(this is my exasperated silence)
I’m back from the big box store. Got someone to help me very quickly once I was in the store (yippee!). He seemed to know what he was doing with the cutting machine (horray!)
Then he pulled out his green highlighter marker to mark the cuts (little worried now). Don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, but highlighter markers don’t make the most precise marks for cutting. But what do I know, right? I’ve never used one of those machines (think happy, positive thoughts–it’ll be okay!) He makes the cut, pulls the lumber over to the carrier and remeasures it (see–he’s double checking! It IS going to be ok!), meets my eye and gives me a reassuring smile.
We get through about 5 cuts, and I’m trying to ignore the fumbling with the tape measure and highlighter, and the tape measure going at a diagonal from where he has it anchored. I’ll just take a minute and straighten the stack–and maybe line up the two sides of the hutch to make sure they are the same width. They have to be the same width or this thing is not going to go together well.
They are not the same width.
Point this out to the gentleman who is helping me out with the cutting.
Me:” Do you think we can even this up? They aren’t the same width.”
Gentleman: “Looks like it’s real close. One is only 1/4″ wider. That’ll be ok.”
Me:”Well when I put the back on, it will stick out 1/4″ on the one side and won’t lay flat.”
Gentleman: (measuring, lining them up, looking at them like they might magically become the same width, but not saying a word)
Me: “I think this is good for today.”
Gentleman: “What about the other sheet of plywood? Do you want to cut that?”
Me: “Are you kidding me??!!!? You didn’t get the other sheet cut evenly! One fourth of an inch might as well be a mile when I’m trying to put this thing together!! These have got to be EXACTLY the same width or it is going to look HORRIBLE! No way am I going to have you cut the other sheet!”
Actually, I didn’t say that to the gentleman at the store. I said that to myself in the van on the way home, because I am much too polite to say that to an actual person. What I actually said was “I think this is good for today. I’ll take care of that another time.”
I’m not sure what would have made him stand up and take notice when he was remeasuring his cuts each time. “Oh, well I’ll be! I’m off by over an inch on this cut!” maybe? The hutch sides are supposed to be 12″. One of the sides is about 1/8″ shy of that (Now that is getting “real close” in my book–not 1/4″). The other is almost 1/4″ over what I needed.
I’m no expert, but I am absolutely positive that 1/4″ off is not something that I can “make work” when it comes to assembling this project.
How am I going to get my plywood cut now? I’ll let you know when I figure it out…
I believe I should rename this post The Tipping Point: When Pink Toes Finally Realizes She’s Gonna Have to Learn How to Use a Saw.
This post was a result of my own frustration with my own fear of power tools. That gentleman was only doing his job and not even doing anything wrong because the store IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR MY CUTS.
In my head I was going to go to the store and have them to the heavy cutting for me and I would haul my perfectly cut boards home, glue them up, and marvel at my wonderful newly completed home project.
I expected to rinse and repeat the above for every project so that I didn’t have to plug in a saw. I mean, they cut off fingers people!
Other bloggers were having the store cut their boards! And they were getting beautiful results!
Here’s a wake up call for me back then (and maybe you now): the big box stores are not responsible for my (or your) woodworking project cuts. They have policies about the fact that they don’t make precision cuts in the store.
And if you are doing anything more fancy than a spice rack for the back of your cabinet door, then you want accurate cuts with a saw! Don’t put your project in jeopardy from the very start by giving someone else the control over your woodworking cuts.
Here’s what happened after I put on my big girl pants and learned how to cut with a circular saw.
And then a reader asked me to film my process so that she could see it to understand it better:
And I still have all my fingers the last I counted! (I hope that doesn’t jinx me…)