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  1. #1
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    What is your weakness?

    I have come to the conclusion that finishing is my kryptonite.

    I avoid it and I have zero discipline when it comes time to do all of the finish sanding and application of varnish, shellac, etc. Often times my projects will sit for extended periods as I put off the only part that makes me want to leave my shop early. I've decided I need to do something about it but I'm just not sure what that is yet.

    I made the decision recently to make a serious attempt at elevating all of my skills and truthfully none of that will matter if I am still wretched at varnishing.

    So, what is YOUR weakness? Which step in the process drags you down like varnish drags me down? I'm curious what others find interesting/uninteresting because I think it says something about the person. It's obvious that my hatred for finishing points out my impatience.

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    Re: What is your weakness?

    My weakness is definitely cleaning the shop and putting tools back where they belong.
    Every once in a while, I will get up real early, like 2 AM, put all the tools away and sweep and dust everything.
    That normally happens when I am about to host a workshop.
    But it never seems to last very long - If I only have an hour or so to work in the shop I would much rather spend the entire time building and I always say I will clean up and get organized tomorrow. Maybe when I retire I will change my habits - right, sure I will

    Nick, I used to hate finishing too as so many do and if I was varnishing I would still hate it. For small project, I pad on shellac typically in the house watching whatever is on TV. For anything large or if I need something done right now, I spray lacquer. I am quite sure I could have a project sealed, sanded, three coated and out the door before I could have brushed on one coat. And that includes cleaning the gun which takes only a couple of minutes. If you have not started spraying yet, try it.

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  5. #3
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    Re: What is your weakness?

    Finishing is also my weakness, and I also try to avoid it. I've tried all kinds of methods, including spraying as Phil suggests, and still don't like doing it. My next weakness is cleaning the shop...and for that I try to apply a rule of put away ten things every time you come into the shop. Now if there are ten things to put away...that means I left things out. Maybe it should be put stuff away when done? I'm sure I am no different than others, I'd rather be making something than cleaning or putting stuff away, so I guess that runs as first place with finishing...
    Today a pile of wood, tomorrow a pile of sawdust......

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    Re: What is your weakness?

    I hate finishing too. I really do, I can't tell you how many things I've left unfinished for a week or more because I hate finishing so much. It's not because I can't do it well, it's because sometimes I can't decide on "the how" I'll finish it. I make split second decisions all the time at work, but seem to toil over the most routine task of the woodworking project.
    Measure twice... cut once... SCREAM LOUDLY... get another board

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    Re: What is your weakness?

    I'm w/ Phil when it comes to cleaning the shop. Dread it! I'll procrastinate until I start tripping over scraps laying on the floor. In fact, I sometimes think that's the main reason I host the workshops: it forces me to clean up. I'm like Phil in that regard, except for the 2 AM part.
    I'll gladly tell you how I do something. Just please don't confuse that with the right way to do it, and almost certainly not the only way.


  8. #6
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    Re: What is your weakness?

    I'm a woodworking slob. Whenever I'm done with a tool, or a brush, or my glasses, or anything else that isn't permanently attached to my body, I drop it onto the nearest horizontal surface. As a result, I'm always saying "where'd I put that thing?" After an hour of working, my shop looks like it was attacked by Irma. Unfortunately for me, I hate working in a messy shop - so I clean up at least three times a day.

    Due to my messy work methods, the activity I hate the most is turning on the lathe. I only use the lathe a couple of times a year when I have to turn harpsichord legs. In fact, I'm writing this post now because I have to turn four legs today and I'm putting it off as long as possible. I hate the mess - shavings all over the place. I cringe when I have to walk over the confetti I've created, so I'm forced to clean up every 1/2 hour or so. That doesn't bother me 'cause if I'm cleaning up, I'm not turning. I suppose it would help if I had some turning skills, but I don't. Some of my instruments have up to 14 legs, and I'm amazed that they end up resembling one another. I'm in awe of master turners like Charlie with his segmented bowls. If I had to spend eight hours a day at the lathe, I would be absolutely suicidal. Did I mention I don't like turning?
    www.ernestmillerharpsichords.com

    "A lot of people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths."
    -Steven Wright.

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    Re: What is your weakness?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil S View Post
    ... if I need something done right now, I spray lacquer. I am quite sure I could have a project sealed, sanded, three coated and out the door before I could have brushed on one coat. And that includes cleaning the gun which takes only a couple of minutes. If you have not started spraying yet, try it.
    I too have finishing as my (singular - ha!) weakness. But the good news is that I took Phil's Spray Finishing Workshop in the Spring and built the confidence to make a go of it. He was very convincing. In fact just this weekend I sprayed a shellac seal coat on a project for the first time. I still have much to learn, based on the cloud of finish left in the air upon completion. I have taken the plunge and will not turn back!
    Henry W
    Prolific creator of sawdust, and sometimes shavings - with the occasional completed project.

