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Forum topic by Kaleb the Swede posted 04-22-2013 12:15 AM 1344 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Kaleb the Swede

1835 posts in 1997 days

04-22-2013 12:15 AM

Topic tags/keywords: humor tip question trick

I realize that this is childish to begin with. I am a very new wood worker (just a few months). I just completey destroyed a project (a sideboard for the couch) I have been working on for about 5 weeks (at night and time on weekends). Nothing was lining up, nothing was coming together right. I did this project to learn to cut mortise and tenons. I did a few; some worked, some didn’t. I threw the project onto the cement floor and proceeded to stomp on it and then in turn took it to my miter saw and cut it into very small pieces. I was close to being done. I know, I know, I know, I should have just walked away, but I didn’t. It is out of pallet wood, so it didn’t really cost me anything but time. I was just wondering, have you guys ever been so close and then just evicerated a project tht you were close to completing. And how do you come back to woodworking right after it. I am close to throwing in the towel, giving away my tools, and taking up watchin tv for a hobby. What is a good wood worker therapy. I don’t know if this is going anywhere, it’s just I know a lot of you have been doing this for a long time. What keeps you going?

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

25 replies so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29401 posts in 2366 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

Don Broussard

3575 posts in 2279 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


8208 posts in 2605 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 2716 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 2863 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


4883 posts in 2437 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 2218 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


7444 posts in 2071 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 1991 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 2718 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

1835 posts in 1997 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 1899 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

1835 posts in 1997 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


7736 posts in 2035 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 2300 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.

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