Procrastination: Woodworking

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Blog entry by Woodbutchery posted 08-10-2008 05:08 PM 1196 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is from another blog site of mine from a project from last year, but it seems so appropriate here I thought I’d port it over.

I’m working on a set of shelves for Caitlin, making them out of 3/4” red oak plywood, blah blah blah. The end result, when done, will be a second set of shelves to mirror the set on the other side of the fireplace.

So the plywood is ripped, banded, and ready for final cutting, then assembly. And this is where the procrastination kicks in.

I’m still at a stage in my woodbutchery “skills” that there is an air of uncertainty as to whether my cuts, rips, dadoes, and doodads will all fit like I want them. If I get it wrong, the look is sloppy, and it’s visible sloppy. And with most wood projects, wrong only has to be a 16tjh of an inch off for sloppy to look like “Oh dear God!”. So I play the put-off game; “I don’t want to start on that now, because I don’t have EVERY piece of wood cut and ready for gluing.”, or “I’ve still got to make the dadoes for the vertical supports.”, or “I’ve got those paperclips that need counting.”.

What it really comes down to is an uneasiness about actually having to go and finish the work. In almost every project of this nature I start off with I get to a point that I’m afraid to screw it up and motion stops until I finally get tired of the doubting voices in my head and barrel on through. Imperfections exist in all of my woodworking projects to date, but for the most part they are noticeable only if you are looking for faults in a product, rather than it’s strengths. Since I still consider myself a novice at this hobby, I’m hoping that this is a symptom that can be overcome with further practice – start a project, work on the project, finish the project. I’m currently trying to make a resolution that will see the assembly of the shelves done by the nightfall Sunday.

/ addenda . I made the deadline, had them finished within the following week, and they were in and I had a happier wife. /

-- Making scrap with zen-like precision - Woodbutchery

11 comments so far

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 3844 days

#1 posted 08-10-2008 05:18 PM

It sounds like we have a similar affliction. Don’t dwell on it though. It will drive you crazy.

I think in my case it is because everything I do is a first, so I hope it will get better the second time.

Oh wait, there won’t be a second time ;)

-- Scott - Chico California

View Paul's profile


660 posts in 4122 days

#2 posted 08-10-2008 05:22 PM

A daily prayer posted in my office and should be posted in my shop as well . . . it helps me with the perfectionism that causes the kind of procrastination in me you mention,

”God, help me, this one day, to live a life of progress not perfection.”

in Twelve Keys For Living:Possibilities for a Whole Healthy Life by Kennon Callahan, Jossey-Bass: San Francisco, 1998

Hang in there and enjoy!

-- Paul, Texas

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3968 days

#3 posted 08-10-2008 05:31 PM

I know the procrastination feeling well. There comes a point in every project where you look at the parts and say, “Okay, there’s no turning back now.” It’s that line where once you cross it, a mistake can cause a major rebuild or a “nice try.” So, I know from whence you come.

-- Working at Woodworking

View lazyfiremaninTN's profile


528 posts in 3982 days

#4 posted 08-10-2008 05:43 PM

I have that probl…..........

-- Adrian ..... The 11th Commandment...."Thou Shalt Not Buy A Wobble Dado"

View frank's profile


1492 posts in 4235 days

#5 posted 08-10-2008 06:11 PM

Hello Woodbutchery; I’m going to try and help some-what here….LOL

In understanding procrastination; might it help if one were to understand that a synonym for procrastination is ‘cunctation’, which also means ‘the act of delaying or deferring an action to an-other time. Now in the study of ‘etymology’ one comes to learn that this word coms to us from ‘hangian’ in Old English and that hangian means; to hang, to be hanging.

Now I can-not speak for you, but for my-self….”I sure don’t want to be left hanging….” LOL

Also as I’m inclined to tell folks, there are no-mistakes//mis-steps in woodworking, since just as soon as I have taken that step….then comes my next step….

....and yes, it’s all-ways better to be making some form of saw-dust, then watching what has accumulated on the floor! Great hearing from you and welcome…..

Thank you.

-- --frank, NH,

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3717 days

#6 posted 08-10-2008 06:21 PM

Don’t feel alone in this , my friend . I’ve put off making a table for some relatives for almost three years now , all the while feeling that it “won’t be good enough” for them , when in reallity , it is MYSELF that won’t be satisfied . I purchased the wood for the project way back then and I can only hope that it hasn’t gone to H* just laying around. Time to get going on that project , just as soon as I finish sorting these screws out…LOL : ) Take care and thanks for letting us know that we’re not alone in our misery !

Paul , thanks for this thought as well :
”God, help me, this one day, to live a life of progress not perfection.”

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Woodbutchery's profile


401 posts in 3615 days

#7 posted 08-10-2008 08:55 PM

The funny thing is that I should take a page from my “canned speech” about being able to perform. There comes a moment when you just have to make the leap. It is my hope that with practice, I’ll get better at embracing imperfection as a part of my philosphy.

Thank you all, for helping me realize I’m not alone in this.

-- Making scrap with zen-like precision - Woodbutchery

View jerryw's profile


158 posts in 3945 days

#8 posted 08-11-2008 05:06 AM

If you don’t screw up occasionally, you are not doing anything. we learn by our mistakes. I hate finishing and i mess up sometimes. but that don’t stop me from trying something new. I’ve been making firewood from my mistrakes for 40 years.

-- jerryw-wva.

View SteveKorz's profile


2134 posts in 3743 days

#9 posted 08-11-2008 03:05 PM

Woodbutchery, don’t feel bad… I’ve been making a curio cabinet for a couple of my wife’s cookie jars for about three years… lol. I look at it, then tell myself, “ah, I’ll get it later… don’t have time for that right now.”

I’m guilty too.

—-Paul, I like that quote… very truthful… ”God, help me, this one day, to live a life of progress not perfection.”

The desire to make things “perfect” makes me procrastinate… thus, according to Frank, I leave myself hanging…. lol.

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View kolwdwrkr's profile


2821 posts in 3619 days

#10 posted 08-12-2008 05:17 AM

If you can wake up and create perfection then wisdom and talent was bestowed upon you during the night, and you shall be a very lucky varmint and hope that it may last. For the rest of us, we will wake up and attempt perfection, going through imperfection all the way till the end, the end being when the customer says “it’s perfect” whether it is or not.

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View gusthehonky's profile


130 posts in 3771 days

#11 posted 08-12-2008 06:10 AM

My procrastination causes me to rush. I’m not sure which is worse, something already screwed up, or something waiting to be screwed up.

-- Ciao, gth.

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