14 September 2010

Waiting For Glue To Dry

Since I'm waiting for glue to dry in a non-euphemistic, non-metaphorical way, I thought I'd muse on some of the lessons I've learned from this project. It's not over, but since I just bribed myself to work on with an offer of a trip to the office supply if I finish it today, it must be close ('cause it's back to school sales time, squee!)...

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.

1 comment:

Regan said...

One weekend? Daaaang.

Also, I know this one from
experience. Your apartment can't hold all the "right" tools. So that's one more prevention from getting them.