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Blog entry by Cathie Zimmerman posted 12-12-2016 07:54 AM 1296 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Most days you’ll see me with a composition book full of graph paper pages in my hands or back pack. You’ll see me drawing away like a mad scientist when something cool comes to mind. I have some really great ideas I think!

Now, how to start them? I’m trying to finish this little table and chairs thing for a friend and her kids. It’s taken me about 6 months already. Partly because I’ve come so far I’m afraid to mess it up! Haha! But, there are times I just want it off the bench already so if I mess up, I improvise, fix and move on. So why can’t I do that all the time?

Then there is getting started with what’s in my book!

Tell me guys… what motivates you to just go do it, even if you mess up that wood you dropped some $ on?

8 comments so far

View jawqn87's profile


26 posts in 3372 days

#1 posted 12-12-2016 04:16 PM

I work best if I have timelines imposed. My bed frame that took me two years to finish, I finished it with 14 days before I had to move. Any project that I have a timeline on, I know I have to finish it, if it doesn’t have a timeline, it takes a long time. I am working on a bookshelf right now for my house, been “working” on it for 3 months now. It has been set aside because of house remodels, cutting boards for customers, and anything else.

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 4141 days

#2 posted 12-12-2016 04:40 PM

You sound a little bored with what your building. Start a couple projects for yourself from your book. When you have to wait for glue or finish to dry, you can work on finishing up the table and chair set.

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 1420 days

#3 posted 12-12-2016 05:27 PM


Firstly, thank you for your service! As a veteran myself, I know that is not said often enough.

I think perhaps we share the same angst. I have purchased lumber for particular projects only to have it sit in my shop for years. I make plans to build a particular thing, only to veer off the path to build something else … look, puppies! Case in point is my current project. I started planning my Hepplewhite stand 19 years ago … just rough-cut the parts a few days ago!

My woodworking is not a professional endeavor, but one of an altruistic nature. I find building something for someone because I want to versus because I have to, much more enjoyable. I also find the doing more rewarding than the completing … if that makes sense.

So, like papadan says … just start a couple of projects … work a little here, a little there … learn as you go … and then find someone to give it to!


Now, on a side note … we just might butt heads with whom married the most wonderful woman in the world because I can assure you … I did … LOL!

View Greg the Cajun Wood Artist's profile

Greg the Cajun Wood Artist

515 posts in 1715 days

#4 posted 12-12-2016 09:06 PM

For me it is all tied to attitude. It is easy to think about things and plan things excessively. Every day that I go to my shop I still have that “Kid in a Candy Store” excitement and passion for what I am doing. On some of those rare days when I find it hard to get started I just do other things in the shop and the momentum kicks in from being in there…as in that saying of the hardest part of any journey starts with a single step…

-- Wood for projects is like a good Fart..."better when you cut it yourself" Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does

View theoldfart's profile


11630 posts in 3224 days

#5 posted 12-13-2016 02:03 AM

Cathie, I can’t put myself in your shoes but I can say just start something. If it doesn’t fly move on to something else a little less ambitious. I have a few projects here on LJ’s, some of which I started and realized I did not have the skills to finish them. I took on something that I knew I could complete and eventually went back and finished the tougher ones. Judging by your picture you know all about challenges and the drive to go beyond them. There are some great folks here and they would be more than willing to give you the kick in the butt if you ask! BTW, I would have screwed up that doorstop when I started. :-).

Thank you for your service and your sacrifice. Now go make sawdust!

Edit: I’m with Ron on “whom married the most wonderful woman in the world”, got myself one too!

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30551 posts in 3111 days

#6 posted 12-13-2016 02:43 AM

I guess I am the opposite. I dive in and start building, often not having the full plan in my head. But I also have the advantage of fairly cheap lumber and plenty of room for the burn pile.

I get angry with myself if I dwell on things without action. My advice, just do it.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View BJODay's profile


528 posts in 2716 days

#7 posted 12-14-2016 12:23 AM

I used to worry about screwing up a project. The more time I had invested the more scared I would get. It’s a trap. When I have eventually messed up a piece or a section of a piece, I had to start over from raw lumber. The second time through goes much faster.

Don’t be afraid of errors. They are opportunities to learn.


View Cathie Zimmerman's profile

Cathie Zimmerman

103 posts in 1586 days

#8 posted 12-26-2016 05:16 AM

Thank you all SO much for suggestions, advice and encouragement. In the last week I’ve really contemplated what each one of you said. Something just “clicked” and here’s what I’ve accomplished: 1) I finished the box I was building my dad 2) finished the game puck display for my wife 3) rearranged my shop in a way where I was able to better access my tools and put together some dust collection measures and 4) the table and chairs are now awaiting paint, then assembly.

Being so inexperienced, I think I got caught in that “but I don’t want to mess up” trap. I’m not sure what made me snap out of it but I grabbed a hold of the “well, let’s just see what happens” mentality and it worked out. With these projects done… I already have an idea for the next box I want to make.

I came across some spalted cherry at a local place here and snatched it up. I’m not sure how common or uncommon that is to find, but it was on sale at the time. I can’t wait to work with it.

Thanks again for your words, encouragement and motivation. For those that served… thank YOU TOO for your service…....and I still think I have you beat on the bestestestest wife ever… ;)

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