George Vondriska

Measuring Mistakes

George Vondriska
Sign in
Duration:   2  mins

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.

Share tips, start a discussion or ask one of our experts or other students a question.

Make a comment:
characters remaining

12 Responses to “Measuring Mistakes”

  1. James Ford

    The only video avail to play for Measuring Mistakes is 2:49 instead of 43:40. Not sure what the issue is but would appreciate assistance.

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Eric Senger

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

  10. 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?)

Get exclusive premium content! Sign up for a membership now!