Why did I start this?


Have you ever started a project and then, at some point part way through, wished with all your might that you hadn't? For whatever reason: it was too ambitious? you ended up having to buy new tools to finish it? you underestimated the cost drastically? your interest just petered out? the reason for making it went away? I can honestly say that I've never had that experience because my projects are small and uncomplicated and always within my limited capabilities. But I'd really enjoy hearing about the bad experiences of others!
FoggyTown
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foggytown wrote:

That post of yours made me chuckle, Fog. My commercial work comes awful close to estimates, and I don't get caught with my pants down too often. My 'labour-of-love' project NEVER come in on target...either in the time domain or cost estimation. I always need to buy a tool or two (drat) to complete the project (or to make it more efficient..yea right).
I recently built a coffee table and 2 end/lamp tables for my daughter's new place in Toronto. Cherry, mission/metropolitan style, solid surface table tops. For the heck of it, I ran the project through my spreadsheet. Then I took a look at retail prices, high-end and lower-end prices and found some similar products in the middle price range. I came in at triple those numbers and didn't factor in my new Kreg jig and finishing costs.
They don't call it a labour of love for nuttin'.
r
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foggytown wrote: > Have you ever started a project and then, at some point part way > through, wished with all your might that you hadn't? [snipped for brevity] But I'd > really enjoy hearing about the bad experiences of others!
Wood working is a lot like boat or aircraft ownership.
Both require you to spend excessive amounts of time and money with no hope of recovery.
You file those costs under "Entertainment" or "Keeping out of trouble".
Lew
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I took on a project to complete a job that a friends friends father started, then passed away. It was a built in desk with filing cabinets. I got the project as a bunch of maple boards, some of which were cut to length, some already mitered, some still rough cut. One file cabinet was built and finished, the other about halfway built. There was not enough wood to complete the project - so I had to try to get more stock to match the existing - whew! Oh yeah, a good number of the boards that were already cut down had started to warp. Did I mention that this was the first time I had really worked with maple - what fun that is to sand... Anyway, I'd get a day or so where I'd get motivated to get this done, then I'd run into another setback and get disgusted with it. In the end, it took way to long, but the friends friend was happy. Didn't charge anywhere near what it should have cost, but it was nice seeing the guy have his father's desk project completed.
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"foggytown"

buy more tools, on the minus side, I have to finish it.
For me, the whole point is expanding my capabilities. If its hard, I want to try it. Its the easy stuff that I loose interest in quickly. I love making mistakes that challenge me to figure out a better, faster way.
Unlike some others, its just my hobby!
Dave
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I don't usually have this problem either because I have a general rule that says one unknown thing per project. In other words I already know in my head pretty much how everything is going to be done before starting, and is mostly built upon the skills I've already built up. I'll allow myself that one area I don't know how it's going to work, I need to see the rest of it before I figure it out, or one new skill that I haven't done before, or one new tool to help get it done.
Currently though I am working on transforming my parents old china cabinet (4 doors, held 12 settings) into a curio cabinet (2 doors) for my sister, because no one had room to take the full thing. For some reason I thought, sure, I'll just pull it apart, cut it down, slap it back together. No problem. Two days tops.
Well, it came apart no problem at least. Gotta love those Besseys.
Then I started to see all the shortcuts the factory took. They ran all the cope and stick panels through their wide belt at about 80 grit. 80 grit across the grain is not pretty, not even their toner in the finish could cover it up. The mortice and tenons were nailed, not glued. And the mortices are all full of finish. That's why it came apart so easy.
So now it's pretty much down to bare wood, at least the top half anyway. All nice hard maple under there under the stain and toner and faux worm holes (that they got really carried away with).
Gotta enlarge the mortices a bit and make new tenons.
And did I mention the matching coffee table that somehow came into the picture? I think it may have even been my idea.
-Leuf
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Before I start a project I know it will cost much, much more in time and materials than a manufactured product. I also know in advance that I will build something that is original, from my own mind and hands that cannot be found anywhere in existence. Even a simple project like a Black Walnut turned Sugar Bowl & Cover that I have looked at and enjoy daily for over 30 years cannot have a price on it.

