Thursday, June 10, 2010

Life hinting I need to slow down

So once again I was stumbling about in the shop trying to do the simplest of tasks  - cut a square piece of wood. Actually a series of rectangles that would be the sides and ends of boxes I'm making from my mom and sister for Yule. And after ruining some nice quilted Maple I gave up for a bit and retreated to re-examine what the foof was going wrong.

What I knew was that I could easily rip wood to width easily enough and maintain parallel sides. It was the crosscuts that were giving me fits. The sliding miter table on my Ryobi saw is a pretty slick deal, but it's not the greatest for me for getting wood cut to the right length AND square. No matter how often or carefully I check that the miter gage is square to the blade I never get square cuts.

So for box making I'm going to get more familiar with bench hooks, hand planes, and back saws. That seems the best recipe for success tool-wise for me. Until then I have some after market add-ons for the saw and another miter gage I'm going to beef up to set up a cross cut sled. For smaller width pieces (and until I can afford a larger one) I tweaked the fence on the power miter saw, and it now cuts sweet cross-cuts.

But that was just half the solution. The other half has to do with this article, which is great by the way, describing how the instantness and anonymity of digital and web life today have, for me anyways, ruined the more methodical and thoughtful pace of life.

I see it mostly with the kids, and how I interact with them. I get short with them when they don't say "how high" on the way up when I say "jump!" I see it in their lack of patience with everything. If it doesn't happen yesterday, it taking toooo loooonnngggggg!!!

Work too. The pace there is killing me. I'm tired and sore just about every day of the week. But when I make a conscious effort to walk, talk, think slower, I come home feel better and in a better mood.

Circling back to woodworking now and the other half of my square solution. Slow down! It's not a race; there's no points given for finishing any step of any project quickly. I see it when I'm want to get something done (the Alpha in me that wants to get things done and be in control of the situation) and I start rushing. That's when things go caa-caa.

So along with adapting my tools and how I use them, taking my time, relaxing, and hey lookie there! I'm really enjoying what I'm doing! (it is a hobby you do for FUN dontchaknowdoofus) makes one hellova differences in what I do, how I do it, and what I get out of it in the end.

And it doesn't stop there. Like many other approaches to thorny situations, this one has applications in all aspects of my life. Doing anything and everything will be better and more enjoyable if I just take my time and RELAX!

And maybe, just maybe, it'll rub off on the kids, co-workers, anyone one around me and I'll actually have done something intangible that makes tangible differences in peoples lives.

That would be way cool!

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