Compound disinterest - Woodshop News

Compound disinterest

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Compound angles in the woodshop elude me. I just don’t get them. There, I’ve said it.

I used to get straight A’s in math, geometry, trig and all those brainy things. I haven’t shot pool in years, but I never had a problem lining up a series of rebounds and bumpers to sink impossible shots. Back in the day when video arcades were a big deal I was a natural at all the space shoot-’em-ups that required ridiculously tricky shots. Without even pausing to figure out the angles in a fast-paced situation, I could just “see” the shot, take the shot, and the Earth was safe. My initials were always on the high score list.

Sadly, my innate talent at blasting invading aliens didn’t translate to the shop: I can’t do compound angles to save my life.

Oddly, I can still “see” the angles perfectly in my head, but when it comes to translating that to the wood and correctly making the cut, I get it wrong nearly every time. I’ve come to accept that it’s one of those things I just can’t do well in the woodshop. Oh, I can manage to get it done if I cut extra workpieces – lots of extra workpieces – but it’s a painful, discouraging process.

Practice doesn’t help. Calculators don’t help. Taking a pencil and marking lines on the workpiece helps a little, but more often than not I still get it wrong. The only thing that works is to do the cut, see where I did it wrong, then adjust it till I get it right. Inefficient as heck, but there you go.

When it comes to compound angles, put a blaster in my hand and I’m your man. Give me a piece of molding, though, and you’re better off calling someone else.

Things were so much easier back in the days when it was just the fate of the Earth in the balance.

A.J.

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