In my short time in this great craft, I’ve many times wanted to give up on a project. Sometimes the difficulties seem too great, or the things that go wrong seem unfixable. Yet I’ve always managed to carry on and finish.

Today I had my first shop time since before we moved (on May 13). I am far from set up at our new place, and I knew it would be a while before I was, so I had left all my woodworking stuff at the old place.

So I had about 2 hours of shop time, and planned to work on the Sawdust Chronicles desk organizer build challenge. If I had a shop full of power tools, I’d probably be half done! As it is, I got just far enough to realize that there’s no way I’ll be able to finish this thing in a week.

I set up shop in our kids’ former room, so I could make use of the A/C. Hey, climate control in my shop, this was a first! My first task was to fix my planing mess from the other week. And just like some of you said, it was a simple matter of evening the blade with the lateral arm. It all went smoothly. Pun intended.

Planing Fun

Getting most of my lumber smooth (planing and a bit of sanding), and then cutting the first four pieces I’d need, took about an hour. The next hour I worked on the dados into which the bottom two pieces would go. I was going to have two horizontal pieces to form the paper slot, and each of those would just fit into dados in the side pieces. Here you can see my initial knife lines to define the dado.

Groovy 1

Then I used a 1/8″ chisel to hog out the waste. I tried deepening the lines with the knife, but in the end found it more effective to use my saw to try to cut to the depth of the dado. Then I had to do the same kind of thing to make the tongue for the paper slot pieces. Oh, if only I had a rabbet plane.

Groovy 2

It doesn’t look pretty, but it doesn’t really need to because I was going to have a horizontal piece dovetailed into the front to cover it up. The piece was to look decorative but would actually be removable, revealing a secret document compartment.

Alas, I think I’m going to have to give in on this particular project. If the contest had been held in any other month but May 2009, I’d probably have been able to do it. But right now with our unpacking and everything, a desk organizer [that we don’t really need] isn’t the highest priority right now.

I’m bummed, because I’m a finisher. But now I can at least start to set my mind running again on my workbench!

P.S. Yes, I’m aware that the Schwarz had just written about dados by hand. Believe it or not, I just read it this evening. I’m such a dork.

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