Between good enough and psychosis

Events, too banal to detail here, conspired to keep me from sleeping last night. So, I’ve spent most of the day either staring into the middle distance or trying to finish a box with shellac.

In finishing the box today I realise how much I have to learn, and practice. I stopped myself from letting drips ruin it. Yeah, this box is already consigned to a dusty life in the workshop, but it’s still worth trying to make it as well as I can.

For whatever reason, I keep thinking of the Japanese artisan who makes a bowl every day and then destroys it, hundreds of times just to internalise the process. Not sure if that’s real or just orientalist hokum, but the idea of doing something so much that it becomes your nature is fascinating.

great, now throw it at the wall

While it may be tedium to the journeyman, it’s something that hobbyists miss out on. It takes a hellofalot of self discipline to make the same thing repeatedly just to hone a skill. But, who doesn’t get a bit…what’s the word, jealous?…when you watch a master craftsperson free hand dovetails.

I’m on track to make several iterations of the same box. Which is step one to making other boxes. Maybe I’ll get bored, maybe my wife will find me sitting atop a mountain of tiny boxes giggling to myself. Not that she’d find that out of place.

Dunno, just the crap running through my head today as I feel like cold shit warmed up.

6 thoughts on “Between good enough and psychosis

  1. ctregan December 11, 2014 / 11:13 pm

    You are not alone, even John Lennon sang the difficulties of “trying to cut a dovetail joint.” Find a fun woodworking project and come back to dovetails at another time.


    • streetzelwilson December 12, 2014 / 1:31 pm

      Well, if even the Walrus suffered I feel like I am in good company. Not to knock any woodworker who isn’t also a world class rock star.


      • ctregan December 12, 2014 / 2:47 pm

        Listen to “Glass Onion” on the White Album. Every time I make dovetails, the song plays mind games with me.

        Liked by 1 person

      • streetzelwilson December 12, 2014 / 5:36 pm

        It’s like listening to The Wall while watching the Wizard of Oz…it synchs up, man! Seriously, thanks for that awesome bit of info. I put on the White Album while scrubbing some wood. What a great album, and it’s been such a long time since I listened to it.


  2. gman3555 December 12, 2014 / 1:38 am

    Two words…pencil box. These are my go-to practice and skill building project. The sliding lid version that Paul Sellers presented on Masterclasses is the one I’m speaking of. Dovetails, plowed grooves, raised panel, rebates, round over and a bead detail. The pieces are small. So any piece can be made over if there are any mistakes. I can almost do these blindfolded now. Not that they are perfect though. I screwed up a lot of pieces to get this far and I’m sure there will be plenty of wood butchery to come.



    • streetzelwilson December 12, 2014 / 1:28 pm

      Those just happen to be the boxes I am working on. Figured that they were a good project to make multiples of since they seem pretty easy to repurpose for whatever. TV remotes, actual pencils, chisels. I’m in the midst of breaking down the wood to make a few more.

      Liked by 1 person

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