I noticed while perusing past posts (let’s face it, I’m the only one who reads them; and, again, it’s all about me) that I have not yet posted any pics or information on the wardrobe or chest. I’d like to say a small amount about them because they are a good illustration of the steps you need to take and the things you must experience, through just doing them, to become proficient at anything.
Let me explain: I found many tedious details that need attending to when fitting joints by hand. When setting up machines to make precise, repeatable cuts. When getting the completed piece to its final smooth surface ready for finishing. These tedious details are not just part of the job–they are the job. When you’re complaining about having fifty tenon shoulders to back-cut (to guarantee a tight fit to the stiles) or having to fit and then re-fit mortises and tenons dozens of times before final glue up, I’m feeling your pain. I’m with you. But what we have to realize is that the learning is in the doing. Yes, tedious chisel work sucks. But it makes you good with a chisel.
My Pappy always said: “Experience is the best teacher”. I knew what he meant, but I never knew the depth of the axiom. The more you do something, the better at it you become. Tedious, anal fitting of woodworking joints is not really that much fun, but it’s one of the many things you have to go through to develop the skills to be a competent craftsman.
When I completed the wardrobe, I was able to step back and admit that it was a simple piece with simple lines that appeals to simple people (me–me,me,me). But there was enough learning going on during its construction that, after its completion, the chest I had planned flew together in record time. I was actually stunned at how much more smoothly its construction went. More pegged mortise-and-tenons. More floating panels. More experience to apply to the next project.