  10. #8
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    Re: What is your weakness?

    Quote Originally Posted by NTCook View Post
    I have come to the conclusion that finishing is my kryptonite.

    I avoid it and I have zero discipline when it comes time to do all of the finish sanding and application of varnish, shellac, etc. Often times my projects will sit for extended periods as I put off the only part that makes me want to leave my shop early. I've decided I need to do something about it but I'm just not sure what that is yet.

    I made the decision recently to make a serious attempt at elevating all of my skills and truthfully none of that will matter if I am still wretched at varnishing.

    So, what is YOUR weakness? Which step in the process drags you down like varnish drags me down? I'm curious what others find interesting/uninteresting because I think it says something about the person. It's obvious that my hatred for finishing points out my impatience.
    You should keep an eye on the board and attend one of the finishing classes we give from time to time. With a small investment in a compressor and a spray gun, it will no longer be a challenge.

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  12. #9
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    Re: What is your weakness?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil S View Post
    If you have not started spraying yet, try it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Willemjm View Post
    With a small investment in a compressor and a spray gun, it will no longer be a challenge.
    What's the general consensus here for minimum compressor size to spray? Or are the all-in-one kits (Fujispray, Titan, Apollo, Wagner, Harbor Freight) now a good alternate?

  13. #10
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    Re: What is your weakness?

    I like the Earlex HVLP systems for a basic introduction to spray finishing. They're not as finicky, high tech, or as pricey as a Fuji system.

    http://www.earlex.com/earlex-hvlp-spraystation-hv5500/

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  15. #11
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    Re: What is your weakness?

    +1 to finishing. I won an entry level sprayer, but first time I tried to use it I spent an hour trying to thin the paint according to the instruction book, and could never get it to flow the rate it said, so gave up and brush painted.

    On another note, guess I'm a little different, in that I try to keep my shop clean, and put away stuff when I'm done. I have small area to work in, and when I want to do something I don't want to spend an hour cleaning so I try to be good in cleaning when I'm done.

  16. #12
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    Re: What is your weakness?

    #### bent on precision. Coming from a machinist background, it helps and hurts at the same time. Achieving precision isn't the problem. Being precise where it doesn't matter is. I'm afraid that if I let one area go as "close enough", I'll begin to make sacrifices in areas that can't be "close enough". This slows me down and creates efficiency issues.

    In my shop, 1/32 is horrifically off. 1/64 is doable on some things after some deep breaths and putting blinders on.

    My table saw sled is off .003" at 93" using the 5 cut method.
    Happiness is a direction not a destination. ~Athena Orchard

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    Re: What is your weakness?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wyatt Co. View Post
    #### bent on precision. Coming from a machinist background, it helps and hurts at the same time. Achieving precision isn't the problem. Being precise where it doesn't matter is. I'm afraid that if I let one area go as "close enough", I'll begin to make sacrifices in areas that can't be "close enough". This slows me down and creates efficiency issues.

    In my shop, 1/32 is horrifically off. 1/64 is doable on some things after some deep breaths and putting blinders on.

    My table saw sled is off .003" at 93" using the 5 cut method.
    LOL, I cut my career teeth as an Automotive Engineer with Mercedes Benz, spending months in Stuttgart with a big German fella slapping me around because I was a couple of thousands off with a hand file. Had the same problem as you until I learnt that if I leave the shop door open too long, a piece of accurately milled wood will be +1/16" one day and - 1/8" a few days later without touching it.

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  19. #14
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    Re: What is your weakness?

    Quote Originally Posted by Willemjm View Post
    Had the same problem as you until I learnt that if I leave the shop door open too long, a piece of accurately milled wood will be +1/16" one day and - 1/8" a few days later without touching it.
    I know right! Which brought me to keeping my shop humidity within a specific/desired range.
    Happiness is a direction not a destination. ~Athena Orchard

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  21. #15
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    Re: What is your weakness?

    Finishing and clean-up aren't my problems at all. I have to clean up my shop if I want to get my car back in the garage or keep my wife from having asthma. One of my biggest weaknesses is math. Always has been. Doing measurement calculations is hard for me. Unlike so many on the forum I don't come from an engineering, science or machinist background. Luckily I found an app for fractions that I can use. Makes it go by so much easier. That and checking measurements more than once. I have made so many mistakes with marking something a certain distance shorter than it was supposed to be. I've done this at work for years and do it in my hobby time as well. I'm learning to check and not to waste material.

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