by George R. Walker
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My 6-year-old nephew, Ryan, loves to eat cheese puffs and play with Legos. For his birthday, I bought him a set of the colorful plastic bricks to build a Lego attack helicopter, then watched as he meticulously assembled each piece exactly as depicted on the box. For now, Ryan insists that each Lego project be kept separate and put back into its own box so he can reassemble the exact same toy.
Someday he’ll get the idea that he can combine all the sets and build whatever comes into his head, perhaps a giant intergalactic space station. Until then Ryan is confined by his small boxes and limited possibilities. It’s not always easy to trust your gut and let intuition be your guide. Sometimes you have to throw away your box.
I have to admit that I spent many years stuck in a box – creatively speaking – when it came to woodworking. I felt most comfortable working to someone else’s plans, trusting design decisions to another’s judgment and, sadly, shortchanging myself of much of the real fun in the process.
I knew I needed to push beyond my comfort zone and break free of a dependence on printed plans and even – gasp – break free of my heavy dependence on the tape measure.
From the November 2013 issue, #207