Flaws? Says who!

Just go with it…

If you’re over forty or fifty you’ll probably remember films where no-one would fault you if you suggested Robert Redford was a rather handsome chap (millennials will just have to use their imagination!) He was, and arguably still is, for a man of a certain age.

Now, Robert has a good few lumps and bumps on his face, and for most of his acting carrier people around him said he should have them removed as he’d make more money and be altogether more handsome. He declined to do anything about it and seems to have done just fine. And I’ve never heard anyone say, “I nearly enjoyed Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid but I just couldn’t get past old Bob’s moles!”   

It’s just the same with wood. You can strive a little too hard for perfection, but wood just oozes imperfections. In fact, it’s kind of the point of using wood these days, now that there are so many alternative materials that can be used in fine furniture making.

I’ve seen people drill out a small knot and replace the horror with vaguely matching clean timber. To me, that’s like Photoshopping a picture of your kid because they’ve got mud on their face!  I mean, come on, that’s where the personality is. That’s where the character is.

At the risk of having the cognoscenti roll their eyes, having a deep appreciation of the imperfect is core to the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi. More definitively, wabi-sabi is “a way of living that focuses on finding beauty within the imperfections of life and accepting peacefully the natural cycle of growth and decay”. Well Amen to that!

In my experience it is often the piece of timber that has faults, was tricky to match into a piece, or just plain sticks out because it is different, that catches my eye and raises a smile!

Until next time,



David established Rowden Atelier in 1995, a now world renowned fine woodworking school. Discover Rowden, the woodworking courses, and the work that students go on to do.

Looking for our woodworking courses?

Rowdenatelier.com is the new home of Rowden Atelier Fine Woodworking School.

It is where you will now find all the information about our renowned fine woodworking courses, our ethos, and why our students go on to do so many great things. This site remains dedicated to the designs and work, of Rowden’s Founder; David Savage. If you are looking for our woodworking courses, please click here.