30 in30 (Projects/Days) #5: 30 in 30 Midway Point

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Blog entry by Russel posted 06-14-2009 05:10 PM 5165 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Day #7 - Projects 3-12 Part 5 of 30 in30 (Projects/Days) series no next part

Well, it’s half way through the 30 Projects in 30 Days Challenge and it’s time for a bit of a review. Or, What I Learn on My Summer Vacation.

In two weeks, I have learned that if I need to, I can discipline myself to complete projects on a deadline. I have been known to start things and set them off to the side, but this challenge has put me into a position to complete what I start. That’s a good thing.

Coming up with a regular stream of projects is no small feat. This challenge has forced me to consider the need to be able to “create” at will. I’m sure that professionals are called upon to build either for inventory or, because a potential client wants something out of the ordinary. I am now pretty sure that creativity can be summoned.

I also learned to “listen” to my materials a little better. By that I mean that I’m learning to look at a piece of wood and visualize a project suitable to it. While you can make anything with any piece of wood, some pieces of lumber are just asking to be something specific.

I view this increased sensitivity as a good thing. Even though some of what I’ve done is less than stellar (significantly so), I’ve improve my willingness to evaluate the materials I work with before starting a project.

I have learned to trust my instincts a little more. I am a master second-guesser. I have never seen a problem I didn’t want to solve, or a solution that I didn’t have a problem with. I have the ability to doubt anything I do. For those of you following at home, this can really slow things down and even cause errors. There is the possibility to do things too deliberately. This challenge has forced me to commit to decisions. Sometimes that means making something more than once and sometimes that means getting something done in a timely manner. Both are good results.

Good things have come from this challenge so far and I’m glad I started it. However, I’ve also learned that arbitrary deadlines can cause unnecessary rushing, bad design decisions and a willingness to accept second rate work.

I knew going in to the challenge that I would be pushing things. The types of projects I typically make and enjoy making do not always lend themselves to a one a day schedule. I’m not particularly happy about that.

I like that I’ve able to have multiple projects in progress, but I must admit that I’ve done some things, simply to stay on schedule, that I am not proud of. While my activities in the shop have been more focused, I’ve been more concerned with having enough projects than I’m comfortable with.

All in all, the challenge has been a good thing. However, I believe at this point I will bow out. After these two weeks I am convinced I could complete 30 projects. But, I’m not sure I’d like them. In my woodworking I want to continue to increase my skill and quality and I don’t see that coming from continuing the challenge.

I walk away with some very good lessons and a little bit more confidence in my skills. And, I wish Darryl and Scott good luck in their efforts.

-- Working at Woodworking

11 comments so far

View patron's profile


13524 posts in 2763 days

#1 posted 06-14-2009 05:40 PM

this is good to see how you chalenged yourself , and the conclusion that you are better off
in your tried and true method of pacing yourself and really learning before rushing on to something new .
the things we learn arent much good if they just get stuffed in a closet somewhere and never remembered
until it is to late the next time . im happy for you , that you can now realy learn in your own time at your own pace !
and am happy you learned to listen to the wood ,
it’s not about making something ,
it’s about being part of something new and learning to experience different things .
move at your own speed and enjoy !

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

View dhg's profile


197 posts in 3134 days

#2 posted 06-14-2009 06:26 PM

” But, I’m not sure I’d like them. ”

Russel, I think what you show here is integrity in you and in the projects you want to produce. Sure we can all throw something together, but you have to like it and be proud to put your name on it.

My hat is off to you my friend for your discovery’s and attempt.


-- Talent on Loan from God - Rush Limbaugh

View Rustic's profile


3220 posts in 3018 days

#3 posted 06-14-2009 06:51 PM

You have learned quite a bit on this journey. Look forward to seeing your best

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3361 days

#4 posted 06-14-2009 06:56 PM

David, Rich and Rick I appreciate the encouragement, and I can say that this has been a good experience and well worth the time.

-- Working at Woodworking

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3521 days

#5 posted 06-14-2009 07:22 PM

Those are some great lessons. 30 projects in 30 days is quite a challenge, the thought wears me out!

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3361 days

#6 posted 06-14-2009 08:10 PM

Todd, I certainly learned a lot more about me and my techniques than I did about woodworking. But, it was a worthwhile exercise.

-- Working at Woodworking

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 2999 days

#7 posted 06-14-2009 08:49 PM

How about going for 60 projects in 60 days?

-- Custom furniture

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 3668 days

#8 posted 06-14-2009 09:38 PM

You know when I got sober I had to do 90-in 90- 90 meetings in 90 days. Just a thought.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View scrappy's profile


3506 posts in 2852 days

#9 posted 06-14-2009 10:42 PM

I aplaud you sir! To even take on this challenge is something way beyond my knowledge and skill level at this time.

It takes a fine man to step up to the challenge, and a great man to stick to his principles and know that the quality of work is what matters the most.

My hat is off to you.

Keep up the fine quality of projects that keep people like me allways trying to improve our skills and knowledge.

Thank you


-- Scrap Wood's the best...the projects are smaller, and so is the mess!

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 3749 days

#10 posted 06-20-2009 03:59 AM

keep at it, yes creativity can be summoned,... though for me, I just wait for it to strike. It usually does when I do something else… driving, drifting off to sleep, and the shower are great for idea generation.
The projects I had a week or two to come up with in school turning into one of dozens (or more) that I’d have do do daily once I graduated.

The last 30 days I learned more about streamlining processes, sharpening, and taking pictures than I’d have learned in a year of casual project making.

and it doesnt matter if our projects are successes or failures (not that they are), we’re learning lots from them, and perhaps next time (or once these self-imposed deadlines are past) we can make, and knock off a quick punch-list, and have upwards of 30 stellar projects.

Best case, maybe we’ll ride the momentum and finish all the other 90% completed projects around the house. (Oh I shudder to think of the years old work left in the kitchen, hall, etc…)

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

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3361 days

#11 posted 06-20-2009 12:54 PM

Scott, the process taught me a lot and I’m glad you shared the idea of 30 in 30. I’ve got a fair amont of new insights to implement, and I’m definitely moving forward. However, I can’t rule out the possibility that I won’t try this again in the future.

-- Working at Woodworking

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