What is "perfect"?

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Forum topic by Walnut_Weasel posted 10-21-2009 03:35 PM 1280 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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360 posts in 3460 days

10-21-2009 03:35 PM

I am a person that likes to reflect on the complexity and different points of view to life…so I thought I would pose a few questions to my fellow woodworkers.

It seems that a lot of woodworkers are in a constant pursuit of “perfection.” However, given that we are human and do make errors, what do you consider “perfect?” Do you view “perfection” in woodworking differently than you do other things in life? Why?

-- James -

17 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4456 days

#1 posted 10-21-2009 03:51 PM

I suppose perfection only exists in mathematics.

In woodworking, like most areas of life, perfection is an abstract goal that you aim for, knowing it can never actually be achieved.

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

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Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4059 days

#2 posted 10-21-2009 04:48 PM

I gave up on perfection in my woodworking projects a long time ago. I used to strive for it but came to the realization that if I wanted a piece to be perfect I never would be able to get anything out of the shop.

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

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 4006 days

#3 posted 10-21-2009 05:12 PM

The way that I generally categorize perfection is if it looks perfect it is. Of course there are plenty of limits to that like the piece obviously needs to be structurally sound and the like but if your piece is structurally sound and looks perfect then it’s perfect. Again real perfection is pretty much unacheivable in everything except got math but it’s the percoevable flaws in things that make them look imperfect. Unperceivable flaws though do not take awayy from the beauty of the piece. It’s the old saying that being a master is just your ability to hide flaws

View a1Jim's profile


117417 posts in 3815 days

#4 posted 10-21-2009 05:16 PM

A mothers love for her child. In woodworking something to strive for.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1141 posts in 4229 days

#5 posted 10-21-2009 06:35 PM

It’s perfect if it looks how I imagined it would look.

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4456 days

#6 posted 10-21-2009 06:56 PM

Damian, once in a while it looks even better than I had imagined. Does that make it better than perfect? :-)

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

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3523 days

#7 posted 10-22-2009 03:12 AM

I gave up on trying for perfection…...I’d rather strive for excellence.

-- John @

View Napaman's profile


5530 posts in 4315 days

#8 posted 10-22-2009 03:22 AM

my woodworking is far from perfect…just like my belly…but I still love my belly…and I still love my woodworking…both are on a journey to perfection…and both have a looooong road ahead of them.

of course your original question was how we define perfection…three letters: DAN

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View BeachedBones's profile


201 posts in 3639 days

#9 posted 10-22-2009 03:27 AM

I never aim for perfection, and if by fluke I’d get close I’d have to intentionally flaw something. For me this hobby is about taking something, and making something better from it. If it was ever perfect, I’d have no where to go next.

Plus if I made something too nice I’d never be about to use it, for fear of damage.

Luckily (and happily) I’m not good enough to worry about that.

-- You know.... I think that old wood needs to be furniture.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18423 posts in 3913 days

#10 posted 10-22-2009 06:15 AM

If it’s not visually distracting, it’s perfect.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4552 days

#11 posted 10-22-2009 06:19 AM

I walk away from a project knowing every little ding, loose glue line, tear out, warp, tilt, and O shit. Perfection always seems to be what the other guy is doing.

View Abe Low's profile

Abe Low

111 posts in 4084 days

#12 posted 10-22-2009 06:34 AM

Perfection, Ah, what a wonderful thing. Nothing ever has been. Nothing ever will be. Not even mathematics. Just ask a financial planer how much 2 + 2 is and if they are truthful, they will answer, “How much do you want it to be.”

But, if the customer likes it, and pays for it, or my wife likes it, then it is perfectly adequate.

-- Abe Low, Fine furniture, Sacramento, CA

View Rabbet's profile


35 posts in 3378 days

#13 posted 10-22-2009 07:38 AM

If I wanted to obtain perfection in woodworking I would buy a $250,000 CNC, CAD, CAM everthing but the kitchen sink machine where in one end I’d toss in a 4×8 piece of MDF and out pops a pre-designed faux mahogany Federal card table with laser jet printed inlays. Its ok not to be perfekt. I like the uniqueness of things that are not quite perfect it gives them character.

View Walnut_Weasel's profile


360 posts in 3460 days

#14 posted 10-22-2009 04:45 PM

For me it is a bit of a circular statement. Perfection is the act of pursuing a state of perfect. If I feel that my most recent project was equal to or better than my previous project – it is perfect to me.

-- James -

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1577 posts in 3802 days

#15 posted 10-22-2009 04:58 PM

Perfect is different for for everyone, we all define it individually.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

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