First off, I am nowhere near the league of most of you here. I've
puttered around since about 1970, made a couple of pieces of colonial
furniture out of pine, turned a few bowls, etc. I was transferred in
1984 to a house that didn't really have room for a shop, even though I
took the tools with me. Transferred again in '88 to a place with a
1,200 square foot 5 1/2 car garage. Beautiful.
Well, one thing led to another, I never set up the shop, I retired in
'92, started my own business, yada, yada, yada... Just in the last
couple of months I have cleaned out half the garage and set up my
All of which is just background to the subject of this post.
I've started doing very simple things to get back the feel of using
power tools and I've been reminded of how much trouble I have keeping
things square, plumb, and level.
I have the right tools. I understand the geometry. But sometimes
things just don't work out.
Case in point.
I have a 36" chalkboard in my shop. I made a pair of legs out of 6'
2.4s each of which forms a "T" with a short piece of 2x4. Under the Ts
I have casters so I can move the thing around. The chalkboard is
screwed to the legs flush to the top edge.
So far, so good.
Last night I realized I have a white board sitting around unused, so I
decided to mount it on the other side of the legs, giving me a
two-sided easel. The white board is shorter than the chalkboard, so I
mounted it a few inches lower than the top edge of the legs.
I clamped a 1x2 scab at the height I wanted the bottom of the board,
got out my shiny new Craftsman laser level with digital readout, and
leveled the scab to dead level. I set the white board on the scab and
screwed it into place. When I stepped back to look at it, it was
crooked. There was definitely more leg showing above one side than the
Took it all down, did it again, same result.
To make a long story short, I finally realized that the entire
apparatus was sitting near a floor drain and the floor at that point
slopes toward the drain. I had leveled the board to the horizon, but
not to the frame it was attached to. I had never noticed with the
chalkboard because it was mounted flush with the top of the legs.
I'd have been better off just marking six inches down from the top and
mounting the white board accordingly. I'm leaving it crooked as a
reminder about making assumptions when working on projects.