Jim Isbell, over on the Duckworks mailing list kicked off an interesting thread discussing how it doesn’t have to be perfect, despite so many of our perfectionist tendencies. Discussions ranged far and wide on how good is good enough, how "perfect" you should strive for, and how close you should expect to get.

This is a subject near and dear to most of us builders… I think a lot of it depends on what you are wanting… do you want a showboat, or something that you are getting out there to use? Either answer is ok, but you must decide on what level of fit and finish you will be happy with.

One major point I gathered was the thought of "when to walk away"… often fiddling with some perceived problem will just make things worse, taking something from a minor imperfection that nobody but the builder would ever see to something that stands out as a flaw.

As often happens, quotes began to be tossed about… a few I liked:

The perfect is the enemy of the good.

I tend to build and finish my boats to a "12 foot "standard. That is, if you can’t see the defects in the finish from 12 feet away thats fine. – JohnW

I did the best I could with the time and tools available.

A skilled craftsman is not someone that doesn’t make mistakes. He is someone who knows how to cover them up once he has."


Note that this thread devolved into more of a political discussion and you may want to break off if you decide to read it yourself.