A few days ago I returned to a project, a box that I have promised to make for a friend. I posted that project here.
This friend asked me to make it with a hinged lid with the hinges being constructed from wood, similar to this box.
I didn’t expect the project would take long, particularly as I already had two pairs of hinges left from a batch I had previously made. The project proceeded well, and I am quite happy with the way it is turning out. I made the lid by cutting it free from the body of the box. And I added an Ash Burl veneer to the top and bottom surfaces of the lid panel. A also decided to use a piece of my favorite wood, Huon Pine in the base. I devised an unusual way of inserting the base panel by using bamboo wedges that allows the base to move.
All that was left was to install the hinges – easy – four hinge mortises and I’m ready for finishing.
However, when I reached for the hinges I had, I quickly realized they just would not do. First, the wood was the wrong species, hence the wrong color. But even worse, the hinges I had left over, were the poorest of the batch I’d previously made. I hadn’t used them for a reason – they weren’t up to my standard.
“No worries Mate!”, as we Aussies say – make a new pair and make them out of the right choice of wood. So that’s what I did, or more correctly, attempted to do.
“Mmm, ...let me see, how did I do this again? Oh, yes, I think I remember.” So I began, selected the wood, plained it, cut it, milled it, and tried to fit it. Well as is obvious from the tone and title of this blog, it just didn’t fit together. I had messed up somewhere in the procedure. I know this because I had the procedure written out in my notebook.
So, what did I learn? Well the title tells the story. Read the instruction book.
I think that this is a common failing of the male species. We don’t ask for directions when lost and we don’t read instructions. It’s an ego thing – I mean how dumb do you think we are? I did it before, sure I had to read how, but I know now! So off I go, and then am surprised when I mess up. Well not really surprised – just angry for being so pig-headed.
So here is the LO - Until your method of work becomes second nature read the instructions. And even after it starts to be built into the procedural memory neurons of our brain cells, read the instructions. Procedural memory takes the longest time to build, but once fully established is locked in there for good. That’s how you learned to ties a shoe-lace.
-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!" http://www.dpb-photos.com/