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Forum topic by David Craig posted 11-14-2012 09:44 PM 811 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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David Craig

2135 posts in 1767 days


11-14-2012 09:44 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question personal growth fear hope skill

Perfectionist, ironically, means something different for everyone. I cannot claim to be one in my own understanding of the word, otherwise I would never be able to finish a project. For many, I would assume there is a special place in our own minds that exists between what we fear our project will look like and what we hope our project will look like.

When I first started, I had to come to a place, mentally, where I could accept the creation I made and its many flaws. I would have to find something I liked about it, something I could improve on, and embrace some of the imperfections rather than be repelled by them. Over time, that distance between fear and hope gets a little less and less.

What personal philosophies have you adopted that help you deal with this insecurity in abilities that help you grow into the craft rather than leave yourself in an uncomfortable place of self doubt?

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.


25 replies so far

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2833 posts in 907 days


#1 posted 11-14-2012 10:01 PM

I am often crushed between how my projects turn out in my head and on paper, and how the turn out in wood. I keep plugging away though. As long as the next one (there is always a next one) is better than the previous I am happy. Honestly if I ever achieve consistent perfection I would stop woodworking. I don’t get paid to do it, I enjoy the challenge and the journey. If perfection becomes mundane, I will be bored.

I guess what I am trying to say is the enjoyment in woodworking for me is not the destination, but the journey. I am not kidding myself, I do not posses the natural talent or natural ability for woodworking and I will never be a master craftsman, but if I can be a competent craftsman, that will make me happy.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

5669 posts in 2087 days


#2 posted 11-14-2012 10:28 PM

” You can’t see it (a flaw) from my house.”

-- 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 casual1carpenter's profile

casual1carpenter

353 posts in 1134 days


#3 posted 11-14-2012 11:29 PM

I tend to hold on to the flaws, at least those I’m smart enough to know about. In the end though the project is done and it’s time to move on. If you can’t admit to your mistakes and try to at least not make the same ones too many more times you will not really improve. That is why I sort of make a conscious effort to see my own mistakes as I pass my projects, so as to remember and learn. However, I do take great pride in the fact that they are my work, flaws, mistakes and all.

Reminds me of what an old cousin once told me about some molding I was doing years ago at the country cabin. I was sort of dwelling on my inability to get the quality I wanted. He told me that it looked pretty good and that I was the only one who would really see the joint issues. He then said that if I had friends over that they would never notice. He then went on to say that if they did notice that they would be too polite to mention it. But the qualifier was that if they did notice, and if they did say something, then I should just tell them to get out because they are not my friends. We had a good laugh over that and a beer.

We look at our own work harder than the casual observer ever will. With the hours we spend getting rather intimate with a project it is a sure bet that no matter how good we do, it could always have come off better. At least that is true for me. Perhaps one day the final project will actually reflect the concept, plan and drawing, but I doubt that. The more I learn about woodworking the more I find out how much I do not know.

View Greg..the Cajun  Box Sculptor's profile

Greg..the Cajun Box Sculptor

5113 posts in 1967 days


#4 posted 11-14-2012 11:29 PM

I am always critical of every detail of my work because I am the only one who spends countless hours doing my work.

-- If retiring is having the time to be able to do what you enjoy then I have always been retired.

View Don W's profile

Don W

15045 posts in 1226 days


#5 posted 11-14-2012 11:34 PM

Look at the big picture. How many perfect projects have you ever seen?

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2135 posts in 1767 days


#6 posted 11-14-2012 11:40 PM

The answer to that question, Don, is about one’s state of mind. When we are insecure, we see perfection everywhere else but in ourselves. To see our own work or the work of others as flawless, I believe, is a mistake. I believe we all have to find a spot in ourselves to accept these imperfections in our work, as well as others.

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View CudaDude's profile

CudaDude

110 posts in 967 days


#7 posted 11-14-2012 11:55 PM

my problem is not accepting imperfections from a point that i see my work as flawless (not just woodwork), but being able to accept the imperfections and actually complete a project and not scrap the whole thing. I hate knowing there is a flaw in something i did and wondering every time someone says it looks good if they’re saying in the back of their mind “look at the screw ups in this thing”.

-- Gary

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1774 days


#8 posted 11-14-2012 11:56 PM

flaws in a project only says its a one off made by a craftman :-)

and thats how it shuold be

Dennis

View Don W's profile

Don W

15045 posts in 1226 days


#9 posted 11-14-2012 11:57 PM

If we saw perfection in what we did, we would never drive to do better. Its your ability to understand your weaknesses that allows you to excel. You should away strive to improve your weakest capabilities.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2135 posts in 1767 days


#10 posted 11-14-2012 11:58 PM

Every woodworker or crafts person I have ever met would immediately show me every single perceived imperfection in a project right at the start. I think it is a little self defensive mechanism that is immediately triggered as if to say “I know it isn’t perfect, lets get that out of the way right now…”

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2135 posts in 1767 days


#11 posted 11-15-2012 12:00 AM

Agreed on that Don. We just have to find that place where we accept the mistake and use it as a spring board to do better.

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View StumpyNubs's profile

StumpyNubs

6194 posts in 1459 days


#12 posted 11-15-2012 12:16 AM

My philosophy is, don’t pretend to be a fine woodworker and nobody will expect fine work from you! (And by “you” I mean ME) What I mean is, understand your skills and be honest about them. Mistakes are hardly noticed when they are expected. But if you claim to be a true artist, expect every flaw to be pointed out by snooty critics as they sip wine at the gallery.

As for what mistakes are acceptable to you… well that depends. If it can be seen without bending over and looking closely, it’s got to be fixed. If it can be hidden so that nobody will ever notice, I’m ok with it. If it can be written off as “character”, that’s ok too. But i find the best way to deal with a piece that has a big flaw on it, is to beat it up some more and call it “rustic”. People love that stuff.

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com

View Don W's profile

Don W

15045 posts in 1226 days


#13 posted 11-15-2012 12:47 AM

Dave, don’t take this wrong, but you need to hang with a different crowd. That’s just rude to pick apart someone else work like that.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2135 posts in 1767 days


#14 posted 11-15-2012 12:57 AM

Yes, it is rude to destroy someone else’s work. In the case I laid out though, they weren’t picking mine apart but their own. Which is kind of sad sometimes because you really want that person to know that the piece they created is really quite good.

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Don W's profile

Don W

15045 posts in 1226 days


#15 posted 11-15-2012 01:06 AM

Ahhh, I misunderstood the context. I always pick my projects apart, but silently. If you can’t see the flaws in my project, I’m not gonna point it out. :-)

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

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