Shop Notes #8: Murphy's telling me to do this! Screwed up again!

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Blog entry by DocSavage45 posted 02-21-2014 09:32 PM 2120 reads 1 time favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: What do you do with rust? Part 8 of Shop Notes series Part 9: 2 steps forward and one step back. »

Been rehabbing my office furniture for my little office. No money, just time. Got some advice from A1Jim as to how to go about finishing the piece. Don’t have dyes, or money to buy it. Sanded out nicks and groves. Sealed the top. Didn’t match the desk design. So I did a test piece of Rustolium espresso. Test board matched colors in desk.

Sprayed one coat on desk top. Neutral finish showing grain patterns! Success. Next day thought about two finishing options. Water bourn poly or the oil based stain I rubbed the rest of the desk with. Did the test piece. It had two coats of paint on sanded wood. It was good. I then started to rub it into one half of the desk top. Removed the finish!

I was thinking how many of you LJ’s experienced this. Also was going to write a Murphy’s Law blog, but Googled and found a great one by George Walker. 2010 from his Design Blog.

I thought I’d share it
Murphy’s laws of woodworking.

Many of these I have learned the hard way:
1. Off square parts will assemble for maximum ill effect.
2. Your workshop is never big enough.
3. The workshop of your dreams won’t be big enough.
4. Mobile bases aren’t mobile in seven inches of sawdust.
5. Plastic wood isn’t.
6. A Safety guard hasn’t been invented that can prevent stupid.
7. Sawdust coating the laundry basket usually precedes a storm.
8. Finding one of your good chisels in the kitchen junk drawer is another sign of an impending storm.
9. The ideal number of clamps is two more than you will ever own.
10. The ideal sized clamp is two inches longer than the one you are making do with.
11. It’s time to sweep the shop floor when:
1. You start losing tools bigger than a router.
2. The kids start digging tunnels and building forts.
3. You start bumping your head on the ceiling.
12. Amateur woodworkers don’t have clocks in their workshops; professionals don’t have enough time in theirs.
13. Hammering a bent nail into a board will not make it go away.
14. A tool tray at the back of your workbench was the original inspiration for the discovery of “Black holes” in the universe.
15. The original cost of a router is insignificant compared to what you will spend on router bits.
16. The amount of years spent woodworking is directly proportional to the amount of extra lights and outlets installed in the workshop.
17. Flying objects are never a good sign in the workshop.
18. Smoke is never a good sign in the workshop.
19. A popping sound when removing clamps is never a good sign in the workshop.
20. Re-attached fingers never work as well as original equipment.
21. Lumber always costs more than you planned.
22. You never have enough tools until you have at least three of everything.
23. “Natural material – no two are alike” means this wood is full of knots.
24. Your biggest goof will take place nearest the end of a project.
25. Experienced woodworkers still make mistakes; they are also more adept at hiding them.
26. All blueprints contain errors; it’s your job to find them the hard way.
27. There are six different ways to solve any woodworking problem, and at least thirty six ways to flub it up.
28. Calling it a day after really screwing something up will not make it better in the morning.
29. A dull drill bit will not magically become sharp by throwing it back in a cigar box.
30. If you never scrap anything, you probably don’t make anything either.
31. No one appreciates a door that closes smoothly, but even a moron will crab about one that sticks.

I’ve been compiling this list for some time. If you have any to add, I’d love to hear them.
George R. Walker

Please add your own!


-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

12 comments so far

View Bricofleur's profile


1464 posts in 3676 days

#1 posted 02-21-2014 09:55 PM

Hillarious! Many thanks, Tom.



-- Learn from yesterday, work today and enjoy success tomorrow. --

View pintodeluxe's profile


5975 posts in 3296 days

#2 posted 02-21-2014 10:52 PM

That can be a big problem, especially in the winter time when stain doesn’t fully dry overnight like we expect it to. Even in warmer temperatures, a wipe-on top coat will lift some of the stain off.
I switched to spraying my topcoats, and it completely eliminates the problem.

Best of luck with your project.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View DocSavage45's profile


8860 posts in 3326 days

#3 posted 02-22-2014 12:02 AM

Serge,, any thing to add? :-)

Willie, Many thanks for your input.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Woodbridge's profile


3691 posts in 2901 days

#4 posted 02-22-2014 12:44 AM

Not really a Murphy’s law, perhaps more of an Irish prayer: “keep your tools sharp and your fingers clear”.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View DocSavage45's profile


8860 posts in 3326 days

#5 posted 02-22-2014 01:18 AM

I’m trying to figure how to do that one without Murphy! Not laughing!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View DocSavage45's profile


8860 posts in 3326 days

#6 posted 02-22-2014 01:22 AM

This one works everywhere.

Figuring how long and how much it will take to get it done. Then multiplying it times three!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3792 days

#7 posted 02-22-2014 01:44 AM

If you have a 3/4 piece of wood and a 3/4 screw how come it always poles through the other side?

View DocSavage45's profile


8860 posts in 3326 days

#8 posted 02-22-2014 02:23 AM

LOL! :-)

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30428 posts in 2821 days

#9 posted 02-22-2014 04:17 PM

You don’t need the scraps you throw away until you throw it away.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View DocSavage45's profile


8860 posts in 3326 days

#10 posted 02-22-2014 04:20 PM

Very True Monte, looked for some to hold a piece off the bench. “I know I have those somewhere?”

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Bluepine38's profile


3387 posts in 3568 days

#11 posted 02-22-2014 08:35 PM

After you install the 220 volt outlets for your saw in the middle of your shop where it will work best, you
will get the biggest most beautiful piece of wood that has to be cut with the saw in the door of the shop
to provide clearance without ruining the wood. Do not ask me how I know.

-- As ever, Gus-the 80 yr young apprentice carpenter

View DocSavage45's profile


8860 posts in 3326 days

#12 posted 02-22-2014 11:33 PM


I made a 220 extension cord just because! LOL!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

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