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Forum topic by KnickKnack posted 12-27-2013 03:13 PM 1046 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View KnickKnack's profile


1090 posts in 3591 days

12-27-2013 03:13 PM

...or Post Project Depression.

I’m wondering if anyone else suffers from this, and, if so, if they have any tips.

So the latest project is finally finished – perhaps a little more finish required, maybe some wax, but the basic work is done.
I might be happy with it, more likely not very (always room to have done it a lot better), and then it hits – Post Project Depression.

It’s hard to focus on anything.
I walk around mumbling “I got nothing”, since there’s nothing on the go.
I’ve tried, oh yes I have, thinking about the next project whilst I’m still involved in the one I’m on, but it just doesn’t work – when I’m working on one thing that’s where every ounce, gram, brain cycle, every breath, every everything goes.
I have ideas – they’re on scraps of paper, the “ideas book” I was using until it got rained on (in my shop, I hasten to add) resulting in 10 pages getting irreversibly glued together (who knows what gems got lost there), wunderlists, evernotes, cigarette paper packets, emails I’ve sent to myself, reminders I’ve made for myself. Many of them I don’t understand. A whole bunch of them I can’t even read.
But none of them are ready to go.
Not even close to ready to go.
They’re just ideas, sometimes just a joinery idea, sometimes, dare I say it, just a concept.

I know I just need to put some work in, to develop one of the ideas until it’s to a point where I can use it to start making sawdust.
And I know that I will recover.
But it’s always so hard to get going again.

Is this just a sickness I have, or is this an unspoken thing everyone knows but never talks about?

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

12 replies so far

View KnotCurser's profile


2025 posts in 3093 days

#1 posted 12-27-2013 03:30 PM

I think everybody feels it – in one way or another.

I get it in between projects…... I finally get the time to clean out the shop and then I just stare at it. A blank palette ready for paint.

Okay, that may have been a tad too poetic, but you know what I mean, yes?

And then – you are walking down the street and you see an old table in the window of an antique shop and it screams “BUILD ME”!!!!! You snap a few pics of it with your cellphone (at least I do), and already your mind is racing…....... Should I use mortise & tenons? How were those legs joined onto the skirt? Was she blonde or brunette? Wait a minute, are we still thinking woodworking here? Maybe save some time and go with pocket holes? You feel the blood and wood chips flow back into your veins.

Time to dirty up the woodshop again!!!!




-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

View danoaz's profile


223 posts in 2195 days

#2 posted 12-27-2013 03:32 PM

I get what you mean. It has happens to me on non-woodworking projects at work that could take up to several years to complete from start to finish and when they are over I am in a bummed out mood. You were focused and now you are not.
I have the problem of getting up the excitement for the next project because there can be so many to do. Once my head is into it I am fine, but the initial boost is hard for me. I am sure there is a medical reason for it.
One of the tricks I have is doing mundane things like vacuum and or dusting the house. It is busy work that my body needs but it lets my mind wonder to possibilities of what project to do next.
For you, I would say your next project should be to fix your roof. I’m just say’n…

-- "Simplicity and repose are the qualities that measure the true value of any work of art." Frank LLoyd Wright

View Mark Davisson's profile

Mark Davisson

597 posts in 3342 days

#3 posted 12-27-2013 03:35 PM

I think you have a sickness. And I have it, too.

My son and I talk about “brain candy.” He’ll send me a link to something that’s new and different, and I’ll send the same kind of link to him. Brain candy is the thing my brain chews on as I’m falling asleep at night – and it’s always a pleasant subject. Or I can be talking with my wife about one of the grandchildren, and, in my head, I’m deciding which router bit will work best for one of the future steps of my current project. That router bit decision is brain candy.

I find that the depression comes not from being away from the sawdust but, rather, from my brain being away from the candy (though I really do enjoy the sawdust).

-- I'm selfless because it feels so good!

View PaulDoug's profile


1550 posts in 1729 days

#4 posted 12-27-2013 03:43 PM

I think this is pretty common. I get it when I an almost finished with a project, and I find myself “puttering around on the project finding things to tweak a little or about anything to do so it is not all finished. It actually takes me a week or two to get over it. Good thing I am a hobbyist a not trying to make a living at it. The worst time I had was when I finish my street organ. 7 months working on it and when I finished I got real depressed. Only way I get over it is to get my head in another project.

