When A Project Ends Up As Scrap

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by Smallcrafter posted 09-10-2012 11:59 AM 1553 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Smallcrafter's profile


36 posts in 2656 days

09-10-2012 11:59 AM

This happened to me recently. I was making a doorbell chime cover and I was using a piece of 1/2” white oak that was available. I got as far as adding a gentle curving radius to the bottom and those neat arts ‘n crafts windows when the nightmare started: chasing after square sides. I had cut the pieces on my POS table saw and spent a bunch of time chasing after a square edge ever since the first cut. A little bit trimmed here, take some off of there, and before I knew it I had hacked it all up. I was a) having fits over the fit and b) really disappointed. Since then I found that my rip fence had a place where the tightening mechanism bowed the sheet metal out at the very front. Then I also found that I have run-out on the blade shaft that results in a 1/32” to 1/16” slack wobble at the blade. Bearing’s shot, too. I went into the house to sulk and break the news to my wife. Her response? That’s a shame. Just go back out there and start on something else. I did. After sitting down in my shop to smoke my pipe and feeling sorry for myself I realized that she’s right. Just get back up, brush off the sawdust, and move on to the next project! Now I’ve found that I can cut almost perfect long cuts and even half lap joints using just my Japanese Gyokucho 10” razor saw. I’m at the point where I’m wondering if I really need a table saw after all. Great outcome to a disappointing project!

-- 'The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.' - Chaucer

15 replies so far

View joek30296's profile


53 posts in 3425 days

#1 posted 09-10-2012 03:51 PM

“What a shame”. Yep….you need a new table saw.

Just my 2 cents!


-- "There are two theories to arguing with a woman....neither of them work"

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 2734 days

#2 posted 09-10-2012 05:33 PM

You know what the song said : In case you don’t succeed, dust yourself up and try again …

View hhhopks's profile


659 posts in 2936 days

#3 posted 09-10-2012 06:32 PM

Learn how to tune your table saw or tune a new used one.

-- I'll be a woodworker when I grow up. HHHOPKS

View Smallcrafter's profile


36 posts in 2656 days

#4 posted 09-10-2012 07:05 PM

The more I use hand tools the more I understand what mastering the tool means. For me a major part of the art and craft of my style of woodworking is to be completely involved in the process regardless how long it takes or how many times I have to re-do something over again. I’ve decided to junk the table saw and not replace it. Next the power sander and cordless drill will go back onto my basement workbench.

-- 'The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.' - Chaucer

View Scott's profile


121 posts in 2782 days

#5 posted 09-11-2012 02:16 AM

I was first inspired by Roy Underhill. I wanted to make everything by hand. Bought some chisels, some hand planes, some saws… then after awhile I wanted to get a project finished in a timely manner so I filled my shop with power tools.

Best of luck if you got the patience though, I just don’t possess that virtue myself :)

View Rob's profile


143 posts in 4488 days

#6 posted 09-11-2012 03:46 AM

Like Croden, I lack the patience to master the plethora of hand tools available, though I like playing with quality hand tools. I make boxes a lot and use quadrant hinges. Now the arm of a quad hinge is 5/16”. Until I bought a Lie Nielson 5/16” chisel, I had to use a metric 9mm chisel as that’s what is avaialable. This is 1.5mm too wide. The number of times I’ve lost the outer edge of a box side would make one cry. Not much you can do once that happens, but try and fix the whole box side panel!!! I’ve several open top boxes I use for storage now!! But gee I love that LN chisel!


View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 3122 days

#7 posted 09-11-2012 03:59 AM

Sounds like an excuse to get yourself a new TS…good luck

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View tomd's profile


2214 posts in 4329 days

#8 posted 09-11-2012 04:00 AM

Never view it as a failure but as a learning experience. You learned alot about your saw didn’t you. I have many failures but I known I’m pushing my limits so I must expect some failures. Also you begin to get very good at correcting or hideing mistakes. If you ain’t makin mistakes you ain’t learning.

-- Tom D

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

4262 posts in 3119 days

#9 posted 09-11-2012 04:08 AM

I find the more I use hand tools the more I like my projects

-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View Smallcrafter's profile


36 posts in 2656 days

#10 posted 09-11-2012 12:23 PM

I understand that power tools are necessary and have a place in guy’s shops. My comments aren’t us v. them or power tools v. hand tools. We all have our own paths to follow and there is absolutely nothing wrong with using power tools, especially for speed and precision. Me, I don’t have a clock in my shop, I work with my supervisor (our cat Tigger) and don’t have music in the shop. I smoke my pipe and work away as fast or as slow as I want to spending time thinking out each move and looking for that next moment when I say ‘Now I understand how it’s done.’ I do have patience. Learning accuracy with cutting and fitting is something that I still have to master, especially with angled through mortises …those are tough for me. But I’m workin’ on it!

-- 'The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.' - Chaucer

View MrRon's profile


5782 posts in 3802 days

#11 posted 09-11-2012 03:16 PM

Don’t fret. Happens to everyone; even to the experts. They just know how to cover it up better. It does sound like your need a new table saw. The most important thing you should look for is a saw arbor with little to no runout. Everything else about a saw can be adjusted or improved, but arbor runout will kill any cut accuracy. Obviously, the less runout, the more expensive will be the saw. I’m sure you have seen the “wobble” dado blades. An arbor with lots of runout cuts exactly like that dado blade and leaves splinters at the edge of the wood.

View rblaiklock's profile


6 posts in 3719 days

#12 posted 09-11-2012 08:00 PM

and when you use hand tools, you don’t need to dust yourself off quite so much! Your lungs will thank you.

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 3527 days

#13 posted 09-11-2012 08:07 PM

Even though this job went pear shaped, you will still be able to gain some pleasure from it as you toss it in the fire. Rub your hands together in its warm glow and remind yourself of the lesson learned. Have a drink too, you deserve it.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16254 posts in 3177 days

#14 posted 09-11-2012 08:20 PM

Small – congrats on your decision to do away with the table saw! You might consider not junking it, of course. Even with the wobble and bad fence, ripping stock to rough dimension with a power tool is a good thing, just follow up by jointing with a tuned #8 hand plane. :-)

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View Smallcrafter's profile


36 posts in 2656 days

#15 posted 09-12-2012 01:01 AM

Hey, Smitty…I can cut a pretty darned square length with Japanese hand saws. I tried making up my own fence from a piece of square cut scrap clamped to the table, but it even binds on such a simple cut. I’m a master metal refinisher by trade (brass, stainless & aluminum) working on everything from ornate cast brass pocket doors on banks to revolving doors, building entrances, and elevator work. My specialty was taking scratches/graffitti out of mirror stainless or mirror brass elevator doors and returning the work area to a mirror finish blending the work area in with the rest of the door. All of the work was done on site in corporate and commercial buildings. The brass was sprayed up with clear lacquer (I can spray with either hand while climbing up and down on a step ladder). I’m no stranger to working with my hands (or power tools for that matter) but prefer to be an active part of the process and not a machine operator. There’s just something about using hand tools regardless of how long the process is. I want to be part of the result and not just go through the motions to get to the result as fast as I can. But that’s me and in now way is meant to degrade anyone who likes using power tools.

-- 'The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.' - Chaucer

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics