Project Patience

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Woodbutchery posted 10-19-2008 02:23 PM 931 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Two weeks, and I’ve had a chance to indulge in working in the shop for hours at a time with daylight. It was a good vacation, but one of the things I noticed in the long run was my lack of patience for getting the job done and in use.

It starts off with the idea, and then as I get into the design aspect and taking my time to make sure I’ve got it close to right. Somewhere in-between making the shopping list of materials and the first cut of wood the impatience bug bites. While I still suffer the occasional dragging of feet because I’m afraid I’ll mess things up after a certain point, that is becoming less of an issue while my desire to have the project finished has increased.

It might be the difference between hand tools vs. power tools, or maybe I’ve gotten the wrong impression from watching woodworking TV shows. Heck, Norm can build a Shaker-style reproduction display case in 30 minutes, and David Marks can put together a piece of art in the same amount of time. Why can’t I? ;-)

In any case, it can lead to errors in the production, and it’s the reason I’m examining it.

I like the idea that my time in the workshop should be done when I’m relaxing, not working off frustration; I have music for the latter (There’s nothing like a set of four jigs (musical) played at lightning speed to boil away frustration quickly). I don’t know about the rest of you, but my work-to-cleanup ratio FEELS like 2:3, though even the cleanup is satisfying in the end because there’s that sense of accomplishment.

So. I’ve decided to try to bring patience into my workshop. I may even make a sign. I’ve got a six-panel box to build for my mother’s christmas gift along with a few other things I’d like to do between now and then, so let’s see if I can practice the patience I seek.

-- Making scrap with zen-like precision - Woodbutchery

8 comments so far

View frank's profile


1492 posts in 4203 days

#1 posted 10-19-2008 04:27 PM

Hello Woodbutchery;
....and so it ’just is’ with patience! Patience is really not some-thing to seek, but is right there in front of us all….a most use-full tool in the hands of a worker of wood and yet I would say that very few ever know the in-joy-ment that patience brings. I really never watch those shows that accomplish the end in one hour….kind of like why I don’t have time for movies where all the problems are solved within two hours. Like how does one get married, divorced and then murdered and the problems of war and all is fixed up in time to go to sleep. Thats not reality….but, then in todays fast paced society we want short fixes and even shorter projects.

Study the worker’s of wood who lived before power tools and one will start to grasp what a long range wood project really meant. I’m not saying or speaking for//or against power tools, just setting the stage so that one can understand what those did, to pave the way for us worker’s of wood today.

My only suggestion might be to add that when dealing with and ”bringing patience into the workshop” sure and put a Do Not Disturb sign on the doorway of your shop….since you’ll be dealing with all sorts of ‘patients’ coming your way….LOL.

Great to see you blogging here and….;

Thank you.

-- --frank, NH,

View Tim Pursell's profile

Tim Pursell

499 posts in 3779 days

#2 posted 10-19-2008 05:54 PM

A quote form your profile: ”My aspirations are low – slowly work on projects, increase knowledge, try to incorporate lessons learned in every new project.” It doesn’t matter how long it takes to finish a project. How do you feel when it is done? Yes, thru the magic of editing & lots of assistants Norm et all can whip up beautifull progects in 30 min., less comercials. We can’t. Who cares? Unless you are trying to make a living at woodworking. I’ve felt the same thing as you, but just let it go & enjoy making things.


View Woodbutchery's profile


384 posts in 3582 days

#3 posted 10-19-2008 06:49 PM

So far, with each new project I’ve felt like I’ve learned a little more, did a little better. In the case of my table saw / router table, I’m working on a redesign. Started doing that ten minutes after I completed the first one.

One of the things MOST helpful in this group is the number of comments I read from others and their journey in learning/practicing woodworking skills. That and all the pretty pictures!

-- Making scrap with zen-like precision - Woodbutchery

View ChuckV's profile (online now)


3118 posts in 3524 days

#4 posted 10-19-2008 07:57 PM

These ideas really hit home with me. In the short year that I have been exploring woodworking, the aspects being discussed here are what really matter to me.

