Monday, February 16, 2015

Sometimes failures aren't always failures

The purpose of this entry is to point out that even though some projects don't work out well, they aren't necessarily failures.

A few months ago I began working on a wooden basketball backboard for my girlfriend, similar to the image below.


I started making this thing using palette wood, which I spent a lot of time removing nails and sanding.


I attached all the boards to each other, filled the gaps with wood filler and sanded it smooth.


I mitered some nice edges and the backboard was coming along nicely.


But then I ordered and received the hoop in the mail and the backboard was much too small.


This was a failure, but the backboard I made was very nice so I put it aside for a future project.  Fast forward a month or so to a different project - a new console/buffet table for my dining room.


This table was supposed to have door with plexiglass.  I made the doors with some mitered wood, cut at 45 degree angles.


The table was actually too low in height and eventually became a new vanity for my girlfriend.  But she didn't want doors, so those too were set aside for a future project.


Then one day I was looking through my scrap materials and thought to use the doors from the failed dining room console/buffet as legs for the failed basketball backboard.


So I attached the doors-turned-legs to the backboard-turned-tabletop.  Using more scrap material, I began turning this into a nice side table.


More palette wood was used to add a second shelf on the bottom.



The shelf was attached with glue and brads, with a support on the bottom.


Then I sanded the bottom shelf smooth...


...and added wood filler.


Then I sanded, added a little more trim on the sides and then some more filler.


After sanding and cleaning I applied some new stain.


Once the stain was fully dried I gave it a good sanding to make it look a bit more worn.


Then I put it in it's new home on my back patio.  It's slightly taller than my Adirondack chains, but still works well.


Once all was done with that table, I rummaged around my shop a little and found another failed project - a second basketball backboard.


This one was a much better size for a backboard, but I wound up not liking it much.


So I cut it in half...


My mother has an office in her house with a window.  Outside this window she has some of her pottery, but they are displayed on some crates and on the ground.  So I decided to make some display tables for her!  The table tops will be the second failed backboard that I had cut in half.  I started by making some legs using more palette wood.


I first took some measurements to make all the cuts.


Using my miter saw, I cut all the pieces to the right lengths.


Using my table saw, I cut all the pieces to the right widths.


Lastly I used my new surface planer to make all the pieces the same thickness.


Then I drilled some holes...


...and screwed the legs together.



Next I drilled some more holes and screwed the legs to the table tops.


The legs are thin, but they hold up the table.


Shortly I had both tables up, but they need some strength now.


...so I added a beam to the back.


Much better.


Next I gave the tops a good sanding since there was a lot of left over filling.


Then I put the table on it's back, and cut a piece of palette wood for some trim on the front.  This trim was glued, screwed and nailed in place.


I also added extra strength by attaching some cross beams to the sides.


It's a much stronger table now.  It also looks a lot better...


...although they are not the best tables I've ever made.


...but I made these on the fly, without using any plans.  So I think they turned out ok.


For a different project I had bought a lot of this brown spray paint and I have a lot left over.


So instead of using wood stain, I decided to spray paint these tables brown.



Once both tables had dried I sanded to make it look very worn.


After a little clean up these 2 tables are done!


Then I brought them to my mother's house.



Now she has a nice view of the tables and her pottery from her office window!

Onto another failed project...
During one of my builds I had some large pieces of plywood that I discovered too late were cut to the wrong size.


I eventually fixed this problem buy buying and cutting some new plywood, but now I had some extra plywood to play with.  So first I put together a new table saw sled.


I've made a few sleds before and all of them were lackluster.  This new one works quite well.


It stays on it's tracks, and cuts some perfect 90 degree angles.


Another build I made with the leftover plywood was a small table to put a humidifier on in my bedroom.  This table was simply a box...


with some legs attached.


The legs were actually strips of pine wood - leftovers from another project.


Stain was added to match the other furniture in the bedroom.


And it's the perfect size.


I made a lot of the pieces for this small table using my new saw table sled.  So I decided to make a few more items to help my table saw be more than just for cutting 90 degree cuts.  The first thing I made was a new fence.


This fence slides nicely back and forth, has a screw which locks it in place, and also has a adjustable feather board attached.


I also made a sliding box for my existing fence which works as a tenoning jig.


This jig does a good job making tenons and rabbits.


I have yet to be able to make mortises, but making tenons and rabbits like this will greatly strengthen my joint pieces.


Lastly I drilled a lot of holes into a 2x4 removed from a old project, and it starts a new life holding all of my dremel bits.


All-in-all these projects turned out pretty good even though they turned out badly in their initial purposes.  Keep your failed projects!  They may one day turn out to be successful projects!
Thanks for reading!

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