Waiting game

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Few things are worse than really being on a roll in your woodshop, and having to come to a grinding halt to wait for something.

We all try to plan out projects to avoid downtime. That way, while waiting on one thing to dry or set or whatever, we can still be productive working on another part of the project. It doesn’t always work out that way.

That was the case earlier this week when I was prepping shelves for a divided cabinet. I’d already cut the sides, top and bottom, and had them marked and ready to go. The vertical dividers were all rough-cut, waiting for the shelves for touchup fitting followed by final assembly.

But when I reached for the oak board to make the two shelves I realized I didn’t have an oak board the right width. A simple, dumb error – I thought I had several in my lumber rack – but my progress stopped dead because of it. I simply had to have those shelves in-hand to proceed cutting dadoes for the dividers and final assembly.

The fix was easy; I just glued up the board I needed from narrower stock. But although easy, it was time consuming. Cut and edge-joint the stock, glue and clamp, and then… wait. With nothing else I could do on the project I busied myself with shop cleanup and organization. Hardly busywork – cleaning and organizing are constant tasks in every shop – but there was no way I’d finish the cabinet project that day as planned.

Instead, I lost a day of productivity and turned a one-day task into a two-day task.

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