First "Commisioned" Project Done - Lessons Learned

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OK... so it was for SWMBO, but it was still a 'pay for play' (no, not that kind of play) type of job. As part of a deal we made, I could buy some new tools to start a decent amateur woodworking shop in the basement. Her payout was my first few projects have to be stuff she wants for the house. Suits me... I just wanted to build stuff.
Her hobbies are scrapbooking and stamping. So the first thing she wanted was a cabinet for all of her scrapbooking and stamping stuff. I took a look at all the 'stuff' she had and together we came up with a rough design. I used Visio and drew up some plans that were as complete as I thought anyone could get them. She liked the design so I went to making saw dust.
It came out pretty nice. There are pics on alt.binaries.pictures.woodworking if you care to see them. During the project, basically my 2nd _real_ project, I learned a ton! So in the interest of giving a little back to those who have helped me learn so much posted below are some of the lessons this newbie learned:
1. Trust the tape measure/ruler more than any plan... especially any plan I created.
2. It does take white wood glue a pretty good amount of time to dry... enough time to frantically put a Forrest WWII blade on your saw to cut a piece of 3/4" Red Oak plywood, change over to a Frued stacked dado blade, cut 3 dados and 2 rabbets, and then reset the new piece in place of the old (damn it looked ok during the dry test fit phase <scratch scratch>) top and still have time to clamp and square everything.
3. A clean shop is a lot easier to work in than a messy shop... not sure I learned this one or just observed it and let it pass.
4. There has to be a better way to tell if you're done sanding. I haven't learned the way yet, as you'll see by the, um, 'figure' on the left door which wasnt recognizable until I stained it. Good thing SWMBO thinks it 'Tiger Oak Plywood' since one of my new tools was a ROS specifically for this purpose.
5. I now know why Norm has such a big assembly table.
6. One stupid, and never to be forgotten, mistake later... A 12" x 1/2" x 1/2" piece of wood being shot out of a blade guard at ??? MPH and drilling you in the gut hurts like a sonofagun. I credit this lesson to ripping 20+ pieces of pine for the shelf cleats and getting a little lazy towards the end and letting one of the trimmed edge pieces remain on the table, seemingly behind the blade. Somehow that little sucker made its way back and shot outta there like a bullet. It left a temporary nasty welt on my belly and a permanent mark in my brain. Thank the Lord I had the blade guard on... can't imagine that thing hittin me in the face like that.
7. Glue covered Oak doesn't stain the same color as non-glue covered Oak.
8. When using plywood, you may have to think Edge Banding if you're not careful in planning - see #1.
9. A 3 year old with 9 Care Bear Stuffed animals has a hard time understanding that this cabinet is for mommy's stuff and not her Care Bears.
10. WOW! This is fun! (But you guys make it look easier than it is)
There were quite a few more lessons learned along the way, but those were the ones that came to mind as wrote this.
Any constructive critiques gladly accepted.
Thanks. Mike W.
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snipped-for-privacy@spammerssuk.com says...

Man, dude, only the 2nd project! I thought you'd been doing it for years.
Way to go, Henry Bibb
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I've been watching Nahmie, David M, and a few others for years... but have only recently been trying it myself.
Thanks for the good words.
Mike W.
says...

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Heard about this, but have not tried it very often.

To put more "stuff" on?
Important thing is that you are having fun.
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So go make more sawdust and have two women in your life pleased with you. My eldest assures me she will take her CD rack/bookshelf when she gets a proper flat (at university).
Peter
--
Add my middle initial to email me. It has become attached to a country

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<snip>

I try to stick with one measuring device per project. Usually my favorite is the 60" straight edge. Especially compared to a worn tape measure with an end that will vary between a "pull" measure and a "Push" measure ( loose rivets.)
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----------------- I'm sure that wear and tear will get them in the end. But the 'loose' rivets are loose for good reason. They ensure that a measured 'push' or 'pull' is the same as the movement equals exactly the thickness of the end tab.
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gandalf wrote:

That's why I mentioned a worn tape measure. Being a fella who can't always throw things away when their life is used up, one of my old tapes is missing a rivet and the other rivet allows for about a 1/8" movement from being almost out! Plus, that remaining rivet will catch the tape 1/4" off the mark! I try to grab the new 30 footer when I can, but it is nice to have multi tapes everywhere, within reach most all of the time.
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<snip>

