Can't sleep tonight...

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Blog entry by Sgt_Lobo posted 11-21-2007 07:53 AM 1548 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Do any of you start thinking about projects in the middle of the night? Well, when I do, I can’t sleep. My mother was always an insomniac and I think I picked up a bit of it as well. If I’m not thinking about wood projects, then I’m usually thinking about work projects (I am a computer programmer when I’m not off fighting somewhere). Either way it always seems that I come up with my best ideas when I am lying in bed… The big problem is when I get ideas in my head, they stay there, for hours, and the only way I have found to get them out is to get up and write down notes. Usually that’ll do the trick and I can fall back to sleep.

So tonight, it’s the woodwork that’s keeping me up. Christmas is coming soon, and because of recent deployments, I’m getting a very late start on building Christmas gifts for the family. So, there are 3 in particular that I really want to get done and in the mail before the big day gets here.

Watch my blogs because I am going to attempt to work 3 separate projects concurrently. Starting tomorrow I will be building a small box for my mother, a small box for my step-father, and a knife display case for my best friend.

The good thing is that I can make the two boxes the same size (although I will be using different woods) that way I can make my cuts at the same time and save some time setting up stop blocks, jigs, and the like…

I will be using the same type of joinery for all 3 projects (mitered/splined corners) which should also shave off some time.

So, I guess my question of the day (or night) is: How many projects have you all worked at the same time? I’m not talking about you pros, just average joes like me. To this point I have built all my projects one at a time so I could ensure all of my concentration was put into it.

-- Sgt_Lobo -- Aurora, CO

13 comments so far

View gizmodyne's profile


1780 posts in 4116 days

#1 posted 11-21-2007 08:11 AM

Too many at once. It’s more like they are haunting me. Currently I have a dining table, two nightstands, 5 boxes, a side table, window screens, windows, cabinets, and many refinishing projects. Slow and steady?

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View Sgt_Lobo's profile


87 posts in 3885 days

#2 posted 11-21-2007 08:15 AM

Kind of makes my 3 seem paltry….

-- Sgt_Lobo -- Aurora, CO

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 3901 days

#3 posted 11-21-2007 09:30 AM

Hm, I can’t sleep tonight either. InsomniJocks? I try to bundle similar jobs together, kind of like you are. My idea is to have four or five stages (machining, finishing, casework, etc) in the shop and have something going in each stage at any given time. Sometimes different parts of one project are in several stages at once, and sometimes several projects are going but in different stages. The theory is that I can keep moving (instead of waiting for the paint to dry, or whatever) but not be in my own way. It doesn’t always work out that way, but it’s at least an attempt at workflow organization!

-- -- --

View Sawdust2's profile


1466 posts in 4114 days

#4 posted 11-21-2007 12:58 PM

Giz, that’s just an excuse for not exercising your creative endeavors on the funnies!

I generally have 3-4 at a time. Less is too boring and time consuming, more I cannot keep track of.

-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View shaun's profile


360 posts in 3932 days

#5 posted 11-21-2007 01:01 PM

You’re not alone with the insomnia, I have a hard time turning my brian off, although there are many that would say my brain was never turned on in the first place ;) I’ve always got multiple projects going on in various stages of completion and there is always somthing that comes up and causes me to realign my priorities. If I could find a way to work as fast as I think I’d be in geat shape.

-- I've cut that board three times and it's still too short!

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4032 days

#6 posted 11-21-2007 01:45 PM

Even a single project is really like a series of steps. So treat the three jobs as one project with more steps and it wont seem like as much work!

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2539 posts in 3984 days

#7 posted 11-21-2007 03:38 PM

I always seem to have many projects in the planning stages, but I usually only work one at a time. I don’t do woodworking for a living, so I try not to impose deadlines on projects…but this can backfire on you and then you have a bunch of never dones lying around. That combined with a really sick level of must have accuracy and attention to detail tends to make my projects run long! I am usually working out the details of several projects in my head, a couple more will be in the process of having plans/SU models being put together ( I cant nail 2 boards together with out an AutoCAD drawing..another sicknes!)...but I am usually only physically working on one thing at a time. I guess I could be allot more productive and churn out stuff faster..but whats the point? Again I don’t do it for a living, and most of the stuff I make is for myself or my family or for friends. I like to take my time and make sure things get done the way I want them to, and enjoy the whole experience of woodworking. I do it because I enjoy it, and I get a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction out of building stuff for myself and other people. I don’t want to hurry through projects and try and meet deadlines. I did woodworking for a living and it kinda took all the fun out of it for me.


View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4245 days

#8 posted 11-21-2007 03:39 PM

As to insomnia, I always fall asleep easily. My problem is waking up at 4 or 5 a.m. with project ideas and not being able to go back to sleep.

I usually focus mainly on one project at a time, but I try to have a second in the works so there is something to do while the glue is drying on the first one.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Mark's profile


316 posts in 4160 days

#9 posted 11-21-2007 04:01 PM

Too many projects in different stages of development results in many nights, or early mornings, of lost sleep. Also unless you have a large work space each project is running into the others. Therefore I try to limit mine to 2 or 3 at different stages depending on the size and complexity of the piece.

I’ve never slept much but it sure is nice when you can. Besides my wife would not appreciate the sounds of machinery at 0200 or 0300 hrs.

-- Mark

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4187 days

#10 posted 11-21-2007 04:08 PM

and a notepad (or tape recorder if you have heavy sleeper in the room with you) beside the bed is great idea. Think it; record it and forget about it until morning.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View mot's profile


4911 posts in 4063 days

#11 posted 11-21-2007 04:16 PM

The whole house was up last night. Must be a full moon. As a person that doesn’t get much time in the shop, most of my woodworking is done in my head. I think things through, change things, cut joinery, try and pick out pitfalls, and basically try and think things through so that the time I do get in the shop is as efficient as possible. As for the notepad and tape recorder? I tried stuff like that in college. My great ideas usually read something like, “It’s 4:30 and the pumpkin may not make it to the party cake.”

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Sgt_Lobo's profile


87 posts in 3885 days

#12 posted 11-21-2007 09:19 PM

Glad I’m not the only one with these problems… Peter, I too am trying to put together some type of logical work flow where each project could be in various stages. One problem I have though is that I have to do the finishing in my garage/workshop and I don’t have a good dust free environment. So this means that when I am finishing a project, no more cutting allowed. I generally do a really good clean-up 2 days prior and try to blow out all the dust from my workshop, then that’s it, I have to sit there and watch paint dry…

Deb, I used to keep a notepad next to my bed, but my wife is a light sleeper and she put a stop to that. So now if I’m gonna take notes I actually have to leave the room to do it…

-- Sgt_Lobo -- Aurora, CO

View RAH's profile


414 posts in 3903 days

#13 posted 11-22-2007 05:57 AM

3:00 – 5:00 in the morning, I thought that was personal time, be by yourself, no interruptions, plan the day go over projects in your head. Sleep is over rated a waste of time, just think of all the projects you could get done in those hours.

I do have a number projects going at one time, especially after joining this site, to many ideas.

-- Ron Central, CA

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