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View David Craig's profile

The place between what we fear and what we hope

by David Craig
posted 11-14-2012 09:44 PM


25 replies so far

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2847 posts in 1000 days


#1 posted 11-14-2012 10:01 PM

I am often crushed between how my projects turn out in my head and on paper, and how the turn out in wood. I keep plugging away though. As long as the next one (there is always a next one) is better than the previous I am happy. Honestly if I ever achieve consistent perfection I would stop woodworking. I don’t get paid to do it, I enjoy the challenge and the journey. If perfection becomes mundane, I will be bored.

I guess what I am trying to say is the enjoyment in woodworking for me is not the destination, but the journey. I am not kidding myself, I do not posses the natural talent or natural ability for woodworking and I will never be a master craftsman, but if I can be a competent craftsman, that will make me happy.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

6057 posts in 2180 days


#2 posted 11-14-2012 10:28 PM

” You can’t see it (a flaw) from my house.”

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View casual1carpenter's profile

casual1carpenter

353 posts in 1228 days


#3 posted 11-14-2012 11:29 PM

I tend to hold on to the flaws, at least those I’m smart enough to know about. In the end though the project is done and it’s time to move on. If you can’t admit to your mistakes and try to at least not make the same ones too many more times you will not really improve. That is why I sort of make a conscious effort to see my own mistakes as I pass my projects, so as to remember and learn. However, I do take great pride in the fact that they are my work, flaws, mistakes and all.

Reminds me of what an old cousin once told me about some molding I was doing years ago at the country cabin. I was sort of dwelling on my inability to get the quality I wanted. He told me that it looked pretty good and that I was the only one who would really see the joint issues. He then said that if I had friends over that they would never notice. He then went on to say that if they did notice that they would be too polite to mention it. But the qualifier was that if they did notice, and if they did say something, then I should just tell them to get out because they are not my friends. We had a good laugh over that and a beer.

We look at our own work harder than the casual observer ever will. With the hours we spend getting rather intimate with a project it is a sure bet that no matter how good we do, it could always have come off better. At least that is true for me. Perhaps one day the final project will actually reflect the concept, plan and drawing, but I doubt that. The more I learn about woodworking the more I find out how much I do not know.

View Greg..the Cajun Wood Artist's profile

Greg..the Cajun Wood Artist

5274 posts in 2060 days


#4 posted 11-14-2012 11:29 PM

I am always critical of every detail of my work because I am the only one who spends countless hours doing my work.

-- Each step of every Wood Art project I design and build is considered my masterpiece… because I want the finished product to reflect the quality and creativeness of my work

View Don W's profile

Don W

15565 posts in 1320 days


#5 posted 11-14-2012 11:34 PM

Look at the big picture. How many perfect projects have you ever seen?

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2135 posts in 1861 days


#6 posted 11-14-2012 11:40 PM

The answer to that question, Don, is about one’s state of mind. When we are insecure, we see perfection everywhere else but in ourselves. To see our own work or the work of others as flawless, I believe, is a mistake. I believe we all have to find a spot in ourselves to accept these imperfections in our work, as well as others.

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View CudaDude's profile (online now)

CudaDude

123 posts in 1060 days


#7 posted 11-14-2012 11:55 PM

my problem is not accepting imperfections from a point that i see my work as flawless (not just woodwork), but being able to accept the imperfections and actually complete a project and not scrap the whole thing. I hate knowing there is a flaw in something i did and wondering every time someone says it looks good if they’re saying in the back of their mind “look at the screw ups in this thing”.

-- Gary

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1867 days


#8 posted 11-14-2012 11:56 PM

flaws in a project only says its a one off made by a craftman :-)

and thats how it shuold be

Dennis

View Don W's profile

Don W

15565 posts in 1320 days


#9 posted 11-14-2012 11:57 PM

If we saw perfection in what we did, we would never drive to do better. Its your ability to understand your weaknesses that allows you to excel. You should away strive to improve your weakest capabilities.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2135 posts in 1861 days


#10 posted 11-14-2012 11:58 PM

Every woodworker or crafts person I have ever met would immediately show me every single perceived imperfection in a project right at the start. I think it is a little self defensive mechanism that is immediately triggered as if to say “I know it isn’t perfect, lets get that out of the way right now…”

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2135 posts in 1861 days


#11 posted 11-15-2012 12:00 AM

Agreed on that Don. We just have to find that place where we accept the mistake and use it as a spring board to do better.

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View StumpyNubs's profile

StumpyNubs

6272 posts in 1552 days


#12 posted 11-15-2012 12:16 AM

My philosophy is, don’t pretend to be a fine woodworker and nobody will expect fine work from you! (And by “you” I mean ME) What I mean is, understand your skills and be honest about them. Mistakes are hardly noticed when they are expected. But if you claim to be a true artist, expect every flaw to be pointed out by snooty critics as they sip wine at the gallery.