Sounds like it's good enough for fence work, or laying out the garden, or such.
Rather like keeping the old Craftsman chisels around, for when you don't want to screw up the 'good' ones.
Patriarch
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I've been bitten by that once though. I used two tape measures and one was off by 2 mm after 240 cm. And I used one to measure one side pane of a cupboard and the other for the other side. Don't ask me why, I don't know. Probably because I temporarely lost one. Part of the shelf holes were measured from the top and part from the bottom. All the shelves were 2 mm off over 46 cm...
I tossed the tape after I found out. It was a new metric/imperial Stanley, but apparently the Quality control was not very well done on the metric side.
--
mare

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On 11 Mar 2005 13:35:28 EST, Mark and Kim Smith

Well, that is a good point...Although, when a measuring tool gets THAT worn, I tend to give it a good burial. But then, I rarely manage to keep a tape measure long enough to get it worn to that point.     I am fairly sure that there must be about 20 of them hiding in nooks and crannies of my workshop (which gets back to the comments elsewhere on cluttered shops), so I am doing the best I can to keep Stanley, et al, in business by buying new tapes.     Regards     Dave Mundt
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On Fri, 11 Mar 2005 04:32:03 -0500, Mark and Kim Smith wrote:

Unless the project has dimensions in feet for the bulk, and 64ths for the joints. Hard to find one rule to ring them all.
--
"Keep your ass behind you"
vladimir a t mad scientist com
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now that you mention that, I realized that I have an OLD habit that my dad taught me years ago..
I always start at the 1" mark of the tape and subtract an inch from my total... I don't think he ever explained the loose rivet thing to me, but it makes sense... seems like he just said that the 1" mark was a line across the tape that was square, or something like that.. (maybe 50 years ago)
mac
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That's what I usuall do as well. Of course a few of my tapes are so worn I can't read the first 2 inches, so I have to start at the 3" mark. :)
I've learned to measure both directions as a sanity check and to avoid the inevitable math error. :)
JW
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    Greetings and Salutations....
On Fri, 11 Mar 2005 08:27:02 -0800, mac davis

    While I have no problem with starting the measurement at the 1" mark (and do it myself off and on), I want to point out that the fact that the hook on the end of a tape measure is SUPPOSED to be loose! It is designed so that when you hook over a panel, the distance from the INNER surface of the hook to the 1" mark is "exactly" 1". When you are measuring INSIDE dimensions, the hook slides back so that the measurement from the OUTSIDE surface of the hook to the 1" mark is "exactly" 1". DAMHIKT, but, it is a REALLY bad idea to peen the rivets down, so the hook is nice and solid.     Of course, there is a certain amount of slop there, and, I suspect that the cheaper the tape, the more approximate that measurement will be...but that is how it is supposed to work.     Regards     Dave Mundt
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wrote:

plan I

total...
tape
I have always found that to start measuring at the 1" mark can result in easy to make mistakes because on longer measurements it is hard to tell if the 1" has been added or not. This resulted in things being cut 1" too short. I take my middle measurements starting at the 10" spot. A 21 5/8" length starts at 10" and runs to the 31 5/8" spot, if I forget to add the 10" it is quite noticeable, and easy to correct before cutting.
I prefer an 18" stainless steel rigid ruler for small measurements, they are more accurate to use than a tape.
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wrote:

hmm... I'll remember that one... Sort of a case of increasing the margin of error to avoid making a mistake!
mac
Please remove splinters before emailing
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Mind you. When I started out doing woodwork, I attended a residential couse in Wales, and built a grand father clock (pics on request - great couse). Trouble was, the base unit is precisely 1 inch too shallow.
(Must remember to add that one inch back in)
:-)

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You start at the 1 inch mark to help prevent a short measurement. As rulers and scales get dropped on their end's the beginning marks tend to disappear. Scales tend to start in from the end to eliminate this problem.
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mac davis wrote:

Wouldn't you actually add the inch??
That's the way I was raised ( in my schooling.) "Burn an inch!" For instance, to measure 16", start at your 1" mark, go to 16", add an inch. Done.
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