The Big Think

May 25, 2007

Creation Incarnation

Filed under: Woodworking — jasony @ 12:47 am

I’ve noticed over the last week of shop time, and the past four years of serious woodworking in general, that my shop skills have improved dramatically. I’m much faster now (when I’m not thinking and pondering), and yet I feel that I’m actually getting safer as I get to know my tools better. I’m more efficient in my movement around the shop and seem to have developed some subconscious work habits that help me move things right along. Often I’ll find myself unplugging and moving a tool without realizing why, only to discover the tool in just the right spot for a later step. Little things like that. There is still a lot of wasted movement, but overall I seem to be getting much more efficient at maneuvering around in the space, and in being able to build stuff with minimal energy expended. Now I can focus on what has to be built instead of how it has to be done. It’s akin to how it feels to play a song over and over again, or how it is when your brain finally ‘gets’ typing and you don’t think about where the keys are. Eventually the mechanics of the motions become subconscious and you start to focus on a higher level of creativity. Often I find myself smiling or even laughing out loud that I am able to take something as rough looking as raw lumber and plywood and make real what has only existed in my imagination. What a privilege!

Studio Construcion

Filed under: Studio Construction — jasony @ 12:39 am

I’ve been doing all this studio construction work lately, and I’ve spent the last week in the shop building furniture. There’s a lot of what appears (from the outside) to be downtime as I sit and ponder my next move, cut, or decision point. In fact, today I spent 90 minutes just sitting in my office chair, which I had moved into the shop to help decide on the final layout of my desk. I sat in that chair for probably an hour and a half just looking at the layout and going over every single detail to make sure it was just right. I had set up the two 21″ wide “pillars” of my old desk (which have been refashioned into teh new hotness with Lyptus trim). On top of these supports I set plywood in a rough shape of the final desktop, supporting it temporarily with sawhorses. I taped the outline of that corner of the studio on the floor to get the dimensions just right. Next, I brought some of the equipment down and set it on the desktop to get the general spacing worked out (monitor, keyboard, computer keyboard, speakers). One of the unfortunate things I discovered was that I don’t have enough room for the second monitor! Big bummer here, but I may be able to fix this.

Anyway, I just sat and stared, occasionally getting up to shift something incrementally, or to extend the desk a bit to get the exact right spacing. It was a long process of minute adjustments to get the space functioning just right. I’m really happy I did it, because once it was done, it was a fairly easy (and fear-free!) process to cut up the plywood and fashion the desktop. I now have my final desktop in rough form. It’s 79″ by 100″ and has plenty of space for monitors (1), speakers, rack boxes, keyboard, trackball, and printer. Plus, lots of open workspace. It consists of a 3/4 inch piece of maple ply laminated to a 1/2 inch layer of ply. The corner will be supported by a custom microphone cabinet I decided to build. Because it’s over an inch thick and glued and screwed every few inches, the thing can hold a tank, but the top is still light enough (just barely!) for me to maneuver it around. It’ll be trimmed in Lyptus and topped with black laminate.

It will be beautiful.

Kaizen

Filed under: Disclosure — jasony @ 12:28 am

One of my personal self-improvement philosophies was taught to my by my friend Hajime (Jim) Kumahata. The Japanese word “Kaizen” means continuous incremental self-improvement. It’s something I’ve practiced for over a decade now, and it’s led to some pretty revolutionary things. Just doing something 1% better today, or this week, or this year, and that small improvement can really add up over time.

Lifehacker has a good article on Kaizen. Make it a goal to read it today!

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