Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Bridge: Hand Rails Done Wrong

I've decided to attach the hand rails using mortise and tenon joints, a decision that will prolong the project and test my resolve. Why not? Once my rough-cut piece of railing was ready, I pulled out my favorite chisel, sharpened it nicely on the wheel and then trimmed up the tenon end--that little tongue piece will stick into the post. Very nice.

Cutting the top part of the curve was easy on the table saw. The bottom curve is convex, though, and more difficult to cut. I tried using my jig saw, knowing that I should not (because the wood is too wet and thick), and the blade immediately wandered and ruined the piece, prompting me to put on a public display of self-loathing there in the driveway. Then I quit for the day.

That was Tuesday. On Wednesday I started again and with a better focus. The new piece looked pretty good, even the bottom curve, which I rough cut at an angle on the table saw.

Time to cut the mortise into the post. I marked it off. The post is now on the ground but on its side, still attached to the body. I need to disconnect the post so that I can put it on its back, hole facing up. Instead, I stubbornly smack the chisel from the side while using my shoe to absorb the blows. This will never ever work, not in a million years, but I persist because I don't want to take a few seconds to disconnect the post.

More frustrated now, I bring out my drill to make some pilot holes for the mortise--good idea. Of course I can't see well because the hole is on the ground and on its side instead of facing up. I'm in a bad state of mind. The drill bit snaps in two when I try to wriggle it free from the wet wood.

Jam looks away, embarrassed for me and for himself (because he is supposed to be keeping me grounded). Time to quit.

For two days in a row I lost my Zen, got in a hurry, knowingly did the wrong things, made stupid mistakes. Hopefully Jam will figure out how to keep me on the right path in the future.

Next: Cutting the mortise holes in a logical way. Becoming a better person.

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