Stephen Howard Woodwind - Repairs, reviews, advice, tips and tales...
Haynes woodwind maintenance manuals
SHWoodwind - Woodwind advice, reviews, care, repair & maintenance
Haynes woodwind maintenance manuals

Why Donate?




It was back in around 2002 when I first started this site. I knew nothing about website authoring (and if I'm completely honest, I still don't). I picked up a free copy of website program called Dreamweaver from a CD that came with a PcPlus magazine, skimmed over the help file and set about creating my first web pages. I had two simple aims in mind; to share what knowledge I had and to build a repository of reviews from the perspective of a repairer.

I also made the decision to remain independent. For the most part this is to do with building a resource which people can, hopefully, trust. Review sites for consumers goods are ten a penny, and the big problem with the vast majority of them is that it's often hard to tell whether the reviewer's approach is tempered by the need to not step on anyone's toes...particularly if they're supplying the items under review. In some cases the reviews might be little more than a jazzed-up version the manufacturer's blurb - and it may even be the case that the reviewer has never even seen or used the product in question.

It also meant that I wouldn't carry advertising on the site.
To be fair this is something of a grey area; many sites that carry advertising have little or no control over what gets advertised - they simply sell the space and an agency decides what to put in it. But as much as most reviewers can't afford to upset the people who supply them with products, they also have to be mindful of keeping their advertisers happy...otherwise the revenue soon drops off.
It wasn't a difficult decision to make anyway, because I loathe adverts and wanted to create a space which felt more like a congenial club than a shopping centre.

People have told me time and again that I ought to 'monetise my resource' (especially my bank manager) to which my answer's always been an emphatic 'No', because I feel the worth and value of the site comes not from the pennies it might bring in but from the integrity of the information it puts out. It may be possible to do both, but it's a very fine line and it's one that I'm uncomfortable about treading.
But some folks said "Why not put a donate button up on the site?". I hadn't really given the idea much thought, but I took the time to seek out opinions from some of my regular clients and readers, and the unanimous response was " Yeah, do it!" - so I did.

So...why donate?
It takes a great deal of time to put the website articles together. A single review can take days of solid work, both in terms of writing and photography. Some of the technical articles can take even longer (the octave mech article took four years), and often require tests to be carried out - which in turn can require tooling and jigs to be made up. There's also a lot of off-site work that goes on. If you've ever emailed me to ask advice on a potential purchase or sought an opinion about a repair procedure, that takes time to respond to. Sure, some of it generates work - but the majority of it is just me passing on information to folks who request it.
But here's the thing- I'd do it anyway. I do it all because I love it - the site, the reviews, the articles, the emails, talking to you folks about's what I do. It's what I've always done and I think it's pretty clear that I'm going to keep doing it for as long as I possibly can.
The donate button is entirely optional - if no-one ever pressed it and sent a quid or two my way, the site and my work would carry on just as before, and I would still be happy to hope that you all find my articles and emails helpful and interesting...if not occasionally amusing. But if you do press the button and make a donation, it goes towards offsetting the costs of keeping the articles coming...and it's very much appreciated.
And if that sounds a little too grand, you could always just buy me a pint - you'll find a Paypal button like the one below at the bottom of every page.

If you wish to send a message to accompany your donation, please feel free to do so. I've been genuinely touched by the comments people have left, and while I won't normally reply to them (copy them by a separate email if you want a response) you can be assured that they're very, very welcome.







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