On Woodworking.

Eucalyptus crotch wood

Woodworking is my passion. If fills me with joy and with pride when projects are completed or coming along nicely.

With every new beginning comes new challenges. Discovering wood and learning how to work it into useful shapes provides me with an always changing array of challenges that require me to tap into creative potential, ultimately forcing me to grow beyond my limitations.

Rough blank

Yet some challenges cannot be met in an afternoon, or even after several years, because they force you to come to terms with issues that you have been facing for much of your life. Issues that permeate much deeper than hobbies would often be thought to reach.

If you cannot meet the real challenge, then put it aside so easier challenges can be tackled. If feels good to get something done. But the true task does not go away; it festers. In time, the stench of the deferred dream makes it easy to one day simply discard. That would be a tragedy. It seems that too many people live lives devoid of a true passion. That if someone had the dream and the means but were not to pursue it,  it would be a sin.

Rounding on the lathe

I used to think that I should go back and finish all of the projects that I started and left, stuck at one challenge or the next. Hung up on one mistake or another. A broken joint, or splintered rabbet would relegate the piece to the back of a pile. It was ‘just a test’ is what I would say to myself. I learned what I wanted to learn, so I don’t have to finish it. At least not now. There will be time, later, down the road.

nebulous patterns in the wood

But there is never enough time, when you just rush to the next project, because the lessons are not learned that will allow for the time to be used in the proper way.  Doing it right, no matter what you are building, should be the goal. And what is right depends upon your vision, your available tools and materials, and the limits of your skill of course.

Unfinished Eucalyptus Bowl

Lack of vision is what I have been missing. When the vision is not clear, the path has no direct route to the end goal.  Once the vision is perfected, the shortest distance between the end and where you are is a straight line.

Having a vision allows the formation of a plan. Planning has never come naturally to me. I’m much more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda guy. I will have to adopt new methods if I want to take my craft to new heights.

-Joseph Palas