Carving envy

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Blog entry by Dan Lyke posted 02-28-2007 03:18 AM 1190 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’m pretty gifted. I probably say that with some conceit, because I’m pretty conceited too, but I still have reason to believe it’s true. I’m good at a lot of things, and I’ve had any number of personality issues because I approach the world at a high enough level that people have trouble keeping up with me.

One of the things that reading LumberJocks is doing is teaching me humility. And it’s doing this in two ways.

To me, there are two types of artists: There are those I find inspirational, who make me want to try to emulate their work because I think it’s worth doing, and there are those that I’m in awe of, who don’t inspire me to take up something because I know that they’ve put in years or decades to come to where they are in their craft, and even with that there’s likely some innate tweak that just makes them better.

And I see the work of both types of people here. Both those who inspire me to want to try new things, and those who do things so well and have done so for so long that I’ve no hope of doing what they do.

Oddly, the harder of those things to deal with is the inspiration, because among my flaws is a difficulty in staying focused. So when I look at some of the work here that inspires me, I have to be careful not to go running off trying to emulate it. Because that way lies fragmented energies and incomplete projects when I don’t have the effort to finish things.

So, y’all with the carving, in both categories, keep up the beautiful work, and I’ll just sit back here with my gaping jaw and gawk. And try, try, try to not go order a few more wetstones and some good chisels.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

9 comments so far

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4291 days

#1 posted 02-28-2007 05:35 AM

There sure is inspiring work here for sure… enough to motivate some days, or make you want to throw in the towel on others.

I’ve always done well in Art, but the computer (and 12+ years as a graphic designer) has (nearly) ruined me for art – in that I’m expecting faster progress, and immediate turnaround. Perhaps the daily deadlines of working in newspapers is just as much to blame, if not moreso than computers. In college I did a painting that took 40 hours. Now I can hardly draw for one, let alone a few, without being frustrated by the lack of progress. Woodworking, and everyone here is helping me to overcome this mental stumbling block and provide balance.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View gizzard's profile


45 posts in 4117 days

#2 posted 02-28-2007 06:27 AM

Wow Scott… I could have written your comments and feelings about me. When I retired I was a graphics supervisor for one of the largest direct mail companies in the world. When I started making rustic furniture, the frustration was crippling. I wanted everything to be perfect and I wanted it done in an hour…!
I’ve been working on slowing down as hard as I’ve worked on creating my own style in the rustic realm. It’s coming along slowly (no pun intended) but I’m getting better at it everyday. Hang in there my friend.
And Dan, I hope someday to be an inspiration to you. It’s a lofty goal, but a good one.

-- Dennis, Tennessee

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4124 days

#3 posted 02-28-2007 01:56 PM

I can totally relate—not that I’m gifted, or have a high energy level…. but I do get inspired and want to try all these skills that I see, but then I remember that doing everything and not being good at any of them really isn’t my goal. And so I’m trying to stay focused on one skill at a time to see if that is where my passion lies.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4278 days

#4 posted 02-28-2007 04:41 PM

Welcome lots around here to aspire to and be inspired by!

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1519 posts in 4089 days

#5 posted 02-28-2007 07:11 PM

I’m pretty good with the ability to make forward progress slowly, I guess that’s the programmer in me, where I can be a year or two from actual product, but…

The first things we’ve been doing with the tools has been fixing and reworking assorted furniture that we’ve had that hasn’t been working quite right. In the process I’ve learned quite a bit about what separates good from bad furniture, but the real problem is that I’ve been working on things that are in active use, and that only exacerbates my “I’m just to the finishing stage, now I need to get the darned thing back together ASAP” issue.

So sometime come this summer, when the rainy season is over and I can do finishing outside (or at least with doors open) I’m going to find some project where I can take the time to build up a finish in many layers. Even if that project is taking a piece of wood and just doing it right.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4263 days

#6 posted 02-28-2007 07:20 PM

I tend to hang onto some plans for quite awhile before building them. I had plans for a sailboat for 10 years before making it. How’s that for speed?

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1519 posts in 4089 days

#7 posted 02-28-2007 07:41 PM

Grin. My sweety is doing her best to cull our projects list to things we’ll actually accomplish in this lifetime, so I’m trying to not accumulate plans for things I won’t build for 10 years.

Although… I grew up with a copy of “The Boy Mechanic” as a companion. Built some stuff out of it, but not too much. A few years ago I found the reprint, and several things in that have been calling out for attention.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4124 days

#8 posted 02-28-2007 08:29 PM

that’s a good rule of thumb, Dan—-things we’ll actually accomplish in this lifetime.. hmm why didn’t I think of that! :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2008 posts in 4369 days

#9 posted 02-28-2007 10:22 PM

See, now I’m envious of your computer knowledge. Glad you are hear and putting up with us. I think that boy mechanic book has a cool catapult in it, that would be fun. It has been awhile since I have thumbed through a copy of it. My dad helped me build a catapult once for Scouts. My catapult was much bigger than what the other kids built, and we used a bicycle tire innertube for the spring, making it through things a long way, we won that competition. Good memories about that book.


-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

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