Just wondering if anybody else ever gets that "rushed" feeling in the shop?
Example: This past week ive been on vacation, but with the rugrats still in
school, i decided to re-roof my lawn shed, and spend as much Q-time in
the shop as possible, (which i did).
Even SHMBO told me to relax and spend all the time i wanted out there.
But, i still catch myself with that feeling like..."ive only got 3 more days
vacation....gotta get this table done asap".....which as you guys know,
to mistakes, and accidents...
How best to just relax in the shop?...especially when the 'daily grind'
In my own humble experience, you can't. You just feel the time slipping
away, it's almost over, and there's nothing you can do about it. I've
found the only real cure is another two weeks off. Three weeks is about
long enough to get the chores done, get bored, and then get comfortable
with being bored.
But with two or three days left to go, the best you can do is change the
"gotta get this table done" to "let's just see how much of this table I
can get done *right* before the vacation's over". Plan on spending some
Q-time in the shop in the evenings.
Just got back in from the garashop a few minutes ago. I was gonna do a
glueup tonight but it's too chilly and damp so I spent about an hour or
two sweeping up a little and sharpening the blade on the block plane.
Made some nice shavings. Then I came in and spent some time scratching
the cat behind the ears. According to me and the cat, at least part of
the evening was productive. We just disagree about which part.
Decide what is more important. The quality of the time spent or the quality
of the project.
I spend time in my shop relaxing, sometimes its woodworking, welding,
cleaning up, or just watching a ball game and the occasional nap. Whatever
it is, it my time, in my shop.
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I took up woodworking just for the reason of not rushing. My whole goal is
not to rush and to take it easy and putter, who freaking cares? why do you
want to rush something you enjoy? Not to complete the project? Everyone
knows that when you rush you cut corners or cut fingers ( ughh).
I have been building my basement shop for over a year. It's not done. Who
friggin cares..I waited 14 years to really commit and enjoy woodworking.
Either I did not have money, I had the kids to take care of, or I was
traveling back and forth from Europe. I honestly don't care. I waited 14
years to start my dream. Why do I want to rush a good dream?
Who cares about projects? I'm juggling 3 big projects at work. My WW
projects are not on my performance review, I'm not going to get fired, My
customer is not screaming about the deadline.
I go down in my shop and I putz around, pound a few nails...I lose my day
job work completely ( which is extra hard because I work from home)... It is
great !! My job is a cooker especially when the quarter is closing and the
heat is on. I go down in the shop and poof, it's like I have reached
nirvana. Don't let the hectic pace of your day-to-day life ruin the one
thing that brings you peace.
My advice is: Balance your shop time. Set the time aside when the kids don't
need you and SWMBO is busy. You deserve it and you have earned it. Start off
day doing something trivial. Sweeping the floor, moving a pile of scrap,
sanding a table leg. Brain Fart and forget about the rest of it and smell
you asked- How best to just relax in the shop?...
Never promise anything to anybody anytime.... even yourself. But we can
seldom do that can we? Not and be the husbands and fathers we need to be.
So the next best thing is to simply know your ability.
I've gone and let a good hobby become spoiled by money and now it's more of
a job that's snowballing and with it comes expectations and deadlines. What
I've had to do is learn how to estimate time needed and add a little cushion
for the unexpected. If I get through early I can sit back and relax. If not
I can still not rush myself because I've allowed myself enough time. Notice
I didn't say relax? There will always be that time when it isn't feasible to
relax. Rushing and relaxing are the two extremes.
I say that to say this. If you've ever read anything I've written, you know
I have strong opinions and am not afraid to use them. From your post I
gather these facts. You're married. You're a father. You have a regular
job and you've selected woodworking as a hobby. You've decided to build a
table but you don't say for whom but I suspect it's for someone you care
about and you're eager to finish it.
Now read this carefully...... It's ok to not relax.
Hit the nail on the head mel,
My shop started as a 'side business' (picture frames), and ive made really
good money at it. Especially busy during the Christmas season, but as ive
used the extra income for my newer tools, ive advanced past picture
frames, and im wanting to make even more tables, benches,
But, those frame orders keep coming in...
(maybe if i conducted business like corporate and just raised prices,
I get up something after 5am and am escorted to the kitchen by two
grateful cats, I get out two cans of food which are quickly devoured,
and am ignored by two ungrateful cats. Check with LOML to see if she
wants to do aerobics this morning. Put on an old Gilad tape and get the
blood moving. Crank up the coffee pot. Fix myself some breadfast (cold
leftover enchilada and a can of warm root beer yesterday). Get the
newspaper, turn on some network news, eat, and watch last night's Daily
Show (gets the jo4hn recommendation). When LOML gets off the computer,
do some correspondence, read the wRECk, a few hands of solitaire (I
think we actually have a couple decks of cards somewhere).
