Check Out These Tips to Help Avoid Project Problems

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Everybody makes mistakes when they are working on a project and so will you, these are just some tips from us about how we try to keep the problems to a minimum.

Shari and I often hear that we make everything seem so easy! If only you could drive by her work room or my garage and hear the pleading, crying and general hair pulling sounds that we make each week as we work our way towards another completed project. Folks, it may look easy, but it’s not. We often have the same frustrations and heartache that you feel during a project. But we have found a way to help us get through those tough times. Practice!

Usually the first time we try a project, we have a tremendous learning curve. What makes it all seem to work out is that we know that the process will go much smoother if we practice first. Let me try to explain, this week I was working on a new project, building a small cabinet. If you could see my shop, you’d see many trial and errors (more mistakes than success I’m afraid!)

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I have a scrap pile that would make Fred Sanford jealous, for those of you who don’t know Fred, please refer to the 1970’s. I have learned that I need to make a lot of practice cuts to get the project I’m working on just right. I always start out with scrap material and try to figure out the best way to make the correct cuts and miters before I attempt to work with my finish stock. I’ve saved a lot of frustration and money over the years this way.

The same goes with painting and painting techniques. We always purchase the minimal amount of paint before we start painting a room (some paint manufactures have even started to sell smaller pint sample colors – way to go). The color that Shari has picked may not look the same on the wall as it did on the color card. So take the time to paint out a small section on different locations in the room, before you buy all the paint for the entire room. I once painted a whole house before the customer decided she didn’t like the pale green that she had selected the evening before. Thank goodness, we needed a second coat and the color she ended up with was fairly close. But we both learned a valuable lesson, paint samples in different light and in different locations to get the true feel of the color. A practice attempt is always safer and cheaper.

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Shari and I make sample boards when trying a painting technique. I use 2 foot by 2 foot Masonite boards that can be purchased pre cut at most home center stores. I reuse the boards over and over trying different techniques and colors.

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Brown paper grocery bags work just as well. This practice will give you more freedom to try different techniques, and you won’t have to redo the base coat if you make a mistake.

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Tape the bag onto a wall in the room and you will be able to see in differant light if the color is the right choice.

When trying anything new, don’t be afraid to ask the experts. I’ve referred to my library many a time to help guide me through a project. I don’t think there are any truly original ideas anymore, someone else has usually tried it already and written a book to boot.

And if you have access to the internet just Google a few words and presto, instant knowledge. Just don’t forget to check out our website first, we may already have the answer. I also make a lot of phone calls to my favorite hardware stores and lumberyards.

Better yet, for the best advice, make a trip to your local home center or hardware store and show them what you’re working on. If you’re like me, you’ll get the information you need and more than likely pick up a dozen or so new tools.

Matt

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