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Woodworking apathy

by Christopher
posted 12-31-2008 11:45 PM

30 replies so far

View lew's profile


12017 posts in 3720 days

#1 posted 12-31-2008 11:53 PM

Lazy, NO!!

We’ve all been there and experienced it. Maybe it’s nature way to keep us from totally burning out.

Although, it is not the same thing, I used to Scuba Dive- I mean hard core! every pond, quarry, river, lake and ocean. If I didn’t go at least once a week. I stated getting withdraw symptoms. Then about 5 years ago I just stopped. It wasn’t fun any more. I haven’t done it since and haven’t missed it.

We wouldn’t want this to happen with woodworking.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View kolwdwrkr's profile


2821 posts in 3555 days

#2 posted 12-31-2008 11:58 PM

I know all to well what you are feeling. My situation is a bit different. I have owned and opporated a custom woodworking shop for the last 4 years. I have been doing what I love for a living. The economy has shut me down. I am considering bankruptcy, have lost my shop, and frankly, blame the profession all together. There are way to many people doing this trade these days, and if they aren’t being professional tradesman they are selling amatuer products out of their garages. It is still work that the “legal” shops are losing. Therefor “LIFE” has got me down to the point to where I look at woodworking as it should be, a hobby, and I realize now through experience that it is only a mediocre income, if not barely enough to keep our bills paid. If I didn’t have the project I’m working on for my girlfriend I wouldn’t go out there probably. And that is lazyness and depression. As soon as life gets back on track the tools will be there and things will be built.

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View Christopher's profile


576 posts in 3885 days

#3 posted 01-01-2009 12:06 AM

It is good to hear from others that I am not alone. Especially from others that have the skills I can only dream of. Life is tough and has a tendency to beat some of our passions out of us. I know my desire to be creative will return…hopefully soon!

View robdew's profile


86 posts in 3679 days

#4 posted 01-01-2009 12:14 AM

When I start feeling this way about crafts and hobbies it’s usually because I’ve mastered the east to moderately hard stuff and the expert stuff seems forever beyond reach so I don’t bother.

Luckily not there yet with woodworking.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3787 days

#5 posted 01-01-2009 12:32 AM

I agree that this happens to all of us. Particularity when we have been involved in a long/complicated project. One thing that helps me is to build something that can easily be completed in a weekend. There is something about just completing a project that gets seems to help get the enthusiasm back.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3927 days

#6 posted 01-01-2009 01:45 AM

I took the summer off and came back renewed. I also don’t have much work in the shop but I’m enjoying working again. We well be going back to Wyoming for the summer and fall so will have a chance to renew again. You’re not a lone. Some times it is necessary to to force oneself to go to work. Been there, done that.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Padre's profile


930 posts in 3454 days

#7 posted 01-01-2009 02:02 AM

We all experience this in one way or another. The stresses of life seem to creep into what we really enjoy, like frozen water splitting apart a nice piece of wood.

I experienced this in my glass work. I let the stresses of my job (Episcopal priest), the stresses of my health (11 heart procedures in 8 years, including a major heart attack and bypass), and the stresses of an IRS audit just totally eat me up and out of the glass hobby. I had a complete shop, could do cold glass, hot glass, beads, pretty much everything but blown glass. Then one day I just walked away. I don’t know why. My shop (basement) sat unused for over a year. I’d go down, try to get my creative juices flowing, try to pull out a vase to form or some plates to slump, or even make a dream-catcher for my wife. Nothing. Nada. It just wasn’t there. After 1 year I had a fire sale and sold everything I had, and I mean everything, down to the pens and pencils I used to mark the glass with.

What did I learn from this?? That if we let our stresses completely take us over, then we run the risk of losing that which we truly love. Not only our hobbies, but our relationships with others and our self-confidence.

I got a counselor, I turned things around with his help, the undying love of my wife and children and my faith. Even though I had to take a disability retirement, here I am neck deep in wood-working, and loving every minute of it. :)

We are never alone in this, ever.

