"No particular"


operez
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When I was 17 I had a chance to work with a German cabinet maker.  The first two weeks was spent cleaning up after him, but later he started letting me help.  One day he let me cut some pieces and although I thought I measured right, I was off by about 1/4" to 3/8".  I told him of my mistake and he's response was, "No particular, we put to back. Customer never know."  That turned me off and I took a different career path, computers.  When I turned 55 I longed for wanting to work with wood again and started watching every woodworking show or video I could find.  But, I wanted to be able to do good work so over the past 3 years I have slowly bought a lot of tools (just missing a jointer, but that's next) and a lot of jigs, so that when I started woodworking there wouldn't be any "No particulars."  I've only made a couple of pieces, but no matter how slowly I work, so that I don't make any mistakes, it's one "No particular" after another.  It's frustrating me and discouraging me.  Am I being too hard on myself?  How do you get over making so many mistakes?  I hope I'll get better as time goes by, but right now I dread going into my garage.  I want to be able to make furniture, but need to get passed this fear.

 

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We all made mistakes in the beginning lots of them, we all still make them not as many the part that separates the two is the fix or, the compromise thinking your way through it so you don't have to start over. Everything is flawed some things are more flawed than others remember you will be your harshest critic and learn from every mistake. At the end of every project I think what would I do different if I had to do this again? Sometime during the project I think that. 

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Thanks for the words of encouragement and I realize the problem is within me, as I did get disappointed and disillusioned about the quality of work the guy did, so much so that I chose a different career path.  I guess my best medicine would be to go into that scary place (my garage) and try to make something.  Maybe just putting my fears down on this blog will help.  I think my wife is the only one who knows about the "No particular" and I use it with her every time I make a mistake in life.

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You just might be trying a little too hard or have expectations that are a little high for where you're at in the process.

 

When I started, if I was willing to throw what ever project I was working on in the fire, I could never make a mistake.  This took the pressure of perfection off and over time, I made fewer and fewer mistakes.

 

Don't get me wrong, you're still going to make mistakes.  With experience comes the ability to take care of those mistakes.  You enhance it, cover it, replace it, live with it, or throw it on the fire  ;)

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I was at a panel discussion and I heard something that really struck a nerve with me.  "If something is worth doing, it's worth doing badly!"  The speaker told a story about someone creating instructions for how to use a piece of software.  He wrote out nice, detailed instructions, and then tested them thoroughly in every situation he could think of.  He had screen shots of every step, clearly showing what the user would see and what needed to be done.  He asked other people to come in and "test drive" the instructions, and incorporated their suggestions.  He formatted the instructions beautifully, so they were easy to follow and pleasant to read.  Then he did  final round of testing.

 

Since he was working part time, this all took many months to complete.  But finally he had the complete instructions, and they were beautiful, clear, complete, easy to follow, professional looking - just perfect.  He sent them out to be printed and when they came back everyone was impressed.

 

Two weeks later a new version of the software came out and these instructions no longer worked.

 

So, if something is worth doing, it's better to do it imperfectly and get it done.

 

I know that I suffer from "analysis paralysis"; always planning my next project, never starting it.  I'm never going to get better unless I start making some mistakes.

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Good Grief!  Did you ever screw up on your "different path"?  Did you correct it, and come away with some knowledge? Did you ever show someone that made an error, how to correct it?  If you answered yes to any of those questions, you are ready to take the path of "woodworking", you'll screw up regularly, and each time, you'll learn something. Then you'll come to the wise folks on here and get more help! There's not one woodworker on this site that isn't willing to help you become better at what you want to do!  But you need to understand, that even the very best of us here, "screw up", The result is a learned lesson. We'll do it again, and do the "heel of hand to forehead", but we figure out how to correct the problem, and if we can't figure it out on our own, we come to this collective forum of brilliance and every one here will help.   Just pull a "Nike" and "DO IT".... There's always us!

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A) Mistakes are valuable lessons on how to do it correctly. B) Work projects that conform to the skill level your at advancing as you go. C) For Corn Sake, tap the knowledge and expertise the craftsmen here on this site are glad to offer!! Start a project and Im sure guidance on direction, technique, products, and such will be offered for every step by the folk here !    

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+1 to all said above....So what have you learned? A resounding YES...you are being too hard on yourself.  If you want "no particulars" woodworking isn't for you....nor is computers...or auto mechanics...or anything...because you're not perfect!!!  The only one among us who doesn't screw up wears a mask and lives in a bat cave. Part of the art of woodworking is becoming skilled at fixing mistakes BUT in the process, you learn.  Now you may make the same mistake again but like Richard said, heel of hand to forehead and you press on but less likely to make THAT mistake again.  Right now, I'm building something out of mahogany.  I used some #14x3" wood screws. I drilled a pilot hole but the screw still felt tight going in....too tight.  I got away with it for 2 screws.  The third screw got almost all the way in and wrung the head off. Not sure what my fix will be yet but guess what?  I'll figure out a fix BUT......  I KNOW WHAT 'TOO TIGHT' FEELS LIKE NOW....and I drilled a larger pilot hole on the next ones.  Like TIODS said, you need to take the pressure off and enjoy the craft but grasshopper....you'll have to figure out how to do that for yourself.  Just know, you not strange...we all blow it!

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Wow, that had a huge impact so that you are still using that phrase nearly 40 years later. There will always be mistakes.  As evidence of that Fine Woodworking has articles about it periodically.  The October 2012 issue article titled "How to Fix Flaws and Mistakes" starts out saying:  "The difference between a professional and an amateur is that the pro knows how to cover up his mistakes". The cover story for the June 2013 issue was "7 Flawless Joinery Fixes". 

