When a mistake is not a mistake.

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by pashley posted 10-26-2008 01:44 AM 1349 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View pashley's profile


1044 posts in 3859 days

10-26-2008 01:44 AM

Topic tags/keywords: paduak mistake

Maybe you guys have stories like this….

Today I was in the shop making a box, and it has a inlaid piece of Amboyna burl on the top. In my initial design, that’s all there was on the top.

Then reality happened.

While routing out the inlay, I went too far on one side (of course). Now it was either toss the piece I was routing out, or get creative.

So I went with the mistake, and routed out all sides to 3/16” and inlaid next to the burl strips of Paduak for contrast. Actually looked better than the original design!

I guess sometimes mistakes force you to get creative, and can actually get you better results!

-- Have a blessed day!

13 replies so far

View Grumpy's profile


24379 posts in 3993 days

#1 posted 10-26-2008 01:55 AM

Good result Pashley. Been there, done that a few times.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View lazyfiremaninTN's profile


528 posts in 4095 days

#2 posted 10-26-2008 02:01 AM

Remember the mantra…...It’s not a mistake, it’s a design modification.

-- Adrian ..... The 11th Commandment...."Thou Shalt Not Buy A Wobble Dado"

View CharlieM1958's profile


16276 posts in 4360 days

#3 posted 10-26-2008 02:08 AM

Hey, I go with my mistakes on every project. That’s why I never plan too carefully ahead of time.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View romansfivefive's profile


302 posts in 3915 days

#4 posted 10-26-2008 02:27 AM

Some of my best mistakes have been projects.

-- The CNC machine can either produce the work of art you imagined, or very decorative firewood.

View snowdog's profile


1166 posts in 4124 days

#5 posted 10-26-2008 01:57 PM

Well I must have a crap load of experience if “A true sign of experience… covering a mistake!” <grin>. I seem to have to always fix mine or someones elses mess-up but I guess that is Job Security in the long run.

-- "so much to learn and so little time"..

View pashley's profile


1044 posts in 3859 days

#6 posted 10-26-2008 02:36 PM

I agree that if you can fix a mistake, it’s a sign of experience. The only thing I can’t fix is cutting too short. No matter how much I cut it, it’s still too short.

-- Have a blessed day!

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4130 days

#7 posted 10-27-2008 02:31 AM

You have just learned one of the fundamental aspects of woodworking.

It’s not a mistake, it’s an opportunity. Everyone makes mistakes, it’s what you do about them that makes you a real woodworker.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4035 days

#8 posted 10-27-2008 03:06 AM

mistakes …..........that word should never be mentioned, merely better said as a design change because it is rarely about how fast you can make it, rather how fast you can fix it and “minimize” the odds of an error but a mistake is the “mother of inovation”.

I framed a wall up today at the shop. the leantoo/shed part of the shop and a mistake in hieght calculations caused a little bit of a hiccup in how it could be done. About a 2’ error in stud length led to two walls being built which was a real heavy, akward, almost a workmens compensation advertisement effort…...just a hernia in waiting. In the end it worked out perfect because the top wall could be brought out 4” and it let me “step” the siding…............. absolute perfection on the “visual” end of the scale…..and I digress.

When I put the last screw in, on the window installation it started to pour down rain, followed by hail hailed like the heavens were coming down.

and I stood inside, dry and looked out the window and I smiled.

For what its worth. I dont make many mistakes at this craft, rather view the whole thing as a journey where the end result is beautiful.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View RAH's profile


414 posts in 4019 days

#9 posted 10-27-2008 04:22 AM

I cut a board to narrow today, so I split it up the middle and put a strip of contrasting wood to widen it. I have a lot of practice doing this.

-- Ron Central, CA

View Dusty56's profile


11822 posts in 3830 days

#10 posted 10-27-2008 04:54 AM

I’m totally in agreement with the design modification theory and I practice it often : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View NY_Rocking_Chairs's profile


515 posts in 3739 days

#11 posted 10-27-2008 11:35 AM

When I carve out the rocking chair seats I drill depth holes so I have a guide when carving and can make both sides uniform. One day the drill-bit collar slipped and the hole went about 1/8” too deep. So I drilled it deeper, and added a crushed turquoise 1/4” dot inlay. The gallery loved it and asked that I make the same “mistake” on all of my chairs, this has sort of become my signature “mistake”. Though I always give a direct customer the option to have it or not.

If mistakes weren’t meant to happen, we would all be perfect, then would mistakes really exist?

-- Rich, anybody want a peanut?

View RichardB's profile


70 posts in 3631 days

#12 posted 11-07-2008 03:08 AM

I am making a trivet for my wife with some scraps from other projects. Pictures will follow, I promise.
It’s just an oak frame with mitered corners and a rabbet cut in the top to hold a tile. The tile is a souvenir from San Gabriel mission. A couple stumpy legs to make it look “mission style.”

I cut all the pieces out and it all looked okay until all 4 sides were together with a rubber band around it, then it became obvious that while the mitre gauge was perfect, the blade was not 90° to the table, so the corners all had huge gaps.

I was going to toss it all and cut some new sides when I had a lightbulb moment. I can make this thing whatever size I want – the dimensions I started with were arbitrary! So I widened the rabbet and re-cut the corners. This time they line up perfect. (or as close to it as I can get) So the thing is ¼” smaller than it started. Who cares? And the tile gets a bit more support under the edge.

I didn’t make a mistake, I just made lots of extra cuts to get to size.

View JWTIII's profile


13 posts in 3626 days

#13 posted 11-17-2008 04:10 PM

I am in agreement. It is these ‘variances’ that add an immense amount of character in a piece. If an item were ‘perfect’ then it might look sterile or like something made in a production line shop.
I am in the process of making 2 lowboys from a plan. Not only are there variances from the plans, lowboy #1 is slightly different from lowboy #2, to the point that I have my parts marked specifically for each lowboy to account for their uniqie character.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics