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Exactly the same, only different

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Reason No. 47 why I’d do terrible work on-contract: I never do anything the same way twice.

I like making multiples of favorite items, such as the several reproduction spool cabinets I’ve made over the years. But despite the fact that they’ve all been the same size and design, and built from the same plans and templates that I created, no two have ever been the same.

When I’m in my kitchen making a favorite recipe, I tend to throw in different things, change the amounts of others, and skip certain things altogether. The meals always come out great and they’re all still the same recognizable recipe, but there are always differences, some subtle and some not. My creative process is no different when repeating a project in the shop; it might be the same project, but it won’t turn out quite the same.

Now, I don’t mean I can’t reproduce exact multiples of components and such – table legs, cabinet doors, drawer faces, spindles, etc. – because that’s not a problem at all. But when I revisit an earlier project, and “earlier” could mean anything from last week to several years ago, I always seem to come up with a new thought or idea along the way to make it better.

That’s a good thing, generally, as I’ve rarely been disappointed with my updating, and I nearly always make the new aspect part of that project from then on. But I suspect that would be problematic if I were delivering items to a customer who wanted, say, a second side table, “just like the one you made us last year.” Sure; it’d be the same size, shape and design with the same finish and hardware, but it wouldn’t be an exact match. I’m not sure I’m capable of that, so contract work isn’t really in my future.

For the same reason, I’m guessing a new career as an art forger is also out of the question.



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