 

Mistakes are going to happen. Sometimes they truly don't matter and can be used in a part of a project that will never be seen as the German carpenter believed.  One problem with videos is that the vast majority show only projects that went perfectly.  These people make mistakes too, they just don't show them on camera.  Every so often someone might say, you will notice that this wood isn't the same as was shown in the previous step, and then go on to talk about what went wrong.  It would be much better if they showed all of the problems that they encountered, pieces cut the wrong length or the bevel going the wrong way or glueups that slide all over the place or were hard to clamp, etc.

 

It is always recommended that one purchase extra wood for a project so that it matches the other wood in the project.  That isn't so much because of calculating wrong on how much is needed.  It is more so to make sure the wood matches in case of mistakes and having to redo a piece.  Mistakes may not happen but it is such a common occurrence that it is standard procedure to have extra on hand just in case.

 

Just do the best that you can and enjoy it. You will notice that many people post on this forum saying things like, "I did this wrong" or "I made many mistakes throughout the project" but in the end they got it done and learned a lot in the process and have something tangible to show for their hard work.  All of us know where the mistakes are in a project. Make sure that is not your lead comment when you are showing your work to your friends when they are admiring something that you made. If you can help it, don't mention the mistakes at all.

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I have been doing woodwork for over 40 years. Lots of experience helps me avoid repeating some mistakes but I still slip up or manage to find a new way to err. Hiding or fixing your mistakes helps develop your skills. Sometimes a bit of painstaking exact repair will make it almost invisible. Other times you need to replace a part. Constant checking of squareness and the exact size goes a long way.

2 pieces of 3/4" birch ply I am using measure 1 7/16" thick so I increased the interior parts by 1/16th to keep my exterior width correct.

Adjusting part sizes on the fly lets you compensate for the actual results of what you are building. If you pre cut a bunch of parts they need to all be checked and rechecked for exact size. Or pre cut a bit oversized and then trim and adjust as needed.

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Mistakes happen, I made a cheapskate mistake by buying cheap plywood, so now I'm out the money for cheap plywood, a tin of wood bondo and a gallon of paint. If I would have bought the better birch plywood to begin with I would be done with this project and wouldn't have to do any painting. Now I'm sanding bondo with a belt sander! Mistakes happen, all the time. Learn from it and be happy.

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Again, thank you for everyone's words of encouragement.  I know I need to get pasted this fear of screwing up, because I do realize that it is going to happen.  (Indy Cindy, I've read those articles you mentioned.)  I just needed to put down my fears on paper (metaphorically speaking) and try to move on.  A couple of months ago I started on project and although I had bought extra wood in case I made a mistake, I ran out because the more I tried to get it right, the more I screwed up.  I need to just enjoy myself, instead of making it a chore.  And RichardA, I worked as a Sr. Network Support Analyst for many years and I won’t claim that we don’t make mistakes, but they are far and in between.  Before we push out anything to production we check it once, twice and sometimes three times, as a mistake in production can cost the company hundreds of thousands of dollars and sometime even millions.  Thank you everyone.

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 New trees grow everyday. :rolleyes:    

 

 

But it takes years before that tree can become lumber, shade, or an icon.  Nobody is born knowing how to do something perfectly.  Even prodigies make mistakes periodically.  Funny thing about new trees, though.  They can befriend someone in an instant, and become a life-long happy memory.

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Again, thank you for everyone's words of encouragement.  I know I need to get pasted this fear of screwing up, because I do realize that it is going to happen.  (Indy Cindy, I've read those articles you mentioned.)  I just needed to put down my fears on paper (metaphorically speaking) and try to move on.  A couple of months ago I started on project and although I had bought extra wood in case I made a mistake, I ran out because the more I tried to get it right, the more I screwed up.  I need to just enjoy myself, instead of making it a chore.  And RichardA, I worked as a Sr. Network Support Analyst for many years and I won’t claim that we don’t make mistakes, but they are far and in between.  Before we push out anything to production we check it once, twice and sometimes three times, as a mistake in production can cost the company hundreds of thousands of dollars and sometime even millions.  Thank you everyone.

No matter what, you put out something from production and it's the best that you can make it! Correct?  And along the way errors took place to require you to double and triple check!  It's no different  working wood!  There is a very famous saying, probably 3 or 4000 years old that applies to everything you attempt in life..." Measure twice, cut once".  

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<p>

When I'm working on computers, as I find problems I fix them. There's no waste except time and electrons. So, everything I have running has no known errors (well, none that I'm not willing to put up with).

When you are working with wood, you can't afford the time or materials to throw out the project and start over every time you spot an error. That's why people get very careful towards the end of the project. At the beginning, a mistake means that you either have to fix it or make a new leg bracket. At the end, a mistake means you ether have to fix it or throw out the whole piece and start over.

Another important point. If you are making a box (say) and everything goes perfectly, you usually end up with a fairly ordinary box. Say I'm making a box and I gouge the corner. So, I decide to add a profile curve to all four corners to eliminate the gouge. Then I accidentally cut the grooves for the shelf supports on the outside instead of the inside. So, I fill them with a contrasting wood. Then I mess up the top, and cover the mistake by inlaying a little leaf and flower design into the top. Now I have a box with some character!

Often, the mistakes you make will be the inspiration that leads to a more creative piece. Necessity is the mother of invention.

There are three ways to deal with any mistake:

  • do it over
  • try to hide it
  • make it a design feature!
aftually beechwood, those are some great ideas. I'm definetly going to try to incorporate these ideas into my next shop session from hell :)
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I get, at least weekly, packets of updates and bug fixes for my computers from MicroSoft ...

 

I won't waste your time by adding to what's already been said above.  Besides, I have to go fix the dado I cut yesterday that's a hair too wide.

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