Order, Mistakes and Karma

John is at it again. We just finished a brutal month of traveling and teaching and John has got back in the shop!

There is a certain order or Karma to life, and when you violate this flow events let you know.Like the time I saw this woman and said “when are you due” to wit she said, “I am not pregnant!” Now the natural order would have flowed thus, a woman appears pregnant, you keep your mouth shut until she admits being pregnant, at which time you hesitantly congratulate her.

Anyway, I am hard at the Trestle Table and got the top supports fitted to the leg via a bridle joint.When all looked great and fit perfectly I took the assembly apart and put the final touches to it with the jointer and smoother plane. Can you guess what I wound up with? Yep, my final touches with the jointer and smoother caused the perfect fit to become a 1/16th gap! I went out of order. I should have made the leg complete then laid out the bridle joint. Oh well, out of the Karma flow and back to plan B.

I learn through mistakes.I could be in the minority here but when I mess something up, I remember why and am less likely to repeat it.Like cutting on the wrong side of a line or jamming a perfectly sharp Barr chisel into my hand and cutting a tendon.Chris and I have been on the road a lot last month and I have not been in the shop much. The project shows my “learning” and I hope someday to make something without learning anything.

To fix the problem I re-sawed a ¼ inch piece of wood and glued it to the full length of one side of the leg. After the glue up was dry, I snuck up on the fit. It now looks like this.

Can you guess which side has the wood glued to it? If you can, I will say that there is another learning experience in here. If you see a small glue line it is a result of that part of the piece not being clamped down to the leg. It could be that the piece was not flat or maybe the clamp is a bit off.Nonetheless, next time I will ensure the “show” side has a seamless glue joint, and yes I am already fixing that nice nick off the bottom edge. Fortunately this will be painted!


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Publisher of woodworking books and DVDs specializing in hand tool techniques.
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3 Responses to Order, Mistakes and Karma

  1. Nice job on the fix! No one will ever notice. I have to patch a similar boo-boo on my current project, so you’re not alone…

  2. John says:

    Thanks. I wish it was the only problem I had to fix.

    Thankfully this base will look good with paint on it…


  3. J.C. says:

    I believe that half of becoming a "fine" woodworker is being able to hide your boo-boos well enough to make them undetected to all but the most experienced. I don’t know what the other half is but I’m working on that too.


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