-- “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

View KnickKnack's profile


1090 posts in 3591 days

#5 posted 12-27-2013 05:04 PM

It’s something of a relief to find that I’m not alone – now, where is my nearest support group for this?

One of the tricks I have is doing mundane things like vacuum and or dusting the house
Thereby making this a forum post I can never show to my wife – can’t be giving her ideas :-)
I had the great honour once to meet Quentin Crisp, and I follow his philosophy in this regard – ”There is no need to do any housework at all. After the first four years the dirt doesn’t get any worse”

For you, I would say your next project should be to fix your roof.
4 times they’ve been back to fix it now – it used to be a lot of leaks (and they rebuilt the entire room and put on a new roof), which was when the book got wet – now it’s down to one small drip. Of course it’s raining, and you’re not supposed to walk on the tiles when they’re wet or they break, and when the rain stops it’ll be nice and sunny and too hot to go on the roof :-)

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

View Stephen Fox's profile

Stephen Fox

110 posts in 3419 days

#6 posted 12-27-2013 05:42 PM

Sometimes, most of the time for most of us, we are absorbed with doing something to the point where we forget about being. Perhaps it is just time to spend time being with those amazing creations you have sitting on shelves somewhere or looking at all the great things on lumberjocks there are to see. So if the to-do list sits on the table without any thing done or added to it so what? Take the hint your body is giving you. There is much more to life than doing something and your body will tell you when it is time to start making something again, and when you do it will be great. Like all advise it is easier said than done.

-- Stephen NYS

View C_PLUS_Woodworker's profile


601 posts in 2932 days

#7 posted 12-27-2013 06:05 PM

I have to make this very short, but I can tell you need suggestions.

Maybe my suggestion might be of assistance.

I hope so.

Your issue IS NOT about woodworking AT ALL.

Woodworking has lost it allure and satisfaction for you…...........temporarily… have OD’s on sawdust.

Get out of the shop and do something very different….....hopefully with physical labor or effort involved.

Gardening, running, hiking, sports, and if those don’t hold interest for you, then….....

Going to a place you have never been AND stay gone a few days.

Or go to a place you love AND stay gone a few days

My guess is this will work for you…......... just fine.

May take a few days, make take a week or maybe a little more.

But, DO NOT go anywhere near your shop during this time.

You will start to crave getting back into your shop.

Which is your real love of how to spend your time.

Get outta the shop and go do something else.

You have a very common syndrome.

You are normal.

Doing as suggested will probably work wonders for you.

View Texcaster's profile


1285 posts in 1699 days

#8 posted 12-27-2013 08:56 PM

I just looked at your projects page…nice work! I wouldn’t have thought you would struggle for ideas or a direction. A large part of my work is mundane paying work, so I have plenty of time to think about something I’ve dreamed up on spec.

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View KnickKnack's profile


1090 posts in 3591 days

#9 posted 12-28-2013 08:43 AM

Some fine insights there.
I read the last 3 whilst sitting at my desk last evening, pre-dinner, thinking I really ought to fire up the drawing package and start with some sketching.
But I was feeling “ought”, rather than “want” – so some of those comments really struck home.

So we’re going to go to Lisbon tomorrow for a few days to get rained on over the New Year.
Lisbon qualifies as a “love”, “don’t know”, and “physical labour” place for us – every time we go, which is quite often, we walk and walk and find new roads and discover new things, places, cafés, restaurants, shops etc. The rubbish collectors have been on strike for a week, and will be for another week, so that’ll add to the, err, interest too.

Thanks for the input.

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29393 posts in 2363 days

#10 posted 12-28-2013 11:10 AM

To be honest, I go to the shop and build something. I hate not having something to do. So the things that sell the best, I build.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View danoaz's profile


223 posts in 2195 days

#11 posted 01-01-2014 04:03 PM

And I bet the depression was helped on by the rain.

Hope you had a good New Year time (not too much trouble)

-- "Simplicity and repose are the qualities that measure the true value of any work of art." Frank LLoyd Wright

View DKV's profile


3940 posts in 2529 days

#12 posted 01-01-2014 05:52 PM

Start your next project.

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

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