I’ve been meaning to post about this for a while but I’ve not got round to it!


In my previous post on the subject I talked about some of the reasons (excuses) for my inactivity.

Most of these reasons are out of my control (or at least unlikely to change – I’m quite attached to my wife and children!)

There are other things which could hold me back:

  1. Lack of materials
  2. Lack of tools
  3. Lack of ability
  4. Fear of failure
  5. Unfulfilled dependencies

I’ll tackle them individually:

Lack of materials

I’ve been chipping away at this first reason slowly, by stocking up on veneered MDF, Beech plywood and various other offcuts.

I think I’ve still got some way to go before I have enough stock to just knock something up out of the timber I have to hand, but in a single garage workshop I probably shouldn’t add much more.

Lack of tools

I certainly can’t blame my lack of results on this – I spent last year acquiring tools & machinery at a rate of knots!

As I’ve mentioned before, this is a hobby and there’s no point having a hobby if it’s not enjoyable. I certainly enjoy buying stuff and building up my workshop, but it would be nice to produce something too …

This year I’m hopeful that I can keep my rampant consumerism in check (or at least focussed on Car boot sales) as I’ve amassed most of the items on my shopping list and much more besides!

Lack of ability

I’m not too bad at run of the mill handyman stuff and DIY around the home and I’m comfortable with the fact that I’m not a talented craftsman.

I know the only way to improve is to practice (indeed I read somewhere in the last few days that to become really good at something takes in the region of 10,000 hours or about 10 years, so I’d better hurry up!) but therein lies the problem – I’m doing very little other than buying stuff and reading about the subject at the moment and I’m not entirely sure why!

Fear of failure

To be honest I think this is a major part of the reason for my inactivity.

Being good at wood working is very important to me, so perhaps I procrastinate because I don’t want to find out that I’m no good at it after all?

On another level of I’m obviously aware of how silly this is and that I should just get on with making mistakes & gradually improving, but there’s definitely some sort of mental block there. 😦

Unfulfilled dependencies

I often find myself in “dependency hell”, where to do one thing (for example build a picture frame) requires several other dependencies to be met (such as building a shooting board and a router table) and they in turn depends on various other things (e.g. the ability to cut larger circles than my largest holesaw in order to clamp the router into the lift mechanism I’d like to use).

I’m hoping that if I concentrate on a few simple jigs and fixtures early this year that’ll get me moving on “real” stuff later in the year (and if not at least I’m building something).

Side note

On a possibly related note, this post from The Slightly Confused Woodworker struck a chord with me – I’ve bought a LOT of tools & machinery – some of which I’ve never even removed from their packaging – and have produced almost nothing. Perhaps I’m not alone in this? πŸ™‚

(Unlike some of the people in Bill’s post I certainly won’t be getting rid of my Kreg jig in a hurry – I only just ordered it in the Axminster clearance sale and I probably won’t even receive it until Monday! πŸ™‚ )

I’ve resolved that this year will be different, so I’ll keep on chipping away at my own excuses for inactivity and hopefully have something other than a large credit card bill to show for 2013.

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6 Responses to Procrastination

  1. Joseba says:

    What’s first, project or materials/tools? It sounds like you buy mass materials and tools and then look what to do with it. Maybe you could try the other way around, decide on a simple project first and then buy what you need – in the end anything is only a few clicks way.

    Lack of ability: I don’t buy that. You are well able to produce something useful and nice, esp. since your’re keen.

    Fear of failure: Who cares? You don’t have to post your failures here! Failures is how you learn best, so I wish you’ll have many of them.

    Unfulfilled dependencies: Do I smell some perfectionism here? Again it may help to have a specific project in mind and think what you really absolutely need in order to do it. Not do it perfectly, but to product something that’s worth doing.

    Here are two more suggestions for reas^Wexcuses:

    1. Buying is fun
    2. Producing something is hard work

    • John says:

      Hi Joseba,

      As usual a devastatingly frank and true summary of the situation. Thank-you πŸ™‚

      I agree that the way forward is to make something (within reason ANYthing) and keep up the momentum.

      I’ve set my sights on a shooting board for now and I’ll work through items 8 to 14 on my to do list after that.


  2. billlattpa says:

    if i was going to give you some kind of advice on where to start, I would say to make something that you are going to use, or something that you need. I was in the same boat you are in not too long ago. I started building drawers and small boxes that I had no use for. It might have been good practice, but it really didn’t get fun until I started making furniture that I knew would have a place somewhere in my house. I think that knowing that it would go in my house also made me more careful, plan my cuts, and concentrate that much harder. I really think it helped. And if it makes you feel any better, we are supposed to have a cold blast for the next few weeks so I’m not planning on doing anything major til it warms up a little.

  3. You’re not alone there, John.
    But, I’m surprised you haven’t mentioned the weather as one of your ‘excuses’… Maybe that’s actually a positive sign… πŸ˜‰

    • John says:

      It is fairly cold in the workshop at the moment (and about minus 1 outside!), but as it’s attached to the house I reckon it’s a few degrees warmer than it could be otherwise.

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