Silkjc – I think a lot about this, too. I don’t have much time to build, which causes very slow progress. I agree with Druxey that quality takes time. I’ve had the chance to watch some master modelers like Druxey do things, and although they do it much faster and better than I do, it is still time consuming.
That having been said, there are many tricks and strategies to ensuring the time gets spent on these tasks and not on things where extra time doesn’t contribute to quality. I think this is one of the best new questions that has been posted in a while.
I haven’t ever thought about this in any organized way, so this is going to come out as stream of consciousness, but I’m hoping this will be helpful as a start. Unfortunately, as I look at my list, most are more common sense than anything that qualifies as a trick.
I work infrequently. I used to forget where I had left off and what I need to do next. Time spent sorting this out does not improve quality. I started writing down where I left off and what to do next.
Complicated set-ups- I started making extra pieces when I needed to do complicated setups. It wastes a little bit of material, but saves a bunch of time if I make a mistake. When I was making my anchor stock wales this week, I cut 4 pieces, even though I just needed 2. Also allowed me to have different grain patterns on the different pieces, so improved quality.
I finally have a space where I can leave my projects out. Not having to set up every time makes a big difference.
Keeping space neat and putting tools away. It was a hard habit for me to learn, but spending time figuring out where I left tools does not improve quality.
I replaced my hardware store chisels with Veritas once a few years ago. They sharpen up better and hold their edge longer. Again, another area which both improves speed (less time spent sharpening) and improves quality (better cutting edge).
Power vs hand tools. Power tools are way faster for a lot of tasks and for many applications, not less precise. Drilling hundreds of treenail holes with a pin vise will not improve quality, and will take a ton of time.
Which power tool? I posted a few weeks ago about upgrading from a Preac to a Byrnes thickness sander. I don’t expect the piece of wood will look any different at the end, but If I can get the piece of wood to the right thickness sooner, quality won’t be affected, and I can do more modelling in the few hours a week I have to spend on it.
Paints – one of the things silkjc mentioned was drying time. I don’t paint my ships, but do paint plastic airplanes. I switched to Al-Clad primer for my last model. It is lacquer based, so I can sand and spray color within a few hours. It comes airbrush ready, so I don’t need to thin. I needed to buy a vapor mask, but it has really helped move the progress along. It also flows better than the prior primer I used, and improved quality.
I'm not ready to give up milling my own wood, which is time consuming but therapeutic for me. If I really got pressed for time, I could order milled wood from someplace like Crown Timberyard – would definitely not compromise quality, and would move the project along faster.
There is some incredible work on this site in areas buried deep in the model that will never be visible. To me, these are areas to learn on, not areas to make perfect.
I started my cross section as a chance to learn techniques for building a fully framed ship. It has turned from a planned one year exercise into something half done after 3 years. No question that I am glad I took it on, and have learned a huge amount. I need to keep reminding myself that the goal is to try new things and learn new techniques for the next project, not to have this be perfect. I’m not compromising too much, but the different between ‘good enough’ and ‘perfect’ is not the difference between inadequate and adequate quality, just differences in degree of quality. Most of the imperfections (and there are a ton of them) aren’t that obvious, and all represent good learning that I can live with. When I started being satisfied after the first or second redo and not taking it to the third or fourth, progress started happening
Not working while tired - I work overnight several nights each month. Getting into my workshop is something I look forward to, and I get to come home early after call, making going into the workshop very tempting. It also results in the worst work I have ever done. These times are much spent on MSW.
Given my time constraints, I also have to prioritize whether to build or spend time on the computer. Losing two sets of build logs, first when dry dock models went down, then in the MSW crash a few years ago tempered my enthusiasm for spending a lot of time posting, and made it easier for me to divert the time to the workshop. (The ‘like’ button has been tremendously helpful). Your post really resonated with me, which is why this is the longest post I’ve written since the MSW crash a few years ago.
Reassurances that quality takes time are really important, but it would be great if people could add some of the tricks they have learned to achieve their quality more efficiently.
Best wishes for the new year.
Edited by davec, 02 January 2017 - 01:14 PM.