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screw-ups & calling for help

updated sat 2 sep 00


David Hendley on fri 1 sep 00

Kurt and June are both right: if you do things yourself
you will sometimes mess it up and sometimes expend
a great amount of effort for little result.
But, you are also gaining knowledge and experience.
Granted, the "I'll never do THAT again" kind of knowledge
is not the best kind, but it's still valuable.

One (of the many) stupid things I did was to eschew
the pre-made, ready to install maple counter top I wanted
for my new kitchen with the decision that I could make it
myself. I bought some kiln dried maple boards, a pint of glue,
and borrowed pipe clamps from all my friends. All I had
to do was rip the boards into 1 1/2" square pieces, cut
to length, glue them together, and clamp tight.

Well, I'd never worked with maple before. It is HARD.
Before I knew it, I was burning, rather than cutting, the
boards on my table saw, and I burned out the saw
motor - an expensive and powerful 2 HP Baldour motor.
My counter cost me 3 times what I could have bought
it for, and took 3 weeks to finish. I think it would
go well with Kurt's door sill and June's boulder.

I learned it the hard way, but you can bet that from now
on I will always make sure my blade is sharp before turning
on my saw.

Then, there are some things that are, by any measure,
uneconomic, but we continue to do.
Gardening fits in this category. Adding up garden prep,
growing, picking, and canning, I've probably spent a
half hour for each jar of green beans in my pantry.
It'd be 49 cents at the supermarket, so I'm working
for 98 cents an hour.
All I can say is "money isn't everything", and it's worth
it to me to be connected to something as basic as food.

I think any craftsperson has to have this attitude to some
extent. We could all buy perfectly functional dishes at
Wal-mart for $4 a place setting, but we continue to
spend lots of time and effort to make our own.
It's the journey as much as the destination.

David Hendley
Maydelle, Texas