I Started Woodworking and Suck at It (And That’s Okay)

Erik Personal Development and Lifestyle, Projects, Spirituality, Thoughts of a Mastermind 8 Comments


The other week, I started a new hobby, woodworking.

One of my recent thoughts have been the fragile nature of having the majority of my skills being “digital”.

Being able to make a killer spreadsheet, design a website just right, and run code on large data sets is great in all, but that’s not the real world.

Humans naturally aren’t supposed to be in front of screens all day. We came from the Earth and will return to the Earth someday.

With this recent thought, I’ve decided it was time to become more handy and work on a tangible skill: woodworking.

After a few runs to Home Depot to get tools and wood, I dove into practicing cuts, trying to figure out how to use a chisel, and blankly staring at the block plane I bought.

Unsurprisingly, after 2 weeks, I still suck at it.

Here’s the thing: I’LL SURVIVE! IT’S OKAY! 

In this post, I want to share with you why taking action is so critical and why it’s okay if you aren’t good at something starting off.

Take Action and Grow Your Skills

No one ever got better at anything just sitting still!

A constant theme on this blog over the past few years has been to look to inspire action and get you moving in the direction of your wants and goals.

I’m trying to live by example: on this blog, I post 3 times a week. I have a podcast which also publishes 1 episode a week. I have a few other side hustles which are bringing me income on a monthly basis. I’m now trying my hand at woodworking and looking to add skills over time.

At the beginning of every single one of these hustles, I wasn’t good at what I was doing.

There was a steep learning curve for some of these projects, but little by little, hour by hour, I chipped away.

I didn’t expect to become an overnight success that first week.

All I could do is just wake up the next day, look to problem solve, and get to the next task.

Enough about taking action- it’s important and how you should live your life.

Now? Let’s all have a good laugh now and look at some of my woodworking.

Pictures of My Bad Woodworking Cuts

To give you a picture of what my new hobby looks like up until this point, here are some of the pictures of the cuts I’ve made.

Right now, I’m focusing only on using hand tools (saws, chisels, planes, etc.).

In the future, I might go towards power tools, but first I want to understand how wood works.

My first project is building a joiner’s mallet.

To do this, I needed to cut 2 sides to 3″x7″. The first cut was not straight at all. The second cut was straight in the X and Y dimensions, but not in the Z dimension.

I guess I’m going to have to try again this weekend.

One of my first cuts. Not straight at all (and I cut my losses 60% of the way through – no pun intended – see that little inlet)

bad at woodworking

Second try… not horrible… until you put the level on it.

Going to need to do some work here.

Once I figure out how to actually cut straight with my hand saw (I think just a few more practice cuts will be good enough), then I’m going to make the joiner’s mallet out of the oak planks I bought.

After that, I’m going to look into building some furniture or wooden accessories to continue to practice with the tools I have!

It should be a very fun hobby as I get better. I’m definitely happy to have started and even though I’m not good now, I know through consistent action, I can certainly get better!

Try, Fail, and Try Again: This is the Cycle to Success

If you are at all interested in trying something new, it’s critical you start taking action today. Taking action can be in any shape or form – going on YouTube to watch a how-to video, doing research on a product you want to sell, reading a book, or taking a class.

What are your goals? What are you looking to do to close out 2018, in 2019, and in the future? Where do you see yourself in 3 to 5 years? What do you want to do with your life in the future?

Following up on those questions, how are you going to reach those goals? What are the actions you will take today, tomorrow, and the next day on your path to success?

Every week, there is 168 hours. Every month, about 720 hours. Every year? 8,760 hours.

Can you carve out 50 hours in a year (4 hours a month or 1 hour a week) to work towards your goals? I think you can find that time.

I’ll be frank – ideas are worthless. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t dream, or try to come up with something unique. What my comment means, is that when we have an idea, we should pursue it, and we should take action today.

Things take a while to develop, but with focus, you can get there.

Learning, experience, and success comes from the actions taken each day.

Readers: what’s your dream? What are you working towards? What are some of the actions you are taking to get there?

Thank you for reading!




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Comments 8

  1. Just be careful! My wife loves to woodcraft to the extent that I buy her Christmas presents like table saws and routers. But a couple of years ago a piece of wood kicked back and shattered one of her fingers. That was way painful, required surgery and she’ll never have full use of it which impacts her competition level tennis game slightly. She didn’t get cut by the blade but the power of those tools is immense and can injure you if the blade hits a particularly hard spot in the wood. It is a very safe hobby but it requires a lot of caution, so always think it through before you do something with a power tool. Oh, and you are already better at it than I am!

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      Thank you Steve for stopping by!

      Right now, I’m using only hand tools and think if I can become good with them, I don’t know if I will want to go to power tools!

      Last night, I got back to it and think I should start wearing glasses… definitely had a piece of wood pop out and whiz by my head…

      Have a great weekend!

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      Everyone isn’t good when they start out… and now you are rocking it and yes, that must feel good!

      (Another thing I’d like to learn in the future… I swear I should just come camp in your yard and learn everything you do)

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  2. I would totally not have the patience for this, but I admire those who are willing to take it on. Best of luck and be safe.

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