My shop and I needed a hug

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Blog entry by jacob34 posted 12-14-2012 10:15 PM 1476 reads 0 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I like most have limited time in my shop whether school events for children, spending time with my wife, holidays or work so sometimes it is a week or two before I end up back in my happy place. Last night was one of those times and as I thought on what to do with this precious time my options ran through my head. Should I sharpen my planes and chisels? Or maybe work on a cabinet I started, or finish a small box that frustrated me??

It was at this moment that I realized in times like that I needed to complete something and wasn’t close to the end on the two projects I had going, need hinges for one and the other I have just started. Lucky with small children there are many things you can build in an evening. I ended up building a stool. Simple and lacking any difficulty at all but I reconnected with my tools shop and felt a little bit of accomplishment which makes me want to tackle my larger project.

I am curios if anyone is in the same boat, or do most of us just step back in as though they were in the shop yesterday?? I almost think my shop gets offended if I am away for a while and needs me to produce a finished product.

-- so a bear and a rabbit are sitting on a log

18 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117160 posts in 3633 days

#1 posted 12-14-2012 10:20 PM

It might be called the bog of what to do or if to do blues. :))

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Don W's profile

Don W

18791 posts in 2623 days

#2 posted 12-14-2012 10:29 PM

I usually have several projects in some state of incompleteness. I often envy the person who can do one project at a time. And like you some days its nice to bang one out.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Manitario's profile


2630 posts in 2939 days

#3 posted 12-14-2012 10:53 PM

I go through periods of time where I end up only having 1/2h here and there in the shop. It ends up dragging out projects so long that I get sick of them. I normally have a long list of projects that I am eagerly anticipating starting and it is so frustrating not making any progress!

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View danr's profile


154 posts in 3241 days

#4 posted 12-14-2012 11:09 PM

For most of us wood working is a hobby. Sounds like that is your situation also. Your kids will grow up very quickly and then you will wonder where all of the time went and you will miss them as you have more time to spend in your shop. Life is a constant dilemma it seems. Its the way that you handle it that counts.

The way that I try to deal with the situation you are describing is to remind myself that:

1.) I am doing this for FUN/satisfaction
2.) it can not be my #1 priority (yet)
3.) try to enjoy the journey (not so much the destination)

When I can do these 3 things then I enjoy shop time much more and I don’t care if I am not completing anything or that it is taking way too long. When I can’t do these things, then I ask myself why am I doing this in the first place and I feel as a little silly.

In the end, I think it is a matter of having the proper perspective. None of us get this right all of the time.

Enjoy your WHOLE life, its the only one that you have.

View Nicky's profile


695 posts in 4147 days

#5 posted 12-15-2012 12:33 AM

Sounds to me that you have your priorities ordered correctly. Your kid will grow and soon you will have more time for your hobby. I have more time now, and spend a lot of time thinking about my boys who have grown up, and now having kids of their own.

I actually envy people who can work on multiple projects. I’m not sure if completing the project is the goal anymore. Sometimes, weeks go by before I get to play.

Its all about balance.

-- Nicky

View Gary's profile


9336 posts in 3488 days

#6 posted 12-15-2012 12:34 AM

I usually have several projects at any one time. And, I always have one constant….clean-up If all else fails, I clean up. Or, sometimes I just move things around to see how it looks. But, I’m old….sometimes I go out there and just nap

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View Roger's profile


20929 posts in 2860 days

#7 posted 12-15-2012 12:45 AM

I hope to spend more time in the shop in 2013. I’m pretty sure it was May the 1st last week, wasn’t it????? HOLY Krap! Santa gotta go

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View A Slice of Wood Workshop's profile

A Slice of Wood Workshop

1073 posts in 3229 days

#8 posted 12-15-2012 01:17 AM

You’ll get more time in the shop. And as the kids get older, get them in the shop. Not only will you benefit from being in a place you like to be, but you’ll teach your hobby to your kids. I am in the boat too though. I usually get all my work done at night between the hours of 9 and 12 or 1am.

-- Follow me on YouTube-

View getlostinwood's profile


224 posts in 2658 days

#9 posted 12-15-2012 01:35 AM

I find that I typically have three or more projects going. All of varying degrees of difficulty and scope. Some are stupid simple some are way bigger than I should have taken on. Because wood has become a form of ADD therapy it helps to be able to finish one every now and then to show myself I can focus long enough to actually finish a project. I have found if I dont keep some one or two day projects in the pipeline I never finish the year kong projects.

-- The basis for optimism is shear terror

View BigAl98's profile


169 posts in 3095 days

#10 posted 12-15-2012 02:09 AM

Good question. I spend a lot of time cleaning my mess from the previous step. I find that frustrating. I will sometimes , well most of the time, just waste time in the shop moving tools around..opening drawers and finding items I couldn’t find the week before, cleaning tools to remove grunge that acculated on them over the year, taking tools apart just to wipe them down and sometimes marvel at the designers (or laugh at cheap material or stupid design).

The last thing I want to do is make my time in the shop is work!

I’m always reorganizing to make my shop better. But I find I’m really just moving tools I needed on the last job closer to my work areas, and putting tools away that I’ll need for my next job! I call it the circle of work optimization…always bettering but never better!

-- Al,New Jersey -To thine own self be true

View jacob34's profile


465 posts in 2320 days

#11 posted 12-15-2012 02:46 AM

I tell yeah guys the number of you with multiple projects going at one time is impressive, I have multiple projects but it is always one I’m working on and then three or four I got frustrated on and set on my shelf or “isle of misfits” if you will. If I start a second project it has to be carried to completion or the first project ends up on the isle. When I have a project going my mind builds it literally hundreds of times before I ever touch saw to wood. I will completely change a design (which is easy as I make my own) two to three times in a night building in my head.

-- so a bear and a rabbit are sitting on a log

View clieb91's profile


3520 posts in 3990 days

#12 posted 12-15-2012 03:50 AM

Jacob, everyone here seems to have the same to say and I wold have to agree with them. When you are able though do try to get your kids in the shop with you. It might be a while before they can really help you (depending on their ages) complete a project but just the time they will spend their with you is magical for the both of you. My daughter is now 6 and she has been in the shop with me since she was about 3. She is now at the point where she can work by herself while I am working on something, sometimes that something I a working is just watching her grow up a little more.
Anywho, no matter whether you are with them or alone enjoy that time.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View NormG's profile


6203 posts in 3059 days

#13 posted 12-15-2012 04:21 AM

I am there with you at 5 kids in the shop from 20 to 2 1/2. Can be a challenge, especially when my shop is 10 by 12 and heated by an electric portable unit.

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29576 posts in 2394 days

#14 posted 12-15-2012 01:15 PM

I ALWAYS have multiple projects going. My nature I guess. Constantly frustrated about getting things done. For me however, it’s more a case of being more effecient.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View 489tad's profile


3379 posts in 3067 days

#15 posted 12-15-2012 02:43 PM

I just started back in the shop. Man was that needed. I should finish up a project I started months ago. It did bug me every time I walk through the garage, I’d have to keep on walking.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

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