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When do you know you are beyond a perfectionist

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Frenchy Dehoux, Jul 31, 2009.

  1. I know that there are a lot of us who at one point or another we ask ourselves am I too picky or perfectionist , anal when does it stops when building a Hot Rod or anything else. I myself at times ask this question many times. Some of my friends favorite saying are do not worry nobody will notice it anyway. Well not the case here ever since I got into the car hobby in the late 60's I have always wanted to do the best and focusing on quality when building my cars or even when I build engines or restore cars for customers. At the end I never seem to be happy of the outcome. How many of you feel the same. I know when it is getting critical when you are lining up all the head bolts going the same way or the head screws the same direction. Even as far as painting the cotter keys red on my carburetor linkage and the cotter keys on my castle nut on the front beam. As well as removing the writing on the spark plug wires because a few of them do not line up with the rest. And spark plugs to line them up as far as the writing to face the same way. The valve stem to point at the writing on the tire brand. This goes on and on. Lets hear from other perfectionist on this forum is it OK to be this way or do I need to seek help LOL . I know why my friends call me Doctor Detail.

    Thanks for reading my sickness of been anal / perfectionist it had to get this out of me.

    Frenchy ( Doctor Detail )
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2009
    Joined: Jul 16, 2006
    Posts: 2,571


    Im the same way, but I love it. It seperates the men from the boys. All the great builders are born with this anal thinking too. Be glad you have it.
  3. Dreddybear
    Joined: Mar 31, 2007
    Posts: 6,045


    You might be ridler material, team up and go for it. Or relax a little and enjoy the cars. Maybe go through a mud puddle and leave the mud a week...ENJOY the car!! This is your therapy...ENJOY THE CAR!!

    Joined: Dec 26, 2005
    Posts: 1,020


    Me too. And I couldn't have said it better.

  5. drofdar
    Joined: Jan 2, 2008
    Posts: 172

    from Fresno Ca

    I get lost in the smallest detail. Cheap therapy. Give yourself permission to be happy with the outcome if you enjoyed the journey.
  6. Weasel
    Joined: Dec 30, 2007
    Posts: 6,695


    My name is Weasel and I grind my engines smooth - have been doing so since 197X, ever since I spent 1200 hours smoothing and polishing an aluminum Lamborghini engine. I am also a fastener and fitting junkie - am I in denial???
  7. You've got to be able to sleep at night, so if that's what it takes...
  8. duste01
    Joined: Nov 5, 2006
    Posts: 1,213


    You and I both know the difference is in the detail. I am never satisfied myself, and thats one reason why it takes me so long to get anything done. I hate the words "its good enough" I hate hearing it, and I refuse to allow myself to say it because if I do then I might as well hang it up. From my perspective, there is abousulty nothing wrong with you or I. God made us this way and I am proud that I am this way and not some other. There are far worst things to be. You certainly wouldn't be where you are today if you were a slob that didnt give care or reason to anything. All of this you already know too.
  9. Jarred Hodges
    Joined: Jul 30, 2008
    Posts: 564

    Jarred Hodges

    I amjust the opposite I don't have a lot of talent so if I were a perfectionist I would never get nothing done
  10. claymore
    Joined: Feb 21, 2009
    Posts: 896


    Just sounds like you are doing "Good work" to me. Getting it "Right" is what separates the "it's nice" from the "WOW THAT IS AMAZING" cars we see in these pages. Keep up the "good work"
  11. Chuck R
    Joined: Dec 23, 2001
    Posts: 1,347

    Chuck R

    might be OCD
  12. striper
    Joined: Mar 22, 2005
    Posts: 4,498


    I used to be like that and it's like an anchor around your neck.

    It is the best feeling when you can let that shit go and just have fun. RELAX.

  13. Ayers Garage
    Joined: Nov 28, 2002
    Posts: 1,382

    Ayers Garage

    Well, I spent three days rebuilding, powdercoating, and detailing a granny 4 speed for my lowered daily driver truck recently.

