Please, post your worst.

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Blog entry by Jon3 posted 06-29-2009 06:57 PM 1426 reads 0 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I see a trend among the newer members of LJ and also of various woodworking forums to not contribute until they think that their project is ‘good enough’. I also see references to various items as ‘real’ projects as in ‘my first real project’. I know that seeing some of the amazing artisans here and elsewhere can be somewhat daunting, especially to the very new people, but I would like to think that people still feel comfortable posting all of their projects, and not just the best of the best.

When I look through projects, I am certainly inspired by some of the superb work that I see here, but I also wonder how much I really learn from a flawless piece with no mistakes made. On the other hand, when I look at a project that has several mistakes, it puts my head in the mindset of ‘what would I have done here?’ and ‘have I made this mistake before?’ I also love it when I see people who post both their mistake, AND how they fixed it. To me, I’ll take one of those posts over 20 flawless stepback highboy hosts, any day of the week.

So this is my plea. Whether you’re new to the craft, or an old skilled hack, show me the ugly, the decrepit, the unskilled, and the just plain awful projects.

I think we’ll all learn a lot.

17 comments so far

View patron's profile


13604 posts in 3341 days

#1 posted 06-29-2009 07:10 PM

very democratic idea ,
“send me your tired ,your poor, ................. , your wretched refuse …........... ”
a nice way to include newcomers ,
and to share the real learning .
thanks for the post !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3939 days

#2 posted 06-29-2009 07:47 PM

By all means, everything posted does not need to be perfect … just look at my stuff. The people here are encouraging and helpful. And, unless you know what you’re doing wrong, you’re only guessing at what you’re doing right.

-- Working at Woodworking

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3526 days

#3 posted 06-29-2009 08:01 PM

...yes but there are some that have spent weeks or months on a project and post it and then complain when its bumped off of the first page by a bottle balancer that took 15 minutes to make. (I agree that all should be shared for even the simplist item can give ideas to larger ones and everyone learns or relearns)

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Jon3's profile


497 posts in 4105 days

#4 posted 06-29-2009 08:38 PM

But who cares if it gets bumped off the first page? Won’t it get bumped off eventually anyway? Who is to judge which projects would be worthy of posting and which would not be?

I know I generally scan pretty much every project that comes into LJ, clicking on the ones that I find interesting, whether they be large or small, masterful or error-prone. I’m not sure front page time should be devoted only to the larger, better looking projects.

View Karson's profile


35121 posts in 4400 days

#5 posted 06-29-2009 08:40 PM

Great idea Post everything and lets up see you grow in skills.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3939 days

#6 posted 06-29-2009 09:10 PM

Exactly Karson.

-- Working at Woodworking

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3648 days

#7 posted 06-29-2009 09:11 PM

great idea. pretty much everything I’ve posted here has some flaws in it. something that went wrong in it, some ugly part that is (hopefully) well hidden in there. a too big mortise, an an even cut line, a hole in the wrong place… and the list goes on and on.

as someone once said – it’s not how perfect you make your work, it’s how well you hide your errors., and I hide them well!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2791 posts in 3437 days

#8 posted 06-29-2009 09:17 PM

Ah, but don’t we all post some of our worst? You see, taking pictures and posting them never really shows the true project. Well, maybe it does for some but I can pick out the issues with each project I’ve made but most will never see them. And with a picture on a website the issues are usually not visible. Particularly if you don’t show that 4th side of the project with the problematic part.

I’ll start with the first confession. A recent raised panel bed I made. One of the small panels, about 12”x8”, when I put it incrementally through the router table to produce the ogee face to the panel. I had to put them through about 5 times to take the ogee down to the right size. That one panel I did it once to few. So the panel looks slightly larger than it’s sister panel on the opposite side. I didn’t know till I had glued the whole thing up. I know. People might notice but probably not unless I point it out. And on lumberjocks the perspective in the photo doesn’t show it.

There you have it. Boy I feel better now getting that off my chest. Hey, maybe Jon3 has a good idea here. We need to get Martin to start a confessional forum complete with confessor/moderator so we can all feel better about our mistakes. Pardon me.. I’ve got to run out to the shop and say a bunch of Hail Mary’s. Ya, I’m Catholic.

A professional musical instrument maker once told me, “The difference between a good craftsman and a great craftsman, is the great one knows how to hide his mistakes”.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3286 days

#9 posted 06-29-2009 09:32 PM

I wish I had pictures of my early work to post. Digital cameras were a long way off at that time. To be honest, 8-track tapes were a long way off. Could have used the old Kodak or Polaroid I guess, but it never crossed my mind.
I would have never dreamed there would be a woodworking site——or even the internet. At least I did learn from all those mistakes.


View CaptainSkully's profile


1599 posts in 3558 days

#10 posted 06-29-2009 10:38 PM

That’s a great idea. I know I’ve totally biffed a bunch of stuff, almost on a daily basis. Of course we only show our successes, but a pic is worth a thousand words, and showing your early stuff can really engender constructive comments and questions. There is a life-long learning curve to woodworking, which is why so many of us have gray hair. When I’m building something pretty complex, the more processes I’ve done to a certain piece, the more anxious I get about biffing the next step and having to do all of them over again on a new piece.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View FlWoodRat's profile


732 posts in 3909 days

#11 posted 06-30-2009 01:46 AM

I was more than slightly amused to your reference to 8-Track tape recordings. I too am old enough to remember when they hit the market. Lucky for me, I wasn’t able to afford to buy one and had to wait for the first casset tapes to come out.

-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning....

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3526 days

#12 posted 06-30-2009 04:02 PM

Kent and Woodrat if either of you still needs an 8-track I still have mine in the bus. Just gave all my tapes away a few months back to a collector friend. Dang, I need some Geritol!

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View patron's profile


13604 posts in 3341 days

#13 posted 06-30-2009 04:12 PM

we all make mistakes .
the nice thing about this site ,
is that we all get to learn how not to make the same ones .
that way we can all make new one’s .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3286 days

#14 posted 06-30-2009 07:37 PM

FiWoodRat & Kindlingmaker,
I actually still have my 8-track recorder, for all the good it does. Kinda hard to find blank tapes these days. I was releived someone knew what I was talking about. Anybody for a little Iron Butterfly of Steppenwolf

Jon3, I didn’t mean to hijack your thread. I guess I got caught up in a time warp.


View almostsquare's profile


16 posts in 3259 days

#15 posted 07-06-2009 07:45 PM

It sure is nice to know that I am not the only one with skeletons in my closet! Or for that matter in my posted profile photo. My present facial hair is pretty white!
I too have committed my fair share of project blunders but always find it challenging to then try and salvage the project. Like several of you have said, I can always see the flaws in my own work because I was the one who put them there. Many times though, they remain unobvious to other observers.
A now deceased friend once told me: A little bit of putty and a little bit of paint, Makes a carpenter what he ain’t!

-- Kelly in Canton

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