Woodworking advice

A person recently left a comment on my posts about building a crib for our children:

I am very impressed with both of you. My husband doesn’t want to purchase a crib. Everytime we go to the store he picks the poorly made (overly priced) cribs apart. He is set on making his own. I just don’t want to add to his stress. Any suggestions I could pass on to him as he begins his own project, would be greatly appreciated.

There’s always advice one could give on tools, techniques, or whatever, but there are a few items that always fit:

  1. Woodworking requires practice like anything else, and it’s not easy to keep from getting rusty unless you move from one project to another with no breaks. So, before I begin a large project like the crib, I build something smaller and less critical. The process of making the smaller project brings me up to speed, and reminds me of a all kinds of little things I have to remember.
  2. Never fix a mistake immediately. Most likely, you will just follow it up with another mistake. There’s a reason why you made the mistake – you were tired, hungry, stressed, whatever – and the reason is STILL THERE. Any time I make a mistake (or injure myself) I take a break and leave the room and do something else for a little while.
  3. Quit when you’re ahead. We all know the feeling at the end of a very productive day, when we’re just a few steps from being done. We’re elated, tired, and ready to be finished. STOP! You’re not as close as you think you are. Go to bed, and pick it up again in the morning.
  4. Think about finishing first. The finish you put on a project is more important than just about anything else. A bad finish means a bad project that WILL get tossed when it gets old and dirty. With modern wipe-on varnishes, there’s just no excuses any more for not putting a decent finish on.

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