Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tech Tip Tuesday : The "P" Rule

When building a canoe, there is a lot of time involved and a lot of different steps. That's not to say that they are particularly difficult, but that they just require some preparation and patience. This is where the "P" Rule comes in. I'm going to post the entire 12 "P" Rule, but if you're doing this for yourself, you can go with the 6 "P" Rule. (i.e. the first 6 only)


Or, as my father likes to say, "Plan your work and work your plan."

OK, here's the thing : you are going to spend at least 80 hours building a small strip canoe and more than likely, somewhere near double that if you are detail oriented and want to build a special boat. If you're going to build a boat, you want the results to be great. Not good, great. Some of the the things that you want to look great require planning.
  • What will your feature strip look like?
  • How will the feature strip blend/contrast with the rest of the canoe?
  • Will you sort your strips for color and/or grain pattern?
  • What other woods do I want to use for deck, stems, seats, thwarts and gunnels?
  • Will I use unique hardware? (Canoe Jewelry)
  • What shapes will I use for decks and thwarts?
  • What type of seat will I have?
This really extends to a myriad of detail - you can be as detail oriented as you wish, or keep things simple.

Sometimes you're working with instructions in a book, a video or an article. Be prepared by thoroughly reading (or watching) and understanding all of what you have seen. If you don't, you're liable to make a mistake. It's not a big deal if you don't get what you've read the first time - go back, read it again and if you still don't get it, get some knowledgeable help.

The other big planning is logistics - do you have all the material that you need to begin the job you've set out for yourself on any given day? If you don't plan well, you'll find you fritter away all of your building building time running down to the hardware store or the lumber yard. This is one of the reasons you can turn an 80 hour job into a 160 hour job, too...

Planning ahead is particularly important for safety, too. Before you rush over to a power tool and try to just "trim a bit", think about how you are going to do the work. Use a piece of scrap to test your set-up before cutting your expensive mahogany that you were just looking for.

It's all part of the plan, man.

Last but not least, you should have a chair in your shop - hopefully a comfortable one where you can sit, think, read and plan. I've often heard them referred to as "moaning chairs" where you sit and think through the problem you've just created for yourself, rather than continuing to try to work and making the problem worse.

Somehow, this concept doesn't appeal to me even though my chair sometimes gets used in this way. I prefer to think of it in another way - as a sanctuary to relax and prepare or as Greg Rössel says, "a place to think and to take restorative beverages."


SQL Server Programmer said...

Hello Canoez,
I liked a lot your father's saying
"Plan your work and work your plan"

I'd like to use that in my web site 6 P Rule post if you do not mind.


Anonymous said...

Informative and persuasive.

Anonymous said...

thanks, very good =)

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