Tuesday, January 27, 2009

You know your woodworking mojo is in trouble when...

...after a year of no real woodworking, you're still not motivated to do something about it. Except by guilt.

...woodworking emails can go for actual weeks before getting answered (and I'm really, really sorry if you're on the wrong end of that one).

...most seriously of all, you've suspended mail from the Old Tools List and haven't read it all for the first time in nearly eight years.

Last year I felt I was getting rather out of the loop. So far in 2009 I'm straining to see whereabouts the loop is. Something, somewhere, has got to click at some point and normal service will be resumed, but the waiting for it is really getting me down. 

Heigh ho.


  1. The galoots are waiting for your return, Alf. You know where the slope is...

  2. Alf

    Don't force it. When the wood wants to be made into somethig, it will tell you.

    It was when I had kids and had to start making toys for them that the call of the wood became irrestible again (PS this is a drastic response to losing the mojo and not one that I necessarily advise!(:)



  3. Erm, yes... might give that solution a miss, Jeremy! :)

  4. In contrast to Jeremy...

    The only real solution is to simply treat the situation as a job. Just make something. Anything. Doesn't matter what. Then make something else, and so on.

    The problem with a lack of inertia or desire is that they are self-perpetuating moods.

    Personally, when I *had* to make furniture and was loosing desire for one reason or another, I would jump on the lathe. Being able to relatively quickly accomplish something was a boon during long, drawn out builds. Boxes were another endeavor that helped get out of a funk (and were easier to give away as they had some purpose to the recipient).

    And hey, I have three sons. I wouldn't recommend that solution either {g}...

    As always, my best to you Alf.

    Take care, Mike

  5. Alf,

    Inertia is always the toughest thing to beat. We are all pretty much the same... the more we do, the more we are able to do - and when we stop the hardest thing is to get started again. You will, the urge will return, and we'll all be happy when you pick up your tools again.

  6. Alf,

    There's a lot of wisdom in either forcing yourself to work on *anything*, or to just wait until the muse returns.

    But I would love it if you would keep writing and working.

    I'm a new woodworker, actually getting my hands dirty after years of nothing but reading. I'm finding out I'm a galoot at heart, like you, and want more information about working without tailed tools and tablesaurs — I love that term!

    We also share the same genetic difference from most woodworkers … the lack of a Y chromosome. I treasure the tool reviews where you mention how your "weedy girlie" hands just don't work with the tool handles. Your reviews will help greatly when I start building my plane collection.

    I spent a good couple of weeks earlier this month reading all your blog entries. I was saddened that you hadn't written much lately. Don't force yourself to write, we'll wait.


  7. Fresh fields and pastures new?
    What got me going again was moving away from old architectural joinery and looking at old furniture instead - real furniture used by real people, not 'cabinet making'.
    Perhaps have a look around some country houses or museums? Or sale rooms with a view to mending, recycling, copying?

    cheers and best wishes

  8. I hope that something clicks in soon - I'm missing reading about the goings-on in your workshop.

    Best wishes ;-)


  9. Hey Alf,

    Although I've been a lurker on your site for some time, this is the first time I've posted, and I find myself in the very unusual position of saying that I've been there myself.

    I think that all of us run hot and cold over the course of our lives. Some of us have long periodicity, and some of us short, but we all eventually deal with flagging motivation.

    In my opinion, there is no substitute for a well deserved break. However, what comes after the break is what determines your future direction. In my case, learning a new skill is what lights my fire. When I find myself burning out, and avoiding the shop, I take stock of the number of skills that I don't have, and never thought I would have, and choose one.

    Last time this happened I chose vacuum bag veneering, before that, it was building longbows. The truth is, that I will probably never exhaust the list of specialty skills that have historically accompanied the title of "woodworker", and I sincerely hope that I never do.

    So tell us, what is it that you don't know how to do, ...yet.

    Kindest regards,

  10. Alf - you need to get yourself to another Bash!
    ...never say never - Rob

  11. Hey Alf,
    It's not about you, it's all about us! We need you back!


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