The full quote from The anarchist's Tool Chest by Christopher Schwarz* is: "Most importantly, never try to outfox the dead when it comes to design. It's like a zombie movie; it almost never works out for the living."
The quote was about building tool chests but it has been my guide for almost everything I've done in woodworking for almost as long as I can remember. If you can figure out how the dead did it that is likely the best way to do the job. Be it tool chests, workbenches, boxes, chairs, whatever you are trying to design or build.
What brought this to mind were some of the comments, not on this blog but a forum where I posted a thread on building Moravian workbenches.
One was: "I'm a touch surprised that someone went to the trouble of building a bench with slanted legs and then mounted the leg vise dead vertical..." Then goes on to explain why a slanted leg vise was better. With no understanding of design decisions or even in reality the relative holding power of slanted vs. vertical chops. I'm not into intertubes pissing matches so I declined to answer but there were two logical questions the first being; how many workbenches have you build and/or used? The second; have you used a slanted leg vise and/or a vertical leg vise?
Another when on to explain to me why my placement and size of the long stretchers was totally wrong and that the only way to hold small pieces for planning was to pinch the work between a dog and a vise. Needless to say I left that one setting there like a turd in the punch bowl as well.
Bottom line the net allows everyone to be an expert and even better can be a great hoot. Just stay out of pissing matches and don't take it personal.
*Page 365 The Anarchist's Tool Chest. Copyright 2011.