The Trouble With Follow Through

The Trouble With Follow Through


Just as in golf, follow through is important in woodworking.

It was the first idea I pitched to my boss: I’m going to carve a spoon and write about it. Andrew immediately approved, given the perennial popularity of spoon carving and the desire for me to utilize new skills. I quickly got to work, picking up some carving knives and practicing on some green scraps I collected in my yard. Once I had a grasp of the basic techniques I decided would start my “real” spoon on the family trip to the Black Hills. I pictured sitting down in the evenings on the deck of the cabin and carving a spoon from a piece of wood harvested freshly from one of the ponderosa pines right on the property. And that’s actually how it started! I chose my piece of wood, picked a design, and diligently began carving.

Proof that I actually started with just a branch.

As the trip went on, and my energy level dropped, the spoon was set aside. After all, I had made some great headway, and it wouldn’t take me that long to finish it when I get home. However, that was several weeks ago now, and spoon sits, untouched, on my workbench. It wasn’t my intention to set it aside, but newer, shinier things came up.

This isn’t new for me. My workshop is filled with projects at 90% completion- a cabinet for the bathroom, doors for a secretary desk, the trim for a remodeling project I completed last summer. I certainly don’t have the market cornered on this issue- instagram is filled with makers who are finishing the “last steps” on some otherwise long-completed project. So often the allure of a new project, and the excitement that comes with it, is just too much to resist for us creative types.

The reality is that these unfinished projects are just cluttering our workshops and cluttering our minds. Every minute I spend shuffling old projects around my workshop is a minute I’m not spending doing the things I really enjoy. It’s time to take control and finish what I’ve started. If you need me, I’ll be finishing that spoon. After I eat lunch.

I will be finishing my ramen-style spoon, though I might need some accountability from our readers.



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