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Thread: Making time for the hobby

  1. #1
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    Making time for the hobby

    I'm in a bit of a woodworking funk right now. I don't know if it's got anything to do with my age, 68, or what. Here's the deal. I love reading about woodworking and watching videos. Prior to YT I used to get up at 5:30 and head to my shop and do stuff. Now I get up, make coffee and watch YT until it's time to go to my job. I then complain to myself about not doing any woodworking. I need to get out of this new routine and get back to the old. Weekend woodworking isn't cutting it for me. Maybe I need a shrink or maybe some of you have the same problem and and have overcome it. What have you got.

  2. #2
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    Well, I have found there to be lots of reasons.

    Is your shop a mess? Are you stuck in the middle of a project that you lost interest on? Are you stressed out about a project?

    I get the same way sometimes. I get stressed about a bigger project or just lack the interest to start something at the moment. I too am always reading books on woodworking and watching YouTube.

    The best way I find is to do something you want to do or make a small project. Small projects that are stress free and can be completed quickly are a good way to bust a slump. Make a small cutting board, a mallet, something. Just make sure you have fun doing it.
    Always put the crappy side against the wall

  3. #3
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    Nov 2021
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    I have resolved to spend less time on the web and actually make something. We even got rid of our internet provider and landline. Now using a free hot spot checked out from the library. You have 10 years on me and I am already thinking about how to get away from the really big distraction, the job. I just bumped in to an old shop-mate, recently retired, burnt out on general wood working, very excited about Naval Architecture. He is building really neat boats.
    Last edited by Maurice Mcmurry; 05-03-2022 at 12:04 PM.
    Best Regards, Maurice

  4. #4
    In the evening, make a to-do list. Draw the project. Then go to bed early. I say that but I confess it is hard.

  5. #5
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    Jason, you hit on a couple of things that ring true. I'm in the middle of building a deck, which I really don't enjoy doing. That's not something I would work on before work so it shouldn't be an issue. The other thing is a guitar I was working on took a turn for the worst right before finishing started. I don't have any desire to complete the finishing job now.

    Maurice, I don't think I'm burnt out on woodworking. I get excited if I go into my shop and sharpen my pocket knives. I do love making things sharp!

    Maybe starting this thread will be the impetus for getting off the couch or not even sitting down when I get up. I think the path I'm taking is the quickest way to the grave and I don't like it. Having said that, tomorrow morning, I'm going to bring my coffee cup into the shop and do something, I'm not sure what. That could be the problem as well. Maybe finish my saw til that I sort of quit on.

    Thanks for listening.

  6. #6
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    Hi Richard, I have a few years on you. Iíve had the same thing happen at times. My cure is to pick the job I like the least and focus on it to completion. There is a great relief in this and you then can get back to fun. It also helps me to do a project entirely for fun. With that I mean doing something with no reason or use. I just pick up my carving knife and carve a little bear or a fish or something knowing all along that I have more pressing things to be done. Itís kind of a guilty escape like sneaking the last piece of cake.
    Jim

  7. #7
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    James, I like doing quick little projects when I get like this, just to have a reason to walk into the shop. I think I need to wrap my head around finishing that guitar, warts and all.

  8. #8
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    What's to be in a funk about? Let's see, a World War, pandemic with loss of friends, laws and all political decisions have to be decided in courts, you are likely going to more funerals than any other time of your life, and you are in the last couple decades of productive work. I only know one guy who is still highly productive in my group of woodworking friends, and even he has slowed. Just a stage of life Richard, I'm 69 and had an echocardiogram today. As that productive guy I told you about always says, "life is like a roll of toilet paper, it goes faster as it nears the end."

  9. #9
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    That's a pretty bleak outlook Richard. While there's a lot of truth in what you said, I'm not ready to succumb to it.

    I sat on the couch this morning and enjoyed a cup of coffee, sans TV, and then headed down to the shop. It was a great feeling to just overcome the laziness for this one morning. I picked up where I left off on my saw til project. As I was considering options for wood choices and joinery, I thought, damn, if I wasn't into traditional hand tools, I could bang this entire thing out in about an hour with a good plan an power tools and pocket holes. What's the fun in that! So I continue to torture myself with handplanes and chisels and saws because without a challenge, why bother.

    I want to make a scratch stock tool and add a little flare to this thing, just because. That will be a new challenge.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Coers View Post
    What's to be in a funk about? Let's see, a World War, pandemic with loss of friends, laws and all political decisions have to be decided in courts, you are likely going to more funerals than any other time of your life, and you are in the last couple decades of productive work. I only know one guy who is still highly productive in my group of woodworking friends, and even he has slowed. Just a stage of life Richard, I'm 69 and had an echocardiogram today. As that productive guy I told you about always says, "life is like a roll of toilet paper, it goes faster as it nears the end."

    You guys have it easy. At least you have some hope of retiring still.

    I'm 34. As the meme goes, "My retirement plan is total Societal Collapse."

    My planning for retirement has become as much about prepping as financial planning, as any positive prospect of the latter is, quite honestly, not very realistic at the moment.

    Lately, I've pretty much decided to enjoy Woodworking for as long as possible while the World rushes headlong into ruin. I have to do something to stay sane with all of the madness. Woodworking is a good escape where I can just focus on making something nice. That's as good a reason as any to get out into the shop... errr, step to the other side of my apartment room office.

    Martial Arts and Bushcraft are great pursuits for this sort of escapism as well. Perhaps a little more challenging with age though.

