Tips and Advice to improve my overall quality of work....

Wood working questions and answers in here please

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply
Troy
Newly registered Member
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2018 5:33 pm
Location: United Kingdom
Has thanked: 8 times
Been thanked: 0

Tips and Advice to improve my overall quality of work....

Post by Troy » Sat Nov 03, 2018 7:48 am

Hi all! If you’ve read through my intro, you’ll know that I haven’t been doing Carpenty very long. Which means I’m obviously still learning everyday and will probably be learning for many years to come like many of us.

One of the things I’ve noticed about my work though, sometimes it looks “half-good”. And I’m not talking about the kind of “half-good” you get due to lack of experience.... I mean the kind of “half-good” you get through not trying hard enough. For someone like me, this is surprising because my wardrobe is colour coordinated... (don’t ask)....

Three lessons I’ve learned the hard way so far is too make sure everything I do is;-
1) Plumb
2) Level
3) Square

I’ve discovered that following these basic rules seem to make everything else so much easier and finish with better results. However, as I’ve said above I do get those jobs or days where I don’t bother making sure something is level or square because I have this mind set of “it will be fine, it’s only out by 1-2mm”. This sort of thinking has cost me dearly in hours of work before and it’s still something I’m trying to break the habit of now.

I want to better myself and be really good at what do! I enjoy my work and plan to keep at it.
I welcome your thoughts, opinions, and any advise you can offer me to help improve my work.
Grendel
Senior Member
Posts: 1478
Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2015 7:08 pm
Has thanked: 99 times
Been thanked: 273 times

Re: Tips and Advice to improve my overall quality of work...

Post by Grendel » Sat Nov 03, 2018 9:52 am

To be honest I can't really offer advice on how to improve so everything is plumb and true all the time . Perhaps make a habit of always having a level on top of your kit? One reason I say I can't really offfer advice is simply because a lot off my work was and still is to a degree done without a level. Plumb and level are relative terms anyway I find in a lot of situations. I spent most of my life in rrestoration , working on old buildings and unless there is a critical importance for example with gutters there was the adage "if it looks right , it is right" . In other words if exsisting is out of level if something is put in "perfectly " it's going to stick out and not even look half good. Mention of the gutters does remind me of a story . I was working on a church tower in Worcestershire replacing the lead gutters. The architect produced a drawing of these gutters each one having specific dimensions, falls and drip heights. "It's very important to stick to the drawing" I was told, so I did and the gutter was three inches above the roof at one point. Architect was not happy and went round checking all the bays only to find it had all been done to the drawing but he had not checked the roof just assumed it was all nice and level.
These users thanked the author Grendel for the post:
Troy
Rating: 7.14%
User avatar
Dave54
Senior Member
Posts: 3989
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:20 pm
Has thanked: 999 times
Been thanked: 923 times

Re: Tips and Advice to improve my overall quality of work...

Post by Dave54 » Sat Nov 03, 2018 1:34 pm

You can't get years of experience in a few months, and experience is what brings the ability to know when something is acceptable.
You have to train yourself into knowing when a job is right and not looking for problems that nobody apart from yourself will see.
Learn which are your "introduced" faults, and what faults are introduced by the limitations of the materials, and the buildings you're working on.
As Grendel says in general "If it looks right, it is right"
Do your work as carefully as time allows. Speed comes with practice.
These users thanked the author Dave54 for the post:
Troy
Rating: 7.14%
User avatar
big-all
Pro Carpenter
Posts: 21163
Joined: Sat Dec 16, 2006 10:11 pm
Location: redhill surrey an auld reekie laddie
Has thanked: 634 times
Been thanked: 1890 times

Re: Tips and Advice to improve my overall quality of work...

Post by big-all » Sat Nov 03, 2018 2:55 pm

remember to allow for the saw blade thickness
sharp pencil use the same make off measuring tape for consistency
draw a pencil line on the exact length you want and cut out half the pencil mark no more no less
These users thanked the author big-all for the post:
Troy
Rating: 7.14%
we are all ------------------still learning
User avatar
ayjay
Senior Member
Posts: 8376
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 5:51 pm
Has thanked: 408 times
Been thanked: 1420 times

Re: Tips and Advice to improve my overall quality of work...

Post by ayjay » Sat Nov 03, 2018 4:20 pm

I don't think there's any single piece of advice that can improve your work, plumb, square and level is a good start and makes further work a whole lot simpler.

I think the fact that you are looking to improve will stand you in good stead: I've worked with too many youngsters that didn't have that outlook.

You just need to work on this bit.
However, as I’ve said above I do get those jobs or days where I don’t bother making sure something is level or square because I have this mind set of “it will be fine, it’s only out by 1-2mm”. This sort of thinking has cost me dearly in hours of work before and it’s still something I’m trying to break the habit of now.
You see? You've already identified one problem.

I spent much of my last ten years before I retired working with another Chippy that I got on with well, we just worked well together and it was almost a pleasure going to work, (it was if it was a roof), but everything else was still work!

I could always wind him up by standing back on finishing something and saying "that'll do" or "that's good enough" - he couldn't ever resist coming over to check it out. :mrgreen:

I'm sure you'll get there if you keep the right attitude.
These users thanked the author ayjay for the post:
Troy
Rating: 7.14%
One day it will all be firewood.
cleatmr
Newly registered Member
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2015 9:31 pm
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Tips and Advice to improve my overall quality of work...

