Oops

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When you do some woodworking task “just a bit more” at a point when you innately know you should probably stop, you almost always end up being sorry.

That task could be just about anything: one more twist of the clamp, one final attempt to tweak something beyond being exact, one more coat of finish, one more pass with the plane (or through the planer), one more tap with a mallet to seat dovetails, etc. And inevitably you regret twisting, tweaking, coating, planing or tapping ’em just about every time. This seems especially true on the lathe, as you can see below.

One of my regular projects is a small lathe-turned potpourri bowl with a fitted pewter top, and I think I’ve made several dozen of these over the years as gifts. Depending on the design I make these either with a faceplate or a chuck, but the last time I used a faceplate I got into a gotta-do-the-bottom-just-one-more-time loop, and one-more-timed the chisel right through the bowl.

Fortunately, I was still doing the basic roughing and hadn’t spent a lot of time on it yet, plus I had plenty of additional zebrawood on hand so it was just a minor setback. Of course, had I been turning a one-of-a-kind piece of stock I’d have probably let out a scream you would have heard no matter where you were at the time.

Then again, I’ve done the “just a bit more” routine so many times, it’s likely you already have.

A.J.

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