Life in the Village and beyond, based around the interests of my life.

Life in the Village and beyond, based around the interests of my life. Sunset at Telegraph Point.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Fixing Your Mistakes - How to Repair an Unwanted Mortice

It happens to everyone sooner or later - that moment of lapsed concentration or simple tiredness that results in a seeming catastrophe.
We should listen to our bodies more - when the body is saying enough - and we decide that we will do just that little bit more - we create the circumstances for errors to occur.

Happened to me a few days ago at the end of the day (of course - haha)
I had cut the legs for a hall table, and had decided that it wouldn't take long to cut the mortices before I finished for the day.

The first three legs went swimmingly.  It was the final leg that ended with the same number of mortices as the other three - only one of them was on the wrong face of the leg.
That sinking feeling started when I realised that I did not have any more thick stock to make a replacement leg.
What to do?
  1. Put it down
  2. Turn off the power
  3. Close the workshop for the day
  4. Make a cup of tea and just sit a while
By the next day I had figured a solution and decided to document it for anyone else caught like I was.
First step was to cut the mortice where it should have been the first time.
Secondly - make a matching infill piece to hide that errant mortice.

Here is the offending leg with one too many mortices.
The correct mortice was cut while the leg is still square.  Now to fix the extra one.

First step is to find some matching timber.  Here I have an offcut from the current project.
The timber is silky oak.

Of course, being an offcut, it is a little rough around the edges - so some truing with my 5-1/2 plane is called for.

I am going to make a fill piece that will hopefully not be noticed too much when finished.

I am cutting this over-sized as I want to taper the plug for a tight fit.

I start by using my plane (Lie Neilsen 5-1/2 in this case) and slope one side of the tapered plug.

Next, I cut the other side at a similar taper using a rip saw - this is an Atkins.

More planing after the cut is made - and here is the tapered plug

Trial fit........

The end is rounded following the circle drawn with a pair of compasses.
Note that the circular end is also tapered.

Looks pretty snug .......

Glue-up and clamp overnight.
Trim to size and plane back flush with the surface.

Here is another shot with the colour subdued.

Bob's your uncle!
And here is the finished table awaiting lacquer:

My workshop is sooooo dusty and shavings-covered, that the lacquering will take place on the back verandah - when the wind stops (haha)

Happy shavings to all


  1. Well, you gotta show us the result!

    I'm sure it'll be cool, but I still want to see it.

    Good job buddy, knowing how to fix a mistake separates the real woodworkers from the wannabes.

    1. Thanks again Toby.
      I have just added some pix of the finished result

  2. Replies
    1. Gratias Amigo.
      It won't be too bad as a back leg on the right where the repair will be against the wall.


  3. Nice recovery, VW. Stamp collectors kill for stamps with 'factory flaws'. And so it may be with woodworking. Your piece now has extra story...extra character. Better than perfection, a flaw (albeit recovered) is a sign of the maker's hand. The human touch is unique. More soul to your shavings. ®

    1. Thanks Rob.
      If we are smart we can all learn through our mistakes - if we are very smart we can learn from the mistakes of others.
      I hope there are some very smart readers out there.