Too Busy For Words - the PaulWay Blog

Fri 18th Jan, 2008

Broken by design?

One of my less desirable habits is to leave things to the last minute. The more critical the result, or the more complex the procedure, the more I seem to prevaricate. The psychological reasoning seems to be that if I fail afterward I can always say, "well, I didn't really put any effort into it," as an explanation of why it failed. This leads to a reputation of failure and minimal effort I am keen to avoid.

This is why, with two weeks to get ready after I came back from visiting my family in Brisbane for a two-week sojourn in Melbourne doing a Red Hat training course and attending LCA, that I left my packing until 10PM the night before I was due to leave first thing in the morning. Thus I left my USB sound output, vital to the mixing I want to do at LCA, behind in my frenetic and near-random scooting around the house collecting ephemera.

This is also why, during the same period, with the promise I made to have a finished, good-looking version of my wooden laptop case cover for LCA 2008, I left the actual glueing up until two days before I was due to leave.

I had learnt a few things from the previous test run:

The initial results were good - the bits were all in the right place, the outer veneer bent perfectly without cracking along the vital top edge, and there was easily enough of the Tasmanian Oak backing to do the third 'live' run.

Then the problems started. The first problem was that it was slightly damp, it was the day before I left, and I wanted it to dry out. I left it sitting in the shade outside against a post. When I returned it had bent thirty degrees on that corner. I wet the outer surfaces again and pressed it in a rigged-up frame made of oven grilles and a heavy pot, since I still wanted it to dry out. Even now it retains a set of unusual and possibly uncorrectable bends which make it non-planar when not attached to the laptop.

The second problem is that the front metal piece is slightly further down than it should be - it overlaps the middle ply rather than being beside it. This means that the connection to the laptop top is going to be a bit more of a strain than it should be and is a side-effect of glueing up the whole thing in one go (because the glue isn't tacky when I'm putting it together and therefore the parts in the middle have less friction applied than the parts on the edge). I hope that this will turn out to be a blessing in disguise, but there's no obvious benefit to being one millimeter too short over one millimeter too long so it remains to be seen whether this will actually make the whole thing unusable.

So in my non-copious spare time between now and this Sunday I shall attempt to get some fine sandpaper and some good clear wood sealer and paint it up. If I can find some clever instructions for flattening laminated wood that don't require a week to implement then so much the better. And next time I may consider glueing up the back and middle before adding the front, and using a glue which actually binds to metal. Which may require Kate to be taking photos if the glue can't also be cleaned up with a wet rag (since I spread the glue with my fingers).

But I really wish I had given myself more time.

Last updated: | path: personal / woodworking | permanent link to this entry


All posts licensed under the CC-BY-NC license. Author Paul Wayper.


Main index / tbfw/ - © 2004-2016 Paul Wayper
Valid HTML5 Valid CSS!