Bobby Slack

Avoidance Behaviour

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I strive for perfection and my fear of not delivering froze me. In sports somebody would say that I choked.

Is it fear to make crap? Is it that my expectations are too high? Is it that I don’t have the skills?

All of this pushed me to a constant state of search … research and never ends.

I came to the constant state of watching and then spoke with friends about this.

I realized that this is “Avoidance Behavior”.

So, knowing this, I moved forward and mad my list of things to accomplish and that is where I am.

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LOL!! Yea, me too..sorta...I've been building my shop for SIX YEARS!!! But, now I have a deadline on a project that won't let me slide. It's go time, Skippy!!

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I think my eyes are avoiding the point you are trying to make. :blink:

:D

I do know that wood workers will generally see every fault and micro detail in their work, unless of course they exist in a production shop. 98% of these will be unnoticed by any customer as long as the table top is smooth and shiny, or whatever the client is looking for. Relax and make the best you can in the time you have.

The more you worry, the more it is work. The more it is work, the less you will enjoy it. The less you enjoy it, the less you will care. The less you care, the less it will be.

LQQK (oh sage of the mountain)

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I'm the same way, or was anyway. The way to get over it is just DO SOMETHING. ANYTHING. Start with something small, turn some pens or something. All I wanted to do was build guitars but having 0 woodworking skill I was a big chicken and just wouldn't do it. I'd just read all the time. I bought tools a little at a time and forced myself to build whatever came up. I have limited time so I'd always rush and be nervous and panicky the whole time. Finally just said F this one day and started building a guitar. Took awhile and didn't come out all that great but it plays and I learned a lot. Dunno when or why it happened but now I just take my time and do what I can when I can. I don't just build guitars, I like doing all kinds of stuff with woodworking... whatever helps me learn. I still consider myself a total n00b but at least I do things now instead of just reading about it. :) If you mess up, you mess up. Look at why it went wrong and learn from it. I'll tell you it was weird going to a lumber yard and buying "real" wood like walnut and maple for the first time. That was a nerve racking but exciting experience. I've been used to buying the crap from Home Depot. :) I used to throw away or burn what I didn't use but now I save every little scrap because its so expensive. I can make bottle stoppers or something...:)

At any rate, the more you do the more you are willing to do and the "easier" it gets. Easier because you develop actual hands on skills and easier because you are more used to actually doing things rather than just reading about them.

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I’m in no way knowledgeable about the matter, but I have been told that the biggest waste of time is the time it takes in getting started. This is not talking about good planning to keep mistakes and waste to a minimum. It sounds like you know that you will probably make a mistake and you don’t want to. So, the easiest way to avoid that is to not make the attempt at all.

You need some sort of “catalyst” to get you over the hill of resistance. How about telling yourself that you will make a practice run. Not only a practice run, but using scrap material. Maybe practice on a more difficult aspect of the object you want to build, and not the easier aspects. When you’ve completed the practice, you can then determine how well everything went. If it did not go well, then the practice was probably needed. You used scrap, so you lose nothing repeating the exercise except time. When you think you have a reasonably successful result, then you can use the specified materials for the project, and construct the entire object.

Sometimes we need to be able to evaluate when the finished product is “good enough” by the “customer’s” standards and not our own standards. We will always strive to achieve something better than what’s required, but the real world says, due to limitations of time, money, equipment, etc., we can’t always achieve that, but we can attempt to come close each time.

I’m very sure that others will post better and more relevant suggestions, but I gave it a shot, for what it’s worth.

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It's like writers block. When I had to write compositions or stories, I'd get writers block. So I'd start writing the first part that came to my mind since it's pretty easy to delete and rewrite it after the rest gets fleshed out. The important part is it got me to start.

So the bad thing is that this habit carried over to woodworking and sometimes I "just start" on a project trying to flesh out parts as I go. Not the best idea when the delete/rewrite involves processing a lot of wood and cost! But when drawing up a plan, it does work for me. I do it on a dry-erase board because I can erase and redraw quickly. Once the structure is there, commit to paper and get some numbers on it.

