Measure Once


Cut twice. Or is it measure twice, cut once? 

I'm reading Nick Offerman's book, Good Clean Fun: Misadventures in Sawdust at Offerman Woodshop. When talking about the importance of sharpening his tools, Offerman writes:

The last thing you want to do is go all the way over to the sharpening station and maintain your steel blades. Ugh. It's like when you commit to the toil of running around and playing ghost-in-the-graveyard like a mad goblin until you're stumbling tired and ready to crash right into sleep, but you have to get up and brush your teeth before you do. It'll take only a minute, and it's unquestionably the right thing to do, but it just seems like the worst possible punishment in the moment.

I love his humor! But he makes such an important point, that keeping your tools properly sharp is one of the foundations of good woodworking. Measuring correctly is undoubtedly one of the other foundations of good woodworking, and it sometimes feels the same as sharpening your tools - "I don't really need to do this. I've made this same table fifty times." It's just like brushing your teeth when you're dead tired - definitely the right thing to do but such a chore!

Offerman also writes, "Keeping your cutting edges as keen as possible affords you the best opportunity to do accurate work." Same goes for measuring. The old adage, measure twice, cut once, really is so true. It's things like measuring, sharpening tools, and wearing safety gear that are basics of good craftsmanship. They're not easy for the lazy among us, but they're unquestionably what's best. Best for our craft, best for our reputation, and best for our safety. 

 

 


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