Stand up, stretch, pick up a couple CDs (Stanley Brothers and Pavarotti
yesterday), get some more coffee, and head out to the shop. Start the
music and survey my domain. Two projects: an m&t redwood bench for the
mudroom (ends are dry fit and rails cut out) and a production run of one
for a bathroom medicine chest (boards laying in the "gotta get this done
before the Memorial Day sales" pile). Plus a bunch of fir soffits
waiting to be installed in a new church kitchen (hide the pipes and
wires) as soon at the plaster board is taped.
The Stanleys are gettin' it on and so do I. I remember that LOML wanted
a few more fancy hurricane lamp bases for a craft project for the sale.
Rummage through the cutoff bin (the Nathan Burnbox) and select some
half rotted redwood and some well knotted fir. Clean up, resize, remove
sharp edges, cut circle for base, finish, lunch time.
The leftover chow mein is best for breakfast (with milk and sugar) so I
settle for a bologna and peanut butter sandwich (low carb diet indeed)
and a diet cola. Check email and the wRECk one more time. Nap while
"Starting Over" is on. Not a bad show actually but sometimes I don't
want to know about other folks' problems. LOML and I walk to the post
office, stop to talk with neighbor Rod who has work fixing a broken
bathroom in somebody's rental cabin, Bruce who is rebuilding a Jeep
truck, Ruth who wants to chat about mandatory trash pickup, and Roger
who complains that he has too much business (real estate). Pick up mail
and have an eneventful walk home by the lake.
Talk with LOML about trash pickup. Big deal in a mountain community
with narrow winding steep streets, snow, bears and coyotes, and mostly
weekender cabins. Who wants to pay for something you never use?
Women's club (de facto town council along with the mutual water company
board) should fire off a letter to the county. Grow beards and put on
flannel shirt for next Supervisor's meeting (Norm, we need you).
Go into shop, put back the tools, vacuum dust and crud, collect CDs
(Luciano was in fine voice too), turn off lights, and leave door ajar so
cats can explore. Turn on TV, BBC World News is on and LOML has moved
into her workshop (excellent cook by the way). Snack on a few bits of
pickled herring in wine sauce and drink a diet Squirt. Dinner. News
hour and Jeopardy. Check for programs of interest and look at email and
the wRECk once more. If Survivor is on, play Pinball and Mahjongg.
More TV. Beddie bye.
Didn't get anything done on the important projects. Oh well, there's
p.s.Won't get much done today either. Going down the hill to a party
for the granddaughter of old friends who just graduated college. Sweet.
You're always going to feel rushed until either of the following happens:
1- you finish every project on your list;
2- you accept that you'll NEVER finish every project on your list.
Along with either of them and retirement comes the relaxation to work on
multiple projects during the course of a day!
Woodworking is not just a hobby for me, it is also a business. This,
unfortunately, can take some of the enjoyment out of a project. This
year we stopped providing customers with completion dates for custom
pieces. I simply explain to them that in order to provide them with
the highest quality product, I need to remove the pressure of a
deadline (within reason of course). Not a single client has had any
problem with this arrangment. I actually raised prices considerably
this year (almost double last year's rates) and have more work than
ever. The products we are turning out of the shop are superior to
those of past years. I'm happy, my staff is happy, and the clients
yep, did the same from the start on my business. custom only and it
will take a while to finish (I still have my day job). I do keep the
customers informed on the progress but until the finish is drying, they
don't get a delivery date. I will sometimes narrow it down to a quarter
if it is a small piece.
When I do a custom piece I keep the client updated on the progress by
posting pictures with a private url/directory on my woodworking website.
Saves me answering questions, and gives the client the satisfaction of
seeing the various stages of fabrication.
My main product being what it is I don't usually have the luxury of dead
line. If I feel I can't meet the built in deadline I turn the job down with
explanation. Occasionally, if I can come close, the customer will say go
Since, at the behest of a customer with limited on line access, I added a
section detailing construction methods it has become popular with my
customers to have their piece documented also. I've been doing it by e-mail
but I like the idea of a specific URL they can go too. Hope you don't mind
if I borrow the idea.so I can give my customers a choice of e-mail or URL.
Got to love the digital camera.
Go ahead ... the royalty fee is tax deductable. :)
Absolutely. I have an older Sony Mavica that uses floppy disks. While not
the best for good pictures of finished work, it does a good job in the shop
for these kind of shots.
Using PaintShopPro and the "Send To:" context menu in Windows, it takes less
than five minutes to resize a picture, make a thumbnail, and post both
across the net to my web server.
My cousin has one of those. She says people occasionally ask her if it's ok to
remove the diskette in daylight.
Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
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