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Thread: Paralysis by Analysis

  1. #1

    Paralysis by Analysis

    Paralysis by Analysis

    Does any one else suffer from this? I seem to be really suffering from it lately. Granted I got a lot on my plate, but whenever I get the chance to work in my shop or dream of something to build, I cannot be content with something simple. A cutting board...oh no, it has to be curved, fold, up and hang on the wall in some fancy way. A simple children's bank for Alyson has to be recessed, grooved, be in the shape of some children's theme like a school bus or tractor. I got some good ideas, and fancy plans, but I never get them made because I don't have the time to devote to shop time.

    Yep I suffer big time from paralysis by analysis. To my credit I do keep a note book of all the ideas I generate and maybe if I can retire someday (not likely) I can go back into this notebook and see my sketches, notes and ideas and get inspired to make them.

    Until then I should probably just go out in my shop and build little stuff, and be happy that I am making sawdust. There again, paralysis by analysis comes into play, and I just can't seem to do that.If its not intricate, detailed and fancy, I just don't get into it.

    Does anyone else on here suffer from this serious woodworker affliction?
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Thomasville, GA

    I can relate to what you're saying. Some of the things I've built have been fairly straight-forward, but most have some tweaks that increase the difficulty. I like challenges, so I look for ways to enhance a basic design with various embellishments. I do all of my drawings on my computer using a 2D program, sometimes spending hours on an individual item.

    One thing this leads to sometimes is a hesitation to start a project because I don't want to mess up anything. I might have all of the material right in front of me, but then spend a lot of time looking at the wood to determine exactly where to use different pieces in the project. While this step is necessary, I find myself over-analyzing at times!

    Something I try to mix into my shop time is simple projects. For instance, I recently started turning pens. This does two things for me. It uses small off-cuts that previously went into the trash. Also, a pen can be completed in a matter of minutes, so I have an almost immediate sense of accomplishment. Even with pens, I've started the analysis thing by seeing how I can take a few chunks of wood and glue them up into an interesting pattern rather than using plain blanks all the time!

    It may be a serious affliction, but it also makes the things we build more interesting!
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Yes, I do.

    I am a turner, yet I don't have a shop. I try to to take a turning class once every year. This allows me little amount of time on a lathe. So I feel that making a simple bowl is like wasting my time. Not that I don't appreciate the beauty of simple bowls. It is just that I'd rather try something new and even if it was not my original idea, at least I know I would learn a new technique in the process.

    While I am not turning, I also think about new projects but unlike you I keep them in my head. Maybe I should start transferring my ideas on a notebook, because I have noticed that as I age my memory has started playing tricks on me.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    North West Indiana
    Alyson can't play or enjoy that notebook. She won't care that the pig bank doesn't squeal when she drops the money in or the tail doesn't wag. So build her the simple one, create a more elaborate one next year. She can learn to collect and dad can help create the collection. She will be interested in other things soon enough, enjoy and make the most of her devotion to you as THE MAN in her life NOW. Please take this in the manner intended, as a dad of grown girls that didn't always take the time. The times I did are cherished.

    God and family, the rest is icing on the cake. I'm so far behind, I think I'm in first place!


  5. #5
    Yeah I agree. That is the problem with Paralysis by Analysis, you end up with some casualties you never expected. That is, your daughter is the one that loses out because you just cannot seem to find the drive to build those less-than-stellar woodworking projects.

    The one thing I should start doing,and if I start it now I might finish it by the time she is ten, is a doll house. Being a person that loves to build models, that is something I would love to make.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    St. Louis, MO
    Absolutely! I complicate things all the time. A couple of years ago i started building mock-ups for the various projects i want to build. This turned out to be a good thing for how i work - moves things along, uses up some of the scrap i have laying around, and helps work out some kinks as i go. I usually hesitate to do something if i've never done it before and am not really confident i can do it right the first time. Mock-ups really help with this. I'm inventing fewer wheels on the finished product.

  7. #7
    I never do that HAHAHA. Seems like I'm always looking at how things might be better if...... Even when it is something brandy new. My better half tells me I over think everything, and make simple things overly complicated.

  8. #8
    We struggle with this at work too. Its different because we are building multi-million dollar yachts that are one of a kind, and the funding and time is there to do anything we want, but sometimes the designs get out of hand.

    I once spent a month and a half machining some really slick and complicated hinges for an ice chest. The lid had to open partially, then slide forward a few inches,then hinge up and back to clear a handrail. The material was 316L stainless, highly polished and very complicated to machine. The owner tried out the ice chest, hemmed and hawed,and then decided that a left to right sliding hinge would be better.

    A set of hinges that took 1 months to machine, at 60 bucks an hour shop rate, plus material and cutting tools would have been over $16,000 dollars. All tossed into the scrap heap because a simple design worked better. And it happens all the time.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Westphalia, Michigan
    Travis, just want to give ya a reality check. Retirement is not the holy grail when it comes to finding more TIME to do those things you put off. I have the same disease of constantly complicating design and function of just about any project. I just retired last July and I am 2 or 3 times more busy now than I was when "working". When you retire your spots don't change, you just have more time to complicate and muddy the waters when it comes to projects.
    For instance, I was going to build a lean-to on the back of my barn to shelter the wood pile. Simple enough, but I then came across several spalted maple trees that got blocked up and piled right where I am going to build the addition. Of course I need to saw those blocks into bowl and pen blanks and lumber. So my shop is full of piles of blocks and other woods so I can't work on the complicated boxes for church, because there's no room. On top of that I am going to go get a backhoe to dig a drain tile in next to the wood pile so I can get in there during wet spells. Of course when I pick up the backhoe I am going to drive it 20 miles so I can go past a local river and fish out a quilted maple tree. In order to get the tree I have to fell 2 leaners over the river and cut loose a log jam. Once home with the machine I have to clean out a overflow ditch at the neighbors dairy farm and take out a fence row. The it's off to another farm to rock in a road I'm putting into a woods so I can log it. All I wanted to do was put in the drain tile.............. I'm not sure what the cure is. Yesterday I was so tired I just slept and read a book. It's back in the saddle today, got to wire in 200 amp service and put in a laundry room. Got to go, the electrician is here.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Cedar Park, TX
    If I'm not on a directed project, i.e. one I have been directed to do by SWMBO, almost every project I manage to come up with is based on working out a new technique. But that is not necessarily what gets me bogged down in the shop. My paralysis by analysis comes about when I get to a decision point that affects some process three or four steps down the line. This problem got significantly alleviated when I began doing detailed plans of the project before cutting a single piece of wood. The design process itself brings up a lot of these questions and once the design is completed, study of the plan also helps to determine the order of processes.

    "If politics wasn't built on careful deception it wouldn't need its own word and techniques. It would just be called honesty, education, and leadership."
    Bob "Phydeaux" Stewart one day on Woodnet


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