Robert Burns on Woodworking

There are dangers to designing by the seat of your pants, and I think Robert Burns said it best:
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men,
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!
Robert Burns, To a Mouse (Poem, November, 1785)
Well, after all that time I spent designing that special joint* for the shelves, and all the time I spent laying out the dados on the legs, it turned out to be all for naught. When I laid out the dados, I forgot to subtract an 1/8th of an inch for the mortise hinge joint. “I’ll take explicative’s for a thousand Alex.” In all actuality, I did not curse at all, I just felt somewhat disappointed. Oh well.There are two sides to everything, and there is a good side to this story too, I think I might have accidently made the overall design elements better.

 With no mortise hinge joint, there is nothing keeping the legs from moving left or right if the glue failed. So I am going to have to pin the legs to the shelf by drilling a hole through the front of the leg and putting a screw in to hold it firm.

I dry fit the piece together and at least got a real time look at the overall piece. Originally I was going to give the piece a totally Asian look, but now that my hand has been forced in regard to attaching the legs, I am going to fall back on my favorite Arts & Crafts furniture design, Greene & Greene. Instead of hiding the screw holes with cherry plugs, I am going to make square chamfered purple heart plugs that stand proud.

So what would Greene & Greene do? How should I know? I do know that the Hall Brothers who made the Greene & Greene furniture would not have made the same stupid mistake I did in the first place. My objective; go to my library and try and channel the Greene brothers, yet have the FbY touches too. Perhaps I will use a Ginkgo leaf motif for the marquetry. Now where did I put that Wigi Board?

*Nobody responded to my question about what type of joint I had created, so I have dubbed the joint “The Mortise Hinge Joint” until somebody can give me the correct name. The joint looks like you cut a mortise for a hinge which fits into a dado, so that is where I got the idea for the name.

About yaakov

Husband, Abba, Furniture Maker, Turner, Bookseller, and all around working stiff.
This entry was posted in In Yaakov's Workshop and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Robert Burns on Woodworking

  1. yaakov says:

    BTW, I have no clue as to why the font is so funky for this post.

  2. I too get disappointed at things that I didn’t think of carefully 🙂 but so far, I’m still in the business :))

    I guess it’s normal—oh by the way, when my father makes something wrong, he takes the hammer and breaks it down to…thousands of pieces 🙂 Mad Man, He Is!


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