Do It Anyway

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Project by Woodbridge posted 12-14-2012 02:03 AM 2367 views 2 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Do It Anyway

Prior to retiring this year a colleague gave me a passage that was on the wall of Shishu Bhavan, the children’s home in Calcutta directed by Mother Teresa.

Do It Anyway

People are often unreasonable, irrational and self-centered; Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies; Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere, people may deceive you; Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight; Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous; Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten; Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God; It was never between you and them anyway.

—Mother Teresa

Although widely attributed to Mother Teresa the original version of the passage, titled the The Paradoxical Commandments was written in 1968 by Kent Keith a 19 year old Harvard College student.

My colleague is involved with a charity that supports an orphanage in Ecuador and he asked if I could make a large plaque of this passage. I had never carved letters before so I thought this would be a good way to try something new. I also thought it might provide a good reason to buy a CNC carving machine, but in the end I decided to forego another new workshop toy and carved all 636 letters by hand.

The plaque is made up of nine panels each about 14” by 14”. I used birch for the panel simply because it was readily available from the local big box store. This was a decision I would regret. The panels were joined together with biscuits. A walnut circle and strips were inlaid into the birch panels.

I also carved two decorative banners for the top and bottom. Finally I took a stab at a figurative relief carving of Mother Teresa that is inlaid into the plaque. The carving is based on a drawing downloaded from the internet and is carved from basswood. This is my first attempt at a figurative relief carving.

I knew Birch was prone to blotching and I had thought that using dye instead of pigment stain would be the solution. Unfortunately this did not work very well and the result was a horrible mess. I sanded most of it out and tried a pre-stain conditioner with an oil stain. This did not work very well either. I sanded most of it out, but it still looked pretty horrible. In the end I had to cover the panels with the paint you see and a top coat of satin finish spray lacquer.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

15 comments so far

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 3318 days

#1 posted 12-14-2012 02:27 AM

What a labour of love! Well done.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View a1Jim's profile


118253 posts in 4820 days

#2 posted 12-14-2012 02:32 AM

Wonderful carving and outstanding quote.


View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26786 posts in 4349 days

#3 posted 12-14-2012 02:46 AM

Beautiful carving of one of the best human beings ever to walk the earth!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View MichaelA's profile


778 posts in 4131 days

#4 posted 12-14-2012 06:03 AM

Nice carving Peter. I have had that bad experience with staining wood and know how frustrating trying to sand it out can be. I dislike sanding. I also enjoyed your story, makes sense to me!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

-- The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. "Helen Keller"

View tamboti's profile


207 posts in 4385 days

#5 posted 12-14-2012 03:35 PM

Peter WOW what a lovely carving and for a very good cause well done for a first try super Regards Tambotie

-- Africa is not for sissies

View Ken90712's profile


18067 posts in 4432 days

#6 posted 12-14-2012 05:47 PM

Very nice some great work

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View justoneofme's profile


862 posts in 3723 days

#7 posted 12-14-2012 06:41 PM

Peter … that is so impressive! Superb carving and stunning representation. Well done!!!

-- Elaine in Duncan

View Woodbridge's profile


3751 posts in 3661 days

#8 posted 12-14-2012 09:03 PM

Thanks everyone for your kind comments.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View DocSavage45's profile


9069 posts in 4086 days

#9 posted 12-14-2012 09:52 PM

Thank you!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Cantputjamontoast's profile


416 posts in 4676 days

#10 posted 12-14-2012 11:15 PM


-- "Not skilled enough to wipe jam on toast!"

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3535 days

#11 posted 12-15-2012 12:08 AM

Outstanding in every respect! Thank you for sharing.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View CatholicWoodworker's profile


20 posts in 3247 days

#12 posted 12-15-2012 02:09 AM

This is great, definitely made my favorites. I would love to learn to carve someday just so I can make something like this. Fantastic job.

-- "What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway." -Mother Teresa

View blackcherry's profile


3349 posts in 5066 days

#13 posted 12-15-2012 03:18 AM

Thanks for this moment of inspiration, Merry Christmas my friend in woodworking …BC

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4577 days

#14 posted 12-15-2012 12:48 PM

A very well done carving and a wonderful likeness. I also enjoyed the Do It Anyway passage written by a young student with wisdom well beyond his years. It seemed especially appropriate for Mother Teresa’s orphanage. Thanks for sharing this with us.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View George's profile


82 posts in 3846 days

#15 posted 01-21-2013 04:02 AM

outstanding craftsmanship!

-- I did measure it twice, it's still too short.

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