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Now or later?

For the first time ever, I plan to build something up to about 95 percent complete – and then just stop.

I don’t like doing things halfway – when I do a project, I want the end result to be just that. I’m not talking about tweaking or adding things to a finished project later, that’s different. But actually leaving off the final steps? No way.

My new shop, as well as connected basement areas, has a lot of cabinetry I’ve custom built and sized for a variety of purposes. Everything matches – solid oak carcases, the same antique bronze hardware and almond laminate tops – which not only gives me a nice aesthetic while working but will also increase the resale value of our home one day.

But I’m about to build a new set of base cabinets for my wife’s glass studio that I don’t intend to finish. Oh, they’ll be functional and will look great, but I don’t plan to laminate the worktop because Sally doesn’t yet know exactly how she wants to use it.

She plans to keep her glass-working machines – a grinder and a ring saw – on that countertop, but she won’t know till actually using it for a while just where the best spots for them will be, meaning I don’t want to drill and install grommets for their power cords yet. She also wants me to build a two-shelf glass storage cabinet somewhere on that countertop but doesn’t yet know if that will be most efficient located on the left or right, or maybe right in the middle.

Since I need to know these things before installing laminate, she’ll be working on a bare plywood surface. Fully functional, as I said, but not what I consider to be “finished.” On the one hand it bothers my woodworking sensibilities to leave something incomplete. But on the other, leaving off the last steps in this case means the ultimate result – when I finally get to it – will be the most efficient and workable one.

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