Entertainment Center #9: Frustration.................!

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Blog entry by Dano posted 08-06-2007 03:21 AM 1904 reads 0 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 8: Mortise and Tenon - Part 2 Part 9 of Entertainment Center series Part 10: Things are Better - So Far Anyway! »

I have been doing other things of late to enable more work on the EC such as building a box for the new PC dovetail jig per Shopnotes, and other such diversions. I decided however that it was time to get back after the EC and having overcome, I thought, some design dilemmas such as how to attach the back, whether to build wooden or use metal drawer slides, determining the proper sizing of the drawers and other such trivial details I thought I was ready. Thinking that I had everything under control I attacked the EC with firm resolve today, determined to make great progress but alas, the EC proved to be up to the challenge and reduced me to a humble amateur that I am, and, then slapped me just to ensure I knew that my amateur status had not changed.

I had watched the Woodsmith podcast on routers and decided to build a dado jig for my Dewalt router. Here is a picture of it.

Dado Jig

Suposedly, the neat thing about it is that if you use a scrap piece of the material that is to go into the dado to set the jig initially you are supposed to get nice tight dados that perfectly fit the stock, in this case ¾ inch oak plywood. Well, it didn’t work, the dados were too tight and the plywood would not go into the dado. Now I could have easily opened up the jig a wee bit and re-routed but that was too easy, no I had to use the Stanly model 98 side rabbit plane that was my Grandfather’s. Cool, it still works but need some sharpening, I work the dados anyway. The partitions fit! But wait the dados are not consistent; there are gaps at places, geeeeez… I hate gaps, it shows amateurish work, AND I AM A PERFECTIONIST! The wife tells me “No one will ever notice” but I will always know; you know what I mean, don’t you?

Next I attempt (heavy on the attempt part) to mill the 3 vertical dividers that will go into the dados that I have just made in the floor of the EC. I measure several times and then make the required cuts. I have decided to cut tongues on the front edge of the dividers to place in the solid oak trim pieces that will show on the front of the EC. ¼ inch wide and ¼ inch deep should work. I set up the router table – Eureka! It works the tongues are cut without too much anguish. Now I set up to mill the trim pieces from 4 quarter oak, I joint the edge and then cut just over size of the width I want planning to plane the sides with the new Lie-Neilson low angle block plane I picked up at last Saturday’s Woodcraft tool sale (small gloat). I then make multiple passes on the table saw to make the dados to accept the tongue milled into the partitions. Ah but…. I dado the wrong side of one and screw it up. I have to make another, maybe I should quit for the day but common sense gives way to the “dam the torpedoes” mentality I have and I push ahead and make another. I am starting to get tired and frustrated.

I assemble the EC again, this time with the partitions. Hummm, I notice that I need to notch the tongues I made to fit over the lower front rail, minor issue. I get out the jig saw and attack the first one, it needs clean up though, so I get out one of my chisels that I have been working on for 2 weeks to sharpen via the “Scary Sharp” method. It works great, maybe I don’t need the jigsaw, maybe I could just pare away the tongue – Eureka! It works. I am using hand tools – I am on my way to becoming a Master Craftsman! I lay down the chisel, proud of my accomplishment, small I know, but never the less monumental to me. I walk to the other side other side of the work table (table saw). Then I hear it, the chisel, it is rolling and…CRAP….it falls. Yes the workshop floor has risen up to smite the chisel, my luck continues on its downward spiral. The chisel will require re-sharpening. The radio announces that it is now 96 degrees which is confirmed by the stench of my BO and the sweat soaking my t-shirt.

I dry fit everything together. I miscalculated the partition width and they are too wide, my wife notices it in one of her jaunts to the garage, I mean workshop. No problem, I’ll just setup the rip fence and trim them up. First one – good, second one – good, third one good at first then – KICK BACK! I don’t know what I did and it wasn’t bad, just enough to ruin the work piece. The telling semi-circular tear is evident and naturally it is on the side that will be exposed. Time to quit, to push on would certainly lead to disaster. No, it is time to clean up and wait for a better day, I am learning a great deal but most of it comes via the University of Hard Knocks – I think I need to go fishing…….

-- Dan in Central Oklahoma, Able to turn good wood into saw dust in the blink of an eye!

