Greg Merritt posted a good piece yesterday on Integrity vs. Compromise. It was compelling to me because I’m trying to reset my approach to work with a focus on getting to a level of craft that I can be proud of.
I have been rushing to do work in the shop for the last year, and that has meant a lot of wasted effort and minimal or short sighted planning. More often than not, this requires some level of compromise. Either finding a make-do solution to salvage a piece that is just a bunch of mistakes glued together, or worse, lowering my own expectations of what I wanted to accomplish so that they match what actually came out.
As a beginner woodworker and hobbyist, I know that some of this is part of the learning curve. I’m ok with humility, but I’m not ok with lowering the standards of what I think I can do.
A few things led to this rushing around. Mainly a lack of time. Many weeks I had maybe 3 hrs of shop time, so I pushed to get done what I could when I could. Another part of that was the enthusiasm to try every project as soon as possible. Distracting. Halfway through a box and thinking of a stool. Learning basics of shaping wood and worrying about dovetails.
With my shift back to working from home I have a lot more time. And I am trying to break some bad habits. In doing so, I’ve sat down and thought out the skills I want to work on and then linked projects to those. For the near future those skills are going to be dimensioning wood from rough stock and dovetails. I’ve got a whole slew of boxes that I want to work through, and I’ll probably repeat a few to get where I want.
The whole point of woodworking for me isn’t to make stuff. It’s to make things as well as I can.