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Ever forget to check for SQUARE??

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  • Ever forget to check for SQUARE??

    Man, I was really impressed by my increasing woodworking skills while working on a file cabinet plan from a magazine. My cuts are cleaner and more accurate. My dados are snug and the rabbets just right. I glued everything up and clamped just right as well.

    When I took the clamps off I realized that the whole cabinet and shelves were HORRIBLY out of square! It took some muscle and some diagonal clamps to undo my geometric nightmare.

    It seems I'm ready for the next step in the project and I'm close to square again.

    Am I the only one who is willing to admit this simple, yet major oversight?

    Comon...somebody has to have a story or two.
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    Stay well and play well.
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  • #2
    Re: Ever forget to check for SQUARE??

    I can say that I have never had that happen to me. I am hypervigilant about squaring things to the extent that I am borderline obsessive. I measure diagonals a number of times, clamp and remeasure. Then as the glue dries I check the diagonals periodically. Maybe there has been an earthquake in Taiwan that caused my clamps to slip. It is really silly that I check the diagonals so often but I do.

    One of the lessons I have learned is to enlist the help of some of the wags who infect my shop when it is time for glue-ups. My first tapered sliding dovetail bookcase taught me that lesson. The top, bottom and shelves slid in one end with no problem. But with the case on its side and shelves etc. sticking into the air, sliding the other side onto everything simultaneously was frustrating. Because the dovetails were so tight I needed clamps at each shelf/side intersection to pull the thing together. I would tighten one clamp and one on another part of the case would fall off. Then the glue started to make the wood swell which exacerbated the problem.

    I finally got everything together and the diagonals were perfect, no clamps required, the only time I can remember that happening.

    -Tom

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    • #3
      Re: Ever forget to check for SQUARE??

      I do sometimes have square problems. On the high-chair I made, after unclamping each of the sides, which should have been symmetrical, they two pieces of each leg were not quite the same angle (ideally, 22.5 degrees). Fortunately a quick run through the table saw to trim 1/8" off the one that had the shallower angle made everything right.

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      • #4
        Re: Ever forget to check for SQUARE??

        As much as I enjoy wood working, I seem to run into problems regularly, so don't feel alone! In everything I build, I see errors (and can relive them) although most people would never notice. The more I work on though, the less and less mistakes I make. Don't let your head hang down...If it were easy, everyone would do it.

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        • #5
          Re: Ever forget to check for SQUARE??

          You'll find in truth, every woodworker/carpenter/cabinet maker has at one time had a garage or shop full of mistakes sitting in the corner that's labelled "scrap wood". It's just part of the learning process, but as time goes on the scrap gets used and scrap corner gets smaller. Don't worry you're fine.

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