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Forum topic by HammerSmith posted 11-11-2018 03:19 AM 2617 views 0 times favorited 41 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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HammerSmith

284 posts in 500 days


11-11-2018 03:19 AM

^ Those are some words of an old mentor that I’ll never forget… Tony Ippolito was a cool old man, in his seventies, and still working construction. I was a greenhorn, and he taught me a lot.

Actually, Tony said at the time; “too many nails are bad for the job”... as I was using too many nails. But it wasn’t about splitting the wood. It was simply a matter of ~ “How many nails are needed?”

Over the decades, I still think of old Tony often. I can still see his wry smile, and that mischievous gleam in his eye as he would say things like that.

I was thinking of Tony today after applying some varnish, and being so tempted to go back over a spot where it was too thick… but I know it’s too late to touch it… but I wanted to touch it… but I didn’t touch it… and I can still see that look in old Tony Ippolito’s eye right now as I type this. :)

If I touch that varnish now, I know I’ll only make it worse. So I’ll just hope that it’ll be “good enough” when it dries…

-- ~Jim


41 replies so far

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Rich

4551 posts in 1006 days


#1 posted 11-11-2018 04:32 AM

Words of wisdom. I can’t count the times I’ve tried to deal with flaws too soon and made the situation worse. We could all channel a little bit of Tony from time-to-time.

Thanks for sharing.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

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fly2low

82 posts in 513 days


#2 posted 11-11-2018 09:04 AM

a corollary of that statement is
The enemy of good enough is better – which I have had to relearn too many times

-- Rich Gig Harbor, WA

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HammerSmith

284 posts in 500 days


#3 posted 11-11-2018 09:55 AM



a corollary of that statement is
The enemy of good enough is better – which I have had to relearn too many times

- fly2low

lol! Yeah man, me too! I’ve been on the wrong side of it many times over the decades… trying to make it “better”, only to make things worse… And I always see Tony’s wry grin, and that look in his eye, every time…

I guess, the key is to know exactly where “good enough” lies… It’s an elusive target sometimes!

-- ~Jim

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HammerSmith

284 posts in 500 days


#4 posted 11-11-2018 10:22 AM


Words of wisdom. I can t count the times I ve tried to deal with flaws too soon and made the situation worse. We could all channel a little bit of Tony from time-to-time.

Thanks for sharing.

- Rich

Yeah, me too Rich… it’s a tricky balance sometimes…. trying to make it “better” – only to make things worse…

Here’s another example of it;

I was working for a guy, doing commercial remodeling… One of my tasks for the day, was to put the bulletin board up in the break room….

My boss wanted me to use screws AND construction adhesive to hang the bulletin board, but that was ridiculous!

First of all, four screws into the studs was all it needed. The construction adhesive was ridiculous overkill, and I told him that.

But he was adamant. “just use the adhesive!”

I said, “But what if they decide to move it?”

Boss said “Just do it!”

So I did…

And then, a few days later, the customer decided he wanted to move it…. lmao…

The construction adhesive tore the paint off the wall, so now it needed mudwork. And sanding. And vacuuming the carpet. And primer. And then the whole friggin wall had to be painted again.

In my mind’s eye, I saw old Tony chuckling…

-- ~Jim

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HammerSmith

284 posts in 500 days


#5 posted 11-11-2018 10:39 AM

sorry for the duplicate post below… I don’t know how to delete this. Mods?

Words of wisdom. I can t count the times I ve tried to deal with flaws too soon and made the situation worse. We could all channel a little bit of Tony from time-to-time.

Thanks for sharing.

- Rich

Yeah, me too Rich… it s a tricky balance sometimes…. trying to make it “better” – only to make things worse…

Here s another example of it;

I was working for a guy, doing commercial remodeling… One of my tasks for the day, was to put the bulletin board up in the break room….

My boss wanted me to use construction adhesive AND screws to hang the bulletin board, but that was ridiculous!

First of all, four screws into the studs was all it needed. The construction adhesive was ridiculous overkill, and I told him that.

But he was adamant. “just use the adhesive!”

I said, “But what if they decide to move it?”

Boss said “Just do it!”

So I did…

And then the customer decided he wanted to move it…. lmao…

The construction adhesive tore the paint off the wall, so now it needed mudwork. And sanding. And vacuuming the carpet. And primer. And then the whole friggin wall had to be painted again.

