In Woodworking Mistakes

We may receive a commission when you use our affiliate links. However, this does not impact our recommendations.


The old family photograph that needed a new frame was an odd size, 10-5/8 in. by 11-3/8 in., so I knew I couldn’t buy a frame to fit. Starting with a length of straight-grained oak, I used a combination of router bits to create a unique profile for a new frame. I sanded, shellacked, buffed and polished with paste wax. Voila—an exquisite length of picture frame molding!

I calculated how much to add for the mitered corners and then cut the molding into four pieces, two of each length. Then I carefully cut all the miters.

I’ve always used corner clamps to glue miter joints. I carefully aligned the first two pieces and clamped them. Then I repeated the process with the other two pieces. The miters were perfect! I set both assemblies aside to dry overnight.

The next day, I positioned one assembly in a corner clamp and reached for the other. But as I moved the second assembly closer, I realized I’d messed up: Both times, I’d glued together two pieces of the same length. The result was a lopsided frame that no amount of wood filler could disguise! -Alan Underwood


Murphy’s Law states if anything can go wrong, it will. I’m convinced that axiom applies to woodworking. Here are ten examples I’ve experienced:

  • The more expensive the wood, the more you will waste.
  • When you drop a piece with freshly applied glue, it will land glue-side down on a pile of dust and shavings.
  • Every scrap piece will be 1/2 in. short of being useful.
  • During glue-up, nothing lines up as well as it did during the dry fit.
  • For every hour you spend woodworking, you spend two hours cleaning up.
  • The phone only rings when you’re gluing or applying finish.
  • You’ll always spot the area you forgot to varnish immediately after cleaning your brush.
  • When you install butt hinges, at least one brass screw will break.
  • A dropped tool always lands where it does the most harm.
  • Staining highlights the grain…as well as the blotches, scratches, and glue spots.

-Edwin Hackleman

Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

Recommended Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search