The New Year...

Wolf (& Rabbit!)
576 posts and 16 followers
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Two great things I’ve heard in the last two days…
“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever." – Neil Gaiman

If you’d like to become a better woodworker, then the answer isn’t making simple pieces over and over again, and contrary to popular belief, it isn’t about practicing every day- it isn’t about watching videos or reading wood working books and blogs like this one.

No, if you’d like to really become a better wood worker, ( or for that matter, get better at anything ) then do something difficult. Think about it.

If you don’t challenge yourself, and try tackling a project that seems out of reach, then how will you ever grow? How will you know if you’re capable of making that project you’ve been putting off for so long?

The one that scares you when you think about starting it- the one that you think you don’t have the skills or talent to create? You’ll never know until you try. The simple act of trying will teach you more than a years worth of practice ever will.

Practice is safe. When we practice, nine times out of ten, we get caught in the safety net of practicing what we already know. We’re all guilty of this. You already know how to cut dovetails – yet, you’ll spend time practicing them.Forget about them ! You already know how to make them.

Sure, practice for a few minutes before executing that special box for the Queen of the Universe, but if you’d really like to grow as a maker, move to the next level and try something more difficult.

Whatever you consider to be ‘more difficult‘ – go try that for awhile.

Look through a book or magazine if you have/want to, or better yet, visit a Museum or high end furniture Gallery, find something that you’d consider to be completely out of your reach and, go try making it.

Why not? What have you got to lose?
— Tom Fidgen

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


While those theories may sound good, they aren’t exactly true. ;-) There are those of us who can make plenty of mistakes on things that we’ve already done before. Case in point: I just completed a box nearly identical to one I had done before (just different woods and a couple other variances). I made far more mistakes on the second one than on the first. ;-(

We can challenge ourselves to do the difficult pieces and sometimes even do well on them, and mess up on the simple ones.

Just saying. . .

New Year blessings to you.

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin

Wow. Thank you, Alec!

Might As Well Dance :

You’re right, of course, lightweightleftylady, practice makes better (my guitar teacher years ago said “nothing is ever going to be perfect, stop worrying”) but did you learn something, will it make the next one easier, better, more beautiful? I bet it will.

Be true to the craft. A mistake is not a failure if you take note of it.

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

I feel lucky Alec.

I make nothing but mistakes :)
I guess I need to maintain course.

Happy new year, full of mistakes of course:)

Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

What a great message. It is like a good kick in the posterior. Thank you for the inspiration and Happy New Year!


Very good post.
I will heed the message.

Tor and Odin are the greatest of gods.

Well said Alec. I couldn’t agree more. Happy woodworking and happy new year to all you woodworkers out there in all the awesome shops.

My Woodshop is my happy place?