Does there ever come a time when we quit making mistakes?

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Blog entry by Woodbutchery posted 63 days ago 972 reads 0 times favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I just finished making cuts on the head piece of a king-size bed frame and when I placed it up against the wall after the cuts were made, I noticed that it seemed shorter than the footboard piece. That’s when I realized that my drawing in sketchup, which I came in to reference, had said [6’, 6 1/2” ] and my brain had remembered [72 1/2”].

In this design, I can fix it and it won’t even be seen, but it’s annoying. Mostly because I thought I was past this type of mistake. I’ve got a fix for future projects, etc., but what it comes down to is that it’s just personally embarrassing.

On the other side of that, I was able to quickly get past the annoyance factor and figure out the fix.

-- Making scrap with zen-like precision - Woodbutchery

27 comments so far

View JesseTutt's profile


795 posts in 712 days

#1 posted 63 days ago

Does there ever come a time when we quit making mistakes? I figure I will stop making mistakes about a minute after I die.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View pintodeluxe's profile


3272 posts in 1415 days

#2 posted 63 days ago

I think the occasional mistake comes with the territory. It sounds like you did all the right things, like having a detailed plan. It is unfortunate when it ruins a large assembly.
Remember, a destroyed king bed is still a wonderful queen bed!

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Dallas's profile


2857 posts in 1089 days

#3 posted 63 days ago

My wife told me I quit making mistakes when she decided to marry me. She doesn’t allow me to think anymore on my own and without help.
When things happen to me like what happened to you I just call it a design feature or a change order and go on.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View woodman71's profile


162 posts in 1926 days

#4 posted 63 days ago

When I was in high school a shop teacher said to me if don’t make mistake how can you learn. It took me alot off years and mistake to find out what it met. What it means to me is mistakes teach us we can read books and listen to teacher and instructor . But it is are mistake that show what we did wrong and the next project we build we keep that mistake in mind and don’t make it again. Mistake are a part of any trade that why they call it experience. You experience it learned from . Then there is complacence if I got spell right and that is another blog lol.

View dawsonbob's profile


381 posts in 357 days

#5 posted 63 days ago

See my signature line.

-- Mistakes are what pave the road to perfection

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

13321 posts in 940 days

#6 posted 63 days ago

Because we are human, we will make mistakes. As you did, the skill of the professional is how well he hides them. I am still trying to perfect hiding them.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View Woodbutchery's profile


269 posts in 2187 days

#7 posted 63 days ago

So far the answer is almost exactly what I imagined.

Once upon time I let myself be moved to inaction for fear of MAKING the mistake. Now I make it and move on.

Since this is the back panel of the frame, I figure I’ll add a 2nd piece of one of the cut-offs to the end with a couple of boards on the outside to provide stiffness, and shore up the inside with a piece that will help act as support for the slats as well. Again, since all of this will remain unseen, it was mostly the smack-myself-on-the-forehead for having overshot the cuff.

Gotta share – there’s someone on the LJ list that’s got a tag line with “no matter how many times I cut it, it still comes up short”. As I was thinking through all of this, I remembered that line and was able to laugh WHILE figuring out what to do about it.

You are all a great inspiration for the many projects I’ve seen on the board, and for the words of encouragement.


-- Making scrap with zen-like precision - Woodbutchery

View Manitario's profile


2262 posts in 1485 days

#8 posted 63 days ago

Every project I still make some sort of bone-headed mistake. It’s frustrating! The current project I’m working on is a large cabinet for the bathroom; I carefully marked and cut dovetails for the carcase and then meticulously (so I thought!) marked the shelf layout, which is asymetrical and stopped dados so I’d only have one shot to get it right. Lined it all up, painstakingly checked and double checked my measurements, made all the cuts and then spread the glue….went to assemble it and realized that I’d flipped one of the sides the wrong way…messed up the shelf layout….had to leave the shop for the day after that one. The upside is that I’m gettting good at covering mistakes!

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View GaryNc's profile


13 posts in 540 days

#9 posted 63 days ago

I don’t usually make the same mistakes, I usually find new ones to make!

-- Honey thats not a mistake, it's a design feature!

View Dark_Lightning's profile


1671 posts in 1711 days

#10 posted 63 days ago

In my line of work, I write a lot of instructions for people to put things together, or to test them. I’ve been doing it for many years (the designing, writing and assembly and testing) and I still make mistakes. The only difference is that people know the quality of my work and don’t spend a lot of time verifying it, so when something fails, it is colossal, costing time and schedule. That hasn’t happened in at least a week. ;) Our experience gives us a way to continue while the mistake is corrected.

The difference between a novice and an experienced person at a given task is that the novice’s work has more mistakes. The most experienced people make fewer mistakes, on average, but that is all.

Long story short, you will keep making mistakes. Rely on it. I don’t like it when I do, either, but that’s life.

View derosa's profile


1532 posts in 1438 days

#11 posted 63 days ago

I never make mistakes, just unintended design modifications. My biggest mistake comes from reading the wrong side of a number. Ie I know I have to draw a line at 52 & 7/8 and instead draw it at 51&7/8 just seeing that 52 as closer. I
know immediately what my screw up is.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View firefighterontheside's profile


3318 posts in 458 days

#12 posted 63 days ago

I gave up that notion a long time ago. I consider myself very good at measuring, calculating, etc, but I still make mistakes. Usually I can work around the mistakes. Sometimes have to scrap the piece and start over. Just part of the price of doing business. Usually I can use the messed up piece for a smaller part.

-- Bill M. I love my job as a firefighter, but nothing gives me the satisfaction of running my hand over a project that I have built and just finished sanding.

View stefang's profile


12592 posts in 1936 days

#13 posted 63 days ago

You can avoid mistakes if you are willing to keep making the same thing every time. You will become a master at that one thing and it will eventually be as near perfect as it is humanely possible. There are actually many craftsmen and artists who do this, many of them highly successful. Personally this would not be for me, as the fun I get from woodworking is learning new things all the time. But we are all different and what satisfies one person might not work for someone else.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View robscastle's profile


1500 posts in 806 days

#14 posted 63 days ago

I never make mistakes,....just check out my latest blog!

-- Regards Robert

View Don W's profile (online now)

Don W

14652 posts in 1169 days

#15 posted 63 days ago

Some of the best features of some of my projects have started as a mistake.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

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