Errant behavior

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How do you deal with an error in a project? To my way of thinking, there are three things you can (try to) do.

I’ve told you a dozen times how I obsess over the tiniest details of what I did “wrong” on a project, and how I wish I’d done it differently. But this time I’m talking about genuine errors and mistakes, not picky little judgments of my own work.

To illustrate this, I just finished a hardware cabinet for my new shop. I made one before but had to leave it behind at the old house and so I made another for our new place. It’s a simple piece of shop furniture made with basic joinery, consisting of parallel rows of shelves that accommodate several dozen plastic bins and a pair of larger parts bins with little drawers.

The cabinet turned out great… almost. Remember above when I noted that the shelves are parallel? Well, at some point during the building process one of my shelves moved off its line and I never noticed. The discrepancy was small, but I’d only allowed about 1/8” of clearance at the top of the bins so even a small discrepancy threw one shelf out of alignment. As a result, the bins don’t fit at that one spot. What to do? After regaling the neighborhood with harsh language, I figured there were three ways around this:

Do it over – I could tear one side of the cabinet down and redo the shelf, which I didn’t want to do. If this was a paying project, sure, that’s exactly the way I’d go. But this is a utility shop project and I have too many other things to do right now.

Alter the result – I could shave a bit of wood off the underside of that shelf (or off the tops of the bins that go in that spot), and while that would work, the difference might be visually obvious, at which point my OCD would kick in and it’d bother me forever.

Ignore it – Or, I could just forget it and put different bins on both sides of that shelf. I have other bins in lots of different sizes and using smaller ones on both sides of the shelf balances out the appearance to the satisfaction on my nitpicking tendencies. Problem solved.

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