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Forum topic by Don Newton posted 12-10-2009 05:45 AM 1163 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Don Newton

714 posts in 3041 days

12-10-2009 05:45 AM


It’s been a couple of months since I’ve made anything of consequence in my shop. It seems that I am just not motivated. It used to be that I would spend 2 or 3 hours a night and most of the weekend in the shop but lately I am lucky to spend a couple of hours a week. Television programs like The Woodwrights Shop and New Yankee Workshop used to inspire me to spend time in the shop but lately the local PBS station has been begging for money and my programs are the ones always being preempted. What do you folks do to get motivated?

-- Don, Pittsburgh

21 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 2999 days

#1 posted 12-10-2009 08:35 AM

It’s all in the starting. Make a list of projects starting with the most simple and start that project then go on to another. Once you get going you will crate your own motivation.

-- Custom furniture

View woodworm's profile


14164 posts in 3013 days

#2 posted 12-10-2009 01:15 PM

When I got demotivated, I tried somerting new, things I had no know how or experience. Never in my life I made knife handle, so I tried this one. I did not have the hardware/tools, I bought. Once I placed the order, I started searching infomations on this new thing and got inspired by others’ work. And from the moment I received the merchandise, I was spiritually devoted to this new thing. But when I started to feel I can do that, the motivation and inspiration start to diminish….Maybe it is because I do woodworking as a hobby. If I make living from woodworking, things could be different.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 3583 days

#3 posted 12-10-2009 01:20 PM

sift through the LJ projects until something says “MAKE ME MAKE ME” ... and for me, it’s usually beyond my skill level so it becomes a personal challenge to try something new. .
and then there is the “motivation” by my fellow LJ’s who say, “Debbie you can do this.. I expect to see …. ” and I take up the challenge and give it a try (well almost always—the Maloof Rocker challenge is NOT going to happen!) :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

8104 posts in 2851 days

#4 posted 12-10-2009 02:13 PM

Re: Maloof. I hear ya! Krenov, Maybe (a BIG maybe). Maloof? Way above my pay grade.

-- 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 Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3316 days

#5 posted 12-10-2009 02:30 PM

I know how ya feel. November was a tough month. The dishwasher puked, then the fridge died, then the furnace choked out its last puff of heat, then my little brother passed on…...........Motivation gone.

Guessing my bank balance keeps me going

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Rev. Jim Paulson's profile

Rev. Jim Paulson

119 posts in 2699 days

#6 posted 12-10-2009 03:45 PM

Like Don I really miss the Woodwright’s shop. Ever since I moved to Upstate New York seven years ago, I haven’t been able to see it as our local PBS stopped showing it sometime ago. Other programs like NYW had limited spots. Consequently, I buy woodworking books when I can and I get PW and FWW to inspire me. I think doing demonstrations at a historical site is good motivation too. People ask questions and it motivates you to learn more. I am enjoying this forum and other forums.

But most importantly, I thank my creator regularly for being able to own and use tools and I pray about my motivation. It helps. I also take stock that we are in good company since Joseph and Jesus were woodworkers too. Surely, they knew what it was like to cut a board too short.

Take care,


View sharad's profile


1108 posts in 3227 days

#7 posted 12-10-2009 04:27 PM

Don motivation comes from inside. So don’t depend on external things. Decide you have to keep working. Select some simple projects in which you will put all your skills with the available tools and post it on LJ. Your fellow woodworkers will certainly inspire you to return you back to your pristine days.

-- “If someone feels that they had never made a mistake in their life, then it means they have never tried a new thing in their life”.-Albert Einstein

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 2949 days

#8 posted 12-10-2009 04:51 PM

I just sit in the shop and things happen. Big items are not something that has to be for its the smaller ones that give that extra push to go forward and are the foundation of the larger ones. Have you read lately where LJ’s have used all their little scrap pieces and glued them up and made things like cutting boards and bowls? Heck, last year I picked up a scrap and made a spoon and that lead to series of bowls and that led to…

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

View RedShirt013's profile


219 posts in 3084 days

#9 posted 12-10-2009 11:50 PM

Try this: Offer to do all your wife’s chores, and a few hours into it you’ll wish you are doing something else. Then in order to be pardoned of all the chores you haven’t done on that endless list, you will offer to make her a new kitchen island worthy of all her friends’ envy. Problem solved.

-- Ed

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1509 posts in 3547 days

#10 posted 12-11-2009 12:38 AM

I’m with Woodworm and Kindlingmaker: If I can’t be motivated to work on “my list”, I go out into the shop and just start to play. What if I tried to make a chair? How about a trebuchet? I haven’t used the dovetail jig in a while, what could I build with that? What do these scraps that I couldn’t bring myself to throw away want to be turned in to?

Sometimes it means the shop gets a few extra projects in progress lying around, something my shop really doesn’t have room for, but usually it means I get re-inspired to start working on whatever caused me to stop on the big stuff that’s on my list.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


17577 posts in 3098 days

#11 posted 12-11-2009 12:50 AM

You just have to take that first step. When I have a migraine, which is nearly everyday, but I can keep them low with pain killers and watching out for triggers like light, motion of videos, ect; I have 2 choices: lay in bed feeling sorry for myself or get up and do something. You have the same opportunity, take the first step or don’t. I would hate to think what I would be like and the effects on my family if I had spent the last decade in bed:-((

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

View Bob A in NJ's profile

Bob A in NJ

1203 posts in 3421 days

#12 posted 12-11-2009 02:44 AM


Hang in there buddy, Maybe you’re just a bit worn out and need a new toy! You’ve made some great projects for sure but they all take a lot of time. Buy a new lathe and start making some nice things that only take a hour or two.

-- Bob A in NJ

View SnowyRiver's profile


51452 posts in 2903 days

#13 posted 12-11-2009 03:59 AM

I know what you mean about motivation. What keeps me going is not doing woodworking the entire year. Here in Minnesota, we have great weather from May to October. During that period I work on the outside of the house, work in the yard and garden, take long walks, vacation, etc. During the winter months, thats shop time. I have a schedule. The months of November and December, I get ready for the holidays, but I also tune up the shop equipment. I start working on projects in early January, and finish at the end of April. Then its outside again. Not that I wont do something quick in the shop during a rainy day in the summer, like build jigs, mill wood for outside house repairs etc, but I limit my shop time during the summer.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View khop's profile


134 posts in 3099 days

#14 posted 12-11-2009 04:16 AM

Don, I checked out your projects, really really nice. How about using your camera and showing all of us your shop. Before that first picture, why don’t you go through things and straighten up. Cleaning my shop helps me to remember where things are and I sometimes find stuff I forgot I had. This will probably motivate you to create something new for your shop and I’m sure you want to show all of us where you like to be. So go ahead, clean, photo shoot, post on LJ’s, and everyone will enjoy. GOD BLESS

-- How am I doing? Better than I deserve. Dave Ramsey

View Don Newton's profile

Don Newton

714 posts in 3041 days

#15 posted 12-11-2009 06:08 AM

You guys are all great! Lots of good ideas. I do have some pictures in the camera that should be turned into a review and others that can be posted as a project. Cleaning the shop is another good idea. My basement shop really doesn’t offer much but it may make you guys with dedicated shops more thankful for the space. I’ve always wanted to make Shaker boxes, even went so far as to take a workshop and make the forms. Maybe now is the time to do some at home. Been looking at a new bandsaw to replace the 20 year old Craftsman piece of crap. Lots of ideas, I think I’ll just begin somewhere and see where it takes me. Motivation… friends at Lumberjocks are motivation!

-- Don, Pittsburgh

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