Sunday, November 09, 2014


I instruct for a living and like most folks that take pride in their work think I'm pretty good at it.  But I learned something a couple of days ago, I do not think I can teach wood working. I'm helping (teaching) a co-worker build a work bench. The build is in my shop because that is where the tools are plus I can do other projects while my co-worker works on his bench.

I'm using the classic "show one", "observe one", "do one" method of teaching the process of joinery and to some degree we are ending up with joints. The phase "it is a work bench" has been uttered more than once and thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster for draw bores. It is a work bench and I expect when finished with the help of pinned joints it will function but damn it's going to be ugly.

While one co-worker was working on his bench Friday another was over so I could install the replacement trim on his motorhome. I think I posted several weeks ago about the trim, how it was made of MDF with a picture of wood glued on and how the dealer had FUed the repair job so badly the owner of the motorhome refused to take it back for warranty work.  Anyway, the motorhome was in my driveway, I had the trim pieces to cut to final size and fit, the bench builder was hard at work with a lack of close supervision, the critters were in critter heaven. In other words Casa Chaos was living up to its name.

With only a few glitches we got the trim installed and even though the new trim is Cherry stained to match the pictures of Cherry it looked pretty good when finished. It wasn't a perfect match but it didn't shout "I'm different". Whatever the owner was happy of course that could be because of the three Martinis he had before leaving for home. If the work isn't perfect give 'em booze.

Back to the poorly supervised bench builder. When I marked up the legs for the stretcher mortices I stressed that the mark up process was the most stressful part of the build and at each stage before cutting or chopping anything if there is any question place the parts in their intended position and confirm that yes indeed that is where the mortice goes. Do I need to go any farther.... One leg will have a big "plug" next to its long stretcher. What the hell, "It's a workbench".

BTW, the day before as I watched the bench builder pare the knife line on a tenon I noticed he was getting some resistance, I looked at the chisel he was using and as expected it needed sharpening. After sharpening the chisel and giving it back I had no more than turned my back before hearing "fuck" and the chisel hitting the bench. Of course blood was squirting everywhere, he had damn near taken a finger tip off. Paper towels, liquid hide glue, and duct tape took care of the problem and he went back to work cutting wood instead of flesh.

I was letting the bench builder use my Stanley 750s because they are a reasonably good chisel and of my bench chisels the most bulletproof.  After everyone left Friday I picked up the chisels the bench builder was using and couldn't believe anyone could use a chisel in as bad shape. The fractured edges looked like a hag's mouth. I would guess the worst one needed at least a mm of steel removed to get pass the fractures. I haven't a clue how edges could be so destroyed.....As stated earlier....Ain't no way I could ever teach wood working.        



  2. Enjoy your writing much! One that could write could certainly teach, just not with his own tools...