One thing I've learned is, this is probably a prototype. I didn't start with a plan, I started with some nice plywood from the 50¢ scrap bin at the hardware store, and some shards of glass I'd painstakingly removed from a broken window here in the apartment. I had many different ideas along the way, and it moved forward very haltingly. And slowly. Part of the slowness was not actually knowing what came next, and having to have a good long think about that. I think the longest was almost a month.
If I had to build it again, by drawing a plan from what I've got now, and making a shopping list, and doing this like a proper project.... it'd most likely be a weekend project, or even just a day project, depending on what I chose to finish the wood / materials. I may test this bold claim. The closer it is to finished, the more sure I am that I can do better, faster, and with greater satisfaction at the end. I can't really 'save' this one, but I could go for a mulligan and be happy with what I get out of it. What I can't do it for is cheaper – this one is constructed almost entirely out of stuff I already had on hand, or clearance bin items. The only things I paid full price for were hardware (hinges, knob, latch).
Another thing I (re)learned is that prototypes are totally worth it. Although maybe next time I should do it in cardboard or something. In art we call that a maquette, or a 'mock up' if we're not being pretentious art school dorks.
In no particular order, further learned things:
- cut the glass first, cut the holes for the glass after
- hot glue does NOT work like caulking (don't ask)
- slate is surprisingly hard to find
- have a variety of fastening hardware on hand
- there's a reason some kinds of hardware come in a minimum of 100 quantity
- sand before sawing, between coats of paint, and after pulling the splinter out
- if you think something will make a good picture, it probably will
- measuring is not just for chumps
- a project that won't end is hugely inspirational - I'm FULL of other ideas now!
- cheap wood clamps are even worse than you think they'll be
Perhaps the most painful part of all this were the times I didn't have the right tool for something. Doing projects without a fully equipped shop can be fun, especially when you manage to work around a tool or process. A person can feel quite clever when Making Do. (See my contour gauge a few posts back...) but... it's those times when I'm mis-using a tool that I feel like ass. When I'm using a tool for something it was simply not intended for, and I know it. Or when I know without doubt that the problem I have can ONLY be solved by having the right tool, which I can't afford at the moment. Or that the problem I have can ONLY be solved by having a quality example of the right tool, which isn't in the stars at the moment. Those times are a bit frustrating.