Comedy of errors


Most shop screw-ups are simple, one-error things. Some of mine have more components than a Shakespearean play.

I envy woodworkers who make simple mistakes. My mistakes, on the other hand, are multilayered works of art. For example, take a gander at this mess, which shows the final part of this screw-up:

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It all started simply enough: I ran out of polyurethane while doing some shop cabinets. But that’s error No. 1; I should have made sure I had enough before starting.

I had no more poly on hand, error No. 2. Always have backups of important supplies.

Error No. 3 is more of a random factor, but still an important part of this. It’s snowing and I don’t want to go out for more. However, I only have a little more to go and I want this project done. That leads to error No. 4: Even though I saw I was running low on finish – before the snow got bad – I gambled that I’d have enough.

So with a snowstorm outside, naturally I started rummaging around to see if I had any leftover poly somewhere, which is error No. 5 – if I had some, why would I be dumb enough to keep it somewhere other than with the rest of my finishing supplies? Still, I got lucky and found a nearly empty can.

Finally, error No. 6 should be obvious from the photo. Clearly, I didn’t bother to clean the can rim or the lid edge – a quick wipe with mineral spirits would have done it – before sealing the can. As a result, it required a pair of pliers to get the danged thing open.

But there was enough poly in the can that I handily managed to complete those cabinets, which turned out great. And, as in the past when I’ve done things like this, I remind myself once again how a cascading series of errors could easily be avoided.

Lesson learned. I’m a new man. It’ll never happen again.

Yeah, right.

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