In Woodworking Mistakes

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My fiancé and I planned an April wedding. To celebrate our marriage, I decided to turn a very special Easter egg. In addition to segmented rings of maple and ebony, this egg would have a laminated band that matched our wedding colors. Tiny bells placed inside the egg’s hollow center would mimic wedding bells whenever my bride-to-be shook it.

This egg took forever to make, but I enjoyed every minute. I chose spray-on urethane for the finish and polished the surface with fine sandpaper after each coat. The egg looked absolutely gorgeous— until I sprayed on the final coat. This time the finish looked milky white, and it was tacky—really tacky. I was mystified until I looked at the can, and then I nearly fainted. I’d used spray adhesive instead of urethane! Both cans were the same color—I’d grabbed the wrong one and hadn’t bothered to check the label. Doh! Fortunately, I was able to remove the adhesive by scrubbing the egg with mineral spirits and fine steel wool. –Jack Welch


Even though I had very little woodworking experience, I managed to get hired by a local cabinetmaker. One of my first jobs was to help him install new kitchen cabinets at a customer’s house.

My employer asked me to mount drawer slides on all the drawers. I had mounted slides before, so I felt reasonably confident—until the homeowner pulled out his video camera and pointed it directly at me. I tried to look cool and collected as I installed the first pair of slides. But the camera’s bright light completely unnerved me, especially when I noticed that I had mounted the slides at the top of the drawer, instead of the bottom. Ack! Although my stomach was churning, I smiled confidently into the camera and reached for the next drawer.

Fortunately, the customer turned the camera—and his attention—to my employer. I furtively removed the slides from the first drawer and mounted them the correct way. Then I quickly learned how to use wood putty. –Philip Gebbia

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