Soooo Slooowww

  • Creator
    Topic
  • #141560
    Allen Padilla
    Participant

    I am a novice woodworker. I enjoy getting into the shop and hand tools have been a good medium for relaxation and creativity. My only frustration is the rate at which I work. It takes me what seems like months to finish a simple project. Preparing stock and other simple tasks seem to take ages for me. Any recommendations on improving efficiency?

Viewing 10 replies - 16 through 25 (of 25 total)
  • Author
    Replies
  • #144158
    5ivestring
    Participant

    @5ivestring

    Still a beginner here too. I agree so much with what tenjin said, sharpen early, square stock up, finish a project even if it’s butt ugly. I got so many boxes, which are my practice for squaring, dovetails and pins, cutting tops inserts to fit perfect. Oh so many boxes. My wife would say they are getting better, until something clicked, and poof, I started making nice boxes that the whole family wanted. Then on to bigger projects, Pauls wall cabinet. Basically a big box, but with some extra features.

    I never thought about what tenjin said about finishing a project even if it is bad. I was doing that, but didn’t realize how much it helped. I also kept my ugly work to reflect on sometime when I am doing nicer work.

    It is very encouraging to read about other people having the same issues, and answers they and other people give. There was a while there that I thought I’d just never get it, lack of talent, but it’s all training. Just keep at it. Learning Biggie for me,, Sharp tools, knife line, and start with square stock (which I wasn’t doing for the longest time). Squaring stock, all 6 sides is very hard for me, but I have gotten to where I can do it.

    #308460
    kjellhar
    Participant

    @kjellhar

    I’m with tenjin.
    Especially the thing about finishing project. Don’t be sloppy, but if you make mistakes, acknowledge it and move on.

    For me it took about 12-15 months of practice (1-2 sessions a week) before I started to build up speed and precision. The best part was that I improved both speed and precision at the same time.

    I just made a table, and now I spend about 15 minutes taking down a 1.2m long 27x125mm walnut board to 24mm thickness, making it smooth, straight and square. A year ago, I would have spend 1 hour, and ended up with a much thinner board than I intended.

    It is only the hours I put into it. The planes get sharper and better set. Your technique gets better and you relax your grip (super important). Your senses will get sharper, and you will notice more details at an earlier stage, which again will prevent you from making too many mistakes.

    Kjell

    #311104
    SPowers
    Participant

    @spowers

    Three things. Table saw, jointer, and planer!

    #311111
    Edmund
    Participant

    @etmo

    I’m new to woodworking also, and I certainly agree with the answers in this thread. You’ll get vastly better with experience. I planed 26 square feet (~2.5 square meters) of hardwood last Saturday from the lumber yard “S4S” to within a hair of perfectly flat, parallel, and square on all 6 sides / edges (I have a problem with over-doing it on the flattening, but I seem to really enjoy planing). The point is that it used to take me a weekend of exhaustive focus just to do a single board.

    You get better at absolutely every single thing, and each feeds into the other, so the improvements compound on each other. You get better at selecting wood, so you’ve got a better starting point — no knots, straighter grain, more convenient to go from boards to components. You’ll get better at knowing which pieces of which boards need to become which components, etc.

    All the steps become more automatic, efficient, and accurate. You’re planing along, finish a side, check it to confirm what you already know (which is that it’s flat and true) and immediately take out the blade and strop it, replace it, and start on the other side without even missing a word in the lyrics of the song on the radio.

    Having said all that, woodworking is supposed to be fun, and some people are going to be very very results-focused, and don’t enjoy the process as much as others. If that’s you, it might be that you’ll never be fast enough with hand tools, and so you should buy some machines. Or maybe you just don’t enjoy some specific things, like say planing, or chopping mortises. So get a thicknesser (“planer”) or a mortiser and only do the parts you enjoy by hand.

    #311793
    kenhamilton
    Participant

    @kenhamilton

    Don’t worry about being slow, slow is good.. Take your time enjoy the process.. I bet Paul would even tell you he is still learning. Once we stop learning then we should probably quit. It’s the process so enjoy it. Have fun with your mistakes, live the life of a woodworker, enjoy it. Yes you’ll get frustrated, but sit down and enjoy life. This is suppose to be fun, we have no time line unless you are a professional woodworker and have a timeline for a customer. So relax, I wouldn’t even set up a timeline for the project. It’s more important to concentrate on each phase of the project. I’m a beginner and I really have no problems with my slow pace. I’m enjoying the process, I’m enjoying the results. I’m enjoying the smiles of the people I have built these projects for. That is truly what woodworking is, the process, the skills and the end smiles.

    #311926
    jakegevorgian
    Participant

    @jakegevorgian

    You won’t know if it’s a long process unless someone tells you that you’re slow. And when someone tells you that you are slow, ignore them and move on what you’re doing. Don’t feel discouraged at all.

    Now, things that can speed things up:

    1) Shop drawings with lots of foreseeable details
    2) Quality wood (straight and less grain variations for the most of the casework)
    3) Scary sharp plane iron cutters, chisels, scrapers, knives and pencils
    4) Reward yourself once you’ve completed a batch of tasks (surface planing, joinery cutting, dry fitting the joints…basically, when you feel like you want to stop, don’t, until you’ve completed a whole set!)
    5) Coffee or tea is a must have
    6) Don’t pay attention to your smart phone, don’t let the radio distract you…so no distractions
    7) Always remind yourself—it took decades or centuries for the trees to grow and now it’s in your hands, so don’t let time pressure you and always work with great care.
    8) Educate people that what you’re doing is special…

    Enjoy!

    #311939
    Mike I
    Participant

    @dragon32

    [quote quote=311926]
    7) Always remind yourself—it took decades or centuries for the trees to grow and now it’s in your hands, so don’t let time pressure you and always work with great care.
    [/quote]

    Great quote! I love that.

    #311940
    5ivestring
    Participant

    @5ivestring

    @dragon32

    Now that really puts things into perspective!

    #311941
    5ivestring
    Participant

    @5ivestring

    @jakegevorgian

    That is very sound thinking. Maybe I’m not so slow after all.

    #311944
    tenjin
    Participant

    @tenjin

    I’m also a novice.

    One thing I have learned through painful experience is to get the wood as square as possible before you start building something.

    If you are out of square you end up having to make compromise after compromise to get the job done.

    It’s so much easier when everything is properly square.

    Darren

Viewing 10 replies - 16 through 25 (of 25 total)

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