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Thread: So I pose a question of my own..

  1. #1

    So I pose a question of my own..

    This is a thought I have been milking around in my head for many years. Maybe all my life. It is marks thread on “good enough: that stimulated or motivated me to throw this question out as I genuinely am interested with others experiences and thoughts as makers of various stuff but mostly fine furniture or meticulously made things of wood or any material for that matter.

    So at hat point do you loose interest in a project.

    The question is possed with my personal challenge or understanding of the question in mind but I fully expect others will bring a response form their perspective stimulated with maybe a different set of criteria than mine.

    So the question is at what point do you loose interest in a project.

    For me it’s simple but also as a maker of things for money a challenge I have to continually overcome.

    I loose interest the moment “perfection” can not be achieved. My idea of perfection is real joinery, not dominoes, not biscuits, not splines. A fatal flaw of tear out that can’t be fixed and must be lived with “normally cuz the boss saiz so” a splotchy finish form a inexperienced finisher or swirl makes that’s it to late to get out. Crap materials the list could go on and on for me as a woodworker as the problem changes with each individual project.

    But for me as soon as I feel like a better job can be done and for whatever reason I’m not in a position to do that “better job” I genuinely loose interest and have to push myself to completion on something that others wise I’d be chomping at the bit to do.

    The second piece is generally once I show myself I can do something well to perfection and master it I tend to loose interest not feel the need to repeat it.

    So for me the very deliberate choose to be a woodworker based on a moral that vocation consumes so much of ones life that making vocation one objective and the not the financial security most make decisions relating to work based upon. Well generally professionally as a woodworker that ideal at least in my case is constantly challenged. That challenge doesn’t make me want to do something else for a living “it makes me wan to find better work” but it does take away quite a bit of satisfaction. The satisfaction that so naturally comes on me making anything.

    So does anyone else loose interest when they have to do sub par work, screw up and can’t just start over or whatever other reasons..

  2. #2
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    The challenge with a premise around things like "perfection" is that they are 100% subjective.

    The few times that I lose interest in a project are usually when either something else comes along that needs to have a higher priority (which can be both subjective and objective, depending on the situation) or when I discover I'm just not prepared enough to tackle it at the present time. That happened with a set of chairs I started back in 2003. I'm considering pulling them out now because I've learned a whole lot since then and I have tools/techniques available to do the quality of work that I expect of myself...which is also 100% subjective.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
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    The only time interest diminishes is when multiples of the same project are made simultaneously. Last Xmas, I made 7 advent calendars for family members. Maybe it was not losing interest, but more monotony from the number of identical projects.

    I recently completed a toolbox for me that was as perfect a project as I ever made. As I was drilling holes for the brass knobs in the drawer fronts, I drilled one hole in the wrong place. Completely remake dovetailed drawers or patch with “plug”. I did not lose interest as much as sheer disappointment as something so careless. I enjoy woodworking as a hobby and strive to make every project as perfect as possible. Who knows? Someday I may make a perfect one.

  4. #4
    Ex #1 and I bought a house back in '81, upgrading from the starter home. It was a small 2-story with a basement, 3 levels @ 800 sq ft each. After moving in, I started noticing just the opposite of 'normal' things. Like, all the walls were straight. Corners, floor to ceiling, all straight and square to the floor and ceiling. Sheetrock was flat & level. The stair railings were solid and straight. The shower doors were dead straight to the tub and walls, level in all directions, all caulking looked like a machine did it. The floors were level enough to shoot pool on. Every single wood door in the place would stay where you left it, give them the gentlest push and they would slowly swing until the ka-LICK when they latched. When shut there was zero free play between the jams and latches. Door to jam spacing was tiny and equal all around. Every door! I mean, I couldn't find anything wrong with the place- aside from the shingles, which started out nice until (I'm guessing) the installer's early-weekend beers kicked in

    One day the builder stopped by to refund some rent we'd paid as we moved in before closing. I told him I'd never seen a house put together this good, the doors, walls, etc...

    "Yeah, I had to fire those guys, they were taking to long to get the work done..."

    The construction crew went for perfection, nearly succeeded, and lost their jobs because of it. Doesn't seem fair, but I do understand the builder's point.

    I'm guessing the crew may have lost interest in going for perfection-?
    Last edited by Kev Williams; 06-01-2020 at 6:57 PM.
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  5. #5
    Funny I live in a 1926 bungalow just as the home you describe. It was built by original owner and he was a carpenter. I have neighbors still round that can tell me stories of his working on their homes and or turning that carriage house into a home.

    This house is like a laser square flat plumb and everything done with the intention of lasting. I have broken up a number of poured stairs cases and my god the very intentional and smart measures taken to make sure they would not move, sink is unreal and makes for a royal pita to remove them.

    Generally speaking for me I loose interest in a personal project when I screw something up that can’t be recovered from. In my work as I make a living building largely crap out of wood it’s not that I out right loose interest.