That doesn't mean, though, that I don't get all caught up in it and forget some details in the drawing or change things along the way. To me, it makes it fun, but not the best if you're doing commission work :)

So, for you, maybe have fun with it. Draw a skeleton of the project and build/design as you go. Do a nightstand/end table. Don't care too much about how exactly it will come out. If you don't end up liking it, give it as a gift, donate it to a charity auction, sell it to a friend to at least cover the materials. With the burden of perfection removed, you might have fun with it and get confidence that you can get yourself out of any hole you design/build yourself into.

Once you have the confidence that you can fix/redesign/build-around any change or problem, it'll take the pressure off future builds.

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I do that sometimes. Like right now. What am I doing here on the forum when I should be out there making something?

When I realize this, I just kick myself in the pants and get going. Even if it is to just go out to the shop and straighten up. When I am out there, I find something that motivates me. Next thing I know, my kids are coming out and telling me that they are going to bed.

Just like the Nike ads used to say "Just do it!"

I had better get out there..... Oh, it's almost tomorrow, I had better just go to bed!

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Paul. Thank you for your comment. I did exactly what you said, well ... almost. Instead of a nightstand I build a printer support who resides in my closet. This stand hosts my printer and all my routers (cable modem, wireless router and vonage router), it came in "decent" and good enough for the application.

Now that this project is done, I am moving to the next one.

Thank you again.

It's like writers block. When I had to write compositions or stories, I'd get writers block. So I'd start writing the first part that came to my mind since it's pretty easy to delete and rewrite it after the rest gets fleshed out. The important part is it got me to start.

So the bad thing is that this habit carried over to woodworking and sometimes I "just start" on a project trying to flesh out parts as I go. Not the best idea when the delete/rewrite involves processing a lot of wood and cost! But when drawing up a plan, it does work for me. I do it on a dry-erase board because I can erase and redraw quickly. Once the structure is there, commit to paper and get some numbers on it.

That doesn't mean, though, that I don't get all caught up in it and forget some details in the drawing or change things along the way. To me, it makes it fun, but not the best if you're doing commission work :)

So, for you, maybe have fun with it. Draw a skeleton of the project and build/design as you go. Do a nightstand/end table. Don't care too much about how exactly it will come out. If you don't end up liking it, give it as a gift, donate it to a charity auction, sell it to a friend to at least cover the materials. With the burden of perfection removed, you might have fun with it and get confidence that you can get yourself out of any hole you design/build yourself into.

Once you have the confidence that you can fix/redesign/build-around any change or problem, it'll take the pressure off future builds.

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Thanks Brett, I will "just do it". Oh boy this next step is scary and will do it ... one step at the time.

I do that sometimes. Like right now. What am I doing here on the forum when I should be out there making something?

When I realize this, I just kick myself in the pants and get going. Even if it is to just go out to the shop and straighten up. When I am out there, I find something that motivates me. Next thing I know, my kids are coming out and telling me that they are going to bed.

Just like the Nike ads used to say "Just do it!"

I had better get out there..... Oh, it's almost tomorrow, I had better just go to bed!

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I guess "something is better than nothing". You are right. In about half an hour I will start making noise.

I'm the same way, or was anyway. The way to get over it is just DO SOMETHING. ANYTHING. Start with something small, turn some pens or something. All I wanted to do was build guitars but having 0 woodworking skill I was a big chicken and just wouldn't do it. I'd just read all the time. I bought tools a little at a time and forced myself to build whatever came up. I have limited time so I'd always rush and be nervous and panicky the whole time. Finally just said F this one day and started building a guitar. Took awhile and didn't come out all that great but it plays and I learned a lot. Dunno when or why it happened but now I just take my time and do what I can when I can. I don't just build guitars, I like doing all kinds of stuff with woodworking... whatever helps me learn. I still consider myself a total n00b but at least I do things now instead of just reading about it. :) If you mess up, you mess up. Look at why it went wrong and learn from it. I'll tell you it was weird going to a lumber yard and buying "real" wood like walnut and maple for the first time. That was a nerve racking but exciting experience. I've been used to buying the crap from Home Depot. :) I used to throw away or burn what I didn't use but now I save every little scrap because its so expensive. I can make bottle stoppers or something...:)

At any rate, the more you do the more you are willing to do and the "easier" it gets. Easier because you develop actual hands on skills and easier because you are more used to actually doing things rather than just reading about them.

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I strive for perfection and my fear of not delivering froze me. In sports somebody would say that I choked.

Is it fear to make crap? Is it that my expectations are too high? Is it that I don’t have the skills?

