I’ve been fiddling in the shop lately. Mostly with multimedia. I’ll be blogging my setup for my shop cam and computer work station, but last night I decided to make a small box. I’ve been amazed at the work that our resident small box experts make. Of course, Don, but including (but not limited to) Terdy , Andy , BigMP , YorkshireStewart , Paul , TonyWard , Dorje and everyone else who has tagged their projects with Box .
I’ve been wanting to do some concealed wooden hinge boxes, ala Rob Cosman and with a confidence in my heart, I took out a little maple and some walnut. I re sawed and dimensioned it to about what I wanted my box to be. I pulled out my old shooting board and got all my little parts just right.
...then I got interrupted. It was a good interruption. My father was on the phone, but an interruption nonetheless. I got back down to the shop. I wanted to use some dovetails on the box and was getting out my calipers and chisels when I got interrupted. Another good one. I wasn’t upset to get taken out of the shop to see my 2 year old in a Spiderman costume.
It was worth it. He looks very funny in it. The good kind of funny.
...anyway…I get back down to the shop and have lost my place. So I reset my brain and line up my parts and get an idea of my layout before I start marking. DING…another interruption. This one isn’t so nice. It’s Sharon. Some of you may remember Sharon. If you don’t and have some time for a good read, take a look at this forum entry so you know who Sharon is.
...I’ve given up on the handcut dovetail and whisk out my Akeda Jig. I don’t know how many of you are familiar with this jig, but screwing up with it is more difficult than screwing up buttering toast. I mean, it’s easy, precise, and creates spectacular joints. This is a diary of how to screw up using one of the easiest tools ever invented. Oh, a full review with video is in the works for this jig. It’s a Leigh world and occasionally the little guy needs a break.
Anyway, after setting up the jig, I want to leave some offset on the sides for the thickness of the recessed top. Mistake #1 comes here:
If you are going to use taller sides than front/back, then allow for a full pin or you’ll get a gap. Ick!
Now, cruising along, not realizing that the box is already ruined (it’s too small to put in wedges) I continue on. Not spending alot of time with router dovetails, I forgot to climb cut a bit to keep from tearing out when routing my pin board. Mistake #2 comes here:
Now it’s really getting ugly. I just don’t know it yet.
Cruising along some more, I failed to realized that I wasn’t precise with my partial pins and was out by 1/64th. This is a big deal as it makes for a pretty wobbly box. I could have setup the jig with mirror fingers on each side and been able to accomodate for this had I known it was happening. LOL…but, as hindsight is totally out of context and NOT 20/20, I’m still not realizing that I’m really screwing up this box. Mistake #3: It’s subtle, and wouldn’t show up on a blanket chest, but on a small box…yech!
So, I walk upstairs. I’m disgusted with myself. My little box is junk. I’m going to toss it in the kitchen garbage so I don’t have to look at it anymore.
As I’m tossing it, my 9 year old says, “Why throw it away?” It told her, “I made many mistakes and it can’t be saved.” She asked, “Why so many mistakes.” I said, “I’m not as familiar with the tool I was using, as I thought I was.”
Then comes a viewpoint that I may not have had since I was 9. She says to me, “Daddy, does pen work on that wood?” I said, “Yup.” She says, “Why not write the mistakes on the box so you can see them and not make them again. Then leave it with the tool in your shop?”
And so, this little box now sits with my Akeda jig. A reminder of a few of the things to take into account when I use it again. In the meantime, I’m getting out my chisels again. I’ve found that anything that is meant to save time and increase productivity, can compound mistakes at lightning speed.
Have a great Friday!
-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)