When things are clicking in the shop there is no better feeling, and when they aren’t…well it’s not a great feeling. I expect everyone has run into their share of share of shop frustrations. Gluing a panel in backwards, chopping out the wrong part of a dovetail, plowing the groove for a drawer bottom in the wrong place (guilty, and recently!)
I know it takes the wind out of my sails. Recently my 13 year old started a stained glass project, it’s a rendition of a Husky — which is his favorite breed of dog. He was cranking away on it, he had all of the parts cut and fit and started applying the copper foil to the edges. But he got in a hurry and didn’t double check the fit with all the parts. He started soldering it and it shifted around and got out of control.
He felt like a failure, and wanted to chuck it in the trash. Having been there myself plenty of times (they have streets named after me) I coached him to not give up on it. I shared some of my more spectacular shop blunders and encouraged him to fix the problems and finish it.
Monday he decided he was going to get it finished. He pulled off all the the foil and solder, and started fitting the parts into a little frame I made him to help hold everything in alignment. He had to re-make a couple of parts, and grind several parts to get a good fit. Then he started foiling the parts again, and discovered a few spots that were too tight and had to do more grinding. One of the pieces broke, and he cut out a replacement part. One of the Husky’s eyes was a little too small, so he made another. Then, he soldered it, added a patina and polished it.
It’s beautiful. He did a first class job, and the result is something anyone would be proud of. And, I think, he learned an important life lesson.