Hope this helps.

-- Chip ----------- 6:8

View 8iowa's profile


1580 posts in 3726 days

#8 posted 01-01-2009 02:06 AM

On this site we have both professional and hobbiest woodworkers, and perhaps some who are “sliding” one way or the other. In my case, I would dread being woken by an alarm clock, and having to go down to the shop for an 8 or 10 hour day. As life gets in the way, I can take a break without feeling guilty.

Maybe when you don’t feel like generating sawdust, working in the shop, making improvements like wiring and lighting, and getting things better organized, will suffice to keep from getting depressed.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View trucker12349's profile


92 posts in 3450 days

#9 posted 01-01-2009 02:15 AM

Chris, take my word for it, the feelings will lessen as time goes by. I just went thru a bad depression episode and just didn’t want to do anything. You just have to use the shop as a get away place where all the stress and worries are blocked at the door. Trust me, it works.

View FlWoodRat's profile


732 posts in 3874 days

#10 posted 01-01-2009 02:29 AM

Look at it this way.. At least you have a girl friend! Damn if I had one (and wifey found out), I wouldnt be depressed, I’d be dead!. Keep the faith lad.

-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning....

View Bob42's profile


456 posts in 3755 days

#11 posted 01-01-2009 03:07 AM

Been there done that. Still going through it!!!

It happens to all of us. Sometimes life just happens and you do need to make priorities. I have been putting off my shop renovation for the 16 years I have been in this house but this winter after I finish some other projects my wife has given the go ahead for the shop. Amen to that!!! Now when the time comes to start will something else take a priority? we’ll see, but I hope not because I have already started buying thing for it. The time will come and you will be in the shop and when you are start with something small so you can feel like you have been able to accomplish something. So hang in and it will get better.
I hope this was helpful.

-- Bob K. East Northport, NY

View Mike's profile


391 posts in 3582 days

#12 posted 01-01-2009 06:52 AM

Dang. And I just ordered more tools.

Just got a drill press today.

I was trying to finish a project before Christmas, but I have to design it along the way and change what may work into what would work. But then some kind of stomach flu kicked my butt hard. So there was life getting in the way.

Ain’t given up yet. New year means new time and new ideas.

I have gone through hobbies. But woodworking is satisfying.

Vision, and turning it into something beautiful. Or just good looking and practical.

-- Measure once cut twice....oh wait....ooops.

View KenGa's profile


9 posts in 3399 days

#13 posted 01-01-2009 06:35 PM

I have felt this way myself at times, just overwhelmed but the support of your family is what gets anyone through these times. Plus the holidays always stir all type of feelings up.

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4279 days

#14 posted 01-01-2009 07:13 PM

“worn down by life” This spring I was pretty beat up. Just needed a month off. I try to spend less time chasing the rabbit, but when that bell goes off….

View hairy's profile


2655 posts in 3497 days

#15 posted 01-02-2009 02:43 AM

I don’t get a too many days to spend all day ww’ing. I get an hour or two when I can. It takes me a long time to get it done. When I do get a whole day, I realize : Hey, this is work! I don’t work that hard on the job. But the whole reason for me to do this is so I can see something I’ve built, and say : I did that! Motivation comes and goes. Get on and ride when it shows up, do something else when you need to. Mistakes and injuries happen to me when my mind is on something else , those tools and stuff will be there when you get back. Have some fun when you can.

When I’m just standing there looking around, my next thought is : What in hell did I come over here for?

-- My reality check bounced...

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4023 posts in 4028 days

#16 posted 01-02-2009 02:50 AM

Just be patient with yourself. This too, will pass.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View boyneskibum's profile


76 posts in 3435 days

#17 posted 01-02-2009 03:30 AM

Sometimes it feels overwhelming to go out to the shop and work on yet another project, especially after working all day and dealing with other stuff. Hang in there though, ride the wave out, find a fun project for you and all will return to normal! Good luck and be patient!