As for what mistakes are acceptable to you… well that depends. If it can be seen without bending over and looking closely, it’s got to be fixed. If it can be hidden so that nobody will ever notice, I’m ok with it. If it can be written off as “character”, that’s ok too. But i find the best way to deal with a piece that has a big flaw on it, is to beat it up some more and call it “rustic”. People love that stuff.

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com

View Don W's profile

Don W

15565 posts in 1320 days


#13 posted 11-15-2012 12:47 AM

Dave, don’t take this wrong, but you need to hang with a different crowd. That’s just rude to pick apart someone else work like that.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2135 posts in 1861 days


#14 posted 11-15-2012 12:57 AM

Yes, it is rude to destroy someone else’s work. In the case I laid out though, they weren’t picking mine apart but their own. Which is kind of sad sometimes because you really want that person to know that the piece they created is really quite good.

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Don W's profile

Don W

15565 posts in 1320 days


#15 posted 11-15-2012 01:06 AM

Ahhh, I misunderstood the context. I always pick my projects apart, but silently. If you can’t see the flaws in my project, I’m not gonna point it out. :-)

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View whitebeast88's profile

whitebeast88

3603 posts in 942 days


#16 posted 11-15-2012 01:14 AM

i’m to critical of my work which every imperfection or mistake sticks out to me like a flashing billboard and i think it would be better served as firewood.friends,family and customers have all loved what i built but i keep saying there being nice.every project i try to do a little better than the last either by patience or paying more attention to detail.i’d like to get to a point where i can except imperfections and not want to give up after each project.

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View Sandra's profile

Sandra

4985 posts in 827 days


#17 posted 11-15-2012 01:14 AM

Very timely post. I’ve just started reading The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown. She talks about our expectations, shame and living ‘wholeheartedly’. Exactly what you brought up Dave.

As for my woodworking, one of the best things about it for me is that there are no expectations – either by myself or others. Until recently, I was a professional outside of the home and a toenail-clippin’, casserole- makin’ domestic diva after work. I expected a tremendous amount from myself, but when my health took a nosedive I had to rethink everything. It hasn’t been a pretty process, and it’s only beginning, but it did send me skittering to the garage which I’m slowly converting into my workshop.

While I certainly see the flaws in the projects I’ve completed so far, I’m thrilled with each and every one of them. Squinting helps tremendously!
If it stops being fun, I think I’ll go back to cleaning out the deep freeze.

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

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

1745 posts in 1674 days


#18 posted 11-15-2012 02:51 AM

what I did, to cure myself of picking apart my work so much, was to offer it for sale and sell it! Works like a charm!

-- In God We Trust

View MontanaBob's profile

MontanaBob

452 posts in 1436 days


#19 posted 11-15-2012 03:09 AM

I pointed out a mistake I’d made to a neighbor of mine who has done some really nice woodworking..He said now only you and I know….so just think of it as a one of a kind…Hiding or fixing flaws or mistakes makes you a better woodworker…..I’ve only stopped working on one project since I’ve started this journey…and it was a mistake of not knowing that the red wood would bleed into the curly maple making it a pink color…That wouldn’t have been bad if I was making the chess board for a granddaughter….but I didn’t think that the grandson would like a pink board…It turned into a bird house that sold…go figure..

-- To realize our true destiny, we must be guided not by a myth from our past, but by a vision of our future

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

6057 posts in 2180 days


#20 posted 11-15-2012 03:27 AM

Not flaws. Design opportunities.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15816 posts in 2970 days


#21 posted 11-15-2012 04:03 AM

Oddly enough, I find I cannot be objective on a project I have just finished. And even stranger, there seems to be no pattern to how my feelings about a project change over time.

Sometimes I’ll be pretty happy with the way something turns out, but I’ll look at it six months later and it strikes me as a pile of crap. Other times, I’ll be fretting over perceived imperfections in a piece I’m working on, but I’ll pick it up months or even years later and actually be impressed with my own work.

I suppose it is part of the creative process, because it is the same with songwriting for me. Every time I write a new song I tend to think it’s my best work yet. But I usually feel differently after some time has passed.

I guess the lesson for me is that I have to get some emotional distance between my critical brain and my creative brain in order to have some objectivity.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2135 posts in 1861 days


#22 posted 11-15-2012 04:09 AM

What you experience, at times, might also be what happens when we obtain more skill or experience Charlie. Months later, we might have chosen a different technique or had more control over the process than when the piece was finished. This can affect our judgement as well.

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3870 posts in 2120 days


#23 posted 11-15-2012 05:23 AM

I have to agree with Charlie! Even though this is only my hobby, I have been down this same path with almost every project.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Roger's profile

Roger

15362 posts in 1556 days


#24 posted 11-16-2012 12:20 AM

I think we are all hard on ourselves, but, really shouldn’t be. Don’t know why that is

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Kentuk55@bellsouth.net

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

1242 posts in 777 days


#25 posted 11-17-2012 09:01 AM

It is a well known fact that perfection pisses off the gods (only they are perfect). I happen to be very adept at not annoying the gods.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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