Like everyone else, I had big plans at the start of lockdown. I was going to be a productivity machine. I was going to work out, learn programming, become fluent in another language, set a Rubik’s cube speed record, read 50 books, and make something spectacular. Some may have been more realistic goals than others. I may have had less progress on some than I’d like, and not even started others, but I did make something
Last summer I did a short welding course, where I made two metal bench frames. I decided I would finish the bench at home as a quick project, and give it as a present to my grandmother. I then procrastinated doing it for an entire year.
After seeing an energetic ginger Australian run one mile every hour while completing projects in between, I realised how satisfying it would be to finally finish that bench rusting in the garage. It would be a good lockdown project, and cheer up my grandparents, who were self isolating.
Having never made anything of use (I’ve made plenty of crossbows and swords as a child) out of wood, I decided I’d spend no money on decent materials, as I didn’t know what to buy, where to buy, or how to get the most out of them. I’d make it cheap, and learn as I went along. In that aspect I was fairly successful.
I knew there must be some wood I could appropriate in the garage or the shed, even if it was nailed down. Luckily (for my mother) it wasn’t. There were some old shelves that we had taken out when we first moved in which I could recycle. Being thicker than the lip of the frame, they were perfect for my needs, even if there was a restriction on length.
I set about measuring and cutting, making do with the limited amount. I had enough for two planks to sit on, and two to lay back against. I wasn’t happy with the back, as these pieces were much thinner. Three planks wound have done better, but as I said, I had to make-do.
There were some screw holes in the wood, which I packed with wood filler. Having never used it before, the first attempt was less than successful, but I got the hang of it over the following attempts. It’s incredibly satisfying doing something new, where you can consciously feel yourself improving, as you transfer from having no idea, to some idea. This also means you notice what you’ve failed at, but that can also be gratifying. I proceeded to sand the wood down, followed by the first coat of paint.
This is where the procrastination resurfaced.
The excitement of starting a new task had worn off by then. The repeated task of painting had little appeal, and coupled with needing dry weather, it was easy to find excuses to leave the project until tomorrow. And then the next day, and the next.
And I still haven’t finished. The weather has been terrible, so I can’t leave the pieces out to dry. I regret not making the most of the good weather. The price of procrastination I suppose.
The current state of the bench.