How to fix 10 Common Woodworking Mistakes

Every woodworker makes a mistake sooner or later, but the good ones know how to fix them. That’s what really matters. And that’s what you’ll get here: real-world tips for fixing your real-world woodworking problems.

1. Removing Router Burn

Hard, light-coloured woods such as oak and maple are great to work with in most ways, but there’s a problem: both have a tendency to burn when edge-routed. And once the dark brown marks are on these woods, it’s surprisingly difficult to sand them off. In fact, it’s almost impossible. This is especially true when you’re dealing with a complicated routed profile.

You can remove router-burned edges in a matter of seconds with this easy fix. Simply adjust the depth of cut on your router bit a smidgen deeper than the cut that burned your wood in the first place. If you take off about 1/64″ to 1/32″ of extra wood while moving your workpiece past the bit relatively quickly, you’ll mill off all the burned wood without causing further damage.

2. Tightening Sloppy Mortise-and-Tenon Joints

Mortises and tenons are mainstays of good woodworking, but they need to fit snugly to perform right. And that doesn’t always happen, especially when you’re learning. If you cut a mortise-and-tenon joint that wiggles, even a little, don’t just glue it up and hope for the best; you’ll probably be disappointed. Instead, take the time to cut thin pieces of wood to glue and clamp to the sides of the tenon. If you orient the grain of your patch to match the grain of the undersized tenon, you’ll get another shot at cutting the tenon, and the joint will still be strong.

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