Tweaking

Author:
Publish date:

I’ve ruined a lot of projects by not leaving well enough alone, but sometimes tweaking really does improve something.

Can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve overdone something – too much sanding, too much trimming, too much adjusting of a finish, too much … well, anything where I just can’t consider something “done.” In a best-case scenario the extra work amounts to just having done a lot of extra work, since the constant fiddling didn’t make anything better. In a worst-case scenario the extra tweaking ruined a perfect good initial result.

But sometimes tweaking makes a big difference. In setting up the dust collection connection to my miter saw station, I knew when I did it that it wasn’t the best job. The fitting wasn’t quite right, but since it was the only one available for what I was doing I used it and let it go, thinking I’d come back to it someday for a little tweaking.

I’ve been thinking about it ever since, and found that thinking about it instead of immediately over-tweaking it to death was the best way to go. With time on my side, I came up with a solution – essentially, I removed and cut up the fitting and combined it with a piece cut off another fitting. A bit of ABS cement and I custom-made a new fitting that works perfectly, increases the airflow from the saw’s dust port, cuts the wind noise in half, and even looks better.

I know I’ll never stop fiddling with things that were fine the first time; it’s in my nature. But perhaps if I try to not tweak right away and think about it for a while – while observing it in use – I’ll come up with a better result that, in the end, requires only a little tweaking.

Related Articles

Rationalization

There are some things I hate to do. But if I rationalize the task hard enough, I’m fine with it. Sometimes, the rationalization even makes sense.

Simple savior

I love when tools are improved and upgraded, but sometimes the simplest enhancements resonate the most with me.

Temporary retirement

I’ve had a heavy workbench for at least 35 years, but I don’t use it much anymore. Time to let it enjoy a well-earned retirement?

I could, but I’m not

I’m technically capable of doing a lot of things, but sometimes I just don’t want to.

Never have I ever

There are a lot of extremely common woodworking tasks and techniques. But some, no matter how common, are things I’ve never done.

Work+Play=Fun in the shop

Not everything made in the woodshop has to be related to work. In fact, sometimes the whole point of making something is to have fun.

Getting a lift

I finally bought something I’ve been wanted for years: a router lift for my router table.

Hidden treasures

At some point in every project I make, I include something personal that, most likely, no one will ever see.

Fair and un-square

We rely on so many things to be square in woodworking. Sometimes I rely on them too much… or not enough.