I finally finished my bench that I started on back at the end of summer. It now sit in my living room next to my computer desk where when I want to do some woodworking I can just get up and go for it, now since I live in an apartment that is carpeted working with just my handtools is the only option inside. This has giving me some time to really reconnect with what I fell in love with about woodworking in the first place. The intimacy of the work! When I’m carving or I am working a joint with some handtools I am totally involved with the work I am 100% focused on what I am doing, I am concentrating on this part till it is finished then moving on to the next part and so on thought the piece. This process let me enjoy the tools as well as the work.
Now, if you have ever worked on a large job especially if you are building that job in your own shop and you are responsible for the finished product being able the enjoy the process is a real pleasure. Normally if I am building a big job, say like a kitchen or a large set or office cabinets, I have show much on my mind that I stop finding pleasure in working with my tools any more. Instead my mind full of all the what ifs? This time is always being taken up by worry, I worry about all the many pieces of the job coming together. I worry about if I planed well enough. I worry about did I cover every thing in my bids. I worry about will the finish match the samples. I worry about did I do the take off right. I worry about will there be any delays in my material schedule and what will I do if there is. I worry that the architect or home owner will change something and not tell me. oh god I hope none of the carpenters on the job screwed anything up. I worry about getting sick or hurt. oh no my saw sounds funny I hope the bearings don’t go out on me. The worry can just go on and on and on where just enjoying the simple process of building a fine piece of furniture or cabinets is no longer a pleasure. All the things I mentions above have happened to me at one time or another and while I learned to deal with them they always stick in my head as a constant little worry.
Now, I stand at this new bench, and use my hand tools just like when I was a boy, none of the old worries come to my mind, and again I find that I am 100% there with just that tool and that piece of wood. The rest of world just faded away and when I do screw up I get me another cup of coffee and sit at my computer and plan how I’m going fix it.
What I build now I build for me, and I am the only one I have to please and my pleasure comes from the wood and the tools and the journey to the finished piece but not the finished piece.