Friday, February 21, 2014

In the shop: Not my first rodeo

Was working on something this morning that needed measuring and in the process of doing so I threw my tape measure on floor, the concrete floor. It wasn't something I was trying to do, but somehow I managed to let it slip out of my hand and it hit the floor hard enough to bounce.

Now you'd think, given that I use that tape pretty much constantly, that I'd be throwing it on the concrete more often, but for some reason this is a reasonably rare event. But even so, I still remember, painfully remember, one time several months ago when the tape hit the floor just the right way, (Or wrong way, depending on your point of view.) that I promptly turned around and destroyed some nicely milled pine boards with it.

The boards were supposed to be drawer parts for a dresser I was making. I carefully cut them to length so they would fit nicely in the face-frame, but when I dry-fit them they were too short! Not just a little too short but really too short.

OK, not the first time I made a bone-headed mistake like that, so I cut fresh parts, being especially careful to make sure I was getting them the right length this time because now I was using up the spare boards I had milled just in case I needed them; but when I dry fit the new parts they were too short too!!!

Now I was pissed and there was a brief intermission while I threw a little temper-tantrum.

Eventually I settled down and resigned myself to doing all the setups all over again on three separate pieces of shop equipment in order to mill up some additional stock for my drawers. But first I grabbed a spare tape measure from the tool cabinet. Sure enough, I had cut both the first parts and the replacements the same 3/16's too short; except when I re-measured with the original tape they were the right length again.

What the heck was going on here???

It was pretty simple really. Too simple for it to have taken me so long to figure out. . .

But kudos to me today because I managed to remember to check before I destroyed anything.

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