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Monday, December 5, 2011

Builder's Blues

It turns out most people that view my blog videos do so completely outside the confines of the blog itself.  Whether it’s via YouTube or iTunes, the majority of my viewers never actually read my intros.  For that reason, I usually keep them brief and to the point.  But you know what?  This is still a blog and so I’m going to make it a little… well… bloggie once in a while.

First, my apologies for the long wait between posts.  I could blame Thanksgiving and crazy work travel, but the reality is I hit that inevitable part of every project where I got builder’s block.  I had finished all the challenging and creative steps, and was left with a rag tag punch list that included the drawer kickers, fitting the drawers, and closing up the drafty back of the case.  Selfishly, I was emotionally done with the project and was already thinking two projects ahead.  But guess what?  I realized that this is the point of every project that ultimately separates good from great.

It is far too easy to start neglecting details once you get well into a project, but those details are exactly what you as a maker or your customer will come to appreciate over time.  It could be the perfect reveal around each drawer front, or the hardwood back that nobody sees but for every few years.  Or that the drawers slide perfectly in and out without racking even after the thousandth time.  Those are the reasons that make me prideful about my work even years after the fact.  I realized then that the first time I start ignoring those seemingly annoying details is when I have to rethink why I got into this craft in the first place.  So I promptly got my butt down to the shop and made some good drawers into some great drawers.

So with that preamble out of my system, this episode focuses on those details that really do separate good from great.  The things your customer or your wife might not appreciate right away or even in a few years.   Heck, even if nobody notices after 10 years, you will still be left with the pride of knowing you did the job right, and you didn’t cheat that tree that may have taken 100 years to yield your stock.  Leave the corner cutting to the production shops, not yours.

Right click to download the HD version of this video


Walt's Wood's said...

Another great video as always. I've wanted to use the jointer to rabbet a board I'm glad I watched you do it first. I was wondering if standing the board on edge would br better, did you try that?

Tom Iovino said...

Great article, Rob. I think that just about every woodworker struggles with the 'gotta dos' in a project... the finishing of the inside of a case, etc.

Your post shows how an experienced and talented woodworker overcomes the block. Thanks for addressing it.

Rob Bois said...

Walt, the safest way to use the jointer to rabbet is to have the jointer bed face the widest dimension of the rabbet. Most rabbets (including mine) are wider than they are deep, so it's better to lay the piece flat so your jointer blades aren't exposed higher than necessary. But if you had a narrow deep rabbet on thicker stock, standing it up on it's side would indeed make more sense.

Also, thanks to Tom for the kind comments. To be clear though, I only outlined my own experiences, not those of a talented or experienced woodworker ;)

Anonymous said...

Hey Rob. Another great video. I was wondering how you like your Steel City table saw. Any complaints or problems? Would you recommend it? thanks for all the info.

Rich Friess

Rob Bois said...

Thanks Rich. I've been reasonably happy with the Steel City saw. I got a great deal on mine since it was one of the last models they made before adding the riving knife (in some ways I wished I'd held out for that). But, it has the easiest blade guard I've seen to put on and take off, so I actually use it. Dust collection is decent, although a ton of dust get trapped in the cabinet which can be a pain to clean out. It's also only a 110v machine, but gets more power out of it than most hybrid saws. My only complaint is that the threaded hole that receives the screw to hold down the insert plate is stripped - I'm currently trying to find a solution to that problem.