Rules of Woodworking


—Andy Hunt

04/09/2003
Published in Andy's Blog

There are only two fundamental rules to woodworking. At least, these two rules sure cover a lot of ground in terms of safety and obtaining good, consistent results.

  1. If it’s not supposed to move, make sure it can’t.
  2. If it is supposed to move, make sure it can move freely.

Number 1 is a good one, and often violated in the spirit of “oh this is just a quick hack”. Things that go flying around always do so at the worst possible time, endangering life, limb, and workpiece. Even a small shift in position the middle of an operation can ruin a workpiece.

Number 2 sounds familiar, too. It seems I’m always at the end of a long cut on the tablesaw when I realize something’s in the way in my small shop. Or maybe I’m trying to reach that last little bit on a board with the belt-sander when the power cord snaps taught and keeps me from getting there—from moving freely.

These are good rules for woodworking. Seems they might work well for software too. If something’s not supposed to change, make sure it can’t. If it is supposed to change, make sure you can change it freely and easily.

Sounds like a plan to me…

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