Good Judgement Comes From Experience
But experience comes from bad judgement. Am I right, or am I right?
I’m largely a self taught woodworker, so I have a lot of experience at messing up. Couple that with the fact that I build custom projects, things that don’t have plans or instructional videos, and I often find myself building things or redoing a process several times before I’m satisfied with it. Hey, it happens. I’m creating something that is essentially only a thought, a concept, a notion,and making it those concepts reality. There might be similar pictures/videos/pieces out there, of course, but chances are, there is some nuance or construction method or technique or what have you that was learned at the bench of a Master Craftsman.
The upside to not always working from an ‘established’ method is that I’m free to experiment. If you know me even a little bit, you know that I’m a firm believer in 1) Life is an experiment and 2) I’m not afraid to fail.
Learning From Failure
We have to be able to let ourselves fail. Have to. Absolutely have to. If we were afraid of failure, humanity would never have left the driveway, so to speak. Every day when we leave the driveway, we are going to face some action, circumstance, situation, or scenario where there are three possible outcomes. We will choose the right outcome, and be successful. We will choose the wrong outcome, and fail. We will choose neither outcome, and DO NOTHING.
If we do nothing, how can we get experience? How often have we made the correct decision based on experience? Let’s put it this way…Why does the saying, “Third time’s a charm” even exist as a saying, and why is it so true? Because we’ve FAILED the first two times, but we’ve gotten experience, and we’ve LEARNED from that experience, and we try it again, and boom. The third time’s a charm.
Today I’m working on a build, and based on experience, I’m trying another method. I nailed the build on the first shot, but it was built on previous failures.
There is a Master Craftsman from the Old World, his name is Franz Klaus. He learned woodworking from his father, who learned it from his father. Third generation woodworker. I read recently that he’s never learned mortise and tenon joints, because he never was taught them. He was taught that the end all and be all of joinery was the dovetail joint. He later learned them and mastered them. The mortise and tenon joint became part of his toolbox when it came to construction methods. Maybe he experimented with them, or maybe he never approached them because he never needed to. I don’t know. I don’t know the guy, but I’ve watched his chisel sharpening techniques on the YouTubes.
I’m not constrained by limiting myself to only what I’ve been taught, because I’m self-taught. Like I said, it’s got its drawbacks, but the upside is that I am free to experiment with my own curriculum. Call it what you will, but trial and error and experimentation and allowing yourself to mess up is a vital part of any learning method. What is key is being able to learn from those non-successful endeavors, and then BOOM!
You nail the build on the first shot.