mistakes

wood patch

It’s a little hard to see what’s going on in this picture. Well, what you’re seeing is a mistake. A repaired mistake. My repaired mistake. Sigh.

The piece is a 2″ thick cherry top brace for a trestle table I have been building for my dining room (and will be writing about in some detail shortly). The part in question is one of the two in the center of this photo:

trestle table braces

As I was routing the slot that you can see in the image (which is the means of attaching the tabletop to the base, with one of the “buttons” seen in the lower left of the photo), my router slipped and ran out the edge, leaving an ugly 1/4″ wide scar and some tearout at the edge. If it was a more visible component, it would have ended up in the kindling pile (the expensive kindling pile). In this instance, the brace is under the table, and the damage was on the top edge of the brace, right up against the underside of the table top, so will likely be seen by no one, ever. But me. I’ll know it’s there. I’ll lay awake at night and agonize about it being there.

I once read that the mark of a craftsman is the ability to repair his or her mistakes. Fair enough, but it’s not the whole story. The mark of a craftsman is the ability to live with his or her mistakes, which is easier said than done.

All told, I think it’s a pretty good repair though. I especially like the penciled in gum streaks. Can’t even see it in the second image above. With the finish on, even I am pretty hard pressed to find it now.

But I still know it’s there.

3 Comments on “mistakes

  1. OH!! I LOVE it! It gives the object character, and YOUR character. All of your hard works and attempts and corrections, including this post which shows an ability to be vulnerable. Some natives even create imperfections, on purpose, in their work. I think it is an honor to experience this with you. I do not know why this has me gushing, but it does.

    I often think that the times I let me down comes most at the times when I am only doing a thing for me. No other critic is harsher. I’m reminded over and over that I’m a work in progress, perfect only in my imperfections! I would be very grateful to see it when it is together and stained or painted please.

    • Thanks Elisa, for sharing your eloquent perspective. Interestingly, I have found that my work becomes easier, and maybe a little more relaxed, after the first screw up, because it banishes the ideal of “perfection” from my mind from that point on. A good reminder for life in general I think. —jeff

  2. Hmmm .. I don’t see nothin’. Looks like its going to be a beautiful table too. I hope to make on of these some day.

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