Hey everyone! I hope your year is off to a great start!! Well, 2018 was quite a year for Juddy Judson Builds. I’m finally settling into my new shop, although it looks like a shit-storm rolled in, stayed for a while and then left. I have 1000 pencils floating around but can’t find any of them.  It’s also been awesome to watch the blog grow! I’m slowly creeping up on 20,000 views. Crazy, right?! Not only has woodworking allowed me to be creative in the shop, but it has also allowed me to work on writing skills, which was something I was never really interested in but is turning into something I love! One of my favourite things to do is grab a cup of coffee, sit down and write some shit down. Well, just the ‘appropriate shit’ that runs through my head. My ‘editor in chief’ (my wife, Courtney) gently rewords the inappropriate things I have to say. Hopefully, I’m making people smile, or maybe even inspiring someone to build something along the way.

On a side note, if anyone ever wants to build something but doesn’t have the tools or knowledge, I’d gladly open up my shop and help you build something. Just bring a couple beers. No smokes though. I’m off those…  Shop hours are as follows:

Monday- Thursday

4:30 am – 6:30am                                                                                                                               7:00 pm- 9:00 pm                                                                                                                           Friday or Saturday night is usually open 7:00 pm- 2:00 am

I don’t really have a build for this post, but I do have a couple of recent learning experience that I’d like to share. I figure I’ve already shared all my shop stories on here, so I  might as well roll with that theme.

Let us dive into my the first lesson.

Safety. It matters.

About a month ago, Courtney was away for 5 days for work, leaving Everly to take care of her Dad for the week for the first time (beers, smokes, and whiskey…. party city, right?!!). I wrestled Everly to sleep and headed out to the shop to finish some cutting boards before Christmas. This was fairly repetitive and I was getting a little too comfortable on autopilot.  While I was running a piece of ash through the table saw, my wrist twisted like 5 degrees forcing the wood on an angle against the blade and it binded. It shot back towards me faster than me guzzling down a lawnmower beer in 30-degree weather (actually, it doesn’t matter what the temperature– I love lawnmower beers). The wood struck me about half an inch above my right eye. My right eye is the only one that works, so I was a little concerned. The impact knocked me back against the garage door and I instantly put my hand above my eye, checking for blood. It took a good three seconds before the blood gates opened. I stumbled back into the house, making a few phone calls to see if I actually needed to go to the hospital or if any of my friends had the equipment to stitch me up. Courtney was thrilled to have learned that I needed to go to the ER 7 hours after she left for the week. I wound receiving 9 stitches along with a concussion.  This isn’t something to joke about or something that I’m proud of. I didn’t have safety glasses on and it literally could have cost me my eyesight. It’s easy to get comfortable using power tools and when you do, accidents can happen. I’ve been trying really hard to wear my glasses in the shop but there are certainly times I forget. It was my first significant woodworking injury, and hopefully my last! If I learned anything , it’s to take my time and always air on the side of caution.

Here is a little demonstration of what kickback is. FF to 2:30.

Disturbing pictures below

 

 

 

 

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You’d think it would have hit my big nose, but somehow it missed it.

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That face… hers, not mine.

 

 

Shit happens

Okay, this lesson/mistake really eats me up. I actually can’t believe how many things went wrong. If you read my last build about the big octagon table, you would know that I worked hard on this table. I was getting up early in the morning working to produce my best work and I was proud of it….until two weeks ago. I received a text message saying there was an issue with the table. A couple of boards were splitting and needed to be fixed. I felt like a bag of shit because I sold someone something and it broke. First of all, they paid good money for a table that should last a lifetime. A loaf of bread should not last longer than something I built. I was wound a little tight for a day or two. I  have a personal fault where I obsess over things and want to fix or do something about it ASAP. It consumes me (I’m not always as easy going as people may think). The next day, I borrowed a truck and went to pick up the table. A few cracks I could fix. I went out to the business (Ultimate Doors and More) to pick it up and it was way worse than the pictures. The whole top looked like a god damn salad bowl.  Tony Hawk could skateboard on this or it would be an ideal half pipe to snowboard down. It was a disaster. My anxiety set in immediately as I was trying to figure out how I was going to fix it, not to mention the three other orders I had in the hopper. I also have a real job and a family. Can you feel my anxiety?

