Jun 042019
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Do you have inertia when it’s time to start a new project? Fear? Anxiety? Procrastination?

The iPhone jingled, and the ringtone said it was one of our daughters-in-law, Nan. I answered eagerly. We have been blessed in the daughter-in-law department.

“Hi, Pater,” she said. We exchanged pleasantries, then she got to the reason for her call. “Do you think you could make Audrey a combination bookcase/storage unit?”

Could I make something for my granddaughter? Would I make something for my granddaughter? Luke 11:11 says, “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?”

Of course I can make Audrey a present. Get me a plan and I’ll start right away.”

Or will I?

I’m not a lethargic kind of guy. People who know me will tell you I’m always on the go.

However, when I’m starting a new project, or supposed to be starting a new project, I can get a slow start sometimes.

To some extent, it depends on the difficulty level. If I’m making a plywood box for the garage, a storage container appears before you can spin around.

Audrey’s project, however, was complicated, even if only a little. It had to be certain dimensions to accommodate wicker baskets that were already purchased. It had a curved shape on the top. And I wanted to make it from solid wood. Therefore, wood movement had to be considered.

Call it fear. Call it a desire to do the best I could. Call it inertia. I had a really hard time getting started.

I was a little bit intimidated.

Well, as you might imagine, it turned out fine. After all, look at the photo below. It’s not all that complicated!

I made my own beadboard for the back.

The curved shape came from a thin, ripped strip of wood that I bent and applied to the side panels after they were glued up. After the first was cut and shaped, I just traced the outline onto the other side.

The poplar took paint like, well, poplar takes paint, naturally.

And, as you can see, Audrey was happy with the result.

Sweet little Audrey loves her bookshelf/storage unit.

Mom was, too. That’s her standing next to me below, the very first time she saw the project.

After designing the unit, sketching it and sending it to me, this was Nan’s first opportunity to see the assembled, but unfinished, project. It took her breath away. I treasure this photograph.

Slow start. Good finish. I suppose that’s OK.

Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda’s home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home.Questions and comments on woodworking may be written below in the comments section. Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, www.MyPetsDoctor.com. We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.

  4 Responses to “June Poll: New Project Inertia”

  1. i like to study all possable angles before starting any pro.

  2. if a complicated project I do a lot of planning but not on straight forward projects

  3. I get, Do you think you could make?

  4. Sometimes it takes me forever. I know I’m intimidated by doing any project. I tell others, esp. my wife, I’m planning what and how to do the project. I understand I’m paralyzed by the project, any project, which I may be required to do. In some cases, it’s because I have the equipment but not the knowledge or experience to do the task. Some of the challenge is due to my age and some is because I don’t want to fail. Regardless, it is challenging to get started and I find all sorts of “reasons” not to start.

    How to work around this is a great challenge, but I think I’ve gotten to part of the answer. If I start some element of the project, then lay out a timeline & plan, I’m much more likely to finish it within a reasonable time. Good luck to all others who are challenged!

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