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As my stick making skills improve I am tempted to go back on some of my previously made pieces (I have on a couple) and make some improvements on the carving or the finish.

Am I alone in this obsession or is it a common occurrence among stick makers?

An accomplished wood carver at a show I attended suggested leaving your work alone. He said, and I quote, "Don't mess with your early work. Look at it a year later and if it hasn't improved, you have no talent. Time to try a different hobby."

What do you guys and gals think?
 

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I keep my early work it helps prevent making simular mistakes .

before i start a project i always do drawings of the subject and research it on the net.when im satisfied with it i make cardboard templates to see how they would look , then modify them ,saves a lot of firewood, but you always say to yourself why didnt id do that afterwards.

Like the imp i carved unsure about the eyes and feet should have stuck to my 1st instinct and not tried to insert the eyes and done more work on the drawings with the feet ,not more carving but made it simple and not try to carve to much detail in small pieces

So we all need to improve our skills but also improve our planning but not fiddle with a item once completed. It goes down hill to oftern
 

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I don't tinker....because I'm never finished :)

Seriously, I didn't go back on any of my earlier work and mess with them, I just learned and modified the next one.
 

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go back and try to redo something I finished. I completed alot of hand carverd fire wood. But Some of the best things I have carved are prodjects I started and then stopped becouse I could see was not going the way I wanted it to go or I just did not know how to do what I wanted to do. Some have set around the shop for a year. Then one day I figurer out what I want to do and how to do it and i finish the prodject. I have six or seven of those in the shop now.
 

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I've gone back to few early pieces. Did some further sanding and finishing, or added a bit of embelishment. But over all, most of the pieces have what I now consider serious flaws. Too thin and lightweight. Crummy finishes. Over carved. Poorly conceived grips. Those I keep around to remind me what not to do. A few had some promise, and I may take up something similar later.

Even tho' I have a couple years of experience, I still feel like most of the sticks are still "in the sketchbook."
 

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I am so slow and lacking in ambition that I'm pretty sure that everything I do amounts to tinkering. I have one twisted staff length stick that I debarked and started on thirty years ago and still haven't finished. The good news is that it's well seasoned. I never so much "finish" anything as just stop eventually. As Douglas Hofstader stated in "Hofstader's Law" everything will take longer than you think, even after applying Hofstader's law. Also I've heard it said that carving or sculpting is just a matter of looking at the material, figuring out what is inside and removing all the excess material. I have often stared at a piece of wood at length and come to the inescapable conclusion that there is nothing whatever in there.
 

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Dont think looking at the material helps ,although some times a idea jumps at you, but mostly i already know what i want to achieve dosnt always work but it does save material and time ,after all designer firewood is easy come by if you dont plan it

I am so slow and lacking in ambition that I'm pretty sure that everything I do amounts to tinkering. I have one twisted staff length stick that I debarked and started on thirty years ago and still haven't finished. The good news is that it's well seasoned. I never so much "finish" anything as just stop eventually. As Douglas Hofstader stated in "Hofstader's Law" everything will take longer than you think, even after applying Hofstader's law. Also I've heard it said that carving or sculpting is just a matter of looking at the material, figuring out what is inside and removing all the excess material. I have often stared at a piece of wood at length and come to the inescapable conclusion that there is nothing whatever in there.
 
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