So to a certain extent woodworking is a snob sport. Somewhat because a table is not a surface to eat on it’s a stature symbol in modern culture. Square, level, ornate ergonomic, functional, and tough enough to prevent the neighbors turd kid from ripping the leg right off of it.
When a craftsman progresses into the world where mortices, dovetails and dadoes are involved, acceptable tolerances usually can’t be accomplished by Home Depot or Lowe’s brand commercial equipment.
The first time I tried to carve a tenon was with a plastic bodied Ryobi table saw where part of the table slid around on a track and the mortice on a Delta bench top drill press with a wobbly table and aggressive Dewalt bits.
I was meticulous in every way and read every piece of literature I could get my hands on. The best practices produced beautiful looking pieces. However, when I tried to put the pieces of my backed bar stool together Salvador Dali came to mind and having a sit looked pretty hazardous without duct tape and glue.
I had a machinist friend look at my work and equipment. The Ryobi sliding table wasn’t square, wasn’t flat, wasn’t within 1/8th of an inch of anywhere on that machine. We tried to fix it but the problems were in the everything. The drill press I was, and still am working with, doesn’t keep perpendicular to the bit under pressure…. working on it.
The point is that if your equipment is 1/16 of an inch off at the table saw and your drill press is another 1/8th off and your creation has forty-eleven joints you are literally better off whittling with a pocket knife. That way, the pieces you create will fit because you whittle a little at a time and make them fit a more abstract form. They fit ….
With some new equipment, still determined, and very little experience I spent 4 days thinking through, picking materials, planning cuts and rabbets, measuring, measuring, measuring, measuring …. to make a single 4 drawer, one door face frame for my new Incra router table stand.
2 Pieces down about 8 to go and I still don’t know how I am going to joint them….. We are all masochist maniacs to think this is fun. Did I mention I am looking for a sadist friend, with less experience than me, to watch and offer an encouraging word here and there just to keep me plugging away.
May we all survive our hobby…. Best of luck… Breathe…. Smile…. Break…. Resume… sometimes Beer and lots of additional safety equipment…
-- Don, Roanoke VA