Best Excuses for Woodworking “Mistakes”

Nobody is perfect. I see shortcomings all the time in my work and in the work of others. If in my work, the challenge is to find an effective solution.

Regardless, I find it amusing to come up with plausible(?) excuses, some of which poke fun at legitimate techniques which, done properly, yield a high-quality result that needs no excuses.

If you can think of others, please add them in the comments section.

Put a hole somewhere it shouldn’t have been? It’s for ventilation.

Crowned or sloped table top? It’s for water run-off.

Joint not flush? It’s a tactile detail.

Tool marks showing? It’s just evidence of the craftsmanship.

A run in the finish? It’s a decorative “falling water” effect.

Poorly-fit joint? It was obviously done by hand, not mass-produced by a machine.

The door or drawer doesn’t close properly? It’s probably the floor. Try moving it somewhere else.

Wrong size? Well, it was measured by hand and deviations are normal.

Door or drawer sticks closed? It’s a feature, and keeps it from opening on its own.

Door or drawer is really hard to open? It’s a security feature to keep others out.

Orange peel or dust nibs in the finish? It’s texture.

There’s a flat in the edge of a round table top? It’s to keep it from rolling.

The shelf pin holes aren’t even? It accomodates warped shelves.

The mahogany is too dark? We can paint it white.

The shelf isn’t level? It must be the level.

The handle isn’t mounted in the center? It’s to create interest.

There are screw or nail holes in the wood. It’s reclaimed material.

There’s a gap in the joint? It’s a shadow line.

Cosmetic damage ? It’s distressed.

10 thoughts on “Best Excuses for Woodworking “Mistakes”

  1. My lips are moving.. it must be a lie.
    The dovetails are sloppy. My router bit moved
    The dovetails are sloppy. It was at the end of a 6 pack.

  2. My Sister-in-Law commissioned a local woodcrafter to build her a dining room table out of oak. When she went to pick it up, she was concerned that the table didn’t look “authentic” or hand-crafted. So she picked up a chain in the workshop and proceeded to beat the crap out of the table – much to the horror of the woodworker. After the abuse, she pronounced the table as “perfect,” paid for it, and loaded it in her truck.

    Dings and dents make a piece “authentic”.

    1. That’s funny and terrifying at the same time! I wonder if that woodcrafter has changed what he does in any way as a result of that incident.


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