Hurry Up, Git ‘Er Done

       Am I the only one, or are there others of us, that is guilty of when finishing a project or piece we’ve been painstakingly working on, then proceed to mess it up by rushing through the finishing process? On a recent piece I’d been carefully working on and paying attention to some trickier processes than usual, I was quite proud of what was taking form before my eyes. I was careful to not rush into territory that I don’t normally navigate and took care when making those tenuous cuts. Then in my excitement to see the finished product, I hastily applied a finish that ensured me of immediate results and a quick and easy finish. BOY, was I mistaken! I ended up with, shall we say, “an ugly” finish. It was not only obvious with its runs, sags and blotches, it detracted from the piece of work I had meticulously labored over, making it look like something that belonged underneath the firewood pile where is couldn’t be seen. Needless to say, I was disappointed and ashamed of myself for allowing that to happen.
After calming down and getting my wits gathered back together, I undertook to “redo” the finishing process. I couldn’t put it back on the lathe and re-turn away the finish mistakes and I didn’t want to risk using a harsh chemical stripper or such, so I dove in hand sanding off the finish. To make a long painful story short, I got the finish under control and it eventually turned out acceptable.
After that experience, and even during the process of recovery, I had a little ‘one-on-one’ talk with myself admonishing the impatient side of me by the “you-know-better-than-that” side to remember my own advice that someone reminded me of that I had said to him. This person said to me when I was visiting his shop and admiring his work that I had made a comment that stuck with him; “the job is not done until it’s finished”. He stopped me dead in my tracks. He had no idea the impact he had on me at that moment. (On a side note: see how we help each other and how our own words and actions come back to us?)
So, now hopefully as I approach the finishing line, I can hold onto that excitement of seeing a nicely finished project and spend my time wisely by “taking my time” to “git-‘er-done” RIGHT the first time. Now I try to tell myself to do that sanding just a little bit slower and maybe longer than I feel like and use all the grits without skipping any. And, use my critical eye to inspect my work before moving on to the next step. Then when choosing the finish to be applied, chose the one that is right for the piece and not just the quickest. Granted, sometimes “fast” is right and ok. Then if it needs a couple extra coats, go ahead and put on a couple extra coats. It’ll probably be worth it.
Lesson learned? Let’s hope so. Consequently, the time it took me to ‘refinish’ my finish, I could have spent on “doing it right in the first place”. So, “Mel, are you listening?”

Written by Mel Bryan

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