Ease Of Superficial Likenesses

It’s easy to make something that looks like a bucksaw frame, but it’s much more difficult to make one that will cut a lot of wood without coming apart.

It’s easy to make something that looks like a snowshoe, but much more difficult to make one that will allow you to walk on it all day without having to tighten knots or rebuild.

It’s easy to make something that looks like a shelter. It’s much, much more difficult to make a shelter that will perform and keep you warm by taking into account science and the mechanisms of energy transfer.

Details matter, but they are often glossed over. The way they are learned is by making things that fail, learning why they failed, then making them again with that knowledge in hand. The first one of anything that you make is for learning.

It’s one reason why we emphasize the importance of expeditions; in the field the details are everything. Superficial likenesses are nothing.

Through experience and repetition we master and eliminate the learning curve. Almost everyone has heard that old saying that the devil is in the details. I’d add that the delight is also in the details.

Blog, Educational Philosophy

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  • Matt in Maine

    This is a great post! So true. . . I read some Rutstrum, Kephart, and Whelen and thought, hey, that sounds easy. Here was the result.


    We still do Man Camp every December, and more people come, and I still get cold, but I learn more stuff every year, and I’m a lot further along than I was.

  • Matt Galvin

    My Granddaddy said the the “Devil was in the details” and the “Nuances of a project made it better”. Im a firm believer in this and the above was well said.

  • Derek Faria

    Another brilliant one Tim! Sound advice from first-hand field experience.
    Excellent post!

  • So true. The proliferation of the internet has spawned a legion of excellent photographers and writers. Anyone can offer expertise. A deeper understanding of their topics often uncovers flaws in those details, which undermine the real usefulness of the information Writing about doing is not the same as knowing. Only through teaching others is true mastery demonstrated.

  • Greg house

    I will remember this always! In the field or not! Thanks for your time on phone Tim! Regards G

  • Thanks Greg. Good talking the other night.

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