The proverbial rabbit hole


Mark Baker

Monday, July 8, 2019

Have you ever been in a situation where you know more or less what you want to do/make, but when you start another thought comes into your head concerning said project, which, in turn, necessitates a bit more pondering as to how this will impact visually, technically and so on – but think it is a good idea nonetheless?

I found myself in such a situation the other week. I had a plan for a simple open-topped salad/fruit bowl. Nothing fancy, just wonderful wood with a nice complementary shape that would be a beautiful – well, hopefully – well-turned, functional bowl. I had a nice rough-turned bowl, with a cored-out middle section too, in the shop from an earlier batch I did.

I picked up the larger section, which was ideal for the size of bowl I wanted, mounted the rough-out between a friction drive and a revolving tailstock centre and shaped the underside of the bowl. Once done, I reversed it and held it in a chuck so I could then turn the inside. It was then, as I looked at my bench, that I glanced at the core-out I mentioned earlier and wondered if a lidded bowl would be nicer.

This was followed by a cascade of thoughts as to whether there would there be any decorative effects other than a lifting knob for the lid, which could, if the design of the lid was right, serve as a foot so the lid could be used as a small dish/bowl too.

The thoughts bouncing around necessitated my taking a double espresso coffee break. I also had a sketchpad and doodled and wrote various options and design ideas and those sparked even more thoughts and drawings. At the end of all this I found myself in the situation of having created 10 pages of useful things and thoughts and having drunk four cups of coffee (not all double espressos) and two glasses of water. Who knew thinking could make one so thirsty?

Anyway, when I went into the workshop and looked at the clock, I had spent three-and-a half-hours on that cerebral journey and ended up out of time due to an appointment I had to go to. So 40 minutes of turning and three-and-a-half hours of thinking. I cannot be the only one who goes into the workshop fired up and then goes off on a tangent and not end up doing what I intended. I would love to hear about similar stories you have.

I did manage to finish the bowl I started. It did not end up with a lid and was, because it was a lovely piece of wood, without blemishes but just screamed subtle elegance and a quiet beauty. It remained unadorned apart form a light coating of food-safe finishing oil.

In addition to the bowl, and as a result of the original mental wanderings, I am armed with some wonderful Ideas for the next workshop visit. But I will do my best not to get waylaid with a journey down the proverbial rabbit hole on my next workshop visit.

Have fun,

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