This is Carpentry Camp, and it’s all about learning, sharing knowledge, and ultimately helping to better the reputation of the trades and keep craft alive! Here you’ll find definitions of carpentry and general construction/remodel/renovation terminology and jargon, how-to blog posts with lots of good pictures and thorough explanations, industry related articles and other educational resources. Please let us know if there is something specific you would like to see here, or just have an idea to share; you can reach us by filling out the “contact form” in the drop down menu or sidebar. Thanks for checking out Carpentry Camp!
Mistakes happen. It’s inevitable that somewhere along the line in your carpentry career or hobby, your going to make a mistake. There’s all kinds of mistakes; honest mistakes, dumb mistakes, mistakes stemming from miscommunications & misunderstandings, avoidable mistakes and unavoidable ones. No matter the reason, once the deed is done the only thing you can do is reflect, learn and move forward. Dwelling, ruminating, pouting and feeling sorry for yourself or angry with yourself are all emotional responses that slow progress. Move forward. Figure out what happened. Sometimes that’s harder then it sounds. Sometimes it’s staring you right in the eye. Like the “dumb mistake” I made once on a job site early in my career.
I was installing barnwood in a customers new & very custom garage. When I started the run from the inside corner, away from the last run on the adjacent wall, I never checked the first pieces for plumb. I proceeded to keep running all of the boards I had cut, slammed right up against the out of plumb starter boards. Then I packed up my tools, cleaned up the job site, and as I was walking out the door I noticed how out of plumb the barnwood was on the wall I had just installed. Instead of unpacking my tools and fixing it, I decided I really wanted to get home and would do it the next day. Like I said, dumb mistake. I knew the customer was very particular, and would be inspecting my work when I left, and I still didn’t fix it right then and there. The picture above is a screenshot of the text I received the next morning from the Project Manager.
Why I am I telling this story on my business website? First off all because it’s more than just a business website. Carpentry is not just my job, it’s a lifestyle for me, and this website is both personally and professionally motivated. It’s part of my journey… and on this journey I’ll make more mistakes. But I don’t ever want to make this one again. I’m not saying I haven’t made it before, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is this time something resonated with me and I started to get angry with myself. As that’s counterproductive, I decided instead to share my mistake with the world, in hopes of helping others to realize that even the pros make dumb mistakes, and the most important things are to realize it, fix it and learn from it.
I went back right away after receiving the text, admitted to the project manager it was work not up to our standard, carefully removed the out of plumb boards from the wall, and moved forward.
“Cause when I screw up once, I do it two more times…” -Phish
BE SQUARE \ a Tutorial on Cross Cutting
Building cabinets often requires pieces to be cut that are too wide to be safely or accurately cut on the miter saw. If you don’t have a sliding table saw, another option is to use a track saw. This is a great option that is both efficient and accurate, if done correctly.
When cross cutting with a track saw it is possible to “gang cut” by clamping several same size rips of plywood together and cutting all the way through. This system makes for a faster cut list, but can multiply the mistakes quickly. Whether cutting 3 pieces or 1, it is imperative that you are measuring off a square cut. Don’t ever trust the end of the sheet of plywood your using is square, cut it square. And use a square! There are all kinds of systems to help you do this, but a plain old square and a clamp will get the job done.
Always check your work! The surest way to know you are cutting your pieces square is to check your work before you make a cut. Using a square, draw 2 straight lines from edge to edge spanning the measurement of the cut. Then measure on a diagonal from edge of line to edge of line. If the measurements are the same, the piece will be square if cut on those lines.
Click here to learn how to hang a door! Check out our new “how-to” article on installing pre-hung interior doors.
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