While I may voraciously devour books, articles and videos on woodworking, this does not count as experience. I’m an amateur at best when it comes to traditional woodworking and I only have a limited amount of hands-on-tools time that I would count as experience. That’s not to say that every trip into the shop isn’t slowly adding to that intangible trait, but for now I’m definitely in the beginner phase.
In my usual evening’s prowl of all things woodworking, I came across a short but poignant post by Chris Schwarz in which I benefited from his experience. In Chris’s own words if he ever had a motto over the door of his shop it would read:
“If you have to ask the question, then you know the answer.”
The topic of Chris’s post was a panel glue-up that went awry. Instead of trying to fiddle with the joint, he knew through experience, that just by having asked the question, it was best to take it apart and redo the joint.
This made me think of the lid on my Dutch tool chest build. When the lid is open it hits the back of the hinges just after it’s past vertical. I’ve been worried that once the saw till is added to the lid it’s going to change the center of gravity just enough to take the lid from merely being “tippy” to fully self-closing. This made me ask the question, “do I need to modify the lid so that it will sit farther open?” I’ve been convincing myself that I’ll find a quick solution and won’t have to take it back apart. I’m not sure why I’ve been hesitating – it’s not a difficult task at all.
Chris’s post was the push I needed, especially after reading this little nugget:
“When I was a beginning woodworker I used to wrestle with problems like this. I’d fool myself into thinking I could overcome the error. Or I’d put off the decision – then get up at 2 a.m., go down to the shop and examine the work in my underwear…”
So, I took off my pants and went into the shop to chop out those mortises (just joking about the pants). This has also inspired me to tackle a couple other jobs that I’ve been avoiding. Such as, adding a support to help alleviate strain on the hinges when the lid is open. So thank you Chris, for answering a few questions that I hadn’t yet articulated.