Home > Techniques, Tools and Schools, Tool Chest > Toolchest – Oops and other bad words

Toolchest – Oops and other bad words

This post was supposed to contain the final glue up of the toolchest lid and skirts but………it will now be written as:

Oops how to adjust your skirt after the clamp slipped.


The weather finally peaked above freezing and with a weekend that looked unseasonably warm it was the perfect time to make the final glue up and prepare to paint. The bottom skirt and lid were in place and with help from my son it all went reasonably well. The upper skirt was fitted and trimmed, clamped in place and left overnight to glue. Feeling rather spry this morning and preparing for my son’s soccer game, I took the clamps off and moved the chest into the garage ready for the final scraping and adjustments. Placing the lid on top it quickly became apparent that something was not right. There was a 1/4″ gap between the lid and the skirt on one side. Visions of quick fixes, plane work, repairs, danced in front of my eyes until one solitary thought lingered, the hammer. No not the rubber mallet or the framing hammer, but the “double jack” some people may call it a sledge hammer but to an underground miner it will have that unique name. A few taps here a quick wack there followed by an endless pounding would certainly relieve my frustration, but alas I needed to get to that Soccer game so fortunately the chest, however disfigured was spared.

A couple of hours later with a clear head I began removing the front of the upper skirt. I did this carefully by cutting across the width with a saw then carefully separating the skirt from the carcass using a chisel. It came away with little protest leaving some wood to be pared away with a chisel. I carefully cleaned up the tails from the prior joints and began looking for a replacement piece of lumber.


After loosening the side rail I was able to position the replacement skirt and mark out the pins for the dovetail joint. Another hour or two of drying and the glue would have made this much more difficult. The second round of gluing and clamping went much easier with the two sides already glued in place.

Making mistakes is part of the learning process and without them our education would be incomplete. After the initial frustration passes the challenge of finding and implementing a fix can be quite enjoyable and when the results leave the carcass unblemished no one will know. Much of the furniture I have made has stories to tell and as you know many of the pieces we see in museums have unique characteristics and stories waiting to be discovered.

Now onto that scraping….


  1. January 13, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    I feel your pain. The devil is in the details. Just, keep reminding yourself that sometimes what matters is how to hide or correct mistakes.
    Once I made a door on a GF clock, after glue up….it twisted just a little and would shut correctly. After a few choice words, I sucked it up made a new whole new door.
    Glad you have a good attitude.

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