    Here is a pretty clear example. As a cabinet maker I have noticed that my paint grade work tend to be pretty crappy at times and or I tend to make stupid mistakes. What I have determined is I have no real interest as my moral code around modern paint grade cabinetry lacks any respect the finished product or that we as a society expect so little for something that actually cost so much.

    Contrast this to stain grade work and for whatever reason I rarely make a mistake. I’m paying attention like a laser at all time. As a result mistakes are minimal if ever, and normally via gut before I make them. Generally stain grade cabinetry does not require any skills much more than paint but it does require a attention to detail and willingness to execute it that can’t be looked past as can with paint grade.

    Without that pressure I loose interest. I guess for me is something is not a challenge or when it stops being a challenge I need a new one to gold my interest. Same had happened to me as a cyclist, a climber, a runner. Once I realize my potential or platue something I once could not hold my self back from quickly becomes replaced by something that I have not mastered.

    Making stuff of wood for a living changes all this and I except it for sure. Making crap out of wood in my mind is better than making a living another way. What is the saying about a bad day playing golf or fishing.

    .
    Quote Originally Posted by Kev Williams View Post
    Ex #1 and I bought a house back in '81, upgrading from the starter home. It was a small 2-story with a basement, 3 levels @ 800 sq ft each. After moving in, I started noticing just the opposite of 'normal' things. Like, all the walls were straight. Corners, floor to ceiling, all straight and square to the floor and ceiling. Sheetrock was flat & level. The stair railings were solid and straight. The shower doors were dead straight to the tub and walls, level in all directions, all caulking looked like a machine did it. The floors were level enough to shoot pool on. Every single wood door in the place would stay where you left it, give them the gentlest push and they would slowly swing until the ka-LICK when they latched. When shut there was zero free play between the jams and latches. Door to jam spacing was tiny and equal all around. Every door! I mean, I couldn't find anything wrong with the place- aside from the shingles, which started out nice until (I'm guessing) the installer's early-weekend beers kicked in

    One day the builder stopped by to refund some rent we'd paid as we moved in before closing. I told him I'd never seen a house put together this good, the doors, walls, etc...

    "Yeah, I had to fire those guys, they were taking to long to get the work done..."

    The construction crew went for perfection, nearly succeeded, and lost their jobs because of it. Doesn't seem fair, but I do understand the builder's point.

    I'm guessing the crew may have lost interest in going for perfection-?

  6. #6
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    I loose interest when I wake up in the morning, and haven't come up with the best way to do what I need to do that day, in my sleep. Those days, I'll often go do something else. I come up with my best ideas in my sleep. I never go to bed worrying about what way to do anything, but most often wake up with answers to questions I haven't asked.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom M King View Post
    I loose interest when I wake up in the morning, and haven't come up with the best way to do what I need to do that day, in my sleep. Those days, I'll often go do something else. I come up with my best ideas in my sleep. I never go to bed worrying about what way to do anything, but most often wake up with answers to questions I haven't asked.
    Tom, do you by any chance happen to sleep while listening to This Old House cassette tapes ?

  8. #8
    So are you saying that when you don’t know what you are doing or don’t have confidence in execution you loose interest and thus only have interest in tasks you have confidence in?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom M King View Post
    I loose interest when I wake up in the morning, and haven't come up with the best way to do what I need to do that day, in my sleep. Those days, I'll often go do something else. I come up with my best ideas in my sleep. I never go to bed worrying about what way to do anything, but most often wake up with answers to questions I haven't asked.

  9. #9
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    Has nothing to do with confidence. If my mind is not on what needs to be done next, or figuring out a better way to do something, I go off in another direction. Fortunately, I have plenty to do. I never claim to know what I'm doing, but know that I will figure it out, so that's the opposite of not having confidence. It just might not be today. Most days, I do something that I've never done before.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mel Fulks View Post
    Tom, do you by any chance happen to sleep while listening to This Old House cassette tapes ?
    Absolutely not! I don't do remodeling edited to add:, and have no interest in it.
    Last edited by Tom M King; 06-01-2020 at 9:57 PM.

  11. #11
    Ah I think I get, if your heads not in it you just divert to something it is in knowing at some point your mind will be into the said task..

    Makes sense, sadly for me and unlike you I’m always pretty much on someone else’s schedule. Not that it’s like all that bad “it’s not” but most times I kinda have to do what the boss has planned for me to do. My last gig building cans was very loosely structured. If the work got done it didn’t matter. That was a a dream and perfect for my personality. This is not like that but I’m still happy to have a job building stuff out of wood that’s something I generally enjoy. Well at least more than some of the other options.

    I like your approach and thinking back I often did the same when it was up to me.


    Quote Originally Posted by Tom M King View Post
    Has nothing to do with confidence. If my mind is not on what needs to be done next, or figuring out a better way to do something, I go off in another direction. Fortunately, I have plenty to do. I never claim to know what I'm doing, but know that I will figure it out, so that's the opposite of not having confidence. It just might not be today. Most days, I do something that I've never done before.

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