Tag Archive | desk

My Biggest (Woodworking) Blunder

I don’t like to dwell on my mistakes. I tell myself, “It’s just wood. You are not saving the world. Shut up, cut another piece and get back to work.” Most of the time, the mistakes aren’t that big and they are really nothing to worry about. Sometimes they are harder to shrug off. And sometimes, they are legendary.

I’ll paint the scene for you. I was young – 22 and fresh out of college, working at my first and only “real” job. I was an art director at an advertising agency surrounded by creative types. I played the role of maintenance man and wasn’t afraid to jump in when something needed fixing. I had some woodworking experience and thought that I knew enough to keep me out of trouble. Boy, was I wrong.

It started out simple enough. Our boss, who was becoming more scarce in the office, had a roll-top desk that was always open. He used it when he was in the office, but he wanted it closed and locked when he was out of the office. He couldn’t lock it because of the wires from the telephone and other electronics that had to go out the front of the desk and wrap around the side to get to an outlet. Simple right? Just drill a hole in the back of the desk and run the wires through. No problem.

The next day I brought in my drill, decided where everything should go and figured out the placement of my hole. I drilled a big hole through the back. It was a chippy, two-holes-next-to-eachother-wiggle-the-drill sort of operation. I made sure that all of the wires, especially those with the big plugs, would easily fit. It didn’t matter too much how it looked, after all it was totally hidden in a little cubby-hole.

I ran the wires through, plugged everything in and cleaned up the debris. All that was left was the basking. I love to bask after a job. So, Chris the accountant who asked me to do the job, came in to take a look. I proudly showed her what I did and pulled down the roll-top to show her how nice it worked. I should say, I pulled ON the roll-top. It seemed to stick. I thought well, maybe there is something in there, maybe it hasn’t been closed in a while, maybe it is just a little – Oh No!, Oh No!, Oh No!, Oh No! (the Oh No’s! went on for awhile). It didn’t take me long to figure out what the problem was. Yep, I drilled right through the roll-top that happens to hide in the back when the desk is open. I pulled out the wires and pulled down the roll-top (by the way, it worked great without the wires going through it). Down it came and there is was, right at eye level. The biggest, chippy, two-holes-next-to-eachother-wiggle-the-drill hole you have ever seen. The basking was officially cancelled, and after I got done changing my pants, it was decided that someone else should “fix” it.

This is by far my biggest blunder and one by which all others will be judged. I have often thought about writing it up and sending it in to American Woodworker magazine’s Oops! section, but it just didn’t seem right to get paid for messing up that bad.
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