Back in the saddle

After a couple of weeks vacationing and then a week of business travel, illness, and readjustment, I’m getting back into my groove in the woodshop.

First, when I was in Maine my Dad surprised me with some “goodies” from Lie-Nielsen Toolworks (which, as it turns out, is located in Maine). Lie-Nielsen is sort of like the BMW of woodworking hand tools – they make hierloom-quality tools based on some classic models. I was totally stunned – my folks are (and always have been) generous people. So this weekend I finally got to play with my toys (a block plane and a shoulder plane) while shaping and fitting the t-rail assemblies.

The t-rails and sliders are all set to go, I think. Still some minor touch- up needed on the stain, but I’ve trimmed and fit them as best I can. The t-sliders aren’t a perfect fit in all cases, but when I look at the photo I can’t see the defects too closely, and I don’t think it’ll detract from the table. Sometimes I get really perfectionistic about my own work, until I go to a furniture shop and see minor blemishes in the “pro” work as well. Not that I’m anyway near “pro” quality, but it does allow me to not go crazy over getting every detail perfect.

That’s an interesting lesson / question to ponder. When is it time to stop the pursuit of perfection (or to use a more loaded term, “excellence”)? If you believe that you can always improve whatever it is you’re working on by spending more time and effort, when do you decide it’s “good enough” and move on? That’s a tough call, especially if you’ve bought into the whole “excellence” tradition. There are community standards, of course, and I think that’s what I’m banking on right now. Given everything I’ve learned in making these rails I could probably cut a whole new set of t-sliders that would fit even better, but is it worth it? At this point I don’t think so. In other projects I’ve cut corners too quickly in my rush to complete the work, so I’m wary of doing that again, but I really think this one’s “good enough.”

Once these are glued onto the table, it’s time to start the table top – a whole new adventure. Stay tuned!


One thought on “Back in the saddle

  1. Beautiful wood! Definitely good to stop and question yourself. Pretty tough though when you are an artist. Always driving for perfection! Seems like it would make a person's hair turn gray with all that stress and kill the joy.


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