My weekend project was to build a small bookcase for my son.
These are some of the lessons I learned while working on the project this weekend:
1) If you don’t check, 2 boards you previously worked on may or may not be the same length. If they were supposed to be the same length, you may have gotten interrupted before that task was finished.
2) Wood veneer has a grain – if you route across it the wrong way, it can tear out horribly. Make sure you know which direction the router should be moving to reduce tearout.
3) Wood veneer has a grain – it can tear out if you cut it cross the grain. Use masking tape to reduce tear out.
4) Don’t mark dowel holes relative to the ends of the bottom shelf if it isn’t the same length as the top shelf. If the shelves aren’t the same length, the sides will not be square. (Or one side will not be square depending on how you put the thing together).
5) Routers with lights are wonderful things.
6) Cable mounts attached to a table saw with foam mounting tape will likely not hold when the tablesaw is stored outside. Use a cable mount that has a screw and mechanically attach to the table saw. Otherwise, you risk running over the power cable and mangling the plug.
7) If you put a center punch in your pocket with the sharp end down, it’ll eventually poke a hole in you pocket and fall out.
8) If you put a center punch in your pocket with the sharp end up, it’ll poke you in the leg when you sit down.
9) I wish I’d paid a lot more attention in geometry class.
10) Make sure the tablesaw fence is 100% on the rail before locking it down – or it will probably not be parallel to the blade.
11) I really like being able to make a big table when in drill press mode on the ShopSmith.
12) I really like being able to make a big table when using the disc sander on the ShopSmith.
13) Drilling into the endgrain of a piece of cherry is more work than drilling into a piece of particle board. Much more work.
14) Using a doweling jig and marking the other side with dowel centers can be done acurrately without too much fuss. OTOH, it helps if your reference boards are the same length…
15) I really need a place to hang the tables and tubes for the ShopSmith when they aren’t in use. 1 place vs. the 5 I have now.
I feel like I’m making progress with woodworking skills – but really have a ways to go before I do it right the first time. While I’d like for these first projects to come out well, reality is I’ll be happy if they are usable and not too bandaided – as long as I’m not making the same mistakes over and over again.