All of this pushed me to a constant state of search … research and never ends.

I came to the constant state of watching and then spoke with friends about this.

I realized that this is “Avoidance Behavior”.

So, knowing this, I moved forward and mad my list of things to accomplish and that is where I am.

I have a friend who is a custom car painter and he is as anal retentive as they come. Years ago, when he struck out on his own, he did so because he was upset at the quality of the work others were doing and knew he could do a better job. Problem was, he had a fear of starting. He had excuses for everything.

Wind is out of the North, should be the West.

Humidity is to high.

Humidity is too low.

Got to clean the shop too much dust.

Etc., Etc. Etc.

His wife finally told him "either you paint or sell the business cause we need to pay bills." He had six cars in the shop and all had deadlines. Bottom line, when he finally got started he couldn't wait to get back at it every day. He now admits to having an "avoidance issue", but confesses that everybody likes his work and thinks its great, but he is the one who really knows where the flaws are. In his own head.

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Guest Trace

I read an article in WOOD magazine about the guy who could not get his saw set properly. One his friends checked the saw and said it was right on the money, then remembered that the saws owner was an engineer. The two points that come to mind, and both have been touched on, are that everyone has to start somewhere with whatever they are doing, and nobody gets it perfect the first time. The other is that I have never met any woodworker that was not his own worst critic. I have made a lot of scrap wood, but it got used for fire wood, so it was not a total loss. Every piece made wrong was actually a lesson learned. So, I would say the thing to do is get into the shop, make some sawdust and a few scrap pieces. If you need help with making the scrap, I'll show you how, because I'm good at it.

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We are our worse enemies. lol

I read an article in WOOD magazine about the guy who could not get his saw set properly. One his friends checked the saw and said it was right on the money, then remembered that the saws owner was an engineer. The two points that come to mind, and both have been touched on, are that everyone has to start somewhere with whatever they are doing, and nobody gets it perfect the first time. The other is that I have never met any woodworker that was not his own worst critic. I have made a lot of scrap wood, but it got used for fire wood, so it was not a total loss. Every piece made wrong was actually a lesson learned. So, I would say the thing to do is get into the shop, make some sawdust and a few scrap pieces. If you need help with making the scrap, I'll show you how, because I'm good at it.

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Guest Trace

I would like to add a codicil to an earlier post. When I was in business, we would tell the customer that there were two people that were never on the job site. Sum Dummy, the chinese guy who always forgot an important tool and Marsha. We always did the work so that it would be acceptable to my wife, because if it would be ok with her, we knew it would please the customer.

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I would like to add a codicil to an earlier post. When I was in business, we would tell the customer that there were two people that were never on the job site. Sum Dummy, the chinese guy who always forgot an important tool and Marsha. We always did the work so that it would be acceptable to my wife, because if it would be ok with her, we knew it would please the customer.

Amen to that. I have my wife look at each project as I build just to give me another view point.

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LOL!! Yea, me too..sorta...I've been building my shop for SIX YEARS!!! But, now I have a deadline on a project that won't let me slide. It's go time, Skippy!!

I can relate... The last 1.5yrs has been gathering all my tools and creating the carts/jigs/cabinets/tables for it. If not mistaken, my only non shop related projects have been::

3 Frames

1 coat rack

2 cutting boards

I would like to have thought I progressed out of this stage however my next 2 projects are shop related. lol

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Some years ago, I stumbled across a lovely piece of curly oak in Lowes, of all places. (The miracle of automated sawmills: they have no idea what they're selling and on rare instances a little treasure slips through.) I was building a folding picture screen at the time and this board wasn't enough to cover the whole project. I knew in the abstract that such a board could be sliced up and used as veneer. But I was too scared and inexperienced to try, so I featured the curly pieces as prominently as I could and filled things out with regular oak.

The screen turned out fine and stands in our dining room to this day. But every time I walk past it, I look at those curly boards a.) remembering the fear of not wanting to ruin a great board and b.) smiling with the knowledge that today I wouldn't hesitate to slice a board <johncleese>wafer thin</johncleese>.

It's all about the journey.

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Brian,

Yes indeed. I posted a printer stand that was important because my wife was bugging me about getting her piano bench back.

