The high cost of re-work

No term in the craftsman’s lexicon can cause as much pain and suffering as “re-work.”  It is the quickest way to destroy profit known to man.  Even when the craftsman is being rewarded only with the gratitude of loved ones, the loss of time alone can have substantial impact, if for nothing other than ruining the planned schedule.

The decision to “re-work” is difficult to make when it is being made bilaterally, between craftsman and client.  But, the decision can be excruciating when it is made unilaterally.  A craftsman, working for his daily bread, needs to know when “it’s good enough”.  But when it’s family… you get the “drift.”

I recently posted about my experience with a water based glaze that I had used on a table that I’m building for my daughter and her family.  I was not happy with the results, as I examined them in the shop.  Anyone who has ventured into my shop knows that the lighting is not of the highest quality.  In fact, several of my most earnest friends have suggested that I might find that I would benefit if I would begin wearing a miner’s headlamp.  In any event, I took the table base outside of the shop and was even more disappointed than I had been at “low light.”

tobacco juice finish

The finish looked as if certain parts of the table base had been positioned in such a way so as to create a “station” on a tobacco spitting obstacle course.  In my head I could envision the competitors “loading up” with great, big chaws of Union Workman, Beechnut and Mailpouch and “firing away.”  It was obvious that significant action was required on my part.  So after the angel on my left shoulder and the angel of my right debated across the empty space between my ears, I made the decision to…do it over.

No golf game this week.  And, my TV binge watching will have to be seriously modified.  But here’s the table base sanded and repainted, ready for another attempt at glazing it the right way.


It’s important to be your own “harshest critic.”  That’s what keeps your standards high.  That said, it’s much easier to do so when you’re not waiting to get paid upon completion of the job.



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6 Comments on “The high cost of re-work”

  1. Ouch, sorry. Was is the first time you used water-based glaze? Or did it just not work this time? At least it is a gift and your not trying to feed your family with it. When you redo it are you going back to oil based or just trying again?

    Could you tell me about the ‘riser blocks’ you have the legs centered on, please?

    • D.B. Laney Says:

      The water based glaze was a first for me. The water base causes the glaze to dry very, very quickly. When you’re glazing details and/or dry brushing, that fast drying aspect is a huge problem. There is inadequate time to manipulate the glaze. So, I’ll be going back to the oil based glaze, that will offer adequate “open time.”

      The pyramidal blocks are just cut off from an old 4×4. Basically four 45 degree cuts, then a 90 and you’ve got a block. They’re stable, will support a fair amount of weight and allow the user to get whatever finish is being used right down to the bottom of the foot, without a lot of dripping or sticking to newspaper, etc. They’re very useful.

  2. Carroll Says:

    My eyes are too old, your lighting is worse than I thought, or I’m too much of a novice (assuming combination of all 3) — the glaze looks pretty good in the photos. But you know the effect you want and the pros/cons of how it applied. Also important to test glazes on scrap wood. In this case it would be scrap wood with coves, grooves, corners, etc. Looking forward to the new and improved product — and your ability to get back to golf.

    • D.B. Laney Says:

      Yes, clearly I should have done more sampling than I did. I only brushed up some flat surface samples. I should have used a few practice turning sticks to see how the stuff would work on the details. Shame on me…

  3. Tim Miller Says:

    Amen…goes for potters, too!!

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