A One Note Samba

We all tend to be creatures of habit. Some of us react poorly to changes in our routine. We like things that are safe, secure, easy and familiar. As a woodturner, have you become “A One Note Samba?”

Do you make bowls, bowls and more bowls? Or, pens, pens and pens without end? While there is nothing implicitly wrong with that, let me ask you a question. Do you only consume one type of vegetable? Do you watch the same movie over and over and nothing else? Do you never leave your house, your street, your town? I already know there is someone out there answering yes to each one of these questions so I’m not picking on you specifically. I’m trying to make a point.

We grow by learning new things, trying something outside of our comfort zones. Rather than have 20 years of experience we have 1 year of experience 20 times. Some folks have become very adept at one type of turning and enjoy repeating it over and over and over ad nauseam. I would challenge you to apply some of the skill sets you have already developed in a different way, to a different type of project.

You will discover that a bowl gouge can be used lots of different ways including spindle turning and that spindle gouges have lots of uses on bowls. You will also discover that you can be successful at many more kinds of projects than you had imagined. Each time you go to the shop you will discover a new application for a technique you are already good at.

I used to work with a fellow who had an interesting approach to ordering meals. We traveled together for months at a time and necessarily ate in restaurants for both breakfast and dinner. After a while it seemed like we were eating the same thing at every meal. In order to break up the monotony, my friend would simply pick someone at another table in the room and tell the wait staff to bring him exactly what that person had ordered and it didn’t matter what it was. In other words, duplicate their order exactly. He experienced some interesting meals that way, but at least it wasn’t boring. Breakfast was the most interesting by far. Whatever they brought him, he ate just the way it was presented. For the record, I tried it myself and found it very interesting and it certainly put me outside my normal comfort zone!

One Old Testament character used this approach: “0 Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! (territory is also translated coast or horizons). I choose to apply territory to the scope of items I turn otherwise this column doesn’t make sense, because wherever you go, there you are.

Here is my inspiration for this message:

1Chr 4:10 ESV
Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!” And God granted what he asked.

Prov 22:29 ESV
Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.

2Cor 11:6 NIV
I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way.


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