My wife handed me a small picture out of a magazine.  “Here,” she said with a twinkle, “this is the bed I want you to build us. When can you get started? Will it be done next Friday?”  While she possesses many strong virtues, patience is not one of them.

It’s been a while, but the bed is finally finished. It started off looking like this pile of oak lumber on a rack in my garage. Lumber Rack

Then went through a variety of stages in my woodworking shop. Bed Foot Board



And, once she put her feminine touch to it, looks like this.

The Bed

Naturally, she has orders for more: an armoire and two nightstands. Then, when I’m done with those…

As Red Green says, “If women don’t find you handsome, at least let them find you handy.” I had the good fortune of learning a building trade under my brothers years ago so, through the years, I have acquired the skills and tools necessary to build such a bed like this.

Here are the reasons I like to build things:

  1. It helps me get into the flow:  A guy whose name I can write (Csikszentmihaly) but not say, describes the union of our skills and challenges as creating the “flow-the optimal experience.” When our skills match our challenges, we get into the flow and get so engrossed in a project, we lose track of time.  If our skills exceed our challenges, we get bored. If our challenges exceed our skills, we get frustrated.
  2. It’s good to work with my hands:  One of the greatest gifts my Dad gave me was a strong work ethic. I have told my own sons that one of the greatest feelings they can have is collapsing in bed at night from physical exhaustion.
  3. It gets my mind off my job. Having a strong work ethic gives me the tendency to be a workaholic.  But when I’m building something, it has my undivided attention. First, because of the challenge: second, because of the danger. Power equipment is very unforgiving.
  4. It helps me to create.  The only things I have built with plans is a house. My wife just gives me a picture and asks me to build. I not only enjoy creating, I challenge myself because of the good it does me.
  5. It helps me process life.  Often, while I’m building something, little light bulbs go off with solutions to problems or new ideas. While I was concentrating on adjustments on a router recently, a solution to a totally unrelated problem popped in my head. Oh, the mystery of the human mind!
  6. It creates opportunities for accomplishments.  It was a lot of work, but when I crawled in it the first time, it wrapped its arms around me and snuggled me.

I recently read that Do-It-Yourself projects are increasing in popularity. People enjoy the cost savings as well as the satisfaction.

What kind of projects do you like to build?  Need some help with a suggestion on choosing a project?  Let me know if I can help!