Every cut is a project

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Blog entry by Farrout posted 01-28-2014 12:01 AM 1096 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

When I started woodworking, my vision was always on the finished product.
See the picture make it look like that.

The more experience I get, the more I realize that every cut is a project that has to be completed correctly.

For instance, when rounding edges using the router table, the correct bit must be selected, and correctly mounted in the router. The router/bit must then be installed on the collar. The collar must be properly attached to the insert. Then, the bit height must be adjusted for the cut being made. If using a fence, the fence must then be set for the depth of cut. The dust collector must then be started and the motor started.

If you are smart, which I wasn’t always, you then do a test cut on a piece of scrap. Turn off motor and make final adjustments, then make another test on a piece of scrap.
If you are satisfied with the results, then, and only then, can you make the actual cut on your project piece.
Woodworking is a lot like being a machinist. the stock is just softer.

I now realize that actually cutting the finished pieces takes very little time, once the equipment is properly setup.

So, I am trying to get my mind off the ‘big picture’ and concentrate on the details. The more lumber I turn into sawdust, the better I hope to get.

Every cut is a project

-- If we learn from our mistakes, I should be a genius!

6 comments so far

View Picklehead's profile


1041 posts in 1927 days

#1 posted 01-28-2014 01:11 AM

That’s so true. The more I work a piece the more focused (nervous, anxious would also work but I hope are a bit strong) I get. Making legs for a coffee table involved selecting the right piece of wood from a limited supply of that size lumber, orienting it for best presentation, cutting mortises (mirror images on each pair), cutting tapers on the two inside bottom ends, chamfering the inside corner and rounding over the other corners. And that’s just for the damned legs. After all that, done correctly, I have four legs. I know everybody does this type of thing, but the further along I went, the more I realized that if I screwed up, I was screwed because all the tool setups to recreate the piece would have to be repeated, with less likelihood of matching the original setup. I’ve learned both to be extra careful, relax, and above all, appreciate that many projects I see here are, despite their apparent simplicity, quite involved creations.

-- You've got to be smarter than the tree.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2687 days

#2 posted 01-28-2014 01:59 AM

I can relate to your comment about every cut being a project. The way I think of it: every step in the build is another opportunity to turn nice wood into firewood!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Jake's profile


850 posts in 1628 days

#3 posted 01-28-2014 05:24 AM

I found it especially true for me when doing my kitchen cabinetry, for a hobbyist like myself without the proiper cabinet making equipment, a lot of the time is spent on making jigs and little helpers to make for repeatable cuts and set dimensions. I probably spend 80% of the time setting everything up and then 10% testing and 10% with the actual cuts.

But with every project seeing how the time decreases and the cuts get more accurate – it gets to be an addiciton of some kind. :)

-- Measure twice, cut once, cut again for good measure.

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3331 days

#4 posted 01-28-2014 06:49 PM

That is the right attitude Farrout. Every step is a small project and every successfully completed step can be celebrated. It’s the only way to get to the final goal if it is to be done right. I discovered this way of thinking myself not so very long ago and it has made my woodworking a lot more enjoyable. Many successful small projects underway and one big successful project at the end. It doesn’t get better than that! Take heed all you new woodworkers, Farrout is giving you some excellent fundamental advice here!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2482 days

#5 posted 01-28-2014 07:16 PM

“To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.”

- William Blake

-- Brian Timmons -

View Picklehead's profile


1041 posts in 1927 days

#6 posted 01-28-2014 08:45 PM

Somebody around here has a signature something like “every step in your project must be treated as your masterpiece if you expect to create a masterpiece.”

(Now we wait to see how badly I mangled it)

-- You've got to be smarter than the tree.

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