Half-way Done

A bit of a rant… about woodworking, but moreso about the mid-project crisis.

I’m in Grid-Lock about moving forward; or taking some time away from this project (I’ve already shelved the project once, for a special-request project).

I’ve taken-on a rocking chair project. I’ve purchased the excellent tutorials (DVD and the PDF versions) and there are paper-based templates outlines which are important for first-time efforts. These are expertly done, and immeasurably helpful.
Then there is the additional equipment I need for a project like this (a wood sculpting project, not casework): right angle grinder – and the assortment of carbide cutters and sanding disks, router-bits (about $75), a router collet extension, and an assortment of this-and-that (for example, I needed to build a cross-cut sled for the TS).

So, there is this financial commitment duly made – and I’m not begrudging this one bit; and the learning curve of safely and effectively using a right-angle grinder.

Going into this, I know this project is well-beyond my current skillset and fully expecting it to illicit equal amounts of pleasure, pain, frustration, and angst, I move onward…

I’m past the mid-point in the build, and, as of yesterday, had not made an unrecoverable error – having taken small steps, double-checked at each point – living the ‘measure-twice-cut-once’ doctrine; working slowly though bandsawing 10-degrees cants here, 6-degree cants there, 4-degree cants for this; 4 Maloof-style joints, plus fashioning an array of large and small-scale jigs and forms to facilitate something.

And you ask yourself – have I tried to cross a bridge too far?

The unrecoverable error today simply means that I remake two parts: a bit of work, given all of the related moving parts; but it’s not really these two parts that have me in a quandary.

I need time away from this one. Evidently, they’ll have to be Christmas presents, rather than for birthdays.
Within this, I tip my hat to individuals who have mastered these skills; and for anyone who takes on projects that are clearly beyond their current grasp, simply because they ARE beyond their current grasp – immense admiration from my part.
MJCD

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10 Comments

Madts ...

Keep on plowing my friend. It will all work out just fine.

lanwater ...

I believe the investment in tools will be useful for other projects.
A good cross cut sled is a life saver. I have 1 long sled, 2 cross cut sleds and 1 panel sled. All home made and did not cost much. Probably 1/2 sheet of ply and 1/2 of formica (plastic laminate)

I use my latest cross cut sled the most, it’s a life saver.

When mistakes start to happen more than usual I take time off.
I have not restarted my rocker year and I am still at the very early stage. I bought the walnut months ago but I having a problem deciding on the seat. I can’t seem to align the pieces so I have continuity in grain. So I let it sleep until the “ahhah” moment (it might take a while with me).
Don’t rush it. take your time. Make a cutting board for the birthday.
No matter what the experience you are getting out of this first one will make the second one come out much better.
Just think you spent the money on chair making class.

Brian ...

“I know this project is well-beyond my current skillset and fully expecting it to illicit equal amounts of pleasure, pain, frustration, and angst, I move onward…”

If you’re a hobby ww like me then that’s the joy of the whole thing. Especially the aha moments and recovery moments. It’s the journey not the destination.

MJCD ...

Thanks, much, for the comments. If this were easy, it wouldn’t be worth doing. I’m going to take a step back, sharpen some chisels and planes, clean-out my dust collector, re-organize the shop for the up-teenth time; then get back to it. These are better endeavors than setting-ablaze the current work.

As an aside, years ago, I was studying for a national professional exam – it has a less-than 20% pass rate, historically. I was banging around, tired of the studying and time commitment; my wife of many years threatened me with a frying pan; told me to stop complaining and pass the damn thing – next testing date, I did pass the exam. The ‘ahhah’ moments we all cherish…

Thanks, guys.
MJCD

Rennners ...

Within this, I tip my hat to individuals who have mastered these skills; and for anyone who takes on projects that are clearly beyond their current grasp, simply because they ARE beyond their current grasp – immense admiration from my part.

Look at it like this, you are pushing yourself into the unknown, you should be commended for doing so. If everyone just stuck to what they were comfortable with, we’d live in a world of square furniture.
Forget the errors and annoyances and expense of this job, think about what will have gained by the end of it.

lanwater ...

Well said Rennners. For every “creation” I produce there is half a dozen that die from a premature death :)

Richforever ...

No honest effort goes unrewarded. Keep up the good work. There might be another project after this that you are supposed to do, that you wouldn’t be able to do without having done this one.

It took me two years to build a swing for inside my home. It messed up the living room for two years. I had to redo parts of it. It’s finally done, and I’m having a “swinging great time”. (And I can use the living room again.)

MJCD ...

I’m used to building two to build one – and that’s OK. I can make anything at twice the price and without a set delivery date.

I’ve sharpened the chisels and plane, spent the appropriate amount on a quality disk sander (the purchase-something satisfaction), and rigorously cleaned-out my dusk collector – my two parts (arms) are remade, and I’m marking progress along the path.

MJCD

Madts ...

Well it looks like you have it made.

Mike40 ...

No pain no gain as they say. Because of your approach to this ‘new’ type of work I’m sure this project will turn out well for you.