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
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
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
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
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 :)