Some shop practices are so obvious that they hardly merit discussion. But every time I think that about some routine I have been taught, I am stunned by the blind spots of many of my students. (I am aware that I have blind spots, as well).
I’m always curious about shops that don’t have moving blankets lying around. How, I wonder, do they protect the work from becoming shop-worn? The few times I’ve had to work without a moving pad I was amazed at how damaged the piece can become by sitting on trestles, leaning against a wall or even being worked in a vise.
These dings can add an entire day of clean-up to the project.
When I build a project, I play a game with myself. How few times can I manipulate a piece of wood, assembly or finished carcase during the process? Once I’m done with a piece for the day, such as the chair seat above, I set it aside on a blanket and attempt to avoid touching it again until I absolutely have to.
And don’t get me started on how nuts it makes me to have to move assemblies just to make room for another operation.
This might sound like a stupid detail, but try it next time. I think you’ll be surprised how much crisper your work turns out.
— Christopher Schwarz
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