    I've always been a very ambitious person with a ton of hobbies and interests and bounce between them though. I'm not a "Woodworker." Woodworking is just one of my passions, along side many others. I'll focus on one for 2-3 years, get bored/burnt out, focus on another for 2-3 years, and then go back to the old one, rotating between them, occasionally adding something new, but always returning to a few core passions. Depth and breadth. I think this is the case for many people, and there's nothing wrong with it. If you're burnt out from woodworking, take a break and do something else you've been wanting to, and come back to woodworking when you have the inspiration to do something that you absolutely have to do. Or maybe mix things up and combine woodworking and electronics, or wood and metal, or wood and leather, etc.

  11. #11
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    I'm with you on the tons of hobbies. I've been a musician all my life and played in a bluegrass band for quite a bit. I play guitar, banjo, fiddle and mandolin. Fishing was a passion in my youth. I've tried HO trains for a couple of years and completely revamped my shop into a train room. I'm glad that's over with. Then there was golf. I found it more aggravating than fun. Archery for a number of years until I developed trigger finger.

    I built a few F5 mandolins. I started building a dreadnought guitar and made more mistakes than anything I ever did, I need to start the second one to recover my sanity. I never really had any desire to build furniture outside of some things I made for my kids when they were growing up using the cheapest materials I could get. I made a desk entirely out of wafer board that my daughter used throughout her school years. I'm not sure what to do now but I'm getting my feet wet with some shop stuff starting with my saw vise and tail-vise rebuild and a saw til with some dovetailing. I don't think I'm bored with woodworking at all because there are so many ways to enjoy it.

    All that said, I would like to finish up some projects that have been around for a long time. A couple of carved mandolins, a violin and 2 dreadnoughts. For some reason, I still love reading the furniture make escapades on this forum.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Hutchings View Post
    I'm with you on the tons of hobbies. I've been a musician all my life and played in a bluegrass band for quite a bit. I play guitar, banjo, fiddle and mandolin. Fishing was a passion in my youth. I've tried HO trains for a couple of years and completely revamped my shop into a train room. I'm glad that's over with. Then there was golf. I found it more aggravating than fun. Archery for a number of years until I developed trigger finger.

    I built a few F5 mandolins. I started building a dreadnought guitar and made more mistakes than anything I ever did, I need to start the second one to recover my sanity. I never really had any desire to build furniture outside of some things I made for my kids when they were growing up using the cheapest materials I could get. I made a desk entirely out of wafer board that my daughter used throughout her school years. I'm not sure what to do now but I'm getting my feet wet with some shop stuff starting with my saw vise and tail-vise rebuild and a saw til with some dovetailing. I don't think I'm bored with woodworking at all because there are so many ways to enjoy it.

    All that said, I would like to finish up some projects that have been around for a long time. A couple of carved mandolins, a violin and 2 dreadnoughts. For some reason, I still love reading the furniture make escapades on this forum.

    One thing you need to do, which I myself am *really* *really* bad at, is prioritize your work / tasks. Pick one project. List up the tasks that need to be done. Do the next one necessary to move on, especially if it's a task you don't like. That'll get the momentum going.

    I'm at a stage in my life where I have extremely limited time. I don't really have time for woodworking, but I make it. This means I have to be super intentional about how I use my time -- something I don't normally do.

    And, you know what? I'm way more productive than when I was a single college graduate with a part time job and all the time in the world... Something about limitations really helps.

    Sometimes I just lack motivation for any given project. That can be *okay* actually. Sometimes there's just nothing I really want to build so badly. I have a hard time being motivated to make something just for the sake of it. Most of the time, I want to make something because there's something that I really want, which you can't even buy if you wanted to, so I make it. Maybe find such a project that motivates you. Or maybe you have too many such projects that you've started and lost momentum on? In that case, think about the end result and which project you really want to see finished / would enjoy using for years to come. Let that help you decide / find motivation again. Visualization is a powerful tool.
    Last edited by Luke Dupont; 05-04-2022 at 11:35 AM.

  13. #13
    I am also in a funk. As a hobbyist, how many tables, bowls, guitars, cutting boards, etc can one make? It's just the same old stuff over and over again. The way to make it fresh is to pick a different skill.

    I'm excited about spoon carving for the next couple months. It also appeals to me that I can do a bunch of it outside. As I'm getting older I appreciate connecting to nature and outdoors more than being in the shop.

    The second thing that gets me engaged is making things for others.

    The third thing that gets invigorated is trying to master a new skill. Right now I'm trying to turn a chair leg without vibration. Without the pressure of a project, the discrete goal is fun and challenging.

  14. #14
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    LOL about this thread. Got to thinking. When you are retired everything can be a hobby because you no longer have a ďjobĒ and the responsibilities that go with it. You only have obligations, pay your bills, check the mail and such. The rest you can do when you want. In the course of a day I do many different things at the time i want to do them. So far today starting at 4 i cleaned up a little in the shop from yesterday, made some coffee and breakfast, spent a couple of hours mowing, played with the dog, watched a show on you tube, took a shower and talked with you all. I have plenty on the list that I can do when I want. For now I think Iíll watch the birds at the feeder. Maybe Iíll go work in the garden or do something in the shop later. All hobby work for the most part. And for Luke. We always will face things to worry about that are bad. My big ones were polio, Hong Kong flu, fear of atomic attack, market crashes to take retirement funds, a trip to Vietnam, heart attack, bad back and now covid. Now Iím just a hobbyist 😁
    Jim

  15. #15
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    I originally registered here because I was doing actual wood work in my shop, and when I got stuck my internet searches brought me here consistently. So I registered. Then more or less simultaneously the pandemic hit and I got sucked in to substituting being here for actual shop time.

    At the end of the day, being online here is more screen time, and I get enough of that on the clock. In 2022 I am making a conscious effort to stop by here every once in a while to contribute where I can, but also minimize my screen time by actually being out in my shop doing shop stuff with my free time. We do have a legitimate community here; but if I spend all my time here and none actually in my shop doing stuff I will have nothing to contribute.

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