What to do with mistakes?

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Blog entry by Benomatic posted 07-14-2008 05:29 AM 923 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve been working on a small hanging shelf that is suppose to be testing out my new table saw: in reality it is my table saw testing me out. I made the mistake of cutting my dados with a wobble blade instead of waiting to buy an actual set of Freud dado blades- but at the time it seemed like I could get away with it. Its b/c these dados turned out so bad that I went out and bought the right kind of blade for the job I was doing. Why- WHY! So my mistake is now having dados which required some fill to help hide where the shelves don’t perfectly fit the sides and back. Most of the time I see mistakes as challenges – possible design modifications that make my project better than it would have been. But this time its a mistake that can’t be hidden, looks bad, and seems like there is no great fix. I’ve decided to continue on and try to make other parts standout to draw attention, but I’ll always see the mistake – BEN

-- Erica - I'll be out in the Man Cave - Bring me some meatloaf!

10 comments so far

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 4525 days

#1 posted 07-14-2008 06:51 AM

Dude! It’s called “Mistakes made; Experience gained”!

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View Betsy's profile


3392 posts in 4431 days

#2 posted 07-14-2008 11:00 AM

Ben – just a few thoughts. If your are making a dado for a plywood shelf – it is often easier to do the dado with a router and bit made for that size ply. As with nominal lumber what you buy is not what you get. A 3/4 piece of ply is seldom a true 3/4. I’ve always found it fussy to mess with a dado blade and the shims to get it just right. I generally will reach for my router and bits. If I don’t have the right size bit, I make two passes to get the right size.

Aside from that, there are a couple of cheap ways to fix those gaps. If you paint your project, you can fill in the gaps with painter’s caulk and hide any unsightly gaps. It works well until you get the hang of doing dados. The other way is to cut small dado-length shims (thin offcuts) to slide into the dado and trim back with a sharp chisel. A good eye will probably notice the shim, but if you fill up with shelves with stuff then no one will notice!

I had one of those wobble dado blades. HAD. Hated that thing. Now I’ve got a regular set that sits idle most of the time because I like doing dados with my router instead.

Good luck.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Taigert's profile


593 posts in 4375 days

#3 posted 07-14-2008 11:21 AM

Wobble blades suck, tried one once, luckly it wasn’t my blade set.
I try to do what Betsy suggests, using my router and sneaking up on the size I need.
No matter how we try to hide our mistakes, we will never forget that, that mistake is sitting there for the rest of the world to see. Even though we fixed it so know one will ever know unless we tell them. It’s almost like a guilt thing, just knowing that it’s there.
Like they say you will never be perfect without making mistakes?

-- Taigert - Milan, IN

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 4474 days

#4 posted 07-14-2008 12:08 PM

I do believe there was a discussion a while back about wobble dados and it’s been pretty much agreed that they should be illegal. Too many of us have gone where you are and had the issues you’re having. It’s almost too sad to tell.

As to ‘hiding’ the less than accurate dados, you might try a face frame or a nice routed trim. If I’m envisioning your shelves correctly (that’s a 50/50 bet at best), then you could add a decorative touch while putting those gaps behind, so to speak.

-- Working at Woodworking

View Mario's profile


902 posts in 4586 days

#5 posted 07-14-2008 02:11 PM

Wood stove… What mistake…. its fire wood to keep me warm… and a chance to hone my skills.

-- Hope Never fails

View Josh's profile


119 posts in 4473 days

#6 posted 07-14-2008 02:24 PM

I have years of mistakes floating around my house. I finish every project to the best of my ability. When I’m done if it sucks I make another one. The 2nt one is always better. The first one gets painted and given to a kid or something like that.

The very first project i made still sits on my back porch. It was messed up but I still look at with pride. I built it! The gaps, and runs in the finish, those are just character. I can point to that piece and show you what i learned.

Dark wax might help you hide some of those gaps.

View Partridge's profile


296 posts in 4491 days

#7 posted 07-14-2008 06:34 PM

this could be a good time to practice inlay’s (glue a piece of scrap in the dado and re cut)

-- I get out in the shop when I can

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 4289 days

#8 posted 07-15-2008 05:05 AM

Every time my dad goes through a cleanup of his shop he tries to give an old Craftsman wobble dado set, I so politely decline. My father-in law told to stay away from those things ;)

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View Benomatic's profile


13 posts in 4141 days

#9 posted 07-16-2008 03:00 AM

Thanks for the replys – I found all of them really helpful: I’m making a dado jig to use with my router / I’ve also inserted some small wood shavings to help fix the gaps / and last I’ve decieded to keep working on this project – it will be a good reminder of my lessons learned. Thanks again! Ben

-- Erica - I'll be out in the Man Cave - Bring me some meatloaf!

View clem's profile


7 posts in 4198 days

#10 posted 08-10-2008 03:19 AM

had a wobble blade before put it in a garage sale and nobody wanted it either if you buy a freud dado set get the dial set if you have a left tilt saw take the dial off and replace it to the other end but make sure that you have enough arbor i sell this dado set

clem from delaware

-- clem de,

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