If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It


I am not an academically trained designer or formally trained woodworker. That is to say, the growth I have experienced has not come principally from people who have learned the lessons of the ages and passed them onward.

I understand that good education gives you a height and helps you to find a depth from which to learn and make progress. On the other hand, the good education I’ve received in other areas has fostered a respect and humility for people who have experienced their initiation into my field of endeavor in the above way. I am ready to learn.

An added benefit that has come with my age and practical work is that I seem to learn more deeply than I did before. I call this the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ phenomenon. That is, I hold what is being set before me in limbo for a little longer than I did once. I neither accept nor deny it for a longer period while I ask if this is something that is showing me a broken process or design. For instance, I once read of a design for installing drawers in furniture that purported to be a one-size-fits-all type of configuration. It was written by a teacher in a fine furniture building school and had a lot of good points to it. It provided me with a tool to analyze how I install drawers, and, although I didn’t take the design whole-hog, it did show me some things I could fix, and ultimately helped me to find some confidence in a process I met from time to time.

This principle works for me at all levels of my business from the commissions I accept to the basic structural changes I adopt. It’s how I keep my feet on the ground so my eyes can be set upon the horizon.

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