Lessons LearnedComments (0)
This article is from Issue 96 of Woodcraft Magazine.
A charming oak chifforobe has graced my family for three generations, storing all sorts of household things and even surviving a couple of cross-country moves. It’s not the most beautiful furniture piece, and it has more sentimental than monetary value, but it’s sturdy and handmade. This tall 2-in-1 cabinet consists of a short chest of drawers joined side-by-side to a wardrobe that sits behind a mirrored frame-and-panel door. In recent years, it has served as a catch-all in a corner of the dining room. A few weeks ago, my wife and I decided to revive the piece and relocate it to the bedroom, where it would resume its intended purpose. But to restore it, we had to get it to the garage shop.
To prepare, we removed the drawers, locked its door, and cleared a wide path from the dining room through the kitchen, out the back door, across the driveway, and into the garage. There, we spent the day scrubbing every nook and cranny and applying a few coats of restorative finish. The chifforobe shined like new, and we basked in the glow of a job well done. But before calling it a day, we decided to deliver the rejuvenated piece to its new spot in the house.
We plotted the same cleared path in reverse. As we tilted and lifted the piece, I had just enough time to wonder: Did we lock the door?. Just then, the door flung open, smashing my thumb, splitting the stile at the hinge, and crashing the mirror to the shop floor. Aside from our pride, there were no serious injuries. But suddenly, I had three repair jobs—the mirror, the door, and my freshly flattened thumb.
As the well-worn “measure twice, cut once” maxim implies, we should have checked the lock again before picking up the piece. Or better still, we could have removed the door and reinstalled it once the case was in place. And rather than pressing on while tired, we could have left it in the garage overnight, giving ourselves a break. Instead, we learned a couple of lessons the hard way: “Rushing a project rarely saves time” and “Don’t work when you’re tired.”
While that job may not have been particularly well planned, you’ll find plenty of attention paid to the details on the pages ahead. Whatever you take on, remember to plan wisely, build well, and learn from life’s little lessons. Now excuse me while I go replace my band-aid.
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