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Must Be A Southpaw Thing

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Blog entry by handsawgeek posted 12-17-2014 09:52 PM 1455 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The other night I happened to be sitting in my shop.

Yep…just sitting.

And looking around at my little woodworking kingdom.

I gazed at the workbench…at the tool shelves and racks along the back wall, lined with all of my oft-used hand tools neatly arranged and ready for me to pick up to make shavings and chips….then at the stack of cutoffs under the utility bench…then at the various boards and panels leaning against another wall, waiting to become a project.

This night, I didn’t come into the workshop intending to do any work.

All I did was sit… pop a couple of Altoids…..and look.

I think every woodworker does and should do this once in a while.

At least for me, doing so gives me a little quiet time to ponder this whole woodworking thing. And what better place than in the serenity of the quiet, idle workshop?

I found myself thinking about a lot of things: Which direction I want to go with my woodworking, what skills I have yet to learn, tools that I must acquire to complete my ideal tool kit, shop fixtures and aids I yet need to build, and projects I want to tackle.

Projects.

Gazing around the shop, I took special notice of all the projects that were sitting around awaiting completion. To my surprise, there are quite a few. Lathe stand parts here, a half-finished tool cabinet there, and over there- pieces of pine I cut last spring for making boxes to organize cutoff stock by species, parts of unfinished toys in totes on a shelf under the bench, an old socket chisel that needs a handle turned, hand saws awaiting cleaning and sharpening, a couple of planes to be fettled.

I began to wonder why there are so many unfinished things sitting around in my shop. Then it also struck me that I have been very active lately looking at woodworking magazines, books, blogs, forums, and project pages, filling my head with even more projects which I would like to tackle! Yeah, just what I need….

After thinking about this for a bit, I figured out what was wrong…I have a weird tendency to start a lot of things, but put off finishing them. Procrastination is not really the issue here, rather it’s a matter of having so many things flying around in my cranium that I enthusiastically get started on a project, then get interested in and fly off to another before the first one is completed. This has a cumulative effect, and soon I find a large pile of things undone and cluttering up the shop.

I will attribute all of this to being left-handed.

Time to do something about this. No, not the left-handedness thing….can’t help that.

Instead, I opened up my shop notebook to a clean page and began drafting a checklist of all the unfinished projects I could find in the shop, large and small.

I identified 35….

When I had finished, I tore the page out of the notebook and tacked it to a prominent spot above the tool shelves. I resolved to work through this list and complete everything on it before even thinking about starting a new project.

We’ll see how long THAT lasts !!

Nonetheless, with that done, I shut off all the shop lights and trekked upstairs, satisfied that I had just completed perhaps one of my most productive shop sessions this year. And I didn’t even have to sweep up any shavings!

-- Ed



13 comments so far

View DIYaholic's profile

DIYaholic

19180 posts in 2142 days


#1 posted 12-17-2014 10:16 PM



.... This has a cumulative effect, and soon I find a large pile of things undone and cluttering up the shop.
I will attribute all of this to being left-handed….

- handsawgeek

I’m right handed…. Guess I need to rationalize a different excuse!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Richard's profile

Richard

1907 posts in 2157 days


#2 posted 12-17-2014 10:17 PM

I am not Left Handed but I seem to have the same problem as you with starting a new project before others are done. Maybe it is just loseing intrest in one when another more intresting one comes up.

View changeoffocus's profile

changeoffocus

457 posts in 1084 days


#3 posted 12-17-2014 11:08 PM

Funny post as I am left handed. I went through much the same thought process shortly after joining this site.
I made the list and have stayed on track for the most part. The primary influence is seeing all the shops, tools, jigs and projects on the site.
It’s comforting to understand I’m not alone and have something to blame it on.
One thing that has helped me adapt my shop is to look at all the right hander’s shop pictures in a mirror. (just kidding)
Thanks for posting

View longgone's profile

longgone

5688 posts in 2775 days


#4 posted 12-17-2014 11:39 PM

I am a southpaw also…but just the opposite because I can not stand to have an unfinished project in my shop.

I will work on several things at the same time such as cutting out parts for new projects after a glue up on other ones, or applying finishes… but if I have 5 projects in different stages I will complete all 5 of them before starting any new group…I guess it is just a southpaw thing for me personally.

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

7487 posts in 1474 days


#5 posted 12-18-2014 01:35 AM

I also started a list of unfinished projects, and happened to look out the window … OOOooo Look!


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-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View handsawgeek's profile

handsawgeek

591 posts in 862 days


#6 posted 12-18-2014 02:16 PM

LOL..One of my favorite characters from one of my favorite animated movies!

Seriously, I doubt if my enthusiasm for different projects has anything to do with being a lefty. I just need to reign in the chaos and focus on one thing at a time. That’s where the checklist will help.

Greg…I like your MO

Good to see there are so many LJ lefties!

-- Ed

View Dallas's profile

Dallas

3599 posts in 1954 days


#7 posted 12-18-2014 02:56 PM

I use to be left handed and mostly still am, but I have been told that I am “Acquired Ambidextrous” meaning I use either hand.
I play baseball right handed, play guitar right handed, shoot right handed, play piano, (badly) right handed, etc.

Everything else, just about, I do left handed.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View handsawgeek's profile

handsawgeek

591 posts in 862 days


#8 posted 12-18-2014 03:07 PM

Dallas, That’s very interesting. I also play violin and guitar right handed, and use a baseball bat right-handed.

Eating utinsels are really weird: spoons are used strictly lefty, forks -either way -left handed when using a knife to cut meat, right handed for everything else. (funny thing is I use chopsticks with the left hand, so I can use both those and a fork at the same time and really shovel the food in :) )

Most of my woodworking is done left handed with a few odd exceptions: My shooting board is set up and used the right handed way, and I use eggbeater drills the right handed way as well.

Strange be the handsawgeek world!

-- Ed

View Dallas's profile

Dallas

3599 posts in 1954 days


#9 posted 12-18-2014 04:09 PM

Ed, you should see me using a fishing rod, either spinning or bait casting. I hold them in my left hand with the reel facing up and crank the reel handle with my right hand, but when fly fishing I use it completely right handed.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View handsawgeek's profile

handsawgeek

591 posts in 862 days


#10 posted 12-19-2014 02:16 PM

Yep, same for me with fishing..using a right hand reel with left hand casting ‘technique’.
It’s usually a moot point anyway, because, for as much as I go fishing, I rarely do any ‘catching’.

-- Ed

View Dallas's profile

Dallas

3599 posts in 1954 days


#11 posted 12-19-2014 04:37 PM

I had an old Mitchell Garcia open face reel once that could use the handle on either side. My mom and dad thought it would be perfect for me, LOL. The trouble is, I had used a right handed reel for so long it felt uncomfortable to try using it a a lefty, so I just used it my regular way.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View handsawgeek's profile

handsawgeek

591 posts in 862 days


#12 posted 12-19-2014 08:15 PM

Just can’t win :0

-- Ed

View whitebeast88's profile

whitebeast88

4092 posts in 1657 days


#13 posted 12-20-2014 03:56 PM

glad to know i’m not the only one with a bunch of unfinished projects sitting in the shop!!!

-- Marty.Athens,AL

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