26 Feb How to Go With The Grain
Life has a way of throwing twists and turns our way without much of a heads up. While we can’t control everything that goes on, we can control how we respond to change. While everyone deals with change differently, I think there are some principles we can learn from the craft of woodworking that can help up go with the grain and enjoy life’s twists and turns.
- Be open. Part of the sanding and finishing process requires wetting down the wood in order to raise and open the grain. This allows each sanding step to be effective and eventually leads to finish taking to the wood properly. When the grain is opened properly, it is ready for whatever type of stain I decide to use. When we are open to life’s ups and downs, we can take on whatever comes our way. If this is the first time someone has told you to be like wood, sorry, but I am confident it will make life much better!
- Plan for the unexpected. In all of my builds, something unexpected happens. Whether it’s movement in the lumber or an unforeseen expense, there are so many things that can go wrong. The more I learn, the better I can plan for problems that may come up. Some of this learning can only come from experience, but other tricks and tips come from asking good questions and learning from people more experienced. The same goes with life – there are loads of people and resources out there to help you plan for the unexpected things in life. Don’t be afraid to learn from your mistakes and from the wisdom of others.
- Celebrate Small Victories. During the course of a table build, there are countless steps that can become overwhelming if you were to look at a list of everything that needs to get done. Something I’ve learned is to break large projects into smaller parts in order to keep it manageable. By parsing out the different and setting small goals, I am able to stay positive and feel like I am making progress. If you have a project you are feeling overwhelmed by, break it into smaller, easy-attainable goals. By crossing things off your list, you’ll feel a greater sense of accomplishment and breeze through large projects with ease!
- Focus on Others. During each build, I get the pleasure of imagining my clients using their table, bookcase or whatever else I am building them. My favorite part of owning a woodworking company is knowing that my projects will bring people together. A dining table is so much more than a piece of furniture to eat off. It’s a place to gather with friends and family, to make memories and to grow closer to the people we care about. Focusing on others while I work helps me find more joy and pride in my work. When we focus on others, we stop working about the little things in life and focus on doing things that can impact people’s lives in major ways!
Didn’t know there was so much to glean from going with the grain? Turns out we can take some great lessons from being open, planning for the unexpected, celebrating small victories and focussing on others. Enjoy!