I had the better part of eight hours invested in this little project. Next I only had to plow the groove around the outside to free the lid and finish the shiplap shape. After 15 minutes, I'm onto the final face when an alarm bell starts clanging in my head—Something is wrong here.
Suddenly I realize that my entire design won't work. I have passed the point of no return and this project just became firewood.
What do you do when this happens? (Besides curse a blue streak to the walls.)
Me, I take a deep breath and walk away. Call me optimistic but I always believe there is a way to salvage a project gone wrong. They key is flexibility in your concept which can actually be a lot harder than it sounds. As woodworkers, we build things that are unique because we can. When we decide on a design it can be hard to compromise and alter it. However, every time I have been forced to creatively fix an error, I'm happier with the outcome and the way it has changed my design than I was with the original concept.
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I examine what I have and where I want to go and figure out a way to connect those two points. Woodworkers make stuff so why can't I make a solution here? So guess what, this little box is the product of a major firewood-creating mistake. The Walnut rim was never planned but if I hadn't said anything, would you have known that? Exactly. Whatever doesn't end up as tiny shavings on the floor only makes us better woodworkers.
How about you? I can't be the only one who makes mistakes. Tell me about your creative fixes and how it changed your design.
This "Hand Tool School" series is provided courtesy of Shannon Rogers, a/k/a The Renaissance Woodworker. Rogers is founder of The Hand Tool School, which provides members with an online apprenticeship that teaches them how to use hand tools and to build furniture with traditional methods.