A Day of Imperfect Things

A busy day, working with wood in various ways. I think at the end of the day, I felt pretty dejected – most of what I worked on was less than ideal. And the image in my mind’s eye was vastly different (and vastly far removed) from the actual thing in front of me.

We started with an early morning, heading over to the Chicago School of Woodworking. There are “makeup” classes on the weekends, and Liz and I were pre-emptively making up a class ahead of time.

There were a decent number of students who showed up for the weekend session, with many folks in different classes and at different stages. It made for an interesting collection, but everyone mostly just focused on their own work.

Me, I was working on a bridle joint. And somehow in the process of making this… I had forgotten all the lessons about using the pull saw. And was really gouging the wood, and digging into the good bits.

At a certain point, I started to become worried that my piece would snap and break apart, and became less worried about the actual joint itself. The fact that this middle piece came out while the rest of the wood remained intact? A small miracle.

I mis-marked my wood during the first class, and instead of having two half-lap joints and two bridle joints, I ended up having three half-lap joints, and just one bridle joint. Which, given how badly my bridle joint came out… was possibly a blessing in disguise.

Looking at those saw marks on the bottom right. Yeeesh.

Also dug in a little too far. Again, at a certain point my baseline became “the wood not breaking apart.”

Let me tell you – dry fitting things was incredibly stressful.

Fast forward a bit: we stopped off at Home Depot to pick up some saw horse brackets, and fell to trying to create some new saw horses for our newly reclaimed space.

I’m incredibly slow about building things, especially new things. I think I’ve got a fear of making mistakes, and that tends to really slow me down.

I eventually got a set of saw horses made, but not sure how well they really are. They both seemed to be a little wobbly, with one leg higher than the others. To my credit though, both horses are consistently off in the exact same way. So I guess that’s somewhat good?

At the end of the day, I felt like I was just producing imperfect things. And ultimately, it doesn’t matter much. The woodworking stuff is all just about learning. And the saw horses are just… saw horses.

But I want things to be better than they are, or at least better than I’m able to make them. We’re getting some nice (and expensive) trim delivered soon – and I’m nervous about messing things up. I know we’re going to take our time, but today made me question how well I’m going to do… when the stakes get higher.

Gibbs the Shop Dog
Woodworking Class, Continued

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