16 comments so far

View Karson's profile


35278 posts in 5645 days

#1 posted 08-06-2007 03:31 AM

Sorry about your frustration. Good luck fishing.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 5556 days

#2 posted 08-06-2007 03:37 AM

I’m sorry to hear that you are having these troubles and setbacks on your project. Hold fast and continue pressing forward. The main thing is to figure what went wrong and why, so it won’t happen again. Your jig looks well made. I don’t know why it didn’t work accordingly. Was it the bit or maybe the thickness of the plywood was irregular? It is always good to try these things on a test piece and to use the piece you’re cutting the dado for to see if it fits. Of course, you know this and probably, like most of us with limited time in the shop, decided to bypass this step sure that the jig would work flawlessly. Be sure that I’ve shared these same moments and setbacks and that it is part of the process of woodworking. I know things will go better once you return from a good day fishing.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Drew1House's profile


425 posts in 5333 days

#3 posted 08-06-2007 03:46 AM

I am glad you quit… start again on a new fresh non tired frusterating day laced with very dangerous powertools.


-- Drew, Pleasant Grove, Utah

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 5342 days

#4 posted 08-06-2007 03:49 AM

Every one in a while it is good to step away. I’ve had days like this.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 5559 days

#5 posted 08-06-2007 03:53 AM

A woodworking perfectionist is an oxymoron.

View Dano's profile


222 posts in 5277 days

#6 posted 08-06-2007 04:47 AM

Dennis I am not sure about the oxy part but I definitely fee the part of the moron some days ;)

I am not complaining hear as this project has added immensely to my woodworking skills but it is frustrating non the less. Probably one of the biggest lessons learned is to do a complete plan before cutting any wood. I have had to work through many design issues that I would have done differently if the mold had not been cast yet.

I hope that this series will educate others about my mistake before they start down the same path.

-- Dan in Central Oklahoma, Able to turn good wood into saw dust in the blink of an eye!

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 5559 days

#7 posted 08-06-2007 04:51 AM

As a professional I know that frustration never really goes away. We just get bigger projects to experience it on. Keep the faith.

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 5207 days

#8 posted 08-06-2007 04:54 AM

Some times it’s just time to go smoke a cigar.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Buckskin's profile


486 posts in 5233 days

#9 posted 08-06-2007 06:01 AM

And wetting a worm sometimes can bring answers. Put a notebook in your tackle box.

View VTWoody's profile


95 posts in 5302 days

#10 posted 08-06-2007 05:33 PM

That is definitely the time to find a lounge chair in (substitute whichever one fits your fancy) backyard, in front of the TV, in front of the Radio, watching the Wood Whisperer (no, scratch that, he makes this stuff look too easy, that might be even more frustrating!), open a beer, open a good book and forget your troubles for a while. It does however sound like good progress is being made. Kudos for that.

View che's profile


123 posts in 5271 days

#11 posted 08-06-2007 05:57 PM

I second the lounge chair. One of the books on wooden boat construction I read called this the “Moaning chair”.

-- Che.

View Dano's profile


222 posts in 5277 days

#12 posted 08-07-2007 01:09 AM

Ah, fishing, therapy for the mind. I am planning on it next Saturday – fly rod and bluegill and bass, that should give me a new perspective. Oh, I already took advantage of a comfortable chair and a Mohito (my wife’s new beverage of choice). Thanks for all the encouragement!

-- Dan in Central Oklahoma, Able to turn good wood into saw dust in the blink of an eye!

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5406 days

#13 posted 08-09-2007 09:08 PM

bluegill—what a great little fish to catch on a flyrod!
My favourite is the crappie.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 5342 days

#14 posted 08-10-2007 12:14 AM

I miss crappie fishing on ultra light gear. I used to go all the time when I lived in Michigan.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Dano's profile


222 posts in 5277 days

#15 posted 08-10-2007 05:22 AM

Ah Ms. Debbie, Bluegill are a warm water fisherman’s trout! Love the little suckers, a size 10 or 12 topwater popin bug, float tube and summer morning – heaven on earth for sure.

-- Dan in Central Oklahoma, Able to turn good wood into saw dust in the blink of an eye!

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