Getting Close

I can get close but when do I quit? It’s a concept that still flits about my bench distracting my attention at times. Is the work good enough? Precision can be both a mantle of pride and a chain mail coat that can drag you down. The decisions to be made about how precise the cuts or joints, edges or finish are, can be as difficult as their execution sometimes. These choices make for slow and slower work that few people recognize. Or want to recognize.

Perhaps there is an accumulation of choices that give a piece this quality of precision. The way a drawer opens, the consistency of a hand planed edge, how the inlay feels under your fingertips. Precision then is fluid in its delivery at the bench. It can mean one level of work for one part of a piece and something completely different at another more visible or more touched spot.

Or do you insist on precision throughout every job, inevitably slowing yourself down for this laborious effort? And without complaint for it imbues your work with a spirit that shows through. I still need to remember that precision is not perfection. The balance point needs to be found where I can get close with my precision. Close enough to feel proud of the work without being burnt out by its requirement of effort.

Greene & Greene Side Table detail

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