Sunday, September 8, 2013

Perfect 'Enough'?

"Sometimes almost perfect is perfect enough."

That's a quote from Friday morning, when one of the second-year students, Josh, was presenting a beautiful bench he designed and built as a quick project to start off the year. I say quick, but he still put about 50 hours of hard work into the piece, which was a commission for a friend.

Josh was describing the concept, the clients' desires for the piece, and the setting where it would live -- in a busy part of a family home with young children.

He also talked about the challenges he faced with the project, and some of the mistakes he made and  a couple of aspects of the finished product where he felt he could have perhaps done better.

That's when Laura Mays, one of our instructors and the director of the program, spoke up and said Josh was being a bit hard on himself. She suggested the piece was perhaps not perfect, but was easily perfect enough for its purpose.

Woodworkers, especially those that come out of this program, can become a bit OCD about their work, with the tendency to sometimes toil endlessly in pursuit of a level of perfection that isn't always necessary, financially viable, or even possible.

Part of the purpose of this whole becoming-a-woodworker thing, Laura seemed to be saying, is learning to recognize when it's time to simply stand back, be satisfied, and say 'ship it!' before moving on to the next project.

More on the whole idea of 'perfection' in woodworking coming soon in a future post...
Josh presenting his bench in the shop at College of the Redwoods.

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