I would be lying if I denied that there are days when I consider every single choice I have ever made to be AWFUL. A HUGE MISTAKE. ONE BIG FAT DISASTER. THE WORST DECISION OF MY LIFE.

Of course, this is a perfectly reasonable response. Your life too would get you down if you chose to take time out from work to build a little house of your own. One where every window and every cupboard has been designed to meet your precise taste and need. Horrific!

So, I can tend to be a little over dramatic. Nevertheless, it is true that I regularly inflate into a panicked, overblown cartoon of complete anxiety when it comes to this build.

Let me provide you with an example: Last week I began thicknessing the Accoya I acquired for my exterior door. All was going well, I successfully set up a flat surface and routered the timber without drama, making a few minor mistakes but nothing diabolical. I needed to trim the width of the wood to create a reference face, (a straight edge that I could use against the fence of my table saw). Easy! I would just run along one side with a circular saw. I drew my marking lines, clamped down a fence and began to saw. That is, for about 4 seconds. The saw cut out, and though the motor was running, the blade was refusing to budge.

I should mention that this is a pretty old electric saw, it’s my Dad’s, and though it USUALLY works fine, there is no denying that it has seen better days. Clearly, it had finally had enough. But that didn’t make sense! When I tried again, it would work but again only up until that very same point. Frustrated, I spent the next fifteen minutes trying to find the problem. I double checked if the saw was clashing with the table legs.  I triple checked if something was blocking the blade.  I re-clamped the piece in several positions and spent a whole lot of time glaring at it. By this time I was ropable and stormed inside, declaring to my sister that I was indeed a failure! An idiot! Questioning aggressively why anyone in their right mind would choose to BUILD a door rather than BUY one?! Demanding why anyone on Earth would build a HOUSE, rather than buy one!

When I returned to the shed, only slightly appeased, I recklessly decided to give it a go on the table saw. Unsurprisingly it didn’t go well. The timber was rough sawn, so not especially straight, and therefore when I used it against the fence, it just cut to the same bends. I charged back inside to lament to my darling sister some more.

We ended up finding an old plane desperately in need of some love, and I huffed about having to sharpen the thing. However, by the time it was sharp I was finally beginning to feel encouraged. I haven’t had a significant amount of practice sharpening tools and don’t feel overly comfortable with the task, but I successfully honed a nice sharp blade without much difficulty or mess, (water stones). My faith in my ability somewhat boosted; I began to plane my straight edge.

It took some time, but I had marked out a straight line and was managing to get a close cut. I used my spirit level as reference, rocking it back and forth until it was flush and finally ended up with a pretty decent edge. Not as perfect as I would have achieved with the saw, (or a jointer for that matter), but close! I could confidently use this as my new reference face to cut the plank down to size.

Several hours from when I started, I was finally cradling a piece of my door! One of the lower panels. It was beautiful and my insides warmed with pride. Oh but that’s right, One. I had another to cut before the day was done. Encouraged by my success, I tentatively broached the circular saw once more. As I picked it up, I noticed that the bolt which held the blade in place was loose. Hmmm. I tightened the bolt. Yes, that indeed fixed it. A few minutes later I had a nice neat cut and was ready to cut the second edge on the table saw.


I suppose the moral of this story is listen to your sister- she suggested there might be something not quite right with the blade when it first cut out. Wouldn’t it have been nice if I had listened?

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