Liz has been under the weather lately with a bad cough. No flu symptoms, but just a really bad cough that makes it difficult for her to do much else besides sit in bed, cough, and hope to not cough more.

We’ve gone to an Urgent Care and she’s gotten some meds. But for the most part, it’s a waiting game (it’s viral, and nothing to really do other than let it run its course). But it’s taking its sweet time.

For tonight’s woodworking class, she opted to stay home given her sickness. So I ended up going solo. Which was a bit daunting, doubly so because the last few classes for me have been… disappointing.

I say disappointing, but I mean that what I’ve done has been disappointing. The last few times I’ve used the Japanese pull saw, my cuts were all over the place – and looked like a small animal gnawed the areas where I used the saw. Rough stuff.

Tonight, we’ve moved on to doing dovetail joints. And I was definitely daunted, because the cuts here need to be a lot cleaner, a lot crisper.

The process today, after tracing out the tails, was to orient the piece of wood so that the cut line was actually perpendicular to the vise. So while we are technically making angled cuts, the physical act of cutting was just a normal, straight down cut.

I’m happy to say that my cuts this time around were better. I was definitely a lot more cautious, and much slower and more deliberate with my actions.

Is it weird to say that I was stressed out the entire time? I was pretty stressed out the entier time.

Learning how to remove the excess material between the tails was very interesting. Instead of chiselling from the top down, the process involves chiselling from the side…and lifting up small “sheets” of wood as you go.

I have to say – I found this process immensely gratifying. But in hindsight, it seems a little silly. Like – hey, I spray painted the outline of a hole in my yard, and started to remove dirt. And boy, is that process gratifying!

It’s weird to say, but it really was.

I walked away from class feeling a bit more confident, a bit better about my abilities. I think that I forget this is a newer skill I haven’t practiced at, much. But my expectation is that I would be producing good, quality things from the get-go. And that’s unrealistic (but it’s the goalpost I have in my head).

I’m reminded a bit of Ira Glass, and his thoughts on the gap between skill and taste. Perhaps I can give myself the benefit of the doubt in terms of my taste, and allow that the skill part needs some time to catch up.

A Day of Imperfect Things

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