Sunday, February 22, 2009

Mistakes made

When I first embarked on this wonderful hobby I was so very excited to start making pieces of furniture for my home. I checked out every book on furniture plans I could find at our library, I obsessively poured over all the magazines for articles on projects that I liked. I started to buy books of plans as I purchased tools. I immediately began building furniture, I couldn't wait to finish projects and have them to use.

That was the big problem and it took me a few years to realize it. I was rushing through the process. I was making things, but something was lacking in my understanding of what it meant to be a woodworker. I had some decent power tools, I had alot of books and magazines. I had a nice selection of wood to use, and plans to use it on. I didn't have alot of hand tools, and now that I look back, I didn't have alot of skills.
In the picture above you can see scratches in the door panel left from the planer that I failed to remove. And in the picture to the left you can see where I relied too much on my power planer and since I didn't know how, and didn't have a scraper or a low angle plane I ended up with tearout on the curly maple that I wouldn't tolerate today.
If you look closely in this picture you'll notice saw marks from trimming the door down with my tablesaw, now, I'd take a sharp, well tuned plane and with a few nice swipes I would have had the door with an exact fit and no ugly saw marks. You will also notice that the bridle joint is offset to the front instead of being centered even though the rails were inset by 1/8th of an inch, what I had done was cut the joint before I planed down the stiles to 5/8ths and the rails to 1/2, I don't even know why I did this.

This picture makes me cringe, yes, this cabinet is dovetailed, and pretty well too, but it is done wrong. The pins should be on the vertical surfaces and the tails should be on the horizontal surfaces.
Lack of understanding, but a really nice Leigh D1600 dovetail jig, gave me nice tight dovetails that were completely wrong. All in all its a nice little cabinet that lives by my back door and holds keys, a coupe of flashlights and bug spray, people see it and love it, but I see it and hang my head in shame. Granted, now I do have a shop, and I have alot of really nice tools, heck, I have handplanes that cost more than the tablesaw I had when I made this cabinet. I also have the knowledge and skills to use those handtools and to not only make a piece, but to make it right. I've learned a great deal from my online friends, I've taken a few courses and I've focused on technique, not just the final object. I've watched others and I've learned a great deal, but the most important thing I've learned is that it is the process that makes the final product something of value.

"The quieter you become, the more you can hear." ~Baba Ram Dass

1 comment:

Shannon said...

Great post Tree, I think we all have our projects of shame floating around the house. I see it as it's own storybook of my progression. I only wish that some of my earlier projects looked as good as your "mistakes"