Joe Abbott's Weblog

Letters home to mom

… and miles to go …

Posted by joeabbott on December 25, 2013

While I’m still in the middle of the big cabinet project, I realize I have already committed a few errors that will need to be cleaned up. A friend of mine (who learned the craft of woodworking from his father) said that all woodworkers make mistakes, but the good ones know how to hide/fix the mistakes. And so I’m learning to be good.

Let’s be clear, I’m still quite new at this whole business of making things with wood.

I’ve done relatively few projects and enjoyed some successes, some projects ended up in the fire pit, but I learn with each one. Even today I found that making an 8’ panel and a 4’ panel into a single 12’ panel was decidedly easier than the two times prior that I attempted the same feat. I had the resources handy, I knew the steps, and I wasn’t laying the groundwork for a novel operation. It made the job easier and more fun. But, before I have more “fun” with this project, I have a lot of new things to figure out and understand.

Which comes back those errors I need to clean up.

The baseboard along the toe kick was longer than the wood I have so I needed to join a couple parts up. Rather than butt the two pieces, I opted to cut the joint at an angle and overlap the two parts, thereby avoiding a potential gap. However, my saw appears to have been ever-so-slightly out of true and cut at a minor angle. The result was that the top of the joint was nice and tight, but at the bottom of the joint, you can see a gap.

A P1050973    B P1050971   

In the picture labeled A you can see the relatively tight top and the gap at the bottom. The gap is about 1/16”, but it’s still there and bugs me a bit. From the picture labeled B you can see that the top is indeed rather tight. The defect/dent/ding you can see in picture B at the outside corner happened when I dropped the board on the ground while finishing it. Rats. Not a huge problem, though, when you understand it’s at the top of the toe kick beneath the overhang and will never be seen.

Also, in the following picture, C, you can see that when you look straight on at the joint, it’s not very noticeable. That’s the benefit of using the angled cut/overlap method to join them.

C P1050972 (sorry about the angled picture!)

The next problem that I’ll have to fix is a little more pronounced and one that I’ll probably have to remedy by shimming or getting out some putty or creasing the wood: it’s the corner where the baseboard wraps around the end. There’s a bigger gap there that’ll be a bit more pronounced.

D P1050969    E P1050970

In both pictures D and E you can see the gap that I’m worried about. The boards appear to be cut the correct length, but the face board (the one on the left in B) just isn’t pushing up flush against the 2×4 substructure. I may just need to sink a few more nails in there but it’s disappointing that the lumber isn’t behaving like my SketchUp model!! <g>

I don’t think the gap is big enough to shim but I might consider that. Another option is wood putty, although I’m not overly fond of that plan; likely an irrational bias as I hope to be perfect and not require such fix-up methods. And finally there’s a trick that I heard where you can take a hard piece of metal (like the shaft of a screw driver) and smash the wood fibers at the very corner, forcing them to fill the gap. It sounds like a crude fix, but I’ve read about it a number of times.

So, whatever I do, I’ll have to address this one. I may start with a few more nails in the face board, but we’ll see. I will probably have a complete series of topics to cover around “fixing up mistakes”, so you may read about this issue again.

Thanks for dropping in!


One Response to “… and miles to go …”

  1. Momma said

    I enjoyed touring your back yard, Joe – and if I had the right camera, I’d go to my own back yard and photograph my real deer, who have been spending a lot of time at my bird feeder…. When I go outside, they pause in their gustatory activities and prepare to dash off, but when noting that I’m getting into my car, they stand motionless until I’m backing out of the driveway and then continue their munching. I must add here that I was surprised by hearing your audio here. In fact, I was stunned, as your voice sounded very much like my brother Bob’s voice! Your cadence and pauses for effect were very much his style. It took a minute for me to realize that it was YOU talking – very strange sensation here! Momma

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