Cursed Project...


Greetings!
This newbie is pleased(?) to announce the crossing of several important milestones as a woodworker recently:
First damaged tool First injury with a woodworking tool First thoroughly botched finishing job and... First lesson(s) in patience learned the hard way.
Best part is that they all happened with the same project!
It all started with a desire to put a bunch of scrap to use with a useful practice project. Looking around at some free plans online I came across a page on building a music stool (http://www.geocities.com/wefnut/plans/mustool.html ) that I thought would make a fine shop stool. I had just enough wood at my disposal to follow that design.
For legs I used some 2"x2" white pine left over from building the frame for a utility storage unit for the closet in my shop (spare bedroom) a few feet of 1" poplar square I'd used for filets on the coffee table I posted about here and finally some 2"x4" stock left over from when I built my workbench. The 2" stock became the legs, and part of the seat, the 2x4 made up the bulk of the seat and I used the poplar for the stretchers.
Doing it this way I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that I sufficient stock to leave myself a comfortable margian of error for cutting. Things were going well at first - perhaps a little too well - and I was able to make the slab for the seat easially enough. However that all changed when I started trimming the legs down to their final length.
There I was sawing away with my brand new dozuki -- fresh from the Lee Valley box in the corner -- trimming the ends off the legs when on the third leg I high pitched pinging sound coming from the saw. I had forgotten to pull out a staple in the end of the wood broke off about a dozen teeth in the center of the blade. Doh! Oh well the saw only set me back $22 as it was the Lee Valley generic starter dozuki, not one of the super-sweet ones they carry. Removed the staple, finish the cuts with my dovetail saw and call it good.
Several days later I'm working on the motises in the legs (my first ever attempts at mortise and tenon joinery) when I hit my next milestone. Specifically I hit my thumb, with a chisel. A very sharp chisel. After thirty minutes of blood and bandages -- good thing I was Boy Scout as a child and accustomed to bandaging self inflicted cuts on my hands thanks to being allowed to play with pocket knives unsupervised -- later I'm back at the bench. Didn't really feel like doing much more that night, but I had to finish the mortise that got me.
Finally when I get a few days off from work when Rita started rumbling up toward Houston (I work in Clear Lake, an evacuation zone, but live in Meyerland which is "safe" so I had time to kill in the shop) I finish assembling the stool and over that weekend finish sanding everything nice and smooth. Sanding when well, no injuries or damaged property. I intended to use some Minwax "Early American" oil stain that had been in my closet for about six months (when my wood working odessy began.) Despite the fact that it was midnight on the day before I needed to go back into work I figured "What the hell this stain only needs to sit for 15 minutes I can be done in a hour!" Yeah right.
I did test on some scrap and it looked fine, but just a little too light after a five minute set time so I decided to give it ten on the stool. I quickly learned, around all those tight joints, the value of finishing (esp brushing) before you assemble a piece. Some dripping and swearing later I finish brushing the whole thing down and proceed to wait for ten minutes. When trying to wipe it down the stain had congealed to a sticky, gummy mess and wouldn't rub out at all. Panic time. I break out the brush thinner and start wiping it down with that. It helped a lot. Then I remember I was inside. In the spare room of my apartment. Good times with the fumes. I press on as long as I can stand the fumes and salvage the mitigate the worst of the damage.
I let the stain dry for two days and then started sanding down the worst areas I didnt' get to with the thinner. In the end it turned out OK. Not something I'll keepin the living room but decent enough at the work bench.
The really surpising part came a few days later. When I showed it to my SO she looked at it, said nice things, sat in it and immediatly declared that it would be perfect to play guitar in and would I please make one for her. Cool! A girlfriend sanctioned woodworking project! Even bigger suprised came when another friend stopped by a couple days ago and after giving the stool a test drive declared that a stool just like that would be much more comfortable to practice the bass in than his current chair and would I please make him one!
So now I get to make the cursed project twice more and appply the lessons learned in the first one :-)
I'll try to post links to some pictures of the carnage this weekend and of course will crow about the new ones when they are finished :)
Cheers,
Josh
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Congratulations on your milestones. Good luck and please, never come visit me in the shop. ;)
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Fun description, Thanks. Good luck with the follow on projects.
One question though, how did you cut your thumb making a mortise? That takes exceptional talent.
TWS
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Really? I'm pleased to hear that I am exceptionally talented...
--
Dr. Juergen Hannappel http://lisa2.physik.uni-bonn.de/~hannappe
mailto: snipped-for-privacy@physik.uni-bonn.de Phone: +49 228 73 2447 FAX ... 7869
  Click to see the full signature.
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Juergen Hannappel wrote:

Me, too. I've got a small hook shaped scar on my right thumb that's nicely faded after about 35 years, but it came from a chisel that bounced out of a mortise when I wasn't doing what I should have been doing--paying attention.
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wrote:

Well, there ya go, since you are both exceptionally talented, you've proved my point ;-)
I would still like to know (since I'd rather not learn from my own experience) how you can cut a thumb cutting a mortise. I can understand how it could be done if the workpiece is not clamped down well enough and slips. If the workpiece is clamped down then I see two ways to cut the mortise: 1) you are slicing the mortise so you are guiding the chisel with one hand and driving the chisel with the other - I can't see how the fingers get in the way in this case. 2) you are chopping the mortise so holding the chisel in one hand and striking the chisel with a mallet of some sort. Charlie mentioned bounce so I suppose I could visualize guiding the blade of the chisel with one hand, the chisel bouncing out of the mortise AND his hand, and then falling back and cutting a finger. Is this how it occurred?
Trying to learn from the 'masters', TWS
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On Sat, 08 Oct 2005 12:31:52 +0000, TWS wrote:

This is close to how I did it. But replace "not clamped down well" with "was holding the piece with right hand while wielding chisel with left*" See I was trying to clean up the mortise because the tenon just wasn't fitting right and it hadn't yet occurred to me that it would be easier (and safer) to pare down the tenon instead. In any case the chisel slipped out of the mortise and smacked into my thumb.
I'm just glad I've learned this lesson with hand tools now, instead of waiting to learn it with a table saw :-)
Cheers,
Josh
------------ * I'm a southpaw
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My claim to fame is on injuring my thumb when making a mortise is when I pulled the safety cap off the chisel after installing it in the mortiser. My hand hit the table hard, I reacted late to the hand hitting the table, and instead of using the muscles to stop the hand from hitting the table, I fired the muscles after the bounce off the table and proceeded to accelerate my hand back into the chisel.
What takes real talent is injuring yourself within a nano second of removing a safety device.

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D Steck wrote:

I did almost that exact same thing a couple of weeks ago. I had gotten a 1/2" chisel clamped down a little too good in the Veritas honing guide (the older one), and was fighting with the knob. It suddenly loosened, my hand hit the workbench and jerked back towards the chisel. Nice clean cut on the back of one of my fingers. Fun times.
-John
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Try Grizzly for luthier (instrument) parts and info. www.grizzly.com Good luck Lyndell

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