If I ever have a motto painted above the door of my shop, it will be: If you have to ask the question, then you know the answer.
Today I glued up a large tabletop – almost 8’ long – out of four boards. When I get into panels this large, I use a biscuit joiner, Domino or doweling jig to keep the boards aligned during glue-up.
Everything went swimmingly until the clamps went on. Apparently I had knocked the fence of my Domino while cutting the joints and hadn’t noticed. The boards in the middle seam were out by 1/32”.
With a large tabletop, that misalignment will equal an extra hour or more of hard handplaning in reverse-grain white maple.
As soon as I wiped away the glue I asked myself: Do I need to redo that joint?
The question was the only answer I needed. This evening I will rip the panel in two and try again.
When I was a beginning woodworker I used to wrestle with problems like this. I’d fool myself into thinking I could overcome the error. Or I’d put off the decision – then get up at 2 a.m., go down to the shop and examine the work in my underwear. (And I wonder why we are never invited to our neighborhood BBQ’s?)
Now I just make the decision and plow forward, even it’s the hard road.
And I sleep a lot better, too.
— Christopher Schwarz