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I can certainly sympathize with David and other makers on field changes, where a client has changed things that make the finished item useless. I have exactly the opposite problem.

The items I occasionally sell are already done before the customer sees them, so the issue of the customer changing things is moot. But it’s probably a good thing I don’t make stuff per a customer’s request, as I find it a rare item I don’t change considerably from the time I start it to the time I finish it.

That doesn’t apply to exact reproductions; there, the design is someone else’s and I’m merely re-creating it. But for things I design myself, the original sketches often bear little resemblance to the final result. Now, if I’m making something that has to be a certain exact size to fit in a certain exact spot, you can bet the dimensions will be spot-on. But everything else about the design is likely to change while making it.

A lot of times it’s being able to see it as it progresses, and realizing that something I just thought of works better. Other times it’s realizing that something worked differently on paper than it does in wood – number and location of drawers, say, or the direction a door swings.

Then there are changes dictated by availability of materials – maybe an exact type of wood or hardware I’d envisioned that I couldn’t find – so an on-the-fly redesign is called for. Sometimes it’s simple error that prompts a change (or a lot of changes), like a bad measurement in an irreplaceable component; it’s sometimes easier, and sometimes even makes the project better, to just alter things so the component is useable rather than starting over. And then there are times that, well, I open my wallet and realize I need to scale something back mid-project.

Till next time,


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