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I've had a couple that needed a tool. As for getting in over my head, yes. It was a good thing though, as it forced me to try new techniques and it was a good learning experience.
I have to get more patient with finishing though. I don't care that a project takes a long time to complete, especially one that is complex, but after the first coat of finish, the rest get boring. Right now I'm in the middle of rubbing out the top of a chest of drawers. Next step is pumice.
I don't underestimate cost any more., I figure what it will cost, add 50%, then I come in the ballpark. Buying wood, I don't go to extremes, but I try to get a little extra rather than fall short and have to make a 90 mile round trip to get a board foot. Leftovers come in handy for a small box or small gadget.
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In the beginning I was in over my head all the time. Now only about 30% of the time. If I'd stop doing more and more complicated things I could stop buying tools. But what's the fun in that? The learning's good and so are the tools.
As far as motivation or interest - this is a hobby for me. When it feels like work, I do something else and come back to it later.
I haven't taken on anything "too ambitious" like a replica of a Chippendale piece or something from the Palace of Versailles. Each time it's been just a little more involved. I learn something new all the time.
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Ahem... I believe that is the purpose and design of the "back burner".
Steve
--
www.sellcom.com for firewood splitters, ergonomic chairs,
office phone systems, "non-mov" surge protection, Exabyte,
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snipped-for-privacy@sellcom.com wrote:

I keep aiming for the back burner but it always falls into the Franklin stove!
FoggyTown
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Many years ago when I had more time than money (well, that's still true, but I digress)..
SWMBO and I decided to to a complete kitchen remodel, and the only way to afford what we wanted was to do it all ourselves. Tear out, moving windows, new everything: walls, ceiling, floors. Did all the work including electrical, plumbing, etc. and built all the cabinets. All on evenings and weekends, working in a small ill-equipped basement shop.
I couldn't even count how many times I asked the question posed above...
We figued at the start it would take a year and a half, give our day jobs and other obligations. *6* years later it was all done. Came out beautifully. 2 years later we moved. My only satisfaction is that it was the kitchen that sold the house the day it went on the market.
When we were nearing completion, we decided to have a party to celbrate, show off, and thank the folks who lent a hand along the way. The invitiations said something like "Come to a Kitchen's not quite finished but close enough to celebrate Party"
One of my buddies showed up with a gift. It was a set of large hand carved wooden utensils, like you might use to toss salad...and true to the theme of the party, they were only about 90 percent complete...
Everything I've done since then has seemed pretty easy by comparison..
Paul
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foggytown wrote:

my China Cabinet refinish comes to mind, solid Oak China Cabinet I picked up at an estate sale for $110, the previous own had refinished in cherry, an botched the job really bad, looked like they used a gel stain over the previous finish, so I thought a little striper, little sanding and some poly I'll be good. As it turned out just stripping it didn't work, I ended up sanding the whole thing, something I thought was going to take 3 month turned into a 2 1/2 year project, and to get it done I ended up getting 3 sanders (ROS, 1/4 sheet, and a B&D mouse detail sander), a Dremal rotary tool, self center drill bits, and more sand paper then I want to remember.
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Richard Clements wrote:

Now THAT'S a classic!
FoggyTown
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foggytown wrote:

Yes.. Not 100% woodworking, but our bathroom had a bad shower valve. While attempting to replace, I found it had leaked behind the wall and rotted the floor. After tearing out floor, I notice damaged joists (which the building inspector should've never passed) and I also noticed the drain pipes weren't sloped correctly (so that's why the toilet clogged frequently).
Ended up being a complete gut and rebuild. Started last November, and I'm totally fed up with it now. I'm building some new cabinets for it now. That's the only pleasurable part of the project, the woodworking part of it -- the drywall, tile, plumbing, moving walls, etc is a second job that I dread worse than my normal job that pays me.
In hindsight, I wish I had just put the house up for sale LOL. Actually, when it finally gets done, it will be a lot nicer.
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