My client was super understanding about the whole thing, but I’m my own worst enemy. It’s not about making a couple bucks to buy more tools. I would never want to build or sell someone a piece of shit. It’s actually the part I hate the most about selling things. Not to mention, wood has a mind of its own and moves as the seasons change, which I think was the issue. I built the table in my shop which isn’t heated 24 hours a day and when it was put in a warm, dry climate, the wood moved drastically.
I ended up cutting the table apart and gluing and screwing it all back together and reinforcing the entire table. I sanded it down three times, actually. The first time I sanded it down and stained it, I used my belt sander for half of the table and when I put the stain on you could easily tell the difference. So I sanded it back down. I ran to the store with minutes to spare to pick up more stain (the girls at the cashier give me a seniors discount because they love Everly). They didn’t have the exact kind I originally put on but I knew it was a dark walnut, so I just picked up another dark walnut. I put the stain on and, mother facker! It looked nothing like the original. So I sanded it back down AGAIN and tried again.  I finally got it back to looking good after countless hours, but the table is now only 1/8 of an inch thick….(kidding…kind of).

The most stressful part of this whole thing, even for me, was it threw my timeline off.  I am a time-management nut. When I tell someone I’ll have something done for them at a certain time, that’s when you can expect it. I guess you can say this put a wrench into my timeline and turned me upside down. I probably should work on that, too (lol!). At least I’m honest with myself about my faults. Courtney’s list might be a tad longer…   A huge thanks to my father-in-law, Patrick, who was here to help me throughout the process. Check out the mess in the pictures below.

 

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I attached plywood underneath the maple top to give it extra rigidity but I ran it with the grain, which was also a factor in the warp.
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You can see how it dips down.

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Just a slight bow.

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In order to clamp an octogon we had to make some braces to clamp to.

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Here I am sanding the table back down to refinish it. The first time.

 

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I spilt my coffee all over the table.
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Looking smooooth
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I secured the base back down. I put way more screws in it this time for that extra peace of mind.
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Next, I put the trim back on. This was a pain in the ass because the table was an inch and a half shorter in diameter after I took it all apart and made some cuts, so I had to cut all the angles for the trim again.
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Just praying the stain will be the right colour and won’t look blotchy.
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I put wood conditioner on first, sanded it down to 400 grit and it looks like trash, not to mention the wrong colour. Are you kidding me?!!!!! This is a joke, right?
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At this point, I’m trying to tell myself it looks fine. It does. It looks great, right!? F*ck it. I need to sand this back down and do it AGAIN.

 

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So that’s what I did.

 

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Pretty flat right!!!! (Don’t tell me if you don’t agree.)

 

So that’s, that. Nearly knocking myself out and fixing/rebuilding a table I literally just built. What a learning experience. Who likes when things go down the shitter? Certainly not me, but what entrepreneur has never failed (if you consider what I’m doing an entrepreneur type of thing)? I’ll take these lessons and learn and grow from them.  I’m 100% positive I’m going to continue to make mistakes. What I  won’t do is stop learning because things get difficult or because I failed.  I hope I can show my children that failure isn’t final and I can lead by example. That’s the only fuel I’ll ever need. That they’ll see their Dad just grinding things out. Oh, speaking of  ‘they’ll’, Courtney and I are going to be welcoming a brand new baby boy in July!!!  How awesome is this!!! It makes something like a stupid, crooked, blotchy ass table look pretty insignificant, doesn’t it?!! Life is a wild, exciting ride and adversity only makes you stronger!

I’d also like to welcome the staff of Glen Stewart Primary to the blog. I have a bunch of awesome new friends and this might be their first experience here. Don’t judge me…

 

I’ll have a couple builds coming out soon. Stay tuned

 

 

Brett

2 Comments

  1. Well, of course, the very exciting part of this post is the new baby. And the lesson learned –
    be careful when working with tools and be grateful that your customer was so understanding. Great post. I will be back for more.

    Like

  2. Oh dear, this was such an interesting blog. Practice makes perfect for sure, and we ALL learn from our mistakes, no matter what the age.

    But, you left the best part till the last. So exciting that you are expecting a new addition to your family. Congratulations to you and Courtney. Both sets of Grand-parents must be over the moon.

    Judy

    Like

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