I was thinking about this last night as I was wrapping my daughter's
When I'm woodworking, all of my measurements are very precise, all of
my cuts are dead straight and I worry about being a few thousandths of
an inch off and everything has to be perfectly square. Yet when I was
wrapping, so long as I cut the paper reasonably straight and kind of
square, I was happy. The corners were sort of tight and as long as it
looked decent, I had no problem with it.
Is there anything else in our lives, as woodworkers, where we're as
exacting as we are when we're out in the shop?
Well, it's all about context. If you were in your woodshop cutting to
length a bunch of tomatoe stakes, I don't think you'd worry about a
few thousandths either way ;-) If you were a professional gift wrapper
then I'd suppose neatness and squareness would be a high priority.
That is how my life is, Joe.. but we might be the exception...
People that do really good work tend to apply it to everything...
An example of that would be guys like Ken Vaughn... ever been to his site?
His jigs and fixtures are nicer looking and more precision than any project that
I've been able to do so far...
I think that some people just like to do it "right".. and I know in Ken's case,
he makes his tools and jigs into woodworking projects... and maybe that's what
it's all about..
Funny you should bring up wrapping presents. I'm well known in my family
for being positvely precise when wrapping, to the point that over the course
of several Christmases, I've now been given 100% wrapping duties for pretty
much anything. I never use scissors to cut the paper, rather, I run a
marking knife down the inside of a square crease, all tape is double-sided
and hidden.... etc etc etc...... The family thinks I'm sick. They may well
When I got married at the age of 32 (many years ago) my wife made certain
that I learned some essential skills in living with her.
One was that cheap chocolates were an insult. The more exensive the
chocolates, the more they are appreciated.
Two, flowers perform some kind of magical function. I don't understand it.
But flowers can work wonders.
And HOW TO WRAP A PRESENT!! This is a big deal. And no matter how hard I
try, my best efforts only produce perfection on a maximum of three quarters
of a package. Usually it is only half.
I gave up on that. Now I use gift bags, big bows, gift cards and special
cards desgned to hold money. And If I get a complaint, I ask for some money
back so I can get the damn thing professionally gift wrapped. Nobody has
taken me up on that offer yet.
JC.. forget the double sided tape...
I've used a glue stick for years and it drives them nuts trying to figure out
what holds their "tapeless" wrap..
I can tell you some great stories about developing TAPI for Windows 95. The
Redmond WA police were so fristrated with Microsoft testers for forgeting
that their lines weren't behind a PBX and dialing 9 to get an outside line
and double 11s...
I used to sweat about being "precise" in my woodworking. Then it dawned on
me that when you work on something, you get to know every defect very well.
But when someone else walks up to a piece of furniture (if that is what you
make), they see it, touch it, and sometimes admire it. But, they usually
never scrutinize it like the person who designs and builds it. So when I
completed our coffee table, I was so upset that I messed up the corner round
along the main edge of the table. I thought the indentation was so obvious,
and everyone would laugh at it. Well, after 4 years, till this day nobody
noticed the defect.
Now, woodworking is so much more enjoyable since I realized where it counts
to be precise, and where you can be a little less so.
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