LumberJocks

Learning Opportunity #3: Forget the Easy Option

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Blog entry by Don posted 03-09-2007 11:43 AM 1165 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: If In Doubt, Follow the Instructions Part 3 of Learning Opportunity series Part 4: What is the thickness of a human hair? »

I’m not sure why, but I’ve really struggled with a small box that I’ve been making. From the outset, the design of the box was to include wooden hinges. I guess I’ve made over a dozen boxes with these hinges, and have the procedure down pat.

This past Christmas I made this that featured these hinges. I use an Incra Hinge Crafter, and the method of work they describe makes four sets of two. So, I had a few left over from my Christmas project.

Now I have to say that I recall that the wood I used was rather weak. It was Fijian Mahogany which I’ve found rather prone to splitting. Although classified as a hardwood, compared to Australian hardwoods, it’s rather soft.

So, I decided to take the easy way out and use the Fijian Mahogany hinges that I had.
I mentioned in a previous blog that I damaged one of these hinges when I accidentally knocked the box to the floor. What I didn’t mention was that this was but the last one I had. The others had broken when sizing them to the box. Well, no worries; I have one more. So today I carefully fitted the last hinge to the box. All was going well. Well, that is, until I drilled the hinge for the ‘ivory plugs’ I intended to use.

You guessed it. The last one split.

What to do? Well, I first tried to glue the pieces back together. It looked pretty good – you couldn’t even see that it had been split. I flexed the hinge to make sure that it was working alright. What I didn’t realize was that I had inadvertently glued the two halves of the hinge together. As soon as I flexed the hinge, it completely snapped.

I was not a happy LumberJock!

I left my shop and went upstairs to my dear wife who is always willing to let me moan and groan (as long as it isn’t about her). After explain the saga, she responded, “Why did you use those hinges if you already knew the wood was too weak?”

She got it in one.

Of course, the genesis of my problem I already knew. But to save a little time, I thought that I would take the easy way out. Therein lays the Learning Opportunity.

Never take the easy option – it will always turn around and bite you!

So, tomorrow, I will craft some new fresh hinges – it only takes about an hour. And I should have them installed without any difficulty.

Why didn’t I do this in the first place?

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!" http://www.dpb-photos.com/



12 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 3626 days


#1 posted 03-09-2007 01:11 PM

and, so, why didn’t you?
my thoughts start seeing a trend: we have Scott trying to salvage remnants of a broken screwdriver, not wanting to throw anything away; we have me not wanting to cut some silly pieces of sinew to redo the handle of a purse, not wanting to throw a good piece of string away; and now, we have a hinge that is known to break being used because of… not wanting to throw it away???? ...

I guess that urge to reuse the materials lies behind the appearance of most lumberjocks’ shops—piles of scrap wood that might be used for something some day.

With that in mind it is tempting to set a new goal and toss out a lot of scrap but then we are shown Dusty’s beautiful work, all made from scrap wood and what else is there to do but to “stash the trash” for that future project!!!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Obi's profile

Obi

2213 posts in 3702 days


#2 posted 03-09-2007 04:53 PM

I tried the same thing with the DVD Ccabinet. Instead of gluing and doweling the shelves I tried to use nails. To me, using nails is just wrong. And, you guessed it. Something happened to cause the DVD Cabinet and all of the unglued parts fell out all over. Back to the shop it went abd glue and dowels were applied to all the shelves.

Everything was fine.

It was the same basic problem. Trying to hurry something up at the sake of Craftsmanship, for whatever reason. Simplicity, it’s cheaper, easier, faster, more convenient.

It all boils down to one thing, My Friend. We, as craftsmen are to do all things as unto the Lord. And when we start trying to find shortcuts, you and I especially, the Master is not going to let us skate.

Have you thought about the square hinges you made on the other box?

Now for one last question…. WWJD.

Incra Hinge Crafter or hand-made square? One is quick and easy, one is harder but oh, so much more creative.

Have a Great Day!

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2008 posts in 3871 days


#3 posted 03-09-2007 05:07 PM

I would like to hear more on this hinge crafting. Have you already posted information on how you do it?

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan - www.decoustudio.com

View Obi's profile

Obi

2213 posts in 3702 days


#4 posted 03-09-2007 05:09 PM

Mark, Rockler sells the Incra Hinge Crafter jig and the one I really like is this one

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 3779 days


#5 posted 03-09-2007 05:35 PM

I could have save you a lot of time. I know this place that has a really good price on some cheap metal hinges. Of course you’d have to let go of a few buck. I really don’t think trying to save a few pennys using wooden hinges…LOL

View Karson's profile

Karson

35035 posts in 3866 days


#6 posted 03-10-2007 12:38 AM

Don: Do you have the new one or the old one (Incra hinge jig) that is.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia karsonwm@gmail.com †

View Don's profile

Don

2603 posts in 3642 days


#7 posted 03-10-2007 03:09 AM

Karson, I wasn’t aware of a new/old one. What’s the difference? The one I use looks like this.

Quote Ob: ”WWJD?”

I don’t think that he would have used a Hinge Crafter. LOL

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!" http://www.dpb-photos.com/

View Karson's profile

Karson

35035 posts in 3866 days


#8 posted 03-10-2007 03:34 AM

Thats the new one. I’ve got an old one and it only created one side of pins and tails (if thats what you call them on hinges)

I have one (2) unopened packages for 4 years and have never used it. But I have the old one.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia karsonwm@gmail.com †

View scottb's profile

scottb

3648 posts in 3792 days


#9 posted 03-10-2007 03:44 AM

Yeah, I think his tool box was a considerably lighter than ours!

It all boils down to deciding to do what is easy or what is right. Most of the time we’re ok, there’s just those times when we end up saying we knew better… sometimes we got there by wishful thinking and hoping (which sometimes works), and othertimes we just confirm what we really knew, but just didn’t want to admit.

I too would have tried to find some use for those hinges.

I was thumbing through the woodworking books this week, and came across a 3 legged corner table. nicely crafted and designed. Was the project made intentionally… yes and no. The author had these 3 leftover legs (those, just in case extras) from previous projects (yes, they all matched) and came up with a use for those…. Basically boiled down to “make another one to match, or figure out a way to use what I’ve got. (other than firewood)

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

View Obi's profile

Obi

2213 posts in 3702 days


#10 posted 03-10-2007 04:25 AM

Quote Don Quote Ob: ”WWJD?”

I don’t think that he would have used a Hinge Crafter. LOL

That was my point Don. Maybe your friend wants the square Hinges like jesus would have made. ;)

View Don's profile

Don

2603 posts in 3642 days


#11 posted 03-10-2007 05:47 AM

Yes, Obi, I’ve been getting that message load and clear. The problem is, I’ve already cut the mortises in the lid and base. I can’t think of a way to back-track.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!" http://www.dpb-photos.com/

View Obi's profile

Obi

2213 posts in 3702 days


#12 posted 03-10-2007 03:14 PM

Your friend will probably be blessed at whatever hinges you use.

Whenever I have a problem, I pray and then go take a nap. God has an easier time talking to me when I’m asleep. That way I won’t argue with him.

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