-- Always keep a stash of band-aids in your workshop!

View Karson's profile


35111 posts in 4365 days

#18 posted 01-02-2009 03:36 AM

Yes sometimes it take a cup of coffee and sit down in a stool in the shop and I feel alive again. Not doing any work but just the feeling that I get being there in the place where I’m able to all the creation that I do.

I don’t miss the job computer programming, but, that was a creative outreach that kept my mind going. Woodworking is doing that now. but sometimes it’s just the time to ponder.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3653 days

#19 posted 01-02-2009 03:58 AM

I finally forced myself to do something in my shop on the lathe yesterday . I have too many things going on in my life right now to be able to “enjoy ” my hobby . It was great being creative yesterday and the time just flew by . There were several other things on my priorities list that needed to be done first , but you know what ? I needed some me time in the shop . Once I got into my project , that was all that really mattered to me ….my lunch ended up being at 9pm ! hahahaa So go ahead and treat yourself if your mind is clear enough to operate power tools or just organize something in your shop ….Obviously you are not alone in this matter and I thank you for posting this question : ) Peace and happiness to you and yours in this new year !

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Rustic's profile


3253 posts in 3561 days

#20 posted 01-02-2009 04:21 AM

Maybe it is just time for a little break. I have done that myself. I am going through that phase right now. I am in school and looking for work and so on. I find time here and there to get into the shop to relieve a little stress. If I don’t build anything that is ok.

Just take it easy and don’t push yourself.

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3491 days

#21 posted 01-02-2009 09:29 PM

...did you ever just take one small piece of wood and slowly hand sand it? Then sand it some more? Just a board, just a piece of wood… It is nothing but a piece of wood but as you slowly sand it you feel the grain, you feel the smoothness you are giving to the surface, you smell the wood… Don’t do anyhing with it, put it on a shelf and take it down sometimes and just run your hand over it… You will know when you are ready for another project.

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

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 3839 days

#22 posted 01-02-2009 09:44 PM

I don’t get to do many projects that I want to do – the customer always gets priority. This leads to some real burn-out sometimes. I try to give myself a break from time to time – knock off early and read a book, or play with the kids. Sometimes I do a little project that I want, even though I don’t really have time.

One thing that really motivates me is the thought that I could always get back into advertising. Now that makes woodworking look good!

-- -- --

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 3970 days

#23 posted 01-02-2009 11:14 PM

I firmly believe that our creativity and momentum is directly connected to how we interact with people close to us and even strangers around us.

I recall wondering one day while feeling sorry for myself, why people around me seemed indifferent to the struggles i was going through. Then it dawned on me. How was i helping anybody who might be feeling the same way?.

Make it a point to give two total strangers a nice compliment tomorrow. I’m tellin ya….Its connected to things like whether we pick our dirty socks up off the floor, to how much creative sawdust we send flying in our shops.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View LeeinEdmonton's profile


254 posts in 3546 days

#24 posted 01-03-2009 06:18 AM

I have been retired 12 years but started building up my tool base 5 years prior in anticipation of retiring & by then being reasonbly able to make things. The thought of staring at a television or becoming addicted to a computer during the time that I’m sliding toward oblivion did not appeal to me. Oddly, one of the things I like to do is look at someone else’s design to see if I can think of modifications that would make it better & still be within my range of skills. At this time of year I always seem to run out of steam. Probably because winter in my area is too long, too cold, often too much snow. In other words depressing. So….while I’m not in the shop & instead reading books from the library, I always have in mind a project. Usually a wooden toy that ends up with others donated for inner city kids. I’m mulling that toy over in my mind to death on how to make it “different”. This allows me to ignore the aches & pains that often accompany aging, ignore the stupid antics of politicians, ignore rude drivers’ on roadways, ignore lousy restraunt food accompanied by weak coffee, ignore the neighbor’s dumb antics & enjoy his good points instead, ignore that there are some things that I can no longer do & get used to having to hire it done. Remind myself frequently that the smartest thing I have ever done in my life is to have married my wife 54 years ago. These things act like a tonic for me & the next thing I know Iam back in the shop messing around & my outlook is improved.