I am also building some mitred boxes joined with dominos. This is something I want to post separate. We talk about mentoring kids to get into woodworking so I made a kit so my neighbor's kit who wants to do things with his hands, he can start assembling these boxes, glue them up and clamp them. Johnny is in the pictures when I was clamping my 3/4" banding on the printer and routers stand.

So did you start working on anything yet?

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Yes, is all about the joinery, I agree 100% with you.

Some years ago, I stumbled across a lovely piece of curly oak in Lowes, of all places. (The miracle of automated sawmills: they have no idea what they're selling and on rare instances a little treasure slips through.) I was building a folding picture screen at the time and this board wasn't enough to cover the whole project. I knew in the abstract that such a board could be sliced up and used as veneer. But I was too scared and inexperienced to try, so I featured the curly pieces as prominently as I could and filled things out with regular oak.

The screen turned out fine and stands in our dining room to this day. But every time I walk past it, I look at those curly boards a.) remembering the fear of not wanting to ruin a great board and b.) smiling with the knowledge that today I wouldn't hesitate to slice a board <johncleese>wafer thin</johncleese>.

It's all about the journey.

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I have a similar but different problem. I'm a hobbyist and I have to have true passion about the piece I'm going to build or I just can't get motivated.

Recently I went for months without building anything. I needed something different that would challenge and add to my current skills. After weeks of searching for such a project I found Clayton Boyer's wooded clocks. At first I was reluctant to attempt something that he describes as extremely frustrating and that demanded such a high level of accuracy on so many pieces. But this was exactly what I needed. Pure challenge. Something that would truly separate the novice from the serious woodworker. So, after a couple of weeks of research, ordering plans and buying materials and a couple of new tools (another perk for doing this project) I was ready to start.

At that point I discovered something about myself. I had everything I needed to complete the project. My stock was waiting for me. My tools were tuned and ready to go. At that point I knew that after starting there would be no turning back. Was I worthy of joining the club of wooden clock makers?

Hell Yes! After that brief hesitation I decided that NOT starting would be a bigger failure than starting and not succeeding. I jumped right in and started the journey. I'm about half way through now and can't wait to test the wheels, the measure of success.

Oh yea. I should mention that another wooden clock maker has given me an excuse to be a hair less that perfect. Someone asked him if his clocks keep good time. His response was, "Wooden clocks are meant to express the concept of time." I like that! :D

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Nike said it best. Just do it. I'm a firm believer that nothing is beyond your skill set. Woodworking is just a process. I used to be intimidated by dovetails and I researched everything written until Chuck Bender kicked me in the ass and showed me how simple it really is. From then on I will try anything because the excitement of actually doing is far more than the dreaming. I just went through the same thing with ball and claw feet and jumped in with both feet only to turn out a great looking foot on my first try. It was slow but I got there. You could always start a podcast cause that will drive you to produce content and there is no time for fussing about. Good luck!

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Thank you Shannon

Nike said it best. Just do it. I'm a firm believer that nothing is beyond your skill set. Woodworking is just a process. I used to be intimidated by dovetails and I researched everything written until Chuck Bender kicked me in the ass and showed me how simple it really is. From then on I will try anything because the excitement of actually doing is far more than the dreaming. I just went through the same thing with ball and claw feet and jumped in with both feet only to turn out a great looking foot on my first try. It was slow but I got there. You could always start a podcast cause that will drive you to produce content and there is no time for fussing about. Good luck!

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Alright Shannon from listening to WTO this morning this is what I could do.

1. Open a blog to help woodworking

2. Open a blog to motivate me to create content.

The question is really to open a blog or incorporate or link the blog to this forum because I don't like to distract the attention from this community.

At the same time, I was thinking for a long time to open a blog in Spanish so I can post in English .... and use the same content to do this in Spanish.

What say you? I think this is something to ask Marc after all, this is his real estate.

Nike said it best. Just do it. I'm a firm believer that nothing is beyond your skill set. Woodworking is just a process. I used to be intimidated by dovetails and I researched everything written until Chuck Bender kicked me in the ass and showed me how simple it really is. From then on I will try anything because the excitement of actually doing is far more than the dreaming. I just went through the same thing with ball and claw feet and jumped in with both feet only to turn out a great looking foot on my first try. It was slow but I got there. You could always start a podcast cause that will drive you to produce content and there is no time for fussing about. Good luck!

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