A good week

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It’s been a good week made up of some really productive days in the shop, with several projects coming along nicely and another completed. As Hannibal used to say, I love it when a plan comes together.

With a deadline looming for a book of woodworking projects, I’ve been in high gear lately. The sawdust has indeed been flying in the Hamler shop, and the finished projects are literally stacking up, awaiting the day when I take what are called “beauty” shots of the finished work for use as lead photos for each project in the book. 

It’s satisfying to see the results of all the hard work collected en masse, but as I always do with projects that I don’t immediately give away to the intended recipient, I start analyzing them to death – I could have done this differently; I could have made this longer, or that shorter, or the other thing wider; I could have done a better job on a particular joint, etc. Do you do that? Are you as harsh on your own work as I am on mine? I’d be willing to bet you are.

I’ve generally found it true that creative people – and we woodworkers fall into that class – are among the most self-critical. It can be maddening sometimes. I’ve actually scrapped a project or two in my time or tore out a particular component or assembly and redid it because I simply wasn’t pleased with what I’d done, in spite of the fact that no one else can see the flaw that seems glaring to me.

But I think that’s a good thing. On the one hand, the more we strive for perfection the more we learn by doing (and sometimes doing again… and again). It also means that we care about our work and about our own creative processes. On the other hand, we can seemingly waste a lot of good shop time reinventing our personal wheels.

I don’t mind though, really. The day I start looking at something I’ve done and can find nothing wrong with it, nothing I could change, or nothing I could have done better, then I know that’s the day I’ve stopped learning. More importantly, that will be the day that I’ve stopped being creative.

And if that ever happens, I may as well start practicing saying, “You want fries with that?”

Till next time,

A.J.

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