Do It Anyway

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Project by Woodbridge posted 615 days ago 1283 views 2 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Do It Anyway

Prior to retiring this year a colleague gave me a passage that was on the wall of Shishu Bhavan, the children’s home in Calcutta directed by Mother Teresa.

Do It Anyway

People are often unreasonable, irrational and self-centered; Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies; Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere, people may deceive you; Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight; Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous; Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten; Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God; It was never between you and them anyway.

—Mother Teresa

Although widely attributed to Mother Teresa the original version of the passage, titled the The Paradoxical Commandments was written in 1968 by Kent Keith a 19 year old Harvard College student.

My colleague is involved with a charity that supports an orphanage in Ecuador and he asked if I could make a large plaque of this passage. I had never carved letters before so I thought this would be a good way to try something new. I also thought it might provide a good reason to buy a CNC carving machine, but in the end I decided to forego another new workshop toy and carved all 636 letters by hand.

The plaque is made up of nine panels each about 14” by 14”. I used birch for the panel simply because it was readily available from the local big box store. This was a decision I would regret. The panels were joined together with biscuits. A walnut circle and strips were inlaid into the birch panels.

I also carved two decorative banners for the top and bottom. Finally I took a stab at a figurative relief carving of Mother Teresa that is inlaid into the plaque. The carving is based on a drawing downloaded from the internet and is carved from basswood. This is my first attempt at a figurative relief carving.

I knew Birch was prone to blotching and I had thought that using dye instead of pigment stain would be the solution. Unfortunately this did not work very well and the result was a horrible mess. I sanded most of it out and tried a pre-stain conditioner with an oil stain. This did not work very well either. I sanded most of it out, but it still looked pretty horrible. In the end I had to cover the panels with the paint you see and a top coat of satin finish spray lacquer.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

15 comments so far

View Sandra's profile


4248 posts in 701 days

#1 posted 615 days ago

What a labour of love! Well done.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View a1Jim's profile


112010 posts in 2203 days

#2 posted 615 days ago

Wonderful carving and outstanding quote.

-- Custom furniture

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

11285 posts in 1731 days

#3 posted 615 days ago

Beautiful carving of one of the best human beings ever to walk the earth!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View MichaelA's profile


771 posts in 1514 days

#4 posted 615 days ago

Nice carving Peter. I have had that bad experience with staining wood and know how frustrating trying to sand it out can be. I dislike sanding. I also enjoyed your story, makes sense to me!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

-- The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. "Helen Keller"

View tamboti's profile


207 posts in 1767 days

#5 posted 615 days ago

Peter WOW what a lovely carving and for a very good cause well done for a first try super Regards Tambotie

-- Africa is not for sissies

View Ken90712's profile


14878 posts in 1814 days

#6 posted 615 days ago

Very nice some great work

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View justoneofme's profile


616 posts in 1105 days

#7 posted 615 days ago

Peter … that is so impressive! Superb carving and stunning representation. Well done!!!

-- Elaine in Duncan

View Woodbridge's profile


2646 posts in 1043 days

#8 posted 615 days ago

Thanks everyone for your kind comments.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View DocSavage45's profile


4887 posts in 1468 days

#9 posted 615 days ago

Thank you!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Cantputjamontoast's profile


341 posts in 2058 days

#10 posted 615 days ago


-- "Not skilled enough to wipe jam on toast!"

View HillbillyShooter's profile


4485 posts in 918 days

#11 posted 615 days ago

Outstanding in every respect! Thank you for sharing.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View CatholicWoodworker's profile


20 posts in 629 days

#12 posted 614 days ago

This is great, definitely made my favorites. I would love to learn to carve someday just so I can make something like this. Fantastic job.

-- "What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway." -Mother Teresa

View blackcherry's profile


3154 posts in 2448 days

#13 posted 614 days ago

Thanks for this moment of inspiration, Merry Christmas my friend in woodworking …BC

View stefang's profile


12873 posts in 1960 days

#14 posted 614 days ago

A very well done carving and a wonderful likeness. I also enjoyed the Do It Anyway passage written by a young student with wisdom well beyond his years. It seemed especially appropriate for Mother Teresa’s orphanage. Thanks for sharing this with us.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View George's profile


81 posts in 1229 days

#15 posted 577 days ago

outstanding craftsmanship!

-- I did measure it twice, it's still too short.

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