Back to the drawing board...

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Blog entry by ajw1978 posted 07-21-2014 07:39 AM 1097 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well, I just finished cleaning, packing up and moving my “shop” back into the closet. (Seriously … I need a garage soon). I’ve spent the last week sawing, sanding, screwing (heh heh heh) and swearing and the result is:

1) A poorly-crafted and sloppily-stained gift box
2) Two poor-fitting window screens
3) A shop vac full of saw dust
4) Many, many, many pieces of scrap lumber

But, in an effort to keep a positive attitude despite my grade-school-shop-class level of ability; at last check, I have all ten of my fingers, so I’m going to consider it a victory.

Now, I am sure 99 percent of you fine folks already know this but again, half the reason for this blog is to document my progress so please bear with my stating the obvious. That said, I’ve learned quite a bit:

  • Miters—are an absolute pain in the posterior but they’re alot easier to manage with good, quality and STRAIGHT lumber. I’ll need to re-read the manual to my miter saw and make some adjustments, I’m sure, but somebody was kind enough to suggest a digital angle gauge and that helped quite a bit. All those scraps sitting in a tub on my deck will be put to good use during the next road swing (I fortunately no longer travel with the teams) as I plan to use them to calibrate, cut and practice with the saw.
  • Glue is good, clamps are better—Drying times are not optional. Also, glue is messy and screws up your stain.
  • Pegs: Make a chart and work from the bottom up—I thought I’d try and get “fancy” with the Old Man’s gift box and use dowels/pegs/etc and glue. It wasn’t until after I broke half of them, drilled the other half unevenly and just said “the hell with it” that I came up with the idea to use a hole punch and some construction paper in the future for lining up holes on opposite pieces of wood. And then, make sure I assemble pieces in a way that I don’t “block myself out” ... which is what I ended up doing.
  • Drill the right pilot hole; use the right screw and for the love of God, counter sink—Pretty self-explanatory, eh?

Now that it’s all said and done, it’s time for a cold bottle of Milwaukee’s finest, some YouTube woodworking tips videos and a good night of sleep.

-- May the good Lord help me if I ever actually have a shop, garage or basement.

4 comments so far

View Phil Halliday's profile

Phil Halliday

11 posts in 830 days

#1 posted 07-21-2014 08:46 AM

I can relate to the lack of workshop as I am in a similar situation at the moment my table saw is living in my small back porch and my other tools are packed up in a small out building

hope you get your garage soon

-- Life's for living don't waste it

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2758 days

#2 posted 07-21-2014 10:51 AM

You can solve the glue problem by switching to hot hide glue. It’s still a little messy, but it doesn’t screw up your finishing job and it’s very easy to clean up your hands, your clothes, your bench, your project and the floor.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Woodbutchery's profile


289 posts in 3010 days

#3 posted 07-21-2014 11:37 AM

I’ll add that the ten fingers count is WAY more important than a perfect miter, though there are times that we THINK we’ll trade them, so … you’re ahead of the game, for sure!

The sloppy stains, etc., will improve with time. They won’t be perfect, and you won’t believe how much finer your tolerances become for perfection as you acquire more practice, but they’ll improve.

Good luck with getting more space – I’m fortunate that I have an understanding wife who lets me take up most of the garage for my workshop.

-- Making scrap with zen-like precision - Woodbutchery

View ajw1978's profile


163 posts in 846 days

#4 posted 08-29-2014 08:24 AM

Sorry I didn’t see this until now. Thanks for the kind words and encouragement. Spending my life around sports, you start to wonder if civility still exists in the internet world.

-- May the good Lord help me if I ever actually have a shop, garage or basement.

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