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Forum topic by Deltawood posted 09-16-2011 11:32 PM 1675 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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40 posts in 3673 days

09-16-2011 11:32 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I am feeling a little detached from my shop lately. All I seem to be doing anymore is copying what I have seen on LJ’s. Nothing actual wrong with that but I seem to be missing something. I usually give or donate most of my projects and have received many compliments (even from those who are being polite.), but I have this ever growing concern, deep down, that eats at me, knowing that this isn’t my design or idea. I have only proved that I can mimic the outstanding projects that I have seen on LJ. Have I been using this web site as a crutch? Do I need an intervention of some sorts (I look at the projects daily if not more!). Does anyone else have this same concern? I think I need to evolve, I need more. Can I be helped or am I destine to be this guy in the picture?

In my defense, I hadn’t had my S.S.S. or coffee yet.

-- - If it ain't broke, don't lend it!

8 replies so far

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3527 days

#1 posted 09-17-2011 01:35 AM

There’s nothing wrong with you, my friend. We can’t all be ‘artistes’. I looked at the work you’ve posted and it’s good. Damned good. Like you, I can build just about anything for which I have plans, but I couldn’t design a wastebasket. I don’t do sketchup and I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler so I have to rely on those talented so-and-so’s who can. Relax. 90% of the people in the world can’t do what we can do. Rejoice in it, take a little break, and then find something that turns you on that will turn someone else on, and get outside your comfort zone and do it. Even if it’s just toy trucks, build a bunch of NICE ones and give them to poor kids for Christmas. If that doesn’t turn your brown eyes blue I don’t know what will.

Damn! I just talked myself back into the shop. See ya.


PS: The guy in the picture is better looking than you will ever be. Don’t worry; someone will toss you a peanut anyway.

-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View pariswoodworking's profile


389 posts in 2961 days

#2 posted 09-17-2011 01:59 AM

There’s nothing wrong with copying projects. If you feel bad about doing it and recieving credit for it. Add your own special twist to make it yours and yours alone. Alter the project design some how. Or use their basic design to design one that is different than most or all. It’s hard to find something that hasn’t been done before. Yes, the design is an important part of the project, but the most important part is the quality of the work. That in my opinion is what will get most of the praise and complements.

Hope this helps.

-- Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -- Albert Einstein

View SnowyRiver's profile


51458 posts in 3957 days

#3 posted 09-17-2011 02:07 AM

I agree with what has been posted. There is nothing wrong with duplicating someones project. It still takes an enormous amount of skill to do the woodworking part. I dont profess to be a designer either. Much of what I build is from a plan that I aquired somewhere. I dont often design it myself….I dont have the time for that anyway…I just enoy the woodworking part of it.

The part of woodworking that I dont paticular care for is repair. I often have people ask me if I can fix something like a broken leg on a table, a drawer that is falling apart, etc. Its fun to see the excitment in their face when they get it back and it looks like new, but I know it was originally someone else that built it and the satisfaction of building the piece is missing.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View Tootles's profile


808 posts in 2978 days

#4 posted 09-17-2011 02:10 AM

Are you thinking a monkey could make the projects that you have posted? I think you underrate the considerable skill that you have in moving from a few pictures to a plan to make a project, and then the use of your hand skills to actually make it.

Most people who have something of yours will remember it as something you made, not something you designed. It’s that same as the fact that we all remember who the artist is that sings a song, but how many know who wrote the song?

Perhaps, rather than worrying that you have simply copied something, openly praise and promote the other person’s contribution. It’s an act of generousity that may give back more to you than you might realise.

Hmmm, I’m not sure I’ve been able to express myself very well here, I hope it comes across okay.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View StumpyNubs's profile


7730 posts in 3277 days

#5 posted 09-17-2011 02:14 AM

Not everyone sits down and designs a piece from scratch. Most of us get an idea, or are informed of a need, and we look at other projects for inspiration. That may lead to a modification of someone else’s idea, or a combination of several other pieces we like, or something entirely original. Who cares where it came from, it’s the craftsmanship that makes the piece. If I spent a summer on a beautiful Greene & Greene dining table I can tell you I won’t be too worried that my new creation was actually the original design of someone else. I would be DARN proud of MY work!

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View EEngineer's profile


1120 posts in 4090 days

#6 posted 09-17-2011 05:16 AM

I rarely design from scratch anything I build. However, I almost never copy anything exactly, either. Whenever I get the itch to build something, I look for inspiration on LJ’s or other places on the Web. I can never find exactly what I want but I often find an idea that is better than what I envisioned that, with just a few changes (riiight, I have shown others my inspiration only to be told “that looks nothing like yours”), would fit right into what I want to do.

So where is the genius in human pursuits? Contrary to most beliefs, a study of the advances in science don’t show any profound overnite discoveries, but a steady evolution of ideas that suddenly blossoms into one overwhelming advance. Sir Isaac Newton, the developer of Calculus (something that still awes me) said “If I have seen further, it is because I stand on the shoulders of giants”... or words to that effect.

Let me ask; when you “copy” something from LJ, are you working from plans? Something that details each and every cut you should make with detailed dimensions? I’ll bet not! As an engineer, I can tell you, the Devil is in the details – so is God! The act of creating something we make with our hands and brains and talent is something that separates us from the other animals on this planet – whether it is derived from other works or springs complete, full-blown from our own Muses. Let any monkey replicate that!

And is there anything that springs complete, full-blown from only ourselves? Does not everything we do derive, at least in part, from what we have learned and been taught by others? Human civilization is founded on the ability to learn and grow from the previous experience of others. Without the experience of previous humans that has been recorded and passed down, everything we do would have to re-create all the lifetimes of experience that brought us to this point in the first place! This is not enough time in a single lifetime!

Sorry to wax philosophical… it is something that I have been thinking long and hard about lately and this thread just brought it back.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View Deltawood's profile


40 posts in 3673 days

#7 posted 09-23-2011 01:57 AM

Thanks for the insight and inspiring words. No more whining, I promise.

-- - If it ain't broke, don't lend it!

View Letorix's profile


119 posts in 2980 days

#8 posted 09-26-2011 04:13 AM

Well if looking at this site alone can give me the ability to make a blanket chest like yours, I’m gonna be AWESOME!

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