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Two-maybe three-Degrees of Separation

Posted by on November 13, 2007


Over the years I’ve made many bone-headed mistakes.

Cut a piece too short because I “knew” the measure and didn’t feel the need to consult the drawings I spent hours preparing. Put a dado at the wrong height, the wrong length, or worse, the wrong side! Glue a part on backwards. I’m not quite old enough to say “I’ve made them all,” but by now I’ve definitely made my fair share of them. And while I tend to make fewer and fewer mistakes as time goes by…and thankfully don’t typically make the same mistake more than once (OK…maybe a couple times)…there’s usually at least something that requires special attention (repair, “design-around” or re-do) in just about every project.

This one’s unfortunately no exception.

Wixey Digital Angle Gauge

A few months back, while visiting my folks in Florida, I read a magazine review for something I just had to have. I was so concerned I’d forget about this miracle device that I immediately went online and surrendered $40. It’s called the Wixey Digital Angle Gauge. This is incredibly cool – due to both it’s utility and utter simplicity. Place it on the tool’s table, zero out the measure and then place it on the blade to verify/adjust the angle. Quick, easy, AWESOME! That is, when you actually use it.

This past Saturday I began my day in the shop (after helping my wife with the kids’ breakfast, of course) by cutting out the various parts for the new 22′ long cabinets/work bench/miter saw fence for the shop. After lunch, it was time for assembly. I had cut dadoes for the cabinet bottoms and tops and was looking forward to the satisfaction of dry-assembling the pieces and lightly “banging them home” with a mallet. Things were going swimmingly until I went to attach the top supports. The top was nearly 1″ wider than the bottom!


How could this be???

After some choice words and a bit of grumbling I decided to have a closer look at my tools…and noticed the blade on the table saw read some 2-3 degrees off 90…which led to cabinet bottoms angling the walls a bit beyond their intended target. With the glue already curing and available time short, I decided to basically force the sides square and call it a bench. Truthfully, as mistakes go this one’s not too awful — there’s enough play in the dadoes to allow for the readjustment — but hopefully this will serve as a reminder to verify the dang blade angle before starting a new project; even when it looks 90 degrees.

Oh, and by the way…I also managed to assemble the right-most cabinet mirror-image to the design with the wider drawer compartment closest to the right-hand wall. No matter…I’ll just tell people I planned it that way. 😉

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