In my mind s eye, I saw old Tony chuckling…

- HammerSmith


-- ~Jim

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shipwright

8319 posts in 3214 days


#6 posted 11-11-2018 02:49 PM

Good enough is a much maligned term. I always try to achieve “good enough” and if I’m diligent and careful I am rewarded and my work is …. good enough.
I cringe when people talk about it as if it meant settleing for less.
They just aren’t understanding the words. If in fact you settle for less than your best, you guessed it, ........it’s not “good enough”.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese! http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

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Rich

4551 posts in 1006 days


#7 posted 11-11-2018 02:53 PM


Good enough is a much maligned term. I always try to achieve “good enough” and if I’m diligent and careful I am rewarded and my work is …. good enough.

- shipwright

Paul, it’s all relative. Your “good enough” outshines my “best” any day of the week.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

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LOW1

3 posts in 518 days


#8 posted 11-11-2018 03:04 PM

A good word and one that you still see in construction contracts is “workmanlike.” Hard to really define what it means but you will know it when you see it. Not necessarily pretty but fully functional and not sloppy

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Rich

4551 posts in 1006 days


#9 posted 11-11-2018 03:09 PM


you will know it when you see it.

- LOW1

That’s how Supreme Court Justice Potter Steward defined porn.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

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000

2859 posts in 1316 days


#10 posted 11-11-2018 03:28 PM

That brings to mind “Industry Standards” or “Commercially Acceptable”

I’ve messed up many a project trying to make it just a little better when I should have left “well enough” alone.

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MrRon

5564 posts in 3660 days


#11 posted 11-11-2018 06:03 PM

I’m sorry, but I don’t subscribe to the “good enough” philosophy. That is what makes the difference between a craftsman and a hack. When a house framer installs a stud that is 1/4” too short and calls that “good enough”, I cringe. Certainly house construction is not rocket science, but he should be able to do better than that. When speaking of precision vs “good enough”, I compare a carpenter from the U.S. and one from Japan. The Japanese use incredible precision in their construction, like joinery without nails or screws. The U.S. carpenter slaps wood together and hopes it passes inspection. This off course is not true for all carpenters. Carpenters may be forced to work fast and therefore make more mistakes that are just covered up and others are allowed to work at their own pace and turn out credible work. The latter costs much more; the difference in cost between a tract home and a custom home. I guess I just object to the term “good enough”. When I went to school a long time ago, “good enough” was not in our vocabulary. My family insisted that whatever I did, it had to be to the best of my ability. I don’t want my children and grand children to embrace such a philosophy.

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000

2859 posts in 1316 days


#12 posted 11-11-2018 06:09 PM

Ron, go back up and read shipwrights (post #6) explanation, he describes it the best.

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olegrump

97 posts in 639 days


#13 posted 11-11-2018 06:14 PM

Right up there with the old saw “When it starts looking good, don’t try to improve it”. A very hard lesson to learn for all of us.

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shipwright

8319 posts in 3214 days


#14 posted 11-11-2018 06:52 PM


I m sorry, but I don t subscribe to the “good enough” philosophy. That is what makes the difference between a craftsman and a hack. When a house framer installs a stud that is 1/4” too short and calls that “good enough”, I cringe. Certainly house construction is not rocket science, but he should be able to do better than that. When speaking of precision vs “good enough”, I compare a carpenter from the U.S. and one from Japan. The Japanese use incredible precision in their construction, like joinery without nails or screws. The U.S. carpenter slaps wood together and hopes it passes inspection. This off course is not true for all carpenters. Carpenters may be forced to work fast and therefore make more mistakes that are just covered up and others are allowed to work at their own pace and turn out credible work. The latter costs much more; the difference in cost between a tract home and a custom home. I guess I just object to the term “good enough”. When I went to school a long time ago, “good enough” was not in our vocabulary. My family insisted that whatever I did, it had to be to the best of my ability. I don t want my children and grand children to embrace such a philosophy.

- MrRon

Now this is exactly what makes me cringe. But still I agree with you. A sloppy workman calling something “good enough” does not make it so. Clearly what you refer to is not in fact not good enough. If it were good enough you would approve of it.

Thanks jbay!

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese! http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

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lumbering_on

578 posts in 906 days


#15 posted 11-11-2018 10:11 PM


a corollary of that statement is
The enemy of good enough is better – which I have had to relearn too many times

- fly2low

In the military, I was taught to look for the 70% solution. The idea is since we don’t have perfect information, we can’t make perfect decisions, so you want to make your plans as flexible as possible. Although, it’s not a perfect fit to woodworking, the idea that you can’t make anything perfect, so make it a good as needed is an apt principle to live by.

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