Resolved: To finish a project
I have commitment issues. There. I finally said it.
It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about the interior doors that I primed two years ago but never finished painting, the crocheted afghan that sits, half completed, in a basket next to my couch, or the fine new mini-lathe I bought a year ago, set up, and haven’t managed to make anything with. I love starting things … but I never seem to finish them.
I blame my grandmother (which is unfair, since she is no longer here to defend herself). When I was growing up, girls in my family were supposed to be crafty. We were taught how to sew, knit, crochet, hook rugs, do embroidery — you name it. And I happily learned each skill. Then I would embark on a project with great enthusiasm — buying materials, getting the right equipment, learning the pattern. I’d work on whatever it was until it was about 1/3 done, then leave it lying around the house. After a few months, my grandmother would get sick of looking at it, so she’d finish the job. I got more afghans, scarves, sweaters, and mittens that way!
I’m having the same problem with my wood turning. I’ve been on the staff at Fine Woodworking for four years now, but they don’t keep me around here because of my woodworking skills. I’m a copy editor. I know the difference between that and which, how to avoid splitting an infinitive, how to spell “mortise and tenon” and “patina” and such. But as far as woodworking goes, there’s nothing “fine” about what I do. My co-workers are the fine woodworkers. I’m the word person.
But a few years ago, I took a course in wood turning and loved it. I made bowls, vases, and other neat stuff. And as long as I was under the supervision of the instructor, I completed quite a few things. Then the class ended. Fired up about turning, I went out and bought a new mini-lathe, some pretty good gouges, and gathered some nice chunks of wood from my colleagues. I set up a nice little shop in the garage, complete with a hand-me-down bandsaw and a workbench that my boyfriend built for me. But away from the supervision of my turning teacher, I somehow lost the commitment. Yet again, I have a bunch of half-started projects sitting around. Only this time, there’s nobody but me to complete them.
So this year, I resolve: I will get out into the shop. I will stop procrastinating. I will finish turning all the stuff that I started. I will learn to sharpen on the bench grinder I got for Christmas (last Christmas!). I will. You’ll see. You’re all witnesses.
Liz Healy, senior copy/production editor
My fine new lathe is just waiting for somebody to use it. My hand-me-down bandsaw is in back. It's fixed now, though it did explode on me once. That's a story for another day ...
Blanks from my colleagues sit ready for me to turn.
I can even sharpen, once I get it out of the box.