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The Editors Mailbox

Made a mistake? Celebrate it!

comments (6) July 5th, 2011 in blogs

Tom Tom McKenna, Managing Editor
thumbs up 10 users recommend

Small chisel bites in each spline created small, eye-catching details in the corners of the box.
You can see the facets pretty clearly here.
I rode the creative wave onto the lid, taking the sole knot from the board and making it into the handle. It’s mortised into the lid, and the curve was feehanded on the bandsaw, following the grain.
Small chisel bites in each spline created small, eye-catching details in the corners of the box. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

Small chisel bites in each spline created small, eye-catching details in the corners of the box.

Photo: Kelly Dunton

This year for my wife’s birthday I made her a small mitered box out of English sycamore. It’s a simple piece, with a rabbeted lid and cherry splines reinforcing the corners.

Work on it went fast, but when it came time to flush-trim the splines, I made what looked to be a fatal error. On the last spline, I tore out a small bite with my block plane. Chin down, shoulders hunched, I mulled the options... remake, patch, or recut the splines... Eeek.

Suddenly, as I was holding the box, I noticed that the chipout was catching light in a cool way. I looked closer at the bite mark, and realized it sort of looked like a lamb’s tongue. Inspired, I took a risk and proceeded to nip away a small portion on all of the splines in the same way using a chisel. Turns out, my mistake was a design victory, creating multiple points of interest in the corners.

This small box was an enlightening woodworking journey. Sometimes a mistake can change a project for the better.


posted in: blogs, box, english sycamore, woodworking mistake

Comments (6)

bill117 bill117 writes: I always tell everyone that I did it on purpose so it will look homemade. If I made it perfect, it would look store bought.
Posted: 9:53 am on July 9th

Tom Tom writes: I'm glad I'm not alone in where I find "inspiration"
Posted: 6:36 pm on July 8th

GoRedsUS GoRedsUS writes: Sometimes, my projects seem to have more "celebrations" than I'd like them to have! ;-)
Posted: 4:36 pm on July 8th

dwbaulch dwbaulch writes: Made a "cubby" for my new grandson (cubby = dresser with no drawers, just cubby holes)intending to make the holes the same dimensions, even up and down. The bottom ones, through the reversed (measure twice and cut once) I measured once and the bottm one wrong - larger by about 2 inches. Turned into a design opportunity. Just the size for certain clothing items to fit on the bottom. My daughter and son-in-law were very happy with my "mistake."
Posted: 12:39 pm on July 8th

DogwoodDesign DogwoodDesign writes: Yes, I depend on them! Ok, maybe not, but I call them "design opportunities"!
Posted: 2:36 pm on July 7th

rsetina rsetina writes: Turning disaster into a triumph. Nice!
Posted: 2:35 am on July 6th

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