    I used to embrace my OCD and really run with it, but lately, I am seeing it like striper, it is an anchor that weighs me down and takes the fun put of the project. I am never happy with something regardless of how much time and effort I put into it. I gotta learn that good enough is good enough for a lot of things. I'm not saying I would build an ugly engine or do shoddy paint and body work, but really, powdercoating the suspension on my beater 63 truck ?
  14. full house Mouse
    Joined: Jun 3, 2008
    Posts: 228

    full house Mouse

    I though I was a perfectionist until I met some who put me to shame he is a jeweler by trade and man he is picky !

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  15. full house Mouse
    Joined: Jun 3, 2008
    Posts: 228

    full house Mouse

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  16. oj
    Joined: Jul 27, 2008
    Posts: 6,356


    I know the feeling, never (almost) happy with the outcome. As far as minutea goes (writing on plug wires etc) i let all that stuff go because it creates authenticity and adds to the finished product. It usually takes a few years after building something and then go back to do some work on it and that is when i appreciate what i had done.
    Perfection, to me, is a flowing thing. Kinda zen, i think, where the componants work together. Wireing, tubing, hosing are good examples where they have a natural tendancy to lie in a certain way and knowing how they'll want to lie you use that in your favor. The alternative is a bunch of straps, wire tyes, clamps etcetc that force the product into an unnatural state that creates discordance.
    I believe that all mechanical devices can be assembled in a manner that they want to go together, in a way that they will work with the least amount of effort and the entire assembly will work with the least amount of constraints.
    Seeking perfection isn't about getting the bolt heads lined up, it is deciding how many and where the bolts should be.
    And then the exception to this is a funny car or promod where you temper them with a sledge hammer and other indestructable devices.
  17. Salty
    Joined: Jul 24, 2006
    Posts: 2,259

    from Florida

    I find myself doing that more often than not...

    Latly I've had to take a step back and call it quits on a few aspects of the build that I could have spend 8 times the amount of time doing...

    For example, I just finished painting the frame of my truck the other day...later I put a nice big scratch in it....right on the top of the frame rail where everyone will see it (is what I was thinking)

    I literally was pulling the tools out to sand it down, re-spray and feather it in when I's under the cab...and it's a driver not a show's gonna get dirty...

    Then I embraced the scratch....we're buddies now (I did however touch it up with a model paint brush)

    I feel ya....for the most part.
  18. zzford
    Joined: May 5, 2005
    Posts: 1,823


    I try to hit a balance on this. My work must be as nice as I can reasonably make it. But if it's too perfect, the car won't be driven for fear of scratch or some other damage. A note: I live on a dirt road. In the 70's, a friend of mine had an H gas VW. It was an absoulte show car that ran at the national record. Bill Mitchell was his friend and was down here for a race. My buddy commented that Bills' car had a small oil leak. Mitchells' car was not as nicely finished as my buddys',but, was it ever fast, well under the record. Bill looked at the leak and said "yeah, it's got a leak, but it's faster than hell."
  19. KUZTOM
    Joined: May 6, 2008
    Posts: 909


    Striper, you hit the nail on the head !, all our family 3 bros @ a sister have been labeled with the perfectionist thing, I dont really know how we got it ,we are are pretty low key ,no frills bunch, I think its pride in doing a good job , not for others ,but for urself maybe .
    I could never build a Ratty type rod, being a perfectionist can be a deciese .
  20. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,757

    Member Emeritus

    I made my own plug wires starting with the printing so that they would all align as good as I could get them. Packard 440 wires were a big thing for me back in the day and they are important to me. If you ever see my car you might notice. Thousands won't.:D I don't care about them.

    I just learned about the valve stem thing this weekend after 45 years of car shows. Since it doesn't cost anything, I probably will check it out on the next set that I mount some tires.

