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Thread: Close Enough? Woodworking isn't Engineering?

  1. #1
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    Thumbs down Close Enough? Woodworking isn't Engineering?

    I went to one of the 'better' lumber suppliers in my area this afternoon to get a 1 3/4" dowel as part of my pepper mill project. The 'boss' of the outfit said he'd turn one for me on a duplicating lathe; $20 for 3' of Red Oak. Twenty bucks is a bit much (to say the least) for 3' of dowel, but I felt I would get the most accurate dowel and make assembly of the mill a piece of cake. I count on have a very snug fit and would sand to a diameter that allowed the snug fit after glue up.

    After cutting, he walks in with the dowel and I check for a nice snug fit in my 1 3/4" bored mill. Fit perfectly ... for about 1" on one end, the rest was tapered 1/8" to 1/4" too thin (in diameter).

    Of course it didn't help when he said "close enough". He knocked $15 off the quoted price, but I said to him "there is nothing more expensive than a piece of wood you can't use".



  2. #2
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    Frank,

    That kind of "good enough" attitude bugs me no end. One hears it from machinists all the time: "Close enough for woodworking!" One wonders what kind of woodworking they do...

    Thanks,

    Bill

  3. #3
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    Exactly Bill. If there is something that is going to put the USA in third through forth place in the world it is an attitude that "close enough" is "good enough".

    Years ago I worked in an office that had a machinist who made multi-chambered sealable cases for our work out of blocks of aluminum. Because his boxes and our electronics were used for covert operations, they could end up who knows where in who knows what type of environment.

    His workmanship was outstanding; using no CNC equipment, he would work to tolerances that would make your Great Grandfather proud.

    My most favorite memory of Charlie (who went ashore in France on D-Day) was, after making several units, he would always say "They may not be right, but they are all the same."

    RIP Charlie ~



  4. #4
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    For years I've used the expression "close enough for government work".. applied to mediocre and shoddy work...
    Chuck
    Tellico Plains, TN
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/TellicoTurnings
    My parents taught me to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder to find any.
    If you go looking for trouble, it will usually find you.

  5. #5
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    woodworking isn't engineering

    I have worked in many mach shops over the yr's,and I guess that was way back then cause if somebody made the statement then, close enough ,he was usually looking for a job elsewhere real soon.But those were the good ole days,where folks took pride in there work.Anyway I carried that philosophy with me all thru life ,no matter what I was making.If I can't do it right ,then I won't do it and if you do it for me,it better be right.
    Last edited by Ken Ward; 02-03-2009 at 03:23 PM.

  6. #6
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    Close enough is only good with horse shoes, Hand Grenades & Atom Bombs. Oh & fingers & saw blades.
    "Forget the flat stuff slap something on the spinny thing and lets go, we're burning daylight" Bart Leetch
    "If it ain't round you may be a knuckle dragger""Turners drag their nuckles too, they just do it at a higher RPM"Bart

  7. #7
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    it is tough to get threw to those that think that way though..they are convinced that what they said is true and normal..
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  8. #8
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    do it right, or not at all...
    benedictione omnes bene

    www.burroviejowoodworking.com

    check out my etsy store, buroviejowoodworking

  9. #9
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    I agree with everyone's sentiment of people who try to cover a mediocre effort with a "good enough" response, when it is not. But sometimes in woodworking we carry our precision too far where it is not needed. I think the key is to provide the correct amount of precision where it is needed. There are many examples of beautiful antiques whose bottoms or backs are riven without any dressed surfacing, except where they show and are necessary at joints. There a many other examples in woodworking of where you need to be absolutely precise and square and where you do not. Someday I hope to practice this. Right now I am too anal-retentive .

    But I think this guy is just covering up the fact that he screwed up making the dowel.

  10. #10
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    dont have a lathe frank but i bet i can make you what yu need and i bet its close enough fer your shakers!
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

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