In some ways, this hobby and my “real job” as a software developer are as different as possible. When I am working in my shop, I am in charge of everything from the large and serious matter of my own safety to the minutest decisions of design and technique. I most enjoy being able to take as much time as I want – well, within reason – once the glue is spread, it is time to spring into action!

There are those times when I feel myself getting frustrated and enjoying myself less in the workshop. I try very hard to remember that when this happens I need to either leave the shop or find something else to do there, such as some organizing or cleaning.

I am especially grateful to my wife for making it possible for me to work in this way. We have two young sons, so I need her support to be able to enjoy this hobby.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View Woodbutchery's profile


384 posts in 3582 days

#5 posted 10-19-2008 08:22 PM

Glad to see someone at least getting some entertainment out of this.

Chuck, your wife is indeed special if she’s letting you pursue your hobby while the both of you care for two boys.

-- Making scrap with zen-like precision - Woodbutchery

View Andy's profile


1694 posts in 3905 days

#6 posted 10-19-2008 08:25 PM

I feel your pain.I used to fight within regarding relaxing and enjoying what I did in the shop or in photography.
Over the years I have learned to enjoy the process as much as the end result.I liken it to kids on a trip asking: “are we there yet?”they focus only on the destination.I now enjoy just being in the shop,can set aside a project for months at a time and when I come back to I am refreshed and ready to go.But that took awhile to learn.I always felt rushed to make something beautiful in a weekend or two and it usually looked like it when I was done.I found that my results improved when I slowed down and really liked the entire process.
Natural talent or having a gift is overrated.I have neither.I scratched out a level of skill that I am still improving upon out of a desire to make beautiful things and a stubborness to stick with it.You have talent too,just stick with it and enjoy yourself in the process.

-- If I can do it, so can you.

View kolwdwrkr's profile


2821 posts in 3587 days

#7 posted 10-19-2008 10:19 PM

I feel like I view things in a different perspective. Design is something I don’t want to deal with, so I build while designing. I’ll gather some material and make a part, whether it’s a small door or the start of a marquetry pattern. I’ll make that part and when it’s done is when I drag my feet. I like what I’ve accomplished, but what am I adding to it? So I stop and mosy around for a few days, weeks, whatever. Then it occurs to me that maybe I can just do “this, then that” and it would look good. My projects never get drawn until the later stages, and I only do it because I get tired of not seeing it. Only at that point is it when I am giving myself the motivation to continue, and the project has already been mentally built. To me putting something on paper, drawing it out full scale, putting diminsions on it, etc really isn’t any different then copying someone elses project, even though you are basically copying yours. The artistic part is only proven in the beginning of the project, “the design”. What I like to do is see past the woodworking part. I’m not an assembler or a worker. I don’t need a guide or a path, nor do I want one. I like to tinker with this and play with that, putting them together in the end to make a project, often referred to as “art”. There are exceptions to this though I admit. For instance “the box” project I made started with a drawing. Why? Because I already had the leather carved from a few years before and it was basically the design itself. So, out came the pencil so to draw around this art.
I like to think of building as homework or school. If you sit there thinking about it to long you will eventually think of it as work and your mind will give up on it. For me studying was always hard. I had to concentrate and try to learn something my mind didn’t want to learn. So when you are woodworking you are basically studying, trying to figure out the “how to’s and what ifs” instead of carrying through the work physically. Your mind will guide your actiions as you commit, but your actions won’t follow your mind without hesitation. Anybody can be a good woodworker so long as they stop thinking about it and just work. After all that is what it boils down to.
Good luck

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View Woodbutchery's profile


384 posts in 3582 days

#8 posted 10-19-2008 11:01 PM

Ask 12 writers how they write and you’ll get twelve different answers. Some use pen and paper, some pencil, some typewriter, some computer.

We all find our ways to our creative source and work back out from there. What we tend to find is that those who have mastered a craft, whatever it may be, are secure in the knowledge that there is so much beyond their craft that they DON’T know.

I just ain’t secure enough yet ;-).

-- Making scrap with zen-like precision - Woodbutchery

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics