All Replies on Ever have one of those days?

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View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Ever have one of those days?

by Kaleb the Swede
posted 04-22-2013 12:15 AM

25 replies so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29530 posts in 2387 days

#1 posted 04-22-2013 12:37 AM

Refuse to quit and refuse to lose. We have all screwed up projects. Learn from it and move on. Never dwell in on it. Sometimes it becomes a competition between me and it, and I am not losing to it!

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Don Broussard's profile (online now)

Don Broussard

3604 posts in 2301 days

#2 posted 04-22-2013 12:44 AM

I understand completely. It’s certainly happened to me too. When I get frustrated with how poorly a project is going, I set up a piece of scrap wood in my vise, and use a soothing (yes, soothing) plane until all the stress is planed away. I start fresh the next day, the first step of which is to repair the mistake/mistakes I made the day before. On reflection, the problems are usually caused by something I did like poor planning, poor technique or rushing, rather than a problem with my tools.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View waho6o9's profile


8237 posts in 2626 days

#3 posted 04-22-2013 12:52 AM

Practice, read up on techniques, push yourself, and that’s how you learn.

Learning to cut mortise and tenon is great idea. Practice on scrap. Learn
through the search box on this site, ask questions as you go. We’re here
for you.

Once you get proficient cutting M&T apply it in a project. You probably had
a fixable situation and we could have helped you out.

+1 for Monte. Winners never quite and quitters never win.

C ya in the winner’s circle.

View cso's profile


82 posts in 2737 days

#4 posted 04-22-2013 01:07 AM

Perhaps you’ve set your expectations too high….I’ve been doing this for 20 plus years on and off. Pick easier projects…M&T joints are great, but can be very difficult for someone starting out. Try other methods of joinery to get some satisfaction out of a project. I still occasionally use a Kreg jig now and then for some projects. I know it’s sacrilege for some, but can serve as a gateway to the advanced joinery techniques and methods.

View derosa's profile


1577 posts in 2885 days

#5 posted 04-22-2013 01:08 AM

For the first couple of projects use someone else’s well laid out plans and don’t try to learn more than one or two techniques. There’s also nothing wrong with walking away from a project while you learn a new skill or aquire the tool that will let you do the job the way you need to.

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

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


5205 posts in 2458 days

#6 posted 04-22-2013 01:24 AM

Every project has issues, we of course are our own worst critics taking notice of things that most would never see or care about. Bearpaw once told me one does not start life running without first doing some crawling, then of course the wobbling and falling down, cuts and bruises, maybe some stiches, okay for those that are special broken bones. (laughing) Point being start small like waho6o9 suggested. Practice on smaller projects, maybe not the Taj Mah Hall to begin with. (Admittably I have done the same thing and it kicked my tail as well.) In my early days of woodworking I got it done now, right now! These days I take my time, plan things out, do a drawing, work on the details then get started expecting probelms to come up and deal with it as best I can. Of course if I get into a bind I can always drop a note here and get 1,000 different suggestions of ways around, through, over, or just set the thing on fire. (laughing) Stay at it like Monte suggested.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 2239 days

#7 posted 04-22-2013 02:05 AM

i know how you feel kaleb,i’ve been ww’ing for a year now and i seem sometimes in over my head.i’ll walk away and go in the house.most times a good nights sleep will make things better.but sometimes a clamp flying across the shop makes you feel better also.just keep plugging away.

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View doubleDD's profile


7484 posts in 2092 days

#8 posted 04-22-2013 02:34 AM

You can’t judge a book by its cover. Sometimes you have to go back and read a few more pages to figure it out. Seems like you are aware of this but just lost it. I’m sure most of us ran into similar situations or something at least close as yours. So learn from this experience and laugh about it say a month from now? LOL Perfection comes from patience first, experience will come as time goes on. If you really enjoy woodworking you will figure it out.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View Josh Magnificent's profile

Josh Magnificent

14 posts in 2012 days

#9 posted 04-22-2013 02:40 AM

Don has it right. Handplaning is very good for the soul, as is sharpening. There’s nothing shameful in admitting defeat (I’ve done it plenty) but don’t give up. You have talent. Plan your projects and don’t over reach. Go back to basics. Simplify, simplify, simplify. If all else fails get out the splitting axe and spend a couple hours at the woodpile out back, it’ll burn all your rage and adrenaline.

-- If you can't fix it with a hammer, you need a bigger hammer.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2739 days

#10 posted 04-22-2013 02:43 AM

Kaleb, I just spent 2 days helping a friend make a retirement box for one of his co-workers. We were way far along on the project when we realized that we had made the lid an inch too narrow! Starting over was not an option so figuring out a fix became the challenge. To me problem solving/ fixing mistakes is part of the fascination I have with woodworking.

Ten years ago, I probably was a LOT less patient and forgiving of my mistakes!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1840 posts in 2018 days

#11 posted 04-22-2013 02:54 AM

Thanks a ton guys. It’s really nice to hear all of the encouragement from people who have done it. Hopefully things will go better when I get back to it. Once again, it’s really nice to have great people like this on a site. Please keep doing what you all are doing. It means a lot

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View mcgyver's profile


56 posts in 1920 days

#12 posted 04-22-2013 04:41 AM

we have all been there i have trashed a few projects before. i use the kiss principle now. what is that you ask “keep it simple stupid”. this was told to me by a very old man who made chairs. simple projects build skill did you just pick up a pin and wright no you learned to make letters. more complex projects will come fast enough dont give up if you enjoy it.

-- Mcgyver

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1840 posts in 2018 days

#13 posted 04-22-2013 12:01 PM

Thanks again everyone for all of the kind advice. Head is much clearer today. I can start fresh. Thank you for being welcoming to someone who is new to this game

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View JoeinGa's profile


7739 posts in 2056 days

#14 posted 04-22-2013 12:13 PM

I think we’ve all had projects that failed.
Some folks figure out a way to fix them.
Some folks set them aside and cogitate on it till they come up with a solution.
Some folks throw them in the burn pile.
Some folks cut them up and re-use the wood in another project.
And now, some folks go wild and stomp the shit out of that dam thing till it’s almost not even wood anymore :-)
I suggest you let that idea lay for awhile. Do some other (simpler) projects and finish to perfection. Be happy with your work, and sooner or later (you’ll know when it’s time) you can go back and try this idea again.
Keep the faith man, it’ll get better.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View GrandpaLen's profile


1650 posts in 2322 days

#15 posted 04-22-2013 04:16 PM


Good Morning, I’m glad to hear that you made your exit from the Shop with all of your digits intact. :-)

Creativity is best addressed without distractions. A quick mental ‘Attitude Check’ is in order prior to entering my Shop.

My shop is my safe haven, where I can get away from it all, it’s therapeutic.
When I’m not able to compartmentalize a distraction, to be resolved later, I don’t engage power tools or try to force the advancement or completion of a project which requires my undivided attention.
My tablesaw is not therapeutic, it expects my undivided attention.

Your frustration may not have entered the Shop with you but, it certainly accompanied your exit.

A man needs to know his limitations. Skills are not absorbed, they are experienced and to that end, learned.
My Father used to tell me, “Good judgement comes from experience, experience comes from bad judgement”.

The negative outcome that you encountered with your project should be accepted as experience.

Don’t give up. You, as we all are, are still learning.

Best Regards. – Grandpa Len.

Work Safely and have Fun. :-)

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View AUBrian's profile


86 posts in 2721 days

#16 posted 04-22-2013 04:45 PM

I’ve gotten to that point as well, however I will just put the project down and walk away, sometimes for months, while I recompose myself. I also find that if I keep on, things just go from bad to worse, I get more frustrated, and make more and more mistakes. Just walk away for a day or a week, then come back and look with fresh eyes. Sometimes it’s not as bad as it seems when you’re right in the middle of it.

View Gary's profile


9334 posts in 3482 days

#17 posted 04-22-2013 05:57 PM

WOW man…you got every possible solution there could be. Looks like your next problem is gluing all that wood back together so you can get started again.

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View chrisstef's profile


17475 posts in 3056 days

#18 posted 04-22-2013 06:14 PM

I think that wood working has taught me a lot of patience. At one point in time, when i was a little bit younger, i was a hot head. I once got so frustrated from hearing a friend of mine tell me how to stab a pile of lumber with a forklift that when i split a whole row of 2 bys and he laughed at me and i threw a pair of tin snips at him. He and I were the best men in each others weddings.

Ive wanted to smash my fair share of projects and tools but some how a ringing thought from my late grandfather always chimes in my head. “Sometimes the shortest way is the longest way” he would say. Meaning that cutting corners and half assing things just leads to you doing it again or becoming frustrated. This woodworking thing isnt a race and im still learning that. Like a lot of talented people you are used to getting things right the first time. This hobby will test that at every instance if you allow it.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1840 posts in 2018 days

#19 posted 04-22-2013 06:32 PM

Thanks again guys. Really nice people around these parts.

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2419 days

#20 posted 04-22-2013 06:54 PM

If I spent time working on a project and then intentionally destroyed right before the finish line, I think I’d be sleeping on the couch. “So you’re telling me, I sat in here for hours and hours watching our daughter, while you went out and played in the garage making that thing, and you just destroyed it?”

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2972 days

#21 posted 04-22-2013 07:08 PM

Join the crowd. Chalk it up to experience and start over. We’ve all had experiences like that.

-- Life is good.

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 2826 days

#22 posted 04-22-2013 07:08 PM

I have lost more than a couple of projects – couple of things to try in the future.

When something goes really bad – put your hands in the air and stop – Keeps the fingers on your hands. When you get pissed, you do things that can get you hurt – no amount of wood is worth that.

If you are going to take the project apart, instead of making fire wood, make usable pieces for the next project. Cut the piece out that you really screwed up and hang it in prominent place on the wall – “the one that got away!”

This will remind you in the future of what happens when you are not thinking – never want to see a finger or hand on the wall as a reminder.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 2613 days

#23 posted 04-26-2013 02:27 AM

I used to have an issue with getting a bit frustrated in the shop when something didn’t go right. Usually this would end up with a piece of wood thrown across the room (or if I was hanging drywall a piece cracked in half).

I realized (at the hand of others) over time that these behaviors weren’t “adult-like” and should be stopped.

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2419 days

#24 posted 04-26-2013 12:15 PM

I’m with Ben. I’m not saying I don’t get pissed off and angry, I most definitely do, but I’ve come to realize that I need to consider context. I used to get angry when I would golf and hit a horrible shot (which meant most of my game was spent mad), slam a club into the ground, and be mad for the next shot. I would get mad when I messed up a cut and had to redo a piece of my project. I’ve noticed that I’ve come to realize that if I’m working in the garage or golfing, no matter how bad it goes, I’m still doing what I enjoy doing. Now, when I’m at work, which I don’t like, I get pretty peeved pretty easily.

This brings to mind my last project, I was working on a gate for our stairs, constructed of black walnut. The construction was 99% done. All I had to do was route the mortises for the hinges. I carefully marked my mortise, grabbed my router, and proceeded to route on the wrong side of the line. I muttered a few expletives, grabbed a cold one, and sat down at my bench to take a minute. I was more disappointed than mad. Grabbed some hand tools and squared up my mistake, cut a patch from leftover stock, planed it down flush, and moved on. Good hand tool practice I guess, and it’s in a spot where it isn’t noticeable.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View 47phord's profile


182 posts in 2286 days

#25 posted 04-27-2013 02:28 AM

I’ll tell you what I did. The first major thing I built was a bookcase; nothing fancy, just a big box with a bunch of smaller boxes inside, simple right? Well, despite (or maybe inspite) of my best efforts, the whole thing ended up being out of square, some of the dados I had routed for the shelves didn’t line up, resulting in crooked shelves, and best of all, I didn’t pay attention to the grain direction on the plywood back, so on the upper back, the grain is vertical, and on the bottom it’s horizontal. In short it was a disaster. I wanted to throw it on the burn pile, douse it with gasoline, toss a match, and roast marshmallows on the resulting bonfire while simultainously raising a glass of brandy to toast my blinding incompetence.

But then two things happened; the first was I realized that I had well over a hundred dollars worth of oak plywood sitting there and that was more than I could afford to spend on a campfire. The second was my wife came over to see what I was cussing about and commented, “It doesn’t look that bad, what are you so mad about?” That’s when it hit me, because I was the one who built the monster, I knew where all of it’s warts were; as a non-woodworking civilian, she only saw a bookcase with a couple slightly off-kilter shelves (okay, I admit she may have been patronizing me just a little).

That bookcase now resides in our den, where all the books it holds (without collapsing too! <gasps>) hide it’s many flaws even further. I’m glad I kept it. The reason why is mainly as a reminder to me of where I started as a woodworker; every time I get pissed at myself because this joint isn’t airtight, or I didn’t see that glue drip until after I had started applying the finish, I just sit at my computer desk, look at that bookcase, and go “Well, at least I don’t build them like that anymore.”

Don’t worry man, you’ll get there. We all do.

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