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While visions of perfection dance in my head

I deal with correcting mistakes instead!

It has been quite a while since my last post, but I AM still working on this project. In addition to regular life, we have had a week long vacation, business trips (including 2 weeks in China), a family illness and preparing for RAGBRAI . The shop time has been hard to come by.

I figured this would be a good time to confess and share how I am dealing with this round of unexpected issues.

Dull Bandsaw Blade

I started to shape one side of the back legs. I knew my bandsaw had a dull blade, but I got lazy and told myself that I could just leave a little extra wood. Wrong. The blade took on a twist and curved right past my line. Stopped and bought a new blade (one with a better tooth profile) and the rest of the cuts went fine. But I was stuck with one leg that needed help.

My solution was to flatten out the damaged area and glue a patch on.

After the glue dried, I smoothed the sides. The grain matched quite well.

Once I did the final shaping, there is a faint glue line that I think willl nearly disappear once the wood darkens (sorry no pic)

Router Pattern

This one was an act of real poor thinking. I had been shaping several legs and always being careful to turn the router on and off only when it was stable on the template.

Except this ONE time.

I lifted the router while it was on and the bit cut into the pattern :( The solution here was automotive body filler (Bondo).

The filler was applied to the cut and then sanded smooth.


The base of the leg flares out and it was not a surprise that I had some chipout. Most of the time, I could find the missing piece and glue it back in. One time I had to make a patch. I squared up the chipped area and flattened it with a sharp chisel.

I found a piece of wood with matching color and glued a block in.

Mortises and Tenons

This project has a LOT of mortises and tenons. I took extra time to draw each mortise and then I would check it against my pattern piece.

Foolproof - right?


Every once in a while, I would forget to check a piece against my pattern. As luck would have it, one time I skipped checking was on a part where I had shifted the mortise location 1/2 inch. Back to gluing patches… I came up with a fairly creative soution to apply pressure while the glue dried. Luckily, this particular joint has a tenon shoulder that will completely cover this patch.

I managed to cut a tenon or two a little thin. More patches. These are completely hidden inside the mortises. I should point out the black dot on the end of the tenon. This is my technique for preserving the orientation of each piece. The black dot is always in the top right front corner of each piece.

The Big One

When I first did the rough cutting of the legs, I had one kick back incident. The only damage was the blade dug into the side of one of the legs. I saved the scrap from shaping the leg to get a good color match.

I used my laminate trimmer to create a pocket of even depth. Then I created a paper pattern by rubbing a pencil over the recessed area. I cut a thin slice off my patch piece and placed the pattern to match the grain.

It took a while to get the patch shape to match the cutout area. Lots of hand filing.

I glued the patch in place with just a little extra thickness. A little sanding and this is what I ended up with. I had hoped for a little better color match, but it is down next to the floor so hopefully it won't be too big of a distraction.

I have been cutting a lot of motises and tenons. Not the most thrilling blog material, but I'll try to show where I am with my next post.

Current time log:

Cutting rough stock: 2 hrs

> Cutting to width and thickness: 4 hrs 20 min
> Cut to final length: 3 hrs 30 min
> Shaping: 5 hrs 50 min
> Mortises: 10 hrs 35 min

Seat Back and Back Rest
> Cutting thin stock for laminations: 3 hrs 35 min
> Prepping laminations: 8 hrs 40 min
> Glue up Laminations: 3 hr 50 min
> Trim Laminated Parts: 2 hr 25 min

Back Slats
> Cutting thin stock for laminations: 1 hr 55 min
> Prepping laminations: 3 hrs
> Glue up Laminations: 6 hrs 5 min
> Trim Laminated Parts: 10 min

Lower rail parts
> Cut to width and thickness: 10 hrs
> Cut to length: 1 hr 30 min
> Tenon: 13 hrs 20 min

Total so far: 78 hrs 45 min (13+ hrs per stool)
Steve - Thank you for being transparent with your oops moments. I too have many of these fixes on my projects. Today I was doing some work with the router table and didn't realize the bit had moved up while in the collet without me noticing. I made a pass on the table and you guessed it, had to patch the work piece.
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