Sunday, June 3, 2012

Paying Attention

I need to spend more time in the shop. I know that may sound a little disingenuous of me seeing how little time I spend. But, here is the thing I never fail to learn.

No matter how small or how insignificant of a project or task I learn something.  Not only does the lesson relate to the work but to life in general.

Take for example The 9 plant stand I recently completed for Reba is an example.

Next Time
First, I learned patience. I say patience because I have a problem with trying to get to the end result without the taking the steps in between. The end result is almost always disastrous and usually means trashing what has been done and starting over again. When I first started I as pushing the material and tools trying to make them do it quicker. Let's just say the scrap bin has grown. I was pushing a little bench top table saw and band saw into cutting wood faster result a kickback on the table saw that was painful and a broken band saw blade all because I was inpatient. Of course I blamed the equipment and not the operator. But when I came back and was in a different frame of mind, more patient, the table saw cut like a hot knife through butter and the band saw, well I will keep it a little while longer since it did a pretty good job of cutting out the plant stand tops.

How does this lesson translate to life? Well be patient. Quick trying to make people and situations bend to your will for it will not turn out right. Instead work with what you got. Figure how the tools and situations you have can be made to your best advantage in the end it will be all right.

The second thing I learned was pay attention to detail. When I choose my materials, western red cedar, I was careful to choose few knots as possible and to cut around knots when possible. Overall it came out pretty good. But again pay attention to detail. When I began assembly I didn't pay attention to the orientation of the grain on the 9 little table the plants sit on. Result a pronounced grain pattern that go every where and to me is distracting. On the on the next one, and yes there will be another, I assure I will pay attention and align the grain pattern up for a not quite so busy look or least haphazard look.

Reba's Plant StandHow does this apply to life? Simple, paying attention to detail, while it may seem compulsive at times it will and can save you money and time if not your life. Paying attention to detail can keep you from being hoodwinked by the less scrupulous. Paying attention to detail can make you  aware of your surroundings and hopefully keep you from being blindsided by life.

Books and Projects and Movies

I enjoyed working with the western cedar so I am looking for a project that use of western red cedar would work. The biggest problem I see with it is the fact that it is a soft wood. So how I use it will be important.  Maybe a cedar and pine books shelf.

Books- well since I finished the last James Lee Burke “Feast Day of Fools” I started the second book of Craig Johnson “Longmire Series” the first chapter has caught my attention.

Movies- not a whole lot but Reba and I recently finished watching the History Channel’s “The Hatfield and McCoy’s” min- series. These were extremely violent people who as portrayed didn’t take things lightly. Watch it if you can it is worth it.


  1. what an excellent post--patience was the toughest thing in wood shop in HS...and you are right the things we build with our hands teach us so much...great photo of the plant stand with all the plants...