Never Stop Building - Crafting Wood with Japanese Techniques
Crafting Wood with Japanese Techniques

The Code

The Code is something I decided to make public, a list of rules or guidelines that I try to live by, typically won through hard experience. Inspired by Tom Sachs’ video: 10 Bullets.

Rules of Conduct Discovered Through Hard Experience

Last updated on December 12, 2018

I maintain this page as a public, but personal page. It's not easy to find on my website, but it is linked. By making it public I hope if someone stumbles upon it, they might find some value. However, the document below isn't really intended as a universal code, some things are specific to my pursuits, and experience. We each are on our own path, not everything will apply to every reader. 


  1. How you do anything is how you do everything.
  2. Perfect is the enemy of the good.
  3. As soon as you notice a mistake, correct it.
  4. Don't work so hard that you lack the energy to clean up.
  5. Once you experience a problem, prevent it from ever happening again.
  6. Do what the next guy wished you had done.


  1. Pack like a nested doll. It is efficient to unpack a smaller pack for day trips, and an even smaller one for a night out.
  2. Carry a pen and notepad.


  1. When buying wood, specify exact grain, dimensions, and surface finish in detail.
  2. When buying wood, Inspect every board for defects, warp, and dimensions before receiving order.
  3. When buying tools, do extensive research, buy the best you can afford and take care of it for your grandchildren.

Running a Business

  1. Communicate project budgets to all parties.
  2. Always get a materials list before shopping to ensure we don't already have stock.
  3. Do it right the first time, regardless of delays, or expense. Done right is better than done fast.
  4. Always get the latest material prices before a final quote.
  5. Deposit checks the second they arrive.

Caring for the Earth

  1. Always have a refillable water bottle with you.
  2. Have a burn pile or barel, burn wood and paper, ideally for heat, compost organic stuff.
  3. Reduce first, then reuse, than if it actually helps, recycle.

Designing a Home

  1. Have the minimum number of lights and switches, turning on and off lights should be sensible, and effortless, for anyone.
  2. Design the electrical system to allow a complete shutdown of non critical circuits with one switch.
  3. Place a heater such that your towels are warm and dry and the bathroom is warm.
  4. Size a house only as big as you can perfectly organize and maintain.
  5. Smaller is better, simpler is better.

Large Building Projects

  1. Have huge stacks of 2x4, 2x6, and plywood proportional to the size of your job up front. You need more than you think, and constant trips to the store wastes time.
  2. Always dig from top to bottom.
  3. Have an area for materials to be organized where they won't blow away.
  4. Label everything.


  1. If you get a vehicle, imediatly get the professional diagnostic and repair manuals and a scanner.
  2. Research common failures first, when times are good, prevent and remedy them.

Shipping Items

  1. Always pad, wrap and restrain items before crating.
  2. Crate should be of 2x4 and plywood, fully enclosed, with necessary provisions for forklift usage if needed. Assume the item will be rammed and pierced with a forklift. Include shock or temperature indicators if needed.
  3. 8 Angle and video walk around at each stage of shipment, require client to do the same.
  4. Always purchase real value insurance from a 3rd party carrier.

Organization and Minimalism

  1. Keep a supply closet, this is your first stop on the way to the store. Only remove materials you need to replenish your active use supply. Don’t get more than you need, but store the extra.
  2. Have a single todo list, don't use just any scrap of paper.

Inspiration for The Code

Notebook Entries Related to The Code