Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The 75° Chamfer

It all began in October. My son was painting a picture for school at the table. As I watched him, I thought, "this would be easier on an easel". Then November came, and Home Hardware sent out a Christmas flyer, which included an advertisement for the latest Home Workshop magazine. Incidentally, the magazine’s feature article was an "easy easel". Aha. This would be a good woodworking project to learn from, as well as a wonderful Christmas present. So off to the store we went.
I should have known this might be a little more ambitious a project than I was prepared to tackle, when I looked at the drawings included. But being optimistic (and naïve), I figured the written instructions would help me sort out any difficulties I might encounter.
We cut the wood, stained it, etc. To this point, we hadn’t had too many problems (besides my 2 year-old trying to step on the freshly-stained wood and make footsteps on the cardboard).
Then it happened. I read the line that began my trip into true learning. "Cut a 75 degree chamfer on the bottom edge of the rail before cutting the slots for the biscuits". Pardon me? What is that? I returned to home hardware (since I realized the supply list had not actually included all the supplies I would need). There I approached one of the "home experts" and asked him for help. He looked at the instructions, kind of hummed and hawed. After about 5 minutes of his "help", I left.
Now what? I tried the computer. Chamfer. The definition was "to cut off the edge or corner of: bevel". Oh. That’s what they mean. So I headed into the garage to cut the chamfer when I figured out that I need a special saw to do this. (My jigsaw, drill, and mouse-sander are my tools of choice).
Anyway, the whole project grew more and more crazy after this. I nearly quit the "easy easel" project 3 times, despite the money I had dumped into this endeavour. At one point, I was close to crying. "This is too hard for me," I had to admit.
Well, I have finally finished it - picture enclosed - and as I reflect, I realize I learned some good lessons along the way.
1. I know what a chamfer is.
2. I know how not to cut one.
3. Carefully consider the costs (financial and mental) before you build something (Luke 14:28).
4. Sometimes we can accomplish more than we may think.
5. Sometimes we may be wiser not to try to accomplish more than we think.
6. If something says "easy", it’s not necessarily true.


Dan S. said...

7. Time is money :-)

Kim said...

I think I would have thrown in the towel when I realized I didn't know what a chamfer was.

Good for you for finishing it. I am not good at assembling things.