Building Things Well

bathroom vanity build

It doesn’t look like much now, but I am in the process of building a vanity cabinet for our powder room. I love those vessel sinks, so I’ll make the top too, but this is the cabinet facing. I joined Fine Homebuilders, which makes me feel like a carpenter. Actually, I just like making things. Anything that requires tools? I’m in. Complicated and/or dangerous? Absolutely in.

As I have been building this piece, I have been determined to prevent myself from taking shortcuts. No haste. This project (unlike most of my making) is not for the short term. I am basically making furniture – that will be sold with the house when I move out, so it has to be not only good or serviceable but great and amazing. Custom built. That means no roughing it.

Between this carpentry project and my recent picking up of a large needlepoint project, I am learning something quite crucial that my head has known and my mouth has spoken for some time, but I haven’t necessarily put into my soul: enjoy the process, not just the product. In other words: don’t be in a hurry to get it done. This is true for two reasons: 1) because focusing on getting it done only serves to make me frustrated at how long it’s taking and 2) being eager to get it done makes me cut corners (figuratively) and not do my best work.

So in this wood project, I have rejected the notion that I can finish it a weekend (which is good because I haven’t had any weekends free in a long time so it would never happen). What that means is that I am slipping out to the garage for a light sanding and coat of polyurethane (20 minutes of active work then 4+ hours of drying and curing). And I have to admit, this is looking like the best, most “finished” product I have put together to date. It doesn’t look like much on the table laid out ion pieces, but you should feel the silky smooth surface of those wooden boards. Yes.

Life lesson for me: sometimes enjoying the process isn’t just about enjoying the process, but is also about letting go of urgency and haste. As my wise grandfather used to say: “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.”

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