I’m a bit OCD with my things. When I build a thing I always focus on the bits I screw up. Friends and family seem to think they are fine but I always assume they are being nice. Nothing is ever done right to me. I admit it can be hard to start a new project but I just love the smell of oak being cut so start I do and off I go down the path MJCD has described.

Anyway, the topic is cultivating professional habits. What are those? Sharpen the chisel BEFORE you use it instead of after you’ve cut your palm with it because it got stuck? It’s hard for a hobbyist to work the way a pro does. I think perhaps the idea is cultivating the skills of the masters.

Practice joinery, practice planing, practice, practice practice. My old guitar teacher said, “Practice makes better”, and the only way to practice is to get in the shop and pay attention to the mistakes you make. Make boxes you don’t want to give to people. Just make the box and store your screws in it, but dovetail the joints date it…use it. I read…somewhere…that dating your practice pieces is a really good way to judge your progress.

-- Alec (Friends call me Wolf, no idea why)