Is it the Journey or the End

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Blog entry by bubbyboy posted 10-20-2011 04:19 AM 1427 reads 0 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am interested in finding out what others think. My buddy and I share a shop together, it helps keep the costs down when we buy new equipment etc. We have been having an on going discussion about the projects that we do. We are both retired and work on projects for family and friends. His postion is that he tries to get his projects done as quick as possible, sometimes sacrificing quality in a rush, just to see how it will turn out, he has been known to put 2 or 3 coats of finish on just so he can give the project to someone that day rather than wait 1 more day, while I can spend literally hours sanding or working on a project with no thought about time. I thoroughly enjoy the journey way more than I do the end product no matter what it is. He loves to get the accolades while I would just as soon give the project to the recipient with a simple thank you as payment because I feel like the journey I was just on to finish it was payment enough. I hear others talk about how much they hate sanding, planing, etc. but I look to those things as therapeutic, in a weird way almost fun. Anyway just curious to see what others think.

-- I just don't understand. I have cut it 3 times and it is still to short.

18 comments so far

View bigkev's profile


198 posts in 2682 days

#1 posted 10-20-2011 04:46 AM

I don’t find sanding fun or therapeutic and I don’t believe most others do, but I see your point. I do believe that everything that leaves my shop is a direct reflection on me and that is why it doesn’t go out the door until I am satisfied. If I am happy with it, I know the recipient will be because I am more critical of my work than anyone. There is only one way to do it – the right way. It isn’t always right the first time, but it will be before it leaves my shop. Just my $.02.

-- Kevin, South Carolina

View maljr1980's profile


171 posts in 2510 days

#2 posted 10-20-2011 04:48 AM

Tony Stewart rules, sorry seen the avatar

View bubbyboy's profile


137 posts in 2747 days

#3 posted 10-20-2011 05:09 AM

Yeah Kevin, I understand completely I am also my own worse critic it has to be done right or its not worth doing. I agree Tony rules!!

-- I just don't understand. I have cut it 3 times and it is still to short.

View ShaneA's profile


6971 posts in 2652 days

#4 posted 10-20-2011 05:18 AM

I too am my worst critic, but sometimes I do like the end of a project, because it can mean the beginning of a new one. Not that I am trying to cut corners, but sometimes I feel like certain ones drag one. Plus I think we all have some projects we are more fond of than others. If its one of the “others” sometimes I am glad to see it move on, and away.

View Brian S's profile

Brian S

108 posts in 2647 days

#5 posted 10-20-2011 05:20 AM

It depends on the project. If I’m making something for someone else, I agonize over every little detail. But if it is for me, especially if it is something for the shop, I’m much more likely to try and rush it. I always regret it though, so I’m learning to take it slow, no matter what.

-- Brian

View Robert Brown's profile

Robert Brown

151 posts in 2745 days

#6 posted 10-20-2011 05:43 AM

You brought up an interesting subject. I am a hobbyist woodworker and like yourself work to please myself. I am in no rush or hurry and try to do the best I can. Your buddy on the other hand works to please other people. I believe that most non-woodworking people can not appreciate the difference between something mass produced or made by a skilled craftsman. So maybe your buddy is getting the most bang for the buck. I say okay if it makes him happy.

Myself though have drifted away from power tools. I do dovetails by hand. Scrape instead of sanding. No hurry, no dust, no noise – soft background by radio on NPR.

I guess the question is how well do you and your buddy mesh together in one shop.

View rance's profile


4259 posts in 3214 days

#7 posted 10-20-2011 05:48 AM

I used to do it all for fun. Oh, and to pay for tools too. Being out of regular work going on 8 months now, I’m leaning towards the end product side. I still don’t like to skimp on quality though. If it would pay as good as programming, I’d stop looking for a real job.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3362 days

#8 posted 10-20-2011 05:48 AM

—Every step of any project should be considered your masterpiece if you want the finished product to reflect the quality of your work.

