Here are a pair of end tables I am making for the bedroom. Basic shaker design with nothing unusual about the design or construction. I will post them as a project after I have some finish on them.
If there is nothing particularly unique about the design or construction methods used on the project, why would I create my first ever Lumberjocks blog entry about it? The answer is that this entry is not really about the project, but about my reaction to a moment during the project that has confused me greatly.
The project was a request from the Boss. Nothing too fancy, just someplace to put a lamp and alarm clock. So there were sketches, cut lists, joinery details, the process as usual. As I was sketching the tables and looking at photo after photo of shaker end tables for help with dimensions and scale I realized that I preferred the look of the tables without the lower shelf. This didn’t matter all that much, as I knew that I would have to add them for sheer functionality. But I didn’t like that I had to add them.
As I began construction, I glued up, cut and assembled the pieces until the only parts left were the drawers and the lower shelf. I cut and fit the drawer fronts, slid the fronts in place and put the tables next to each other for a peek at what was close to the final look of the pieces. At this point I begrudgingly set my sights on the shelves, as I liked the look of the pieces as they sat. I put tick marks 4 inches up on all legs, then cut the shelves to fit with small notches cut at each corner with the angle of the leg taper so that they would fit well, and attached them one by one.
The remainder of the project was the drawers, which I worked on one at a time. I got them to fit and slide well, turned and glued the pulls and once again I put them on the bench together for a good look at my hard work.
And then it happened.
As you may have noticed from the above photo, something is wrong. I put the tick marks on all 8 legs at 4 inches from the deck. But, because I was working on them one at a time, I did not realize that one shelf has the top of the shelf on the line and the other has the bottom of the shelf on the line. When I noticed this, I laughed.
I laughed and shook my head at this silly error. I laughed and thought that maybe this was my subconscious’ final swipe at the shelves I didn’t actually want. I didn’t really even spend much time trying to figure out how to fix it.
This was all very confusing to me. For the entirety of my woodworking life up to that moment, the realization of an error such as this would have sent me careening around the shop like a pinball. The fact that I was not moaning obscenities with both of my hands on my forehead was completely foreign to me. Why was I not asking the stars why I was born such a dipstick?
Did I simply realize that as bedside tables they would never be seen next to each other again, or was it something more than that? I mean, am I (deep breath) growing up? I’m not even 50 yet, it can’t be that.
So what happened? Will I just go back to my old habits on my next project or have I turned some sort of corner?
Do any of you recall a moment that was so clear a departure from your norm? Did it stick? I mean, I have become better a repairing mistakes over the years, so I have become better at focusing my frustrations on a quality repair, but this was totally different.
I’ve been shaking my head over this ever since it happened.
-- "It could grip it by the husk!" King Arthur.