    My problem, good or bad, is that I am not consistent. I don't want to be able to shave in the reflection off of the drive shaft. Attention to detail does not necessarily mean a car has to be restored to Ridler Award standards. They don't look real to me.

    The hard part is finding that compromise that you can live with. It is really just a hotrod. Too perfect and they cease to be fun. Everyone has to find their comfort zone.
  21. rc.grimes
    Joined: Aug 14, 2007
    Posts: 698

    from Edmond, OK

    My first thought was "yes you're a perfectionist" since I vividly remember you clocking all your hardware. I thought jeez this guy is nuts until I saw the detail went far beyond that. It really completed the cars as opposed to the folks who paint the outside and call it done.
    I pickd up several of those habits(thanks for that).
  22. Belchfire8
    Joined: Sep 18, 2005
    Posts: 1,541


    I know people like that, it seems like quite a handicap. My brothers have some of that going on. My older brother took two weeks to paint a '34 Ford truck frame. This was after it was stripped completely apart, I mean rivets removed and frame broken down into pieces and stripped to bare metal....two weeks! Of course the truck took 22 years to build. meanwhile i built a car in a couple years and was driving it. My other brother that I work with is compulsive about things. He has to check things over and over even after he KNOWS they're right. Sometimes i have to yell at him. I like to have things nice and i do the best work i can, but it seems to me that being that obsessive would take all the fun out of it and you'll never be happy, I like being happy. All the screw heads not lining up is not bad work, it's normal. Ive heard some really stupid comments at car shows from people picking someones car apart, but I've never heard anyone say the screw heads aren't aligned. Save it for the Riddler group, enjoy your car.
  23. All the different areas of car building are to be appreciated as the inner soul of an artist coming out on our canvas of metal. From the OCD to the beginer, from the guy who collects parts for that build someday to the guy who sees a part and builds a car around it, as mentioned earlier the zen part of cars is very real and seems to be a large part of vintage hot rods maybe seperating the 1-800 crowd even.
  24. SakowskiMotors
    Joined: Nov 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,247


    When I would get really upset because there was a tiny tiny tiny spec of dirt on the bottom of a motorcycle tank I painted, and I fixed it. This could only be seen when you have the tank off the bike, held upside down, and in the right light at the right angle.

  25. henryj429
    Joined: Jan 18, 2007
    Posts: 1,062


    The pinnacle of any human endeavor lies is in attention to detail, be it prepping a bike for the tour de France or building a Pro stock engine. The well detailed cars ALWAYS stand out regardless of the build style.

    I know that I would drive myself insane if I tried to be "Ridler" anal, but I'm always pissed when I know I could have done something better.

    To each his own, I guess, but the real cobbled together crap belongs with the rat rod crowd. Hot rodders always like to take pride in their work, at least to some degree.

    Like we see on some many threads here - its your car, build it your way. If that means getting nuts over detail, then so be it.
  26. ...I bet you guys hate it when a fart comes out wrong!
    I know you can't help it you're that way; I'm compulsive about some things myself, but most people would never know it.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2009
  27. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 53,046


    "good enough" is usually right about the time I get tired of working on it.
  28. Kail
    Joined: Jul 7, 2007
    Posts: 828

    from Austin, TX

    "nobody will notice"

    They will notice, i notice.

    my motto, if I am tired or to lazy to do it right, i put it down and come back when i have the patience to make it nice enough to carry my reputation on it.
  29. bill wallace
    Joined: Oct 26, 2006
    Posts: 104

    bill wallace

    Thers an old saying" perfect is the enemy of good". Yes there is something wrong with perfectionist behaviour. It is the pinnicale of self critisism & that is not a place to be in life as it affects evreyone else around you in a negative way. Enjoy the journey not just the destination. Sorry about the pshyco-babble.
  30. tinmann
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 1,588


    A buddy of mine (now deceased) was a perfectionist. At least, I think he was........ he never got anything done for fear of someone being able to find fault with it. Afraid of doing something "wrong" sort of crippled his ability to do anything.

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