Today, I found a picture on the internet of a simple stand to hold my phone and iPad.
I went down to the shop, took a scrap of 2×6 and cut two angled grooves in it. Then some planing to make it look a little more interesting and to give it some feet. Finally, I put it on my night stand and put it to work.
This stand isn’t finished. Not only does it not have a finish applied, it still has layout lines drawn on the sides, tear out on the front and back, and plane tracks on the top.
This simple block had some challenges that I hadn’t encountered before. The angled grooves are something I’ve never cut before by hand, and I needed a way to figure out how to make the “feet” without what I thought were the proper tools to do the job.
The only angle cutting I’ve done was for some test dovetails. Cutting the angle while making a long rip was something new. Then I had to figure out how to get the waste out without snapping off the front corner of the groove.
The feet would have been much easier to make with a rabbet block plane and I could have avoided much of the tear out if I would have taken my time, but perfect wasn’t the point.
There are so many things I want to make. Things I’m afraid to make because they have techniques that I’ve never done before. This simple project had new techniques for me and I now know I did some of them the wrong way, or at least, there was a better way to accomplish the tasks. But, the point of making this was to have a stand to hold my phone and tablet, not to learn the proper way to accomplish a technique.
Too many times I find myself in front of the computer trying to figure out the “right” way to do something and I get paralyzed by all of the conflicting information.
Today, I tried something different. I made a prototype. I figured out how to do the techniques that were new to me on my own. I made mistakes, and figured out how to fix them on my own and now that I have some knowledge, I know what questions to ask and what help to get.
So, if you’re like me and paralysis by over analysis plagues you, make a prototype and live with it for a while. It may not be pretty, but it will give you that thing or piece of furniture you need. You’ll learn from your own mistakes and have a better idea how to ask for help, and you might just find that you can make a few tweaks to make the final version better than your initial inspiration.