Wood chips pile up as I chisel away to create the grooves where the lighting circuitry for Schrodinger will be placed.
Wood chips pile up as I chisel away to create the grooves where the lighting circuitry for Schrodinger will be placed.

The Right Tools

For the longest time, power tools scared me. I was accident prone with a hammer, the last thing I needed was to fall into a gyrating saw blade. So, it wasn’t until I took the graduate school equivalent of “shop class” that I learned the wonders of the drill press, the beauty of the band saw, and the majesty of the power sander. And then, of course, I graduated and lost access to all of the above.

What does one do when one has finally comprehended the wonders of technology and then looses them? I neither have the space nor the disposable income to out fit a shop into my Manhattan apartment. Shop space for rent or through membership is both limited, costly, and surprisingly inconvenient. Thus, being the stubborn and foolhardy novice I am, I concluded “I don’t need these tools, I will make this all by hand.” With the the the exception of a power hand drill, I constructed the entire frame for Schrodinger with a hand saw, a hammer, a chisel, a screw driver, wood glue, and lots of sand paper. Trust me, that when I say I made this piece by hand, I mean it quite literally and I do not mean to construe it as a good thing.

Schrodinger: smooth like a newly waxed bikini line after an extended period of hand sanding.

Schrodinger: smooth like a newly waxed bikini line after an extended period of hand sanding.

There is a reason for the numerous variations of tools out available—so many styles, widths, and materials that paint brushes are made. Why sets of chisels are sold. If you are going to do something, You might as well do it right. Trust me when I say that saving $50 on wood isn’t actually a good deal and that “opportunity cost” is a high price indeed. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good, but definitely don’t let the half assed be the time sink of the concept.

Picture of the Schrodinger pedestal with embedded electronics

LEDs and copper wire are housed within the grooves chiseled into Schrödinger’s wooden box.

TLDR: It’s worth buying the right tools for the job, even when it comes to art.

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