-- Lee

View kiwi1969's profile


608 posts in 3407 days

#25 posted 01-04-2009 01:50 PM

dude youre a bit young looking to be “worn down by life” Just say F#*K EM and take a break, put your feet up and have a beer and just remember “I used to get sad because I had no shoes until I met a man with no feet”.

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

View Christopher's profile


576 posts in 3885 days

#26 posted 01-05-2009 01:54 AM

Kiwi1969- I may look young, really I am, but I am a father of three and Grandfather of one. Kids take a lot of energy out of me, they bring a ton of joy though as well.

It is good to hear of others in my same predicament. We could start a twelve step woodworking apathy support group through this site!

I know I tend towards depression and undoubtedly that is a large part of my amotivation. Often times I will peruse the site and feel inspired enough to get back into the shop, if only for a moment. This thread has been great for me too!

Thank you for all the genuine hearted responses though fellows LJ’s!

View RAH's profile


414 posts in 3842 days

#27 posted 01-05-2009 02:34 AM

I too am a young grandfather, 38 when my first was born (he’s 14 now). Its my fifth grandchild the one with me in my picture that has brought me out of my slump and refocus on where I going. She is 8 months now and a joy just to sit with and watch her discover everything new to her. Cleaning and organizing my shop helps me between projects.

Thanks for starting this thread it is good to know we are not alone and time will take care of many problems.

Bend your square a little if it will help.

-- Ron Central, CA

View SteveKorz's profile


2134 posts in 3679 days

#28 posted 01-06-2009 03:39 AM


I get to the point every once in a while where I can’t see the life in anything because of all the circumstances I’m around at work. Sometimes, the terrible things I deal with just suck the life right out of me. Literally. It’s depressing sometimes. I get in moods where, just like you, I walk into my shop and just stand there. 15, maybe 30 minutes or so. I’ll just stand there, dreaming and thinking of all the stuff that I need to do, never really doing any of it. Sometimes I’ll go out and just piddle, not really accomplishing anything.

I think we all go thru phases. Life sometimes deals some pretty harsh hands to play. The one thing that helps me keep my woodworking passion is this LumberJocks site. I enjoy seeing everyone go thru the phases, projects, comments… I enjoy the friendships that I have here also. It makes me feel like “it’s not just me” that experiences that kind of stuff.

Hopefully you’ll regain your drive, and you’ll be making piles of sawdust again. I know when I get out of that “standaround” phase and when I get the “itch” again… watch out. My electric bills double and I’m taking out sawdust by the wheelbarrow loads.


-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View Rusticman's profile


49 posts in 3368 days

#29 posted 02-01-2009 04:03 AM

And all along I thought it was just me. There are many a story about artists (painter, sculptures etc)that have the same issues. The bottom line is your best work is the work completed when you are totally into it. I guess if you are paying the bills with your work then you need to find that balance. If your wood working is your hobby then don’t sweet it. Just enjoy it when it happens because when you turn the switch to that saw it’s because you wanted to and not had to.

-- Dave, Ohio,

View mtnwild's profile


3474 posts in 3492 days

#30 posted 02-01-2009 04:34 AM

I used to go hiking and camping for days on end, could not get enough. Then I got older with more responsibilities. Still love to get out but I have to have my priorities taken care of, so I don’t have my mind on something else. My art is the same way. If I have important matters to deal with I cannot concentrate on my project for long. I loose patience. It may be something you have to do and cannot escape to you shop to avoid. Deal with whatever, your shop will still be there.

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

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