View bubbyboy's profile


137 posts in 2747 days

#9 posted 10-20-2011 06:14 AM

Robert, To answer your question my buddy and I are best friends and have been for going on 40 years. We get along great but have very different styles which is what promted this question. We can sometimes spend hours working on individual projects or when my body isn’t working so good we can spend hours just B..S..ING
I cannot always work in the shop but I can be there to just smell the wood and really, it is my true love next to my wife of course.

-- I just don't understand. I have cut it 3 times and it is still to short.

View Woodbutchery's profile


408 posts in 3639 days

#10 posted 10-20-2011 07:14 AM

Bubby … I think the real point is to do the thing that makes you feel good. A lot of people get into this hobby for a lot of different reasons. Myself, it’s an effort to do a thing that leaves a mark, however temporary. I believe the journey is very important, but I’m a journey kind of guy. I like the results, but it is not the end-all and be-all.

Everyone’s different, and we all seek our own path, as corny and philosophical as it may sound, it still holds true. In one sense you’re comparing apples to oranges. It is what he does, you do what you do. As long as you both enjoy it, who cares?

I hope you both continue to enjoy the workshop time, whether it’s spent the part or together, and continue having fun doing what you enjoy doing.

Thus ended our lesson for today. Now I’m going to have another beer!

-- Making scrap with zen-like precision - Woodbutchery

View Eagle1's profile


2066 posts in 3118 days

#11 posted 10-20-2011 08:20 AM

Just being in my shop is therapeutic to me. It helps me out with my disability. The time sure flys by when I’m there. My wife says why are you so critical about your work. It looks great to me. I just tell her thats the way I am. Some people like doing it fast others don’t. To each there own I say. Keep on doing it the way you are is what I say.

-- Tim, Missouri ....Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18312 posts in 3730 days

#12 posted 10-20-2011 08:50 AM

For me it has always been the journey in most everything. Fishing, use a fly rod; hunting; use a flintlock; 1000 yards target shooting, use a black powder rifle instead of a modern hyper velocity scope sighted sniper model. Why would wood be any different? A friend of mine wanted to learn dovetails and so did I. He got a router and jig, I did mine just like Roy Underhill showed me on PBS ;-)) Tails first!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View jjw5858's profile


1135 posts in 2656 days

#13 posted 10-20-2011 01:49 PM

As someone who loves working with handtools, I as well agree that there is a therapy to what most of the woodworkers on here do, I would say this is one of the lead reasons many of us do that…to break away from the evergrowing rush hour of life.
Sadly for any of the talented people on here that are more interested in the business aspect I can say it’s really depressing to see such great art and skilled trades as, turning, carving, cabinet making, etc…and to make a steady dollar at it you practically have to give it away for the time we/they love to spend on it.

So I say enjoy the adventure because it obvious none of us are going to make an athletes salary doing it for cash….lol

Keep enjoying every moment at the craft and many great moments for us all in future projects! P.S. Stewart’s got a good chance this year…lol

-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3139 days

#14 posted 10-20-2011 07:48 PM

Sounds like the two of you have a great thing going in that shop, not the least of which is the ability to put
up with each others different viewpoints. I have a retired professional friend who has a shop that is
everything a woodworker would want, but whose body has seen better days. I go over whenever he calls
and needs a strong back (no mental capacity required) and help out and BS for a while. His tools and his
work is ultra precise and beautiful, his planes are all old Veritas. He has probably forgot more than I will ever
learn, but we still mange to be friends and he quietly teaches me little things I like to know, and I make
slow and happy progress in my own shop.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View bubbyboy's profile


137 posts in 2747 days

#15 posted 10-20-2011 08:00 PM

Yeah, I know what you mean Gus. My body is pretty well shot but my buddy is as strong as an ox so between the two of us we do alright. At least it keeps me out of my wifes hair for awhile. ron

-- I just don't understand. I have cut it 3 times and it is still to short.

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