handsawgeek's Lathe Stand: A Hand Tool Build For a Tailed Appliance #3: READY…FIRE…AIM !!

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Blog entry by handsawgeek posted 08-13-2014 02:29 PM 2466 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: The Jaunt Begins Part 3 of handsawgeek's Lathe Stand: A Hand Tool Build For a Tailed Appliance series Part 4: “Armstrong” Tools »

I am a musician.

I play electric and acoustic violins, guitars, and mandolins.

Not as a professional. I rather view myself as a professional amateur, performing quite frequently in public, but rarely for pay.

As any musician is fully aware, live music performance is fertile ground for making mistakes. Wrong notes, missed notes, out-of-tune notes, mis-cues, wrong keys, forgotten passages, wrong tempos, the list goes on. And that’s not to mention difficulties caused by those pesky equipment issues.

Ask any pro recording artist. They’ve been there, done that.

Seasoned musicians are very adept at not letting on that they’ve made a gaff. They don’t let it bother them and just continue on. 99% of the time the audience doesn’t even notice.

The beauty(?) of making a musical mistake is, once the air molecules that vibrate that mistake throughout the auditorium stop, that particular note is lost forever (Unless, of course, someone is recording the performance). The musician never has to worry about that particular blunder again.

Not so with woodworking.

A mistake in a woodworking project, no matter how well concealed, hidden, or repaired, stays with the piece for as long as it exists. Most casual observers will never notice it. Other seasoned woodworkers may or may not notice it, but will tend to chalk it off as ‘character’. Take a real close examination sometime of any piece of fine hand-made antique furniture and you’ll see what I mean.

But, you can be dern sure that the craftsman that made the piece knows that mistake is there.

He knows all the details about it – the process and tool that put it there. He probably remembers his reaction when the error was made or discovered. He remembers the expletives he may have uttered. He may remember the tool or project piece that sailed across the shop.

Even though he may have corrected the error very nicely, he knows it’s still there, every time he looks at the piece.

And it gnaws at him.

So it is that the handsawgeek made such a mistake – right from the word ‘GO’, mind you – on the lathe stand.

After cutting the frame sides to length, it was time to saw out the notches for the corner joints on the ends of the pieces. By virtue of some unexplainable brain-fart, I laid out the first notch ninety degrees from what it was supposed to be – and cheerfully made the cuts!


No expletives were uttered…..

No tool or project piece sailed across the shop…..

Being somewhat lazy, I didn’t want to start from scratch on another piece of wood.

Instead, I put on my ‘Musician-Who-Just-Made-A- BooBoo’ face, and calmly resolved to fix the error later, and proceed to saw out the other three notches on the board (in the correct orientation of course).

I also reminded myself that this was a knockabout piece of shop furniture made out of North American Scroungewood, and not a fine furniture project.

Once the cuts on the two frame side pieces were completed, it was time to repair the initial mess-up.
A spare chunk of North American Scroungewood, some glue, a couple of clamps, and a little more saw work did the trick. And a lesson was learned:

“Pay attention, measure twice, cut once.”

The finished end pieces:

By the way, sawdustike is OK.

Now I think I will go upstairs and practice some Bach or something.

-- Ed

8 comments so far

View Airframer's profile


3043 posts in 2434 days

#1 posted 08-13-2014 06:52 PM

Being a musician myself I have always leaned on the other necessary skill you must develop when playing live… The ability to recover rather than react when something goes wrong and be able to improvise when needed on the spot. Those 2 skills crossover directly into woodworking. It’s not the mistakes you make that matter it’s what you make of the mistakes that matters.

Nice recovery and just relax… wood really does grow on trees ;-)

-- Eric - "I'm getting proficient with these hand jobbers. - BigRedKnothead"

View handsawgeek's profile


663 posts in 1877 days

#2 posted 08-13-2014 07:35 PM

Bingo! You are right on the money with that. Even something as simple as making a slight grimace will convey to the audience that you have made a gaff! Can’t count all the times I’ve had to improv. to catch up to where I should be. Of course, if you happen to be playing jazz, nobody knows if a mistake was even made in the first place!

-- Ed

View Texcaster's profile


1286 posts in 2155 days

#3 posted 08-13-2014 08:59 PM

I’m a social musician as well. I host a jam usually twice a month. Mistakes aren’t a worry for me in an informal setting. On many tunes everyone is playing one of my instruments, either one they bought ( mates rates ) or ones I lend for the occasion.

The only time I sweat a woodworking mistake is for a paying customer. If I can’t make it invisible, I do it over.

I cut the drawer dovetails on the face on this one. It’s purpose built for me and won’t leave home in my lifetime.
I live with it, keeps me humble.

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View Texcaster's profile


1286 posts in 2155 days

#4 posted 08-14-2014 03:52 AM

I forgot to mention the main advantage of ww over musical performance …. when you present the finished piece you don’t have to perform it. It’s finished, just stand back and say … ” Thank you very much.”

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 1967 days

#5 posted 08-14-2014 03:58 AM

It’s a good thing I play bass. Casual listeners won’t hear me screw up. All the time. Mainly after 1/2 priced whiskey.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Texcaster's profile


1286 posts in 2155 days

#6 posted 08-14-2014 11:36 AM

Fridge, the funny thing about the bass is, in my experience, people only notice the bass if it’s wrong or it stops for some reason.

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View handsawgeek's profile


663 posts in 1877 days

#7 posted 08-14-2014 05:46 PM

Playing louder and with lots of distortion helps too!

-- Ed

View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2620 posts in 1544 days

#8 posted 10-25-2015 08:57 AM

There are no wrong notes. Any “wrong” note can be passed off as a “passing” or “leading” note. Unless you’re wearing a tuxedo, and judges are listening.

I cut it three times, and it’s still too short.

-- Mark

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