Helping Amateurs Cultivate Professional Habits
I admit that I’m an amateur – I make a lot of mistakes – the same mistakes, and new ones as I try to advance my skills. So, what is it that defines me? Some Observations; and some of these have been fixed along the way…:
I don’t work from a set plan – when I have a plan, I modify it during the build, and then need to continue to modify associated parts.
I take insufficient time to professionally complete each phase of the build:
1. Parts are left 1/16th over, or under;
2. Edges and surfaces are not as clean and square as they need to be – I accept tear-out too-easily from routers and thickness planers;
3.Templates are just shy of professional-grade.
I haven’t fully thought through the build sequence: parts that will be curved, should be worked while they still have straight edges – goes back to ensuring square, when you can.
Using tools beyond their tolerances or intended purpose – such as using a circular saw to square an end, rather than a miter saw or cross-cut fence; or freehand routing something, rather than using the straight-edge guide.
I try to get too many parts from a rough board – accepting marginal ends and edges within my project.
I will not include my tools as reasons or excuses on my amateur status: they are good quality tools – well beyond my skill level; and professionalism is not defined by my next tool purchase.
I would appreciate member thoughts on additional points and suggestions to help those us trying mightily to advance to the next level.