Post by cleatmr » Sat Nov 03, 2018 4:54 pm

Hi I’m a seasoned chippie with nearly 30 yrs under my belt.

Your initial comment is correct about everything being ‘True’ (plumb, level, square). However real life isn’t.

When I was a nipper the carpenter whom taught me told me ‘to make as many mistakes as you can’ therefore I can understand how something went wrong and how I could rectify it and prevent it from happening again (Gaining Experience).

Fortunately for myself he was one of the best Carpenters I’ve ever met. My goal was to be as good if not better than him. I’m not saying I’m great but I’m conscientious of the finished product that I leave.

I have managed to attain a good eye for detail. And can spot a sh*t job a mile off. When our and about I look and judge finished joinery done by others, sometimes I’m very impressed by the level of craftsmanship sometimes I’m not.

I used to beat myself up over things that weren’t right to my eye (a couple of millimetres out on a door for example), but others may not see. Then the adage of ‘if it looks right it is right’ will come into play.

Especially if the other adage of ‘time is money’ as I’m self employed and reply on recommendations.

I always use the mindset of would I be happy for it to be in my house if I was paying for it.

The main thing you need to do is build a reputation and try not to cut too many corners, whilst trying to earn a living.

More importantly as you gain experience you can then sort of gauge how much you are ‘worth’. I believe personally I charge a high rate for my labour, I think my workmanship reflects that tbh.
And when customers question me about my day-rate I always reply that “Being an experienced Carpenter in the game for many years. I’m not the cheapest carpenter I know but I’m definitely not the most expensive’ surprisingly enough it works 75% of the time for me.

Good luck


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
These users thanked the author cleatmr for the post:
Troy
Rating: 7.14%
SteveJB
Newly registered Member
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2018 4:34 pm
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 0

Re: Tips and Advice to improve my overall quality of work...

Post by SteveJB » Sun Nov 04, 2018 7:48 pm

Troy,

The English Woodworker on you tube has good no nonsense advice.

Steve
Bob225
Senior Member
Posts: 3474
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2010 9:21 pm
Location: Kent, Land of Apples and PYO
Has thanked: 48 times
Been thanked: 616 times

Re: Tips and Advice to improve my overall quality of work...

Post by Bob225 » Sun Nov 04, 2018 8:10 pm

The biggest bit of advice is your always be learning, you will never know everything, take your time and only time will give you the experience, and be patient with those willing you give advise or practical help (but take it with a pitch of salt)
1) Plumb
2) Level
3) Square
There's one exception to that, if you ever get to work on a grade 1 or 2 site or anything 200 years plus old leave your level or plumb at home - its all done by eye
User avatar
Dave54
Senior Member
Posts: 3989
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:20 pm
Has thanked: 999 times
Been thanked: 923 times

Re: Tips and Advice to improve my overall quality of work...

Post by Dave54 » Sun Nov 04, 2018 8:44 pm

Bob225 wrote:The biggest bit of advice is your always be learning, you will never know everything, take your time and only time will give you the experience, and be patient with those willing you give advise or practical help (but take it with a pitch of salt)
1) Plumb
2) Level
3) Square
There's one exception to that, if you ever get to work on a grade 1 or 2 site or anything 200 years plus old leave your level or plumb at home - its all done by eye
Yes. Anyone who has ever been to the "Crooked House" near Dudley will realise that "level" is in the eye of the beholder.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Crooked_House
Bob225
Senior Member
Posts: 3474
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2010 9:21 pm
Location: Kent, Land of Apples and PYO
Has thanked: 48 times
Been thanked: 616 times

Re: Tips and Advice to improve my overall quality of work...

Post by Bob225 » Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:51 am

User avatar
Job and Knock
Old School Chippie
Posts: 6356
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2011 3:27 pm
Location: Lancashire
Has thanked: 629 times
Been thanked: 1475 times

Re: Tips and Advice to improve my overall quality of work...

Post by Job and Knock » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:23 pm

Bob225 wrote:There's one exception to that, if you ever get to work on a grade 1 or 2 site or anything 200 years plus old leave your level or plumb at home - its all done by eye
Only if you are on heritage replacement - if you are installing a new stairs, bar or reception desk then straight, plumb level is very much still the order of the day if and when possible
"The person who never made a mistake, never made anything" - Albert Einstein

"I too will something make, And joy in the making" - Robert Bridges, 1844~1930

"Success is 99% failure" - Soichiro Honda
Grendel
Senior Member
Posts: 1478
Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2015 7:08 pm
Has thanked: 99 times
Been thanked: 273 times

Re: Tips and Advice to improve my overall quality of work...

Post by Grendel » Thu Nov 08, 2018 8:23 am

Always exceptions to rules where sometimes things have to go in level or to a specific degree ( important part there is j&k's "if at all possible" ). Gutters are one of course . Another example is doors. On a timber framed cottage in Stoneleigh in Warwickshire we put in a new front door and frame. The building was leaning a tad so much so that we had to fit a filler piece to the sides that was practically nothing at the bottom and five inches at the top. Obviously the door couldn't go in five inches out of plumb , it would be difficult to open and would close with a right bang. Optically though it did look as if the door was falling into the building . Nothing really could be done about that although some wag did suggest a hanging basket with a long chain next to the doorway as it would of course hang in the same plane as the door.
Post Reply

Return to “Carpentry/Joinery Forum”