I’m making a workbench which has consumed about 2 months so far. I’m at the stage of chopping and routing the leg recesses. I made a mistake that just struck me as so illustrative of the learning process for me which is generally making a mistake and then correcting to somehow make the mistake worse. By the third try I usually start to see improvement.
Anyway, I first cut the wedges for the leg recess and, miraculously, they looked just like they were supposed to. Then I laid out the recesses and, once again everything looked good. Chopped and routed and ended up with a recess that looked amazingly good! Maybe I’m getting better.
Fitted the leg and tried to press in the wedge — no go. Can’t get the wedge in. Should I go back and rewatch the video? Heck, no! Bust out the smoothing plane and lop off a few shavings and it’ll fit like a charm. Nope. Now the wedge is loose and doesn’t hold.
I was about to cut a new wedge when I finally came to my senses and rewatched the video. When Paul fits the wedge it’s obvious that it’s a wedge for a reason. He doesn’t press it straight into the dado like I was trying to do. He slides it down at a slight angle until the bottom of the wedge snugs in and then presses in from the bottom up. I resisted the urge to whack myself in the head with my hammer and refit the wedge. It slides a little farther than I’d like, leaving a gap at the top, but it now holds perfectly.
Happens to all of us. I made a simple mistake in a glue up today, due to being distracted (woodworking while on a zoom call with some chums). It will show in the final piece, but it won’t affect the function in any way, and I am the only one who will know it’s there, but it’s still annoying. (I am making fly screens for one of the kids windows.)
“It slides a little farther than I’d like, leaving a gap at the top, ”
This little gap is useful, it allows you to push on top of the wedge ( with a screw driver or a pry bar) to sit it more firmly.
If you don’t like it, saw the proud part at the bottom.
Now I’ve discovered another dumb mistake. The aprons are a bit narrower than called for in the drawings so I discovered there’s not enough room for the dome-head bolts under the tenon. So, time to laminate on a two-by four at the bottom, then extend the dado. On a happy note, my wedges are no longer too long!