Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Sharpest Tool In The Shop... sometimes the most dull. By "tool" I mean brains and by "dull" I mean mine.

"If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when are you going to have time to fix it?" That's one of my favorite quotes and one I choose to ignore on occasion.

Take ninny move #1:

Today I decided to replace the planing stop on the end of my bench. It had been obliterated over the years, having been too thin a piece of wood to stand up to the beating of handplaning, so I found a beefy piece of cherry to replace it.

The first mistake was in not drilling new holes on the end cap of my bench—ones that sit lower so the top portion of the planing stop would be wider above the holes. The second mistake was in not drilling a new hole that was not so close to the front of my bench. The wood in the planing stop that's closest to the front of my bench, next to the slot on the right, will eventually snap off.

Nincompoop move #2:

Time to fess up. I committed a cardinal sin when I made the dovetailed drawer for my sawbuck table. I did not properly flatten the boards first. When laid on a flat surface, they wobbled like an 8 month old toddler learning to walk. I ignored this and went ahead with construction.

Of course the drawer would not sit flat when checking for fit, and how do you install a drawer bottom when the sides are catawampus? I walked away from that project until I could think of a solution. That was a year ago.

Today I resolved to correct this mistake and put my new planing stop to work. After removing 1/8" from the surface of the side panels and back of the drawer, they now sit dead flat when assembled. The front of the drawer houses half blind dovetails and cannot be fixed by flattening the inside face. If I did that, the tails on the side pieces would no longer fit tightly in the front board and would be as gappy as the teeth on a 6 year old.

I haven't quite figured out how to fix that yet. But I'm hoping that enlightenment won't keep me waiting another year.