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Here’s a lesson in love and sticking-it-out. After he poured a great deal of effort into designing and building this sidewall for a crib, photo pool member delfuego’s hand slipped, and his router took a chunk out where he didn’t want it to. Here’s the dilemma: Does he finish the project anyway or chuck it and begin anew?

I’ve always been a fan of sticking it out and finishing the project anyway. The way I see it, screw ’em if they give you any guff over it. All this super-minor blemish does is prove that you built it yourself. It’s a badge of honor — wear it with pride!

Toolmonger Photo Pool [Flickr]


17 Responses to When To Stay The Course

  1. n2jeepn says:

    After all that work, I’d get out the bondo and fix it up. I fix arcade cabinets (wood) with bondo all the time. No way I’d let all that work go to waste!

  2. Gary says:

    Yep. You’d be surprised at how many things people don’t see anyway. My biggest problem is remembering not to point them out on my work.

  3. elmegil says:

    I don’t have a particular solution, but a long time woodworker friend once told me that you will always make mistakes. What separates the real craftsmen is knowing how to recover and turn them into design elements.

    For this one, why not make a little decorative enlargement at the bottom of each slot? Then it looks like you meant to do it. 🙂

  4. Zathrus says:

    Yeah! Put bondo on the crib right where the kid is likely to grab it, crumble it off, and…

    Or maybe just let the small imperfection give it character.

  5. arjuna says:

    you’re darn right — it’s a badge of honor! heck, if they tried to build a crib for their baby it wouldn’t look half so good… tell ’em to take their crate-and-barrel crib and shove it.

  6. Alan says:

    I’m assuming it’s going to be painted? Patch it, as others have said, either with a filler or a new piece glued on. I guess some safety consideration is need since its a crib, but I’m sure the builder can come up with something.

  7. DLone says:

    When I was learning to weld, my instructor said that mistakes make the piece “organic,” as opposed to factory-perfect. Those imperfections show that a human, not a machine, took time to make something. Everything I make is “organic.”

  8. Marco says:

    Granted its a picture, but without that red circle, I wouldn’t have noticed. My first reaction was how good it looked. Keep it. And well done!

  9. Fred says:

    This shows the difference between handmade and mass produced machine made. Every handmade piece has it’s own character. There will never be another crib like this one.

  10. Daniel says:

    Keep it. In 25 years your son/daughter will be saying to another generation, “Grandpa made this for me when I was a baby. See where he made a boo-boo. Now you get to use it.”

  11. Jim says:

    I can think of a dozen creative ways to fix, hide or minimize it.

    Since it is in the corner, which I can assume could be any corner, I would make a plaque or accent to put over the top. Scroll saw a rabbit or lion or Mickey Mouse and put it over the top. Or a plaque in a contrasting wood with the child’s name or ‘Made by….’ or Made Especially for…”

  12. Jim K. says:

    Definitely stick with it and just think of a creative cover-up. Personally I’d either widen the outer two most slots (for symmetry) or go with the other Jim’s suggestions for the scroll sawed rabbit, Mickey, plaque, whatever. My 2 cents (which seems to be worth less every day admittedly).

  13. Brad Justinen says:

    I would make random accent notches across the hole thing. Draw it out until it looks cool, then work it out. Or you could widen both ends. Be artist or find someone that is.

    You could wind up making this thing cooler than you originally planned.


  14. Steve B. says:

    I wouldn’t even try to fix it as long as it’s smooth to the touch. As most others have said it add’s a kind of “I made this” signature. Plus you wouldn’t want to offend to gods by making it perfect 😉 Looks great! I’ve got a matching mission bed I built, routers are easy to get away from you when given the opportunity. Let us see the finished product won’t you ?

  15. Jason says:

    Hey all — I’m the maker of the crib front, and my wife and I quickly decided that we’d keep it just as it is! When I rounded the edges of all the cutouts over with my 1/8″ roundover bit, I kept going over the bite and now all its edges are smooth. As Zathrus, DLone, Fred, and others have said, this’ll make the crib unique, and Daniel’s idea of this reminding me, my kids, and their kids about how everyone makes mistakes is pretty much perfect.

    (Oh, and just to give the info, I can’t really widen any of the slats to the width of that spot with the router bite — safety standards dictate that the openings between crib slats are no more than 2 3/8″ wide, and at that spot, it’s nearly 2 1/2″. Given that it’s only that width for less than 1/4″, I’m not worried, but were I to widen the entire spot to 2 1/2″, it’d definitely be a safety issue.)

    I’ll definitely be posting continuing pictures in that Flickr photo set! Just to flesh out the project a bit, it’s a *built-in* crib; we have a small room that has a spot that’s 3/4″ wider than the length of a crib mattress, so I figured I’d build a built-in crib there, including a base with drawers and the front that you’ve all seen now. The whole photo set is here:


    Thanks for the kind words!

  16. jim says:

    T paraphrase what others have said, it’s not a flaw, it’s a feature. especially if you make the same “mistake” at the other end. (Not end of the same slot but the other end of the sidewall.)

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