Dumb Mistakes

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    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.

    I repeated, like a mantra, enjoy the process!

    Colin Scowen

    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.)

    Colin, Czech Rep.

    Benoît Van Noten

    “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!

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