Fast thinking


As woodworkers and as business owners, we are constantly presented with problems that need solutions.

Often the solution is obvious: "If only we had a (whatever).” But that missing machine or process is either too expensive and/or will take longer to get than we have to solve the problem.

That is when we have to get creative.

I was once given the job of profiling a bar rail. The bar was semi circular, 20 feet across and the rail had been laminated in place. It was well done and tight but the existing profile was a rectangle and the clients wanted a traditional bar rail shape. I thought we could run the profile on the shaper, but there was no way we were going to get the rail into the shop.

What we came up with was a series of rails and a giant router trammel. By making repeated passes with a core box bit, repositioning and resetting for each pass, we were able to get pretty close to the needed profile. Then we spent two days refining the profile with cabinet scrappers.

In the end, several us had very sore fingers but a solution was found.


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Why didn’t I think of that?

It’s amazing how, after considering a woodshop problem for a long time, you find the solution was right in front of you all along.