future ones.
  • Links: We currently have over 1400 links to various websites of interest to woodworkers. If you would like to submit a link, please send it to the "submit a link" address for inclusion.
  • Books Department: This is a section with several book lists and hundreds of short, to-the-point book reviews by our resident bibliophile, Barb Siddiqui, and others.
  • Mug Shots: Here is where we can get to know each other a bit better. This is a selection of pictures of the posters to WoodCentral. If you have a picture of yourself, please send it in for inclusion.
  • Wall of Fame: A list of contributors to WoodCentral. You can select the "Support WoodCentral" link for more info on helping out.
  • "Russ's Corner": A collection of articles on design and finishing by Russ Fairfield. Great reading and very helpful.
  • "Splendid Splinters": Here's a collection of fascinating and informative wood facts and lore, excerpted from a monthly newsletter published by David Mather of Lyme, NH. Great Information.
  • "News & Views": These are archives of our monthly column in Woodworker West magazine, consisting of excerpts from surveys we conduct on our WoodCentral "Messages" board on the "ides" (15th) of every other month. Everyone is welcome to participate, though no attribution will be given and you can count on editorial brutality of the highest order.
  • "Grandpa Tales": A selection of tales by Forrest Addy that make you think and chuckle. Sit down and read for a great time.
  • Badger Pond Archives: All the articles and reviews from the defunct Badger Pond website are preserved here at WoodCentral. Be sure to check them out.

Q: How do I submit an article or review for inclusion in your Articles & Reviews section?
A: WoodCentral welcomes new original articles and reviews of woodworking tools and accessories. To submit an article to our Articles & Reviews department, just attach your article and any digital images to an e-mail and send it to articles@woodcentral.com. Please reduce large images so that they do not exceed 800 pixels in either dimension. JPG and GIF images are acceptable.

Q: How do I submit a new Shop Shot? Do you accept all submissions?
A: Shop Shots is one of our most popular departments, with over 800 shots currently uploaded and more in the pipeline. The original concept of shop shots was for people to send us pictures and stories about their shops, tools, machines, jigs, fixtures and/or methods of work. Some of our shots have turned out that way, but the majority of the shop shots you will see are pictures and stories about particular projects that our visitors have completed. That's okay, too, although these shots are time consuming to produce, so at some point we might have to impose more limitations on the kinds of topics that will be accepted. See the previous answer for information about sending submissions to us. Historically, we have not rejected any shop shot submissions unless the images were too poor to work with. You may send your shots directly to David Yoho, our Shop Shots editor, at shots@woodcentral.com.

Q: Is the chatroom open to everyone?
A: The WoodCentral chat room is a great way to get an immediate answer to a woodworking question. Our chat room is open all the time, with scheduled chats as noted on the chatroom page. Just type in a nickname and hit the "connect" button to join the chat. You must have Java enabled in your browser preferences in order for the chatroom to run on your computer.

Q: How can I help you defray some of the costs of maintaining this website?
A: Click here to read about ways you can do your part to help. There are also "Support WoodCentral" links at the top of the messageboard index and in the navigation bars around the site. All donations are cheerfully and gratefully accepted.

Q: How do I resize pictures so that I can post them on Woodcentral?
A: There are a couple of dimensions to a JPG (or other format) image that you should be aware of:

  1. Number of pixels in the image: Depending on whether you are using a 4 megapixel camera or a 10 megapixel camera (or other megapixel count), and what resolution you are using with that camera (e.g., super-high quality, high-quality, standard, basic, etc. -- however your camera offers the choice) the image could be anywhere from, say 640 x 480 to 5120 x 3840 or more. Every pixel requires a certain number of bytes of memory to remember the exact color of that pixel, so the more pixels, the more memory. You can reduce the filesize by selecting another resolution, but I don't advise that. Memory is cheap. I prefer to shoot at a high-quality resolution and then keep the hi-res originals in a folder of their own and never touch them. When I change them (crop, lighten/darken, resize, etc.), I save the altered shots in another folder with a different name. This ensures I will always have the originals to go back to if I want to change them in some other way in the future.
  2. Compression: JPG images are "compressed" images, where adjacent pixels are all saved as the same color instead of having separate information for each individual pixel. At the microscopic level (if you zoom in to 5000% or so), you can actually see the averaged pixels as blocks of color instead of different colors. This is the key to "resizing" an image. You don't have to change the physical size. By using an image manipulation program such as Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, or one of the simpler ones, you can choose different compression ratios for an image. The more compression you apply, the smaller the file size becomes, but image quality drops, too, so you need to find a balance between image quality and file size. The 80Kb filesize limit for photos on WoodCentral message boards allows excellent quality and image size without taking up too much of our server memory. File size affects the download time, so this limit is a courtesy to our dialup visitors as well.

The drill that I have recommended several times in the past is to follow this series of steps to resize photos for uploading. Other visitors have their own methods, but they all arrive at the same conclusion. I'm going to skip talk about adjusting brightness, contrast, saturation, etc., and stick to resizing for messageboard uploads.

  1. Crop the image: Using you image program, crop the big camera image to include just the information you want to convey. This gets rid of unnecessary picture areas and immediately cuts down the number of pixels.
  2. Physically resize the image: That means to use the resizing function of your image program to reduce the pixel dimensions to something that will look good on the forum. I have found, as have other folks, that if you resize your image so that it is, say, between 500 and 600 pixels on its long dimension, it will fit within WoodCentral's messageboard window yet contain plenty of detail and visibility.
  3. Save the image with appropriate compression: When you save your resized image, you will have an option to choose a JPG compression ratio. In some image programs, this will be something simplistic like fine, medium, coarse or some such descriptor; in others, you will be able to specify the exact compression, and possibly be able to preview the chosen compression ratio to see if the quality is still there. The 80Kb filesize limit is actually quite generous, and here's a picture to illustrate it. This photo is 600 x 449 pixels and is only 38Kb in size -- less than half the limit.

Once you have resized,compressed, and saved your image, all you have to do is upload it by browsing to its location on your computer and selecting it from the Browse... function of our messageboard software. I hope this sheds some light on things for you. As you can tell from the number of people posting pictures, it really isn't as difficult or daunting as it seems at the outset.

Ellis Walentine, Host

[an error occurred while processing this directive]