Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Fear of Failure


So I'm reasonably handy, right?  I've got no compunctions working on electrical, basic plumbing, making simple furniture, and pretty much slapping lumber around when I want to.  But most all of that work is, er, "construction grade".  Today, I ordered countertops.  Beautiful countertops, made of mixed sapwood and heartwood walnut.  They will adorn our kitchen for years to come.  And I need to cut a hole in them.  A BIG hole.  In the BIGGEST piece.  In doomspeak, I will intentionally nearly sever a $1000 piece of wood, rendering it extremely susceptible to cracking during later handling, and all to install something as prosaic as a sink.

This would be "finish grade" work.  I will need to up my game.

Measure twice?  Nah.  Measure ten times?  Sure. 

Double check?  Oh no.  Quadruple check?  Probably enough.

In case you can't tell, I spent some money ($2300, including shipping) on countertops today.  I do not want to screw them up.  I realized I was putting off making the order (which has a 4-week lead time) just because I was scared to think about working with them.

So why do this?  Why not call the pros?


First, the pros are downright expensive.  Fact of the matter is, pros are people too.  They are people with tools and experience, which is saying a lot, but they charge for the mental labor required to make something beautiful, correctly.

Second, that's the wrong question.  Why not be a pro?  Have butcher block installed, make a kitchen once.  Learn to install butcher block, be able to make kitchens for fun and profit for a lifetime.  Unless you can firmly give a negative response to the "why not be a pro?" question, do it yourself.  Unless the tools are WAY too expensive (marbleworking, perhaps?  CNC machining?  bridgebuilding?) or it is not a job you ever foresee wanting or needing to do (pumping septic tanks?), my philosophy leans toward being a pro.  You will do most home-related tasks more than once in a lifetime. You probably have friends and neighbors.  You should have a church family.  Everybody lives somewhere, and it will break sometimes.  Wouldn't it be nice (or even financially rewarding sometimes) to help them?

Plus, then when you're old you can be that cool guy at church who can take the time to make stuff with and for people.  This is a breed that you find at many Southern Baptist churches, and I always liked that guy.  Maybe someday I'll be that guy.  He was cool.  And he wasn't afraid of doing things.

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