Woodworking mistakes are actually good for you. A mistake gives you the opportunity to learn. This rarely happens when everything goes well. Yes, you do learn with everything you do, but a mistake gives you an opportunity if you look at it the right way.
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Why Mistakes are Good in Woodworking
The way you handle a woodworking mistake is where you can decide to make it something beneficial. After all, if a piece was ruined then you need to find a silver lining somewhere.
Beginning woodworkers tend to see mistakes as failures. They think that they cannot be a good woodworker if they make mistakes. This cannot be farther from the truth. Every good woodworker has made many mistakes in their careers. Even current woodworkers still make mistakes after years of practice. The difference is that they are better at pivoting than they were in the beginning. Hiding the errors or pivoting the project slightly are something that you get better at with time.
The best form of learning is by doing. It is through the act of practice that most woodworking mistakes occur. These afford you more of an opportunity to learn about the craft than at any other time. They also teach you little changes you can make to your designs that turn your mistakes into design opportunities.
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Divorce yourself from the idea that you will hit a home run on the first try. People who can do that are rare, and people who think they can do it every time are delusional. Expect some failures in the beginning, and they will not be as big of a hit when they come.
Second, make sure that you are learning something from your mistake. The first time you do something wrong it’s called a mistake, the second time you do the same thing wrong it’s called a choice. When you know the wrong way of doing something through trial and error, then you also know the right way too.
Once you know that brad nails don’t work like real nails, you will never forget the glue again. If you do, then you are making a decision, not a mistake. We all make mistakes, the key is not to make the same mistake a second time.
Study your mistakes. Make sure that you completely understand why things did not go as you had intended. Once you have a thorough understanding, you then have the ability to try again without making the same error.
Woodworking mistakes will teach you, and it can take years and years of making mistakes until you have made enough to call yourself a good woodworker. Eventually, you will have done enough things wrong that you know the way to do them right by default.
That sounds bad, I know. However, if you are making a project several times (like a guitar maker, or furniture maker) you will have many different disciplines to learn. Each of those has their own woodworking mistakes that can happen along the way. As you make small mistakes here and there, it strengthens your ability and skill. You will come to a deeper understanding of what you are doing, and will be able to create better and better projects.
As for the random pictures…it’s confession time. The Thor Hammer has a couple bricks inside the head. I thought it would be a good idea to make it heavy like the movie. Not only is it a pain to show people, but it’s also a pain to lug around. I gave it to my brother in-law for a display piece, and that’s the best thing for it.
The pipe looks beautiful, but you can’t smoke it. The laminated wood has glue in the tobacco chamber, which would not be good to smoke. Lastly, the inlay on the wine ceremony box was under filled, which means I had to fill it a second time to get it level. I’m not proud of my mistakes, but I have definitely learned from them.
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The moral of the story is not to worry. Mistakes are going to happen, and that’s ok. Spend your time learning as much as you can. Destroy some wood, and make sure that you come out with more knowledge on every project. It’s only wood, you can buy more.
If you have any questions on Woodworking Mistakes and Why They Are Good For You, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Also, please share my work with your friends on Pinterest. Happy building!
- More than 20 Years Woodworking Experience
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