Chris Schwarz's Blog

Complete, Utter and Total Fail

Do you like stories about gladiators? How about stories about idiot woodworking editors?

This week I was finishing up work on the joined Chinese stool for the cover of the Autumn 2009 issue of Woodworking Magazine. I took the components to my shop at home , mostly to avoid all the scatological jokes we all were making about it. (“Hey Chris, you gonna push out that stool this week?”)

On Tuesday I had just a couple joints left to cut , easy stuff. Then I just had to do a little shaping and assembly. It was going to be no problem to get the stool ready for the shoot on Friday.

About 10 a.m., I got bit by the dumb-donkey , as we say in Arkansas.

I’d taken the wrong construction drawing home with me. That preliminary drawing showed tenons that were angled at 5Ã?°. The final construction drawing had them at 8.7Ã?°.

As soon as I assembled the stool without glue I knew I had a huge problem. I spent about an hour trying to figure a way out of the mistake. But the best course was to flush it and start over. So I headed back to the office to get some more 8/4 stock for the legs.

After talking about my mistake with the magazine’s staff, we decided to switch a few things around. As a result the Chinese stool will be featured in the Winter 2009 issue instead. For the cover of the Autumn 2009 issue we’re going to use another project I had in the can for a book I’m writing. I’ll post details on that project next week , I think you’ll like it just as much as the stool.

In the meantime, feel free to snicker openly that Chris couldn’t make a stool this week.

– Christopher Schwarz

26 thoughts on “Complete, Utter and Total Fail

  1. Clay

    "the rest of us will try making the stool also and send you the pictures, good bad and ugly"

    I am EXTREMELY hesitant even to reveal the existence of this site, but hey, all I can say is – It’s been done.

    WARNING – The above site is guaranteed to repulse, no joke. I take no responsibility for any substance you may involuntarily propel onto your keyboard as a result.


  2. Chris Scholz

    Hi Chris,

    are you talking about a Chinese stool like this ?

    Liu Shifu (Master Liu) says that’s easy, takes him a day to teach how to build that stool with hand-tools.


  3. Chuck

    How about posting the final drawings/dimensions, SketchUp I presume, and the rest of us will try making the stool also and send you the pictures, good bad and ugly. Then, in the Winter 2009 magazine you can show your stool, the mistake and the correct version, along with those submitted by usin’s.


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