I am quickly beginning to understand the difference between a craftsman and someone who dabbles with wood. I am quite sure that the main difference between a craftsman and the dabbler is the desire to do more than dabble. I recently helped my friend with an island that he had been building. during the construction he had mounted some hardware that was about 1/16th off what he had determined was acceptable. Without a second’s hesitation, he disassembled the whole thing so that he could correct what he determined to be a glaring error. Now you have to remember that upto a few months ago, I was prone to use the “ish” measuring system. You know 9-ish by 4ish and long enough wood screws to bully the difference. So I was amazed that he would do this. I asked him if he really thought the client would know. He said probably not, but he would know and that was reason enough to change it. He desired to be more than good enough.
The old addage that we should recheck our measuring to save time and material cutting really seemed to speak to me about wanting to be more than good enough. Not in a boastful or bragging way, but in a way that takes full advantage of the resources available to me… including talent. My friend will think nothing of running a 10 dollar piece of wood through the tablesaw, because he knows that he has invested enough time and effort in his craft to feel confident that this wood won’t be wasted. On the other hand I have been known to cut until it fits instead of measuring and my belt sander fixes many a mistake. I am so uncertain of how anything will turn out that I refuse to use anything but scrap (that way when I mess up, I didn’t really de-value the lumber). The master sees 100 dollars of wood going through the table saw as a first step in a beautiful table, In my hands that would be the first step in the worlds most expensive marshmallow roast.
I am content to be a dabbler at this point of my life. There are some benefits to being a dabbler, I can certainly better appreciate a master craftsman now and I have become very creative with using small and akwardly cut pieces of wood. I also know that I am bound to try increasingly difficult projects that will need me to invest in more care and effort to make the most of the resources avaiable to me. While Lumber might grow on trees, the money to buy it doesn’t.
I kind of feel that way about life sometimes, there are areas of my life where I feel called to make the extra effort, to think twice, because being a dabbler just isn’t good enough. Most of those areas are things that no one on earth will likely ever notice, but I know and that is reason enough to change it. I am finding myself less comfortable burying a talent because I am afraid to “de-value” the lumber. Because my friend isn’t willing to let his work be “good enough”, the end result is the craftsmanship he brings to his creations. I think it is the desire to be better that makes him better. If I have the courage to bring the same conviction to my life’s dabbling I can take the example of the Master, and develop my talents, time and treasure into something that I probably don’t have the courage to even dream about right now. I don’t doubt that I will have my share of expensive bon fires along the way, but I can see the price paid by the Master and realize that life is too precious to worry about the cost of the life-lumber. You see, I beleive that in the Master’s hands I have complete confidence that my precious life-lumber will not be wasted and comitting to being more than “good enough” is the first step in allowing the creation something beautiful in my life.
-- The CNC machine can either produce the work of art you imagined, or very decorative firewood.