Magnetic Knife Holder – Mistakes

As I mentioned in my previous post I’ve been thinking about making a magnetic knife holder as a way to practice different joinery techniques. Since this is supposed to be a learning project I thought I’d share some of the horrible mistakes I made. If you’re impatient though the TLDR of this post is I definitely needed the practice.

Mistake #1

2016-01-23 23.02.52My plan was to join two smaller pieces of wood together with glue and butterfly joints. Realistically though this was all unnecessary since the wood I had was perfectly wide enough. But, I decided I would cut the wood in half, rotate one of the pieces and join them back together. This way the grain patterns wouldn’t line up and I hoped the two pieces would look distinct.

My mistake wasn’t in the plan but in the execution. I was so focused on making sure I cut and planed the pieces to the exact same shape, and in getting my first glue up right I forgot about rotating one of the pieces. After spending far too long getting everything perfect I ended up with such a precise glue up you couldn’t even tell the board was ever cut. Normally this is a good thing, but this time it was definitely not what i was hoping for. (Seriously, look at the picture. Can you even tell that board was cut in half and put back together?)

Mistake #2

2016-01-30 10.51.09My next mistake occurred when making the butterflies; combining a lack of patience with a desire for perfection never turns out well.

I decided I could remove the last bit of wood by quickly pairing across the grain with a chisel. While there are techniques to do this they require patience. You are never supposed to cut all the way across because this causes blow out and rips the wood apart, and this is exactly what happened.

Thankfully this occured pretty early in the butterfly making process.


Mistake #3

2016-01-30 22.41.28This was the worst of my mistakes and occurred when cutting out a slot for the butterfly key.

Cutting out the slot required me alternate between hammering a chisel into the wood around the edge, to keep the line sharp, and slowly chipping away the interior. Because I need to the hit chisel it was a little noisy, nothing terrible but it was getting late in the day and I was worried about disturbing my neighbors. Instead of putting it aside for another day I decided I could speed things up by just hitting the chisel really hard and cutting the line deeper.

This was working well until I got down far enough into the wood that it started to weaken. I hit the chisel too hard and it split the wood along the grain all the way through.

It may not look to bad in the picture, but it opened pretty wide and even with clamps I wasn’t able to get it back together. At this point there was no saving the piece; I had to scrap it and start all over.

Hopefully one of these days I learn to be patient.

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