Measuring Mistakes

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Duration: 43:40

Have you ever miscalculated or measured incorrectly and ended up ruining a woodworking project? Of course you have! Everyone does it; even the experts. In this week’s free video, Measuring Mistakes, George Vondriska and Spike Carlsen swap woodworking horror stories and prove that you shouldn’t panic if you make a mistake; they’re just part of the learning process.

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14 Responses to “Measuring Mistakes”

  1. ERIC
    ERIC

    My friend, to make me feel better about a minor miscalculation, simply said, “That’s why wedges were invented. They help level the playing field.”

    Reply
  2. Mario
    Mario

    When I do a mistake that either cost me money or time, I unplug everything. Go to the kitchen, make fresh coffee. Sit for 20 minutes and think about anything else but the mistake.

    Reply
  3. Terry
    Terry

    Well worth pointing this out. We’re all human, and “to err is human”. Thanks. I wish just that I didn’t “err” so often. (Does that make my more human?)

    Reply
  4. Eric Senger
    Eric Senger

    I love this, may I share with my students? It has real life meaning and thats what these kids need right now.

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Eric,

      Thank you for reaching out.

      Yes, you can sure share this for educational purposes of course!

      If you have any other concerns, please contact us at 1-855-253-0822, or chat with us on our site.

      We greatly appreciate your business!

      Sincerely,

      Lindsay
      Woodworkers Guild of America Video Membership

      Reply
  5. Steve
    Steve

    My typical mistake is cutting on the wrong side of the mark.
    My silliest though involves the use of a “Lefty-Righty” tape measure. They are printed with numbers on both edges of the tape so it can be read in either direction. The problem is that 89 is 68 upside down. When measuring the vertical length inside a window for new blinds, I read the wrong edge of the tape. Fortunately, 89 inch blinds can be re-trimmed to get the 68 inch blinds I should have ordered. Needless to say, I don’t use that tape measure anymore.

    Reply
  6. Jay
    Jay

    When we were having a medical office built, the young architect (this was his first project) designed the building 2 feet short, which we found out when the pad was poured and the roof trusses were delivered. The result was making the building 2 feet shorter, which had no real impact on its function. We all make mistakes!

    Everyone has made those mistakes and we keep doing that! If you are using a lathe chuck, don’t forget to add an inch (if you forget, use your spur center). I keep a log of all of the assembly instructions and problems encountered for each project. That only works if you read your own instructions! Some pieces are complicated to form and difficult to describe or even photograph, in which case I’ll make an extra piece to be used as a model for next time. My notes will say, “See model” or “use template.”

    With tolerances in the 0.5-1 mm range in my woodworking projects, required especially when doing tongue-and-groove joinery, it is a challenge to avoid the built-in mistakes created by the huge variances in measuring devices. No 2 of my measuring devices have the same results with errors, especially with measuring tapes, of 1/16″ or greater when going over 2 feet. Which one is correct? It’s just not practical to achieve consistency by using just one measuring device. Finding accurate rulers that are flush on the zero end is difficult and then even some may be easy to read but have thick lines making it conjectural where an inch begins or ends. You compound that by the errors introduced by the thickness of a drawn pencil line. It is interesting that I will build 2 identical tables and one turns out (nearly) perfectly and the other not so much. As an example, try making a drop-leaf table using the standard “rule joints.” After you have joined, cut and molded all of the pieces, the math doesn’t seem to work and you have to relocate the cosmetically, mortised hinges because the leaves bind against the table edges. And then there are the issues with planed flat boards that are obviously no longer flat the next day. Everything seems to fit together perfectly on a trial, dry assembly but when you finally glue it all together and permanently assemble it, the appearance is less than ideal. If you make one item and it looks great, try to do it again and see what happens! It takes more than skill and the right tools, all things considered. The luck factor in how things ultimately turn out should not be discounted.

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Jay,

      Thank you for contacting us.

      You make some great points here. Thanks for sharing!

      If you have any other concerns, please contact us at 1-855-253-0822, or chat with us on our site.

      We greatly appreciate your business!

      Sincerely,

      Lindsay
      Woodworkers Guild of America Video Membership

      Reply
  7. JAMES
    JAMES

    When cutting out frame stock that is going to be mitered, I have learned to always calculate how much stock I need to go around the panel, artwork, etc. and allow for the miters. When cutting the 45-degree miters, you waste a pie-shaped piece from the end of each cut. It’s easy to underestimate the waste.

    Reply
  8. Craig
    Craig

    2 important questions to ask after you realize that you’ve made a mistake:
    1) How did it happen?
    2) What can I do to make sure it doesn’t happen again?
    Mistakes can be very effective teachers. Always try to learn from them.

    Reply
  9. Clete Templeton
    Clete Templeton

    George,
    Thanks for the video! You didn’t finish the story! How did you fix your error? I mean some wood assume you just ordered a new counter top and ate the bill, but you said there wasn’t time To do that! So, how did you fix that mistake? Inquiring minds wood like to know!
    Great video guys, I appreciate when the pros let us non pros know that you make mistakes too, it’s just not shown on camera. Thanks again, Clete

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Clete,

      Thank you for contacting us.

      The bar owner and I put our heads together and decided to create a servers’ station where the gap in the counter top was. It became a wooden built in that laid over my “learning opportunity.”

      Thanks!

      Reply
  10. Ronald Bloom
    Ronald Bloom

    I did like George did.
    I measured 7’2″ and marked it on the board. I went back to double check. It was 7’2″. When I cut it, it was too short. I double checked what I had cut. I cut it at 72″ – 14″ too short.

    Reply
  11. dirkbez
    dirkbez

    A quick question on reducing measuring mistakes, why have you not adopted the metric system? Georges’s error would have been avoided because when you write 11’3″ in the metric format 3225mm, there is no mistaking that. Also doesn’t metric make calculations so much easier, just asking?

    Reply