It's a fuzzy line of what is good and what is crap in woodworking

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Blog entry by Richard posted 01-09-2011 11:51 AM 1648 reads 0 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

We all have those projects in woodworking that we design, build, and gloat over when we complete them. And we have those projects are just truely awful. Then we have those projects which begins with an idea, an inspiration, a project that we know that will stand out, and throughout the day at our regular jobs we plan and strategized on how we are gong to tackle this awsome project. Lumber is bought, a new router bit or machinery is obtained. The project starts out nicely and everything is turning out right, but then things start to go south. What sems to be a simple task in our heads, proves to be more difficult in real time. Many hours are spent trying to get the project back on track, but there is a point where we shut off the sander and stare at the project on the bench thinking “this could be one of those “crap” projects”

Its hard, many hours have been spent on the project and I find myself doubting my abilities. Am I to turn this project around and make it one of my sucesses. Or should I throw in the towel, and move to the next project. I just hate when I reach that pivotal point thinking will this project be “Good” or “Crap”.

I wonder does this happen to other people out there.

-- Richard Boise, Idaho

23 comments so far

View patron's profile


13600 posts in 3311 days

#1 posted 01-09-2011 12:13 PM

seems like half the time

be nice if we could just flip a coin

heads it will be a masterpiece
tails i’m out of here

sometimes i touch the work
and it doesn’t feel right
so i walk away
before messing it up more

some times i just keep messing it up anyway
and wonder why i bothered to hang in there

must be the joy of learning
and how to fix new mistakes

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View patron's profile


13600 posts in 3311 days

#2 posted 01-09-2011 12:14 PM

like this repeat lol

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3006 days

#3 posted 01-09-2011 12:55 PM

You could just put it to one side.
Wait until you’ve done something else that hasn’t ‘gone south’.
Then go back to it.

You’ll be able to be more objective about it. You might junk it or, feeling less subjective about it, find its easily fixable. Works for me.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View ToddTurner's profile


144 posts in 3293 days

#4 posted 01-09-2011 04:08 PM

Sounds like someone had a bad day in the shop, which is still a better day than most other places. I have had those things happen to me. I set that project aside, consider it a learing effort, and look at it every now and again to remind myself not to do that ever again. This is normal (especially for me) and i wonder did i throw away tons of money on my shop equipment. Nope i did not! I love woodworking no matter what im doing. I do it for the love of the hobby. And, if it weren’t for the bad days, you wouldnt know when you were having a good day!


View rivergirl's profile


3201 posts in 2808 days

#5 posted 01-09-2011 04:52 PM

A bad day in the shop is still better than a good day at the office. ;)

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

View Maveric777's profile


2693 posts in 3046 days

#6 posted 01-09-2011 04:56 PM

I have/had quite a few projects I simply have to step back away from for a bit to “Stew On It”. Most of the time it simply takes a fresh look at something to turn it around. Go fire up another small project, or what not. Simply forget about it now and come back to it later.

Hope is not lost…. You just need to see it in a different light. A little time is always the best medicine for that.

Good luck with and don’t get discouraged. It happens to us all…

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6851 posts in 3949 days

#7 posted 01-09-2011 04:58 PM

Hi Richard;

Boy, this does sound familiar. I think it’s safe to say it happens to all of us.

Sometimes, those projects turn out to be the best, at least from an educational standpoint. It may not turn out to be a great looking piece, but you’ll probably learn more from it than you will from the projects that go perfectly.

At least this is what I would like to believe.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Maveric777's profile


2693 posts in 3046 days

#8 posted 01-09-2011 05:00 PM

Well said Lee….

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View closetguy's profile


744 posts in 3862 days

#9 posted 01-09-2011 05:00 PM

That situation happens to everyone from time to time. Sometimes you just need to walk away from it for a while and work on something else, coming back to it when your head is clearer.

-- I don't make mistakes, only design

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 3975 days

#10 posted 01-09-2011 05:34 PM

Anything can be changed, altered, modified and rethought. This falls under troubleshooting 101 and is the hallmark of a well rounded craftsman.

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

View twokidsnosleep's profile


1106 posts in 2943 days

#11 posted 01-09-2011 06:06 PM

Richard, have you been monitoring me in my garage lately????
After yesterday, I don’t think I could square up boards for gluing to save my soul, I mis-read plans and ripped some nice maple too thin so am now short of wood and then glued in too cold an environment so nothing stuck.
Firewood anyone?

-- Scott "Some days you are the big dog, some days you are the fire hydrant"

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3278 days

#12 posted 01-09-2011 06:33 PM

Not all projects come out as planned…but the end result is sometimes surprising. I create many of my sculpting projects on the fly as I work on them and occasionally one comes out good..and then there are those that end up in the burn pile and never get to meet my camera.
Win some …Lose some.

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3304 days

#13 posted 01-09-2011 07:22 PM

Maybe it will encourage you to think about the Vasa. This was a Swedish warship launched in 1628. It was a work of art, had 48 guns and was made from 1,000 oak trees. Probably the finest warship of it’s time. a crew of 150 men and 300 marines.

It sank on it’s maiden voyage just 20 minutes after launching. the wind caused the ship to heel over to one side and and the lower decks were flooded because they forgot to close the lower gun ports and that was it.

You can just imagine how all the ship builders and artisans felt when their naval masterpiece disappeared beneath the waves, not to mention the loss of 25 lives. The real problem was it’s design which had a too high center of gravity (top heavy?)

This ship has since been raised and restored and is now in it’s own museum in Djurgarden in Sweden. This proves that even a crap project can become cherished with time!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View ShopTinker's profile


884 posts in 2738 days

#14 posted 01-09-2011 07:44 PM

Some days it just doesn’t feel right and I can walk away until another day. Sometimes I have a deadline and I have to push ahead regardless, and when it’s done I’m not real happy with it, but sometimes I think wow that turned out better than I thought it would. Sometimes we are just too critical of our own work. If our expectations are for perfection, we are disappointed with pretty good.

-- Dan - Valparaiso, Indiana, "A smart man changes his mind, a fool never does."

View bunkie's profile


412 posts in 3116 days

#15 posted 01-09-2011 07:56 PM

Some of my favorite projects have been simple things I’ve done with the materials at hand. Maybe it’s the lack of a grandious plan, or the surprise when I manage to make something elegant despite my best efforts, but these are the things that have stood the test of time for me. In some of my more ambitious projects, it seems that all I can see are the flaws and mistakes.

This weekend, I’m in the middle of making a murphy bed for our apartment in the city. It’s a must-have item as we live in a small studio. I really need to make some progress, but I’m not feeling all that well and I’ve been a little clumsy (happens when get a cold) so the thought of making a stupid mistake or having a finger slip makes me hesitate, so I’ll find something else to do that’s not so risky.

Finally, I’m looking forward to completing the various plywood projects (kitchen cabinets, murphy bed, wall cabinets) so that I can work with some real wood just for fun. I want to try my hand at bowl turning as I have a pile of logs from real trees just waiting to be fashioned into something resembling bowls.

Stefang, I went to see the Wasa back just after they raised it from Stockholm harbor. This summer, I’m going back to Stockholm for the first time in almost 40 years and it would be interesting to visit her again to see the progress.

-- Altruism is, ultimately, self-serving

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