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I spent yesterday prepping wood for a bar sign frame for a friend.  I squared, cut, routed profiles and glued the ash and walnut pieces together. With all looking good I intended to miter the edges and glue up the frame today.  Well I mitered the edges, but on the wrong face.  I feel like such an idiot, I was so frustrated at myself I just called it quits for the day.  Maybe tomorrow will be better when I start the squaring, cutting and routing process over again.

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Try teaching yourself CNC programming! ;)

I was having that kind of evening myself and decided my daughter could wait a few more days for the project I started for her. There's no point doing it if it's not fun.

During the planning process of a project, and until you become proficient, 

make a "SEQUENTIAL ORDER" list.

Make a list of all the steps to take during the process.

Look it over, and arrange the "list" in an orderly fashion.

As you complete each step in the process, check it off.

A list can be made on a word processor, so that its easy to arrange/rearrange.

If writing it out by hand, assign a sequence/order "number".

If a change is needed during the process, just cross it out, and relabel it.

Categories can also be assigned to various phases of the project, whether small or large.

A.  for the planning and preparation phase---sketches, drawings, material list, cut-list, etc

B.  for the machining phase---cutting, routing, milling, drilling,  etc

C. for the assembly phase--- screwing, joining, etc

D. for the preliminary finishing phase---routing edges/corners, sanding, surface prep

E. for the final finishing process phase---sealer, priming, staining, and sanding between coats.

Take the list with you, gather up the needed items, so your ready to go.

Take the list with you when your shopping for materials and supplies.

By organizing the project in such as fashion, you'll be able to accomplish the task more efficiently, 

Mastering the art of managing a project can be learned.

One learns by doing.

If a defect becomes apparent, the skill is to learn how to make the necessary repair(s).

Like playing musical instrument---if you press the "note", don't pause--- keep playing, no-one will know the different.  (Most people are tone deaf anyway).

If there's a gap in a joint, use filler and finish it to match.  That's why fillers were invented.

Don't feel bad about making mistakes, if you don't tell 'em, they won't know.

( I refinished a table top that was really bad---nicks, ding, scratches, what have you.

I asked the customer if she'd like a distressed appeal.  She thought for a minute, and said, that sounds great.

SO, I made several additional slight indentations and darker colored spatters to the finish---it turned out great. She was more pleased than a pig rolling in mud).

Look at some paintings---you'd think the person dropped the paint brush or some spilled a bucket of paint on the canvas.  Take note---they call themselves artists.

Even surgeons leave surgery tools inside a victim, or blood soaked rags---NO PROBLEM---just cut him open and retrieve 'em.  

Experts make mistakes, but they know how to cover it up.

Kreg tools came up with a good wood joinery method---

make a jig, drill a hole, install a screw, then PLUG the hole.

Works for so many that it's made Kreg famous!!!

Thank you Ken for the detailed project planning guide.  I had a plan and followed it throughout the first day of work milling each piece in a specific manner so as to minimize resetting the saw or router table and to insure each cut on the router table would have sufficient support while being made.  I simply had a momentary lapse and marked the wrong side of the rabbet where the mirror goes, hence my project gone awry.  However as Ken mentioned lower in his reply the idea is to repair a mistake.  I did that today by thinking outside the box.  Since this frame is going around a mirrored bar sign, which would not be removed like a photo in a frame; who says the mirror has to be inserted from the rear.  By milling some smaller strips of walnut I was able to salvage the pieces already milled and also add a little more color to the frame.  The drawings below show a profile of the original plan and the fix.



A great way to make the fix.

You made it look like is was suppose to be that way.

If you didn't mention it and post it here, no one would have known the difference.

With some projects, building as you go, can result in a better end result.

You may not envision what the end result will be, however, when building as you go, to will see it develop and all come together.  

Like making a carving out of something from a stump or a block of wood---start out with a chain saw, and proceed from there using other simple wood working tools---hatchet, drawknife, carving chisels, and the like.

Or, like carving a walking stick from a tree branch---just whittle away and let it happened.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

My neighbor had an old tree that died---he wanted to get it removed.

He had it topped, left about 8-10 ft above ground---he had a wood carver turn this thing into a huge black bear, standing upright.  It's like the center of attention in the neighborhood.  

He had another tree, that's very close to the house---as the tree grows, the long limbs would eventually cause damage to the house gutters and roof. He had the tree topped and had the wood carver create a large Bald Eagle at the top.

He then changed his landscape, and planted some simple looking forestry plants, added a couple of stumps and logs, and such.

His place looks awesome, and it's one of kind.

It really looks great.

With a little imagination and ingenuity, a master piece was created. 


Thanks for the compliment.


Been their done it got the T-shirt Don . I am gradually learning to slow down when milling and mitring pieces and not rush the assembly . Sometimes I get in the shop I think to myself I am not coming out until I have finished this project ,big mistake fatigue sets in and we rush and get bad tempered . Now I have a big piece of paper stuck on the wall [ TAKE YOUR TIME GET IT RIGHT ] walk away for the rest of the day and figure it out . Good luck .

Oh yeah, every project provides me one of those special moments

Sounds like you rose to meet the challenge of a creative "graceful recovery' to your moment.!

It's those graceful recoveries that sometimes provide the most rewarding memories of a project

For those who offered sympathy or advice during the course of this thread, allow me to show a photo of the completed frame. I decided against the third layer of curved profile as in the plans and went with a small band of walnut that sits flush with the ash.

FYI, there is wax paper covering the mirrored sign to protect it from the finish; and it provides a secondary benefit of dulling the glare from the camera's flash, making the frame easier to see. 


Oops, the picture didn't attach.  Take two.


Looks a good job to me Don .

Don. The woodworker who never made a mistake never made anything!

Well I for one have never made a mistaek.

no don't look on the back of that cabinet.....

why are you interested in the bottom of that shelf there is nothing there .....

of course i intended to have those strips of wood along the side they just didn't make into the plans .....

why yes that back is two pieces of wood, isn't that how everyone does it .......

Don Foley,  your frame looks pretty good, i'm sure you intended it to be that way from the start :)

martin kennedy said:

Don. The woodworker who never made a mistake never made anything!

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