Secrets of the String Box Revealed #7: Oh No!

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Blog entry by newTim posted 08-31-2010 04:30 AM 5825 reads 7 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Secret Soss Part 7 of Secrets of the String Box Revealed series no next part

I wonder if the Mona Lisa’s smile was a cover up for a mistake. Seems like I’ve gotten pretty good at making mistakes in the shop. Hopefully, I’ve gotten just as good at fixing them.

It wasn’t the Mortise Pal’s fault. I was getting so wrapped up in my photo journalism that I made a common mistake. I lined the centerline of the jig with the wrong line on the target! As you can see from the pictures, instead of lining the jig up on the center I lined it up on one of the outside lines, with predictable results. Oh well, time for a design change. Fortunately I had not yet made the lid’s handle so I could still shape it to fit. First I had to fix the mortise. For this error I decided that two mistakes are better than one and simply cut another mortise centering the jig on the other outside line. This gave me a larger mortise than I had originally planned but it seemed to work out. You be the judge.

Aaaaaaaaargh! The Mortise Pal does give a clean and accurate cut, at least when you line it up correctly to begin with.

No worries.

Not shown in the picture below, I first used a dado set (actually box joint blades), to trim the edge of the handle to fit in the mortise. You can barely see this on the bottom of the piece following. Then one of several dry fits before cutting, shaping, and sanding. This is the shape I had had in mind from the start. Just a little wider than I had planned.

I did draw a couple of arcs using a pie tin, but ended up using these as a rough guide and drew a shape free hand. I used my eye to do the rough shaping with a rasp before fine tuning the shape with the spindle sander. It is remarkable how accurate your eyes can be. Especially with bifocal contacts.

-- tim hill

6 comments so far

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 3070 days

#1 posted 08-31-2010 06:03 AM

If you wouldn’t have said anything no one would have known, it looks good to me. But I like to see how people fix their design adjustments. I really like the handle, I also like the Mortise Pal great looking jig.

View ellen35's profile


2738 posts in 3460 days

#2 posted 08-31-2010 12:32 PM

Certainly made lemonade from that lemon!!!
Love the result!

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3910 days

#3 posted 08-31-2010 02:26 PM

That is looking really nice. I like the handle.
I agree about the human eye. It is incredible at matching things and finding the center line.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View abie's profile


875 posts in 3799 days

#4 posted 09-01-2010 05:00 PM

This is the difference between a woodworker and a craftsman.. How to disguise mistakes..

-- Bruce. a mind is like a book it is only useful when open.

View bigike's profile


4052 posts in 3316 days

#5 posted 01-10-2011 03:12 AM

simple fix, to a little problem.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View Ken90712's profile


17563 posts in 3217 days

#6 posted 03-08-2013 05:00 PM

Great job and nice recovery! I respect the fact you shared a mistake like we all do from time to time and showed us how you recovered. Well done thx for the info!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

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