Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Project Paralysis

Although this is my second boat building project, I still have difficulty overcoming doubt and uncertainty. How careful do my measurements need to be? How closely do I need to follow the lines? Am I doing this right? Am I building in mistakes today that will only be discovered when I launch her?

On the one hand, I'm pretty sure that I'm doing a reasonable job. On the other, though, I always worry that I'm about to make The Big Mistake That Ruins Everything. I feel this especially acutely when I'm making major and more or less irreversible changes. Hanging planks has always required overcoming some emotional hurdles, but after doing it twelve times, I wasn't slowed down too much by the thirteenth and fourteenth.

Now I'm faced with permanently affixing the outer stem to the hull with epoxy. As I contemplate this, I realize... that I have tools spread all over my shop. I really need to straighten up. And wood shavings that I haven't swept up. The most important thing right now is for me to check over the plans and make sure I know what size all the deck beams are supposed to be.

Honestly, I wouldn't get anywhere if I didn't trick myself into it. Here's how it goes:

After I hung the last plank, I knew the stem was the next step, and so I bought enough lumber and set it all out. I had the template for the stem, and I set the lumber out to try to find an optimal way to lay everything out. "I'm just laying boards on the workbench. I'm not really doing anything. I can stack them all up again when I'm done."

When I get things about as good as I think I can, "I'll just mark these positions. I can think about it later, but if I decide to go with this, then I'll be all set.

The next night I come back, and pick up where I left off. Since I've got the lumber all marked for cutting, I might as well go ahead and see how they really fit together. Once they are cut, I might as well glue them up. Then at that point, whatever my misgivings about how things have worked out so far, there's no reason not to keep working - cutting out the profile and shaping the leading edge. Even if there are problems with it, I might as well use it as practice, right? Then, at last, when I have everything done: "What? Am I going to start all over with the stem? Get more lumber? Waste all that work? No, time to epoxy this to the boat and move on."

"Just let me organize all my screwdrivers first."

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