Itís good; itís just not right

Iíve talked before about not leaving well enough alone when I finish a project. In this case the job was fine, but I just donít like it.

Yeah, Iím one of those wonít-leave-well-enough-alone types. Iíll tweak something to death, usually messing it up in the process. But this time around I did everything right the first time and havenít even felt the need to monkey around with it. Iím talking about the final finish on a recently completed piece of furniture, so itís a good thing Iím not trying to tweak it Ė nothing ruins a finishing job faster and more thoroughly than trying to mess with it after itís done. But in this case thereís no danger of ruining it by trying to make it better. Itís already fine.

No, the problem is that this time Iím just not happy with the results.

You know how it is: Youíre going for a particular ďlook,Ē and you approached the finishing process with that goal, that final look, in mind. But when youíre all done, you didnít achieve it. Doesnít mean your finishing job was a failure; it doesnít even mean you did a poor job. All it means is that you tried a particular method to achieve a particular result Ė a result that was never based in reality, but rather just on something you had in your head Ė and that method didnít deliver what you had in mind. In fact, no method may have delivered it.

My wife likes the result. So have a couple other people Iíve showed it to. They all think it looks great.

So why am I so bummed out?

Till next time,



  • We strive for perfection which is an impossible goal. “Bummed out” is the incentive to do a better job next time.

  • Gregg Olsen says:

    I have been striving for “the perfect part” in a machine shop and a wood shop now for 40 years. Have gotten pretty close a couple times but never got it done!!!

    Have found that searching for the Holy Grail is a waste of time. Only you can see those minute imperfections that glare out to those who are the builders.

    Good luck on your Quest.

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