Where do you get your epiphany?

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Blog entry by ocwoodworker posted 03-10-2011 05:36 AM 1291 reads 0 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I just came into the house with one of those bubble thoughts you see in cartoons that have only smoking scribble inside it. I just engineered my self into a proverbial corner with my 95% completed project. It was about halfway through my shower when I got my epiphany. I have a solution!
It got me thinking… Where do you all get your epiphany?

-- I'd like to believe Murphy's Law haunts my woodshop, because if it's Karma it would mean I had something to do with it. - K.R.

18 comments so far

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3521 days

#1 posted 03-10-2011 06:27 AM

This is a scary subject! My wife and I have spoken of this very thing. For me things just instantly pop into my head from no where. On the really tuff promlems I go inside my head and just let thoughts and ideas happen and somewhere amongst those neurons is a workable solution. The really scary part is I can’t turn off the those pop-ups.

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View spunwood's profile


1202 posts in 2830 days

#2 posted 03-10-2011 06:40 AM

Often after I have stepped away and forgotten about the problem. Sometimes, just walking back into the shop it comes to me….

or I look it up on LJ!

-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

View Dandog's profile


250 posts in 2768 days

#3 posted 03-10-2011 08:10 AM

For me, I think about it right before I go to sleep. Usually I’ll have the answer in the morning. If the answer still won’t come, I will pray. But I don’t like to bother God with my trivial design problems. If God’s busy I always have the encyclopedia of Lumberjock’s…

-- life an woodworking is one big experiment

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18266 posts in 3670 days

#4 posted 03-10-2011 12:07 PM

Mine is when having my worst migraines. It is like walking into the future, taking a look around and coming back. Interesting part is not being able to change the future I visited ;-(( At least I know where all the pieces of the puzzle are ;-))

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

View Uncle_Salty's profile


183 posts in 3067 days

#5 posted 03-10-2011 02:05 PM

Mine come during my sleep, also! Sometimes, I wake up, sitting bolt upright in bed, and go jot the solution down! Sometimes, I just wake up with it.

I read a book when I was kid (not the only one; I was a prolific reader back in the day) and it was about how Elias Howe was having problems inventing the sewing machine. He went to sleep and had a dream about some “primitives” chasing him with spears that had holes near the sharp end of the spear. He woke up, designed a needle with holes in the sharp end, and presto: the sewing machine was born!

View ken_c's profile


323 posts in 3156 days

#6 posted 03-10-2011 02:33 PM

Crapper :-) sort of like out with the bad, in with the good :-)

View BobG's profile


172 posts in 2956 days

#7 posted 03-10-2011 02:41 PM

I have a file cabinet inside my head (everyone does), everything that I have ever seen, done, or heard, is in there somewhere! If I have a problem that I can’t solve quickly I just let it rest. At some time it will pop into my head or I will come across an article that helps me solve it. Or someone usually an LJ will have the answer somewhere on this great website!

-- BobG, Lowell, Arkansas--------My goal in life is to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am! Make more saw dust!!

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4094 days

#8 posted 03-10-2011 03:17 PM

Some projects are designed and executed smoothly from beginning to end.

But on some projects a technical or design issue will stump me and I can work on it with only frustrating results. Then Rita comes home and we take the dogs for a walk. While we are walking, watching the dogs run, and just talking about some topic not related to woodworking, the solution just shows up. It is like a log jamb of clutter breaks free in my head and the solution flows through.

What I need to realize is that walking away from the shop is the best solution. In other words, I need a break. But my nature is to work harder when I am challenged and then I only seem to stand in my own way of finding the solution.

The key is balance between shop life and recreation which seems to allow for the most continuous and creative flow of thought process.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3876 days

#9 posted 03-10-2011 03:35 PM

I love how the brain works.

I many times need to step away as others had mentioned. Then come back. This happens all the time. You know when you try to remember someone’s name, and you can’t get it out. You start thinking of words that sound like it, and this clouds the memory. You pause and think about something else, then the name appears quite randomly. Quite a reproducible occurrence. Same thing with design and problem solving.

I also try to force myself to look at problems or designs from a different angle or perspective. I do this a lot, and it drives Karen crazy. I don’t know how many times she has said “didn’t we already talk about this?”. She has no idea how many conversations I have had with myself before conversing with her :)


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 2882 days

#10 posted 03-10-2011 03:40 PM

These things seem to hit most folks when they are doing something that they have down so completely, the brain goes into cruise mode, and since it doesn’t have to concentrate on what it is doing now, it turns to other things to keep itself from dozing off. Then it’s “Hey presto!”, an idea is born.

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3303 days

#11 posted 03-10-2011 05:01 PM

My best solutions come when I am getting ready to close up my workshop for the night. I have a large comfortable chair in my shop and I sit in it with all the light turned off, eyes closed and FART for about 15 -20 minutes.
—-Focus…Attention…Relaxation & Thought

If I use my FART method while lying in bed I ususally just fall asleep…so it works best for me to fart in my workshop
This frequently helps me to come up with a solution while sleeping.

View jlsmith5963's profile


297 posts in 3342 days

#12 posted 03-10-2011 06:35 PM

As if it matters, the question was ‘where’ not ‘how’ wasn’t it?

-- criticism: the art of analyzing and evaluating the quality of an artistic work...

View Bertha's profile


13525 posts in 2687 days

#13 posted 03-10-2011 06:53 PM

I like detailed sketches, have Sketchup, but have never launched it. I used to draw things up in archicad but haven’t in quite a while. I’ve recently been building with only the minimal of sketching, fitting the pieces as I go, even mixing up the joinery in a single piece. I find it’s a healthy exercise for an analytical type like myself. But to answer your question, probably lying in bed, rolling over some joinery in my mind. When I can’t sleep, I think of planing a long piece of walnut with a flawles Norris. Better than Nyquil for me.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4241 days

#14 posted 03-10-2011 08:11 PM

I find myself doing what my Grandfather always said. Sleep on it. If I can’t figure something out I just sleep on it and I will usually come up with the answer I’ve been going over and over, or ruminating, about. It must be true that that is what our dreams are about, just working out our daily problems.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3328 days

#15 posted 03-10-2011 09:34 PM

Have you ever been trying hard to remember something like a name or whatever, and it pops into your mind later in the day or at least awhile after you’ve stopped concentrating on it, or maybe after a nights sleep? I think the brain works on problems we can’t seem to solve consciously on a sub-conscious level. Maybe it’s the brain’s way of using your creative side unhindered by restrictions forced on your thoughts by conscious thinking. I haven’t had an epiphany since 1947, or was that 1946?

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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