Instructables
So there I was at then end of the day, fitting the last ash wood window sill I had made for a friend's house, and oh no, it's not big enough!?

Yes I know... Don't give me that measure twice business, it still happens, and when it does what are you going to do?

Having made this particular sill from scratch (and I mean from scratch, having felled  and chainsaw milled the tree myself (more on the DIY chainsaw mill in the future)), I didn't really want to give up on it.

Lets add a bit of length and make an interesting and unique feature of it. Adding length to a board of wood is difficult - even if you find a grain and colour matching piece of wood, end grain gluing doesn't work. In short trying to make an un-noticeable addition is very difficult and will probably look scrappy anyway (and it's a bit boring).

Better we thought to make a feature out of it, make it look like a playful and deliberate addition - something cool to remember the comedy of a too short plank. 

I'll go over the method I used.     
 
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Step 1: General Idea, and tools required

So you have seen in the photos what it looks like, the same method could be used to fit in any shape you like, but some are structurally better than others. The shape I used was based on the size of a scrap of teak I had left over from some other projects. Contrasting coloured wood is interesting, and makes it look like deliberate fun rather than a botched job.  

The more complicated and large you make your shape the harder it will be to get it fitting tightly, without a gappy joint. I found this one quite a challenge.

Tools used in this method:

Router (with flush trim cutter bit - the bearing on top type)
Sander
Jigsaw, coping saw, and/or bandsaw 
Chisel (sharp)
Clamps 
Drill/driver
Safety equipment (goggles, ear defenders, dust mask, dust sniper, etc)

Materials:

Some wood
Your choice of Wood glue  
2 part epoxy and some saved wood dust (useful if you expect to have some small gaps in you joints - you should expect this!)  



 

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vincent75209 months ago
This guy is a pro !!!…

Puuuuurfect …
mothman9211 months ago
quick note on the inlay work.the easiest way i have found so far to make air tight inlays is to put a bit of two way tape in between your blocks and cut away. gives you an exact match and you can get as funky as you want without worry of duplicating it. nice ible :)
It looks great and what a conversation piece it is!
SteveDonie11 months ago
Several years ago I built a china cabinet, and the base I built somehow got mis-measured and turned out too small front-to-back. I ended up sawing it in half and adding some contrasting wood diamond shapes in the cut, with a screwed-in brace along the back to keep it strong. It added a lot to the final project!
Small picture of the side of my china cabinet.jpg
Eh Lie Us!11 months ago
man, this project just floors me.
ejb11 months ago
Nice - Great looking work

I'm interested to see more about the DIY chainsaw mill!!!
bongodrummer (author)  ejb11 months ago
In the pipeline. Keep an eye on the FE blog...
jsolterbeck11 months ago
This is the best instructable I've seen in awhile. Highly entertaining captions! I learned a few new techniques, and I'm usually thrilled to learn just one. Can't believe you picked such a crazy shape to replace but I dig it, and especially the grain directions running amok. Why not? Cheers mate -
bongodrummer (author)  jsolterbeck11 months ago
Grain that runs amok - love it :)
Makescreenname11 months ago
Great instruct. I also thought it was a puddle from a leaking window, but then it occurred to me that's great "psychological woodworking"-- the natural reaction to a puddle by a leaky window is to go look at it, maybe get a paper towel to clean up, but then, on closer examination, you see what it really is---and appreciate the clever deception! Nice job, and thanks for posting.
bongodrummer (author)  Makescreenname11 months ago
Haha, cool. Am loving the different reactions it gets.
David Trees11 months ago
I love natural furniture and design. We used own a 1.5 long N.E coffee table. Sadly we sold it before we moved to the U.K. It was made from Camphor Laurel. So when we came home at night from work there was a beautiful earthy smell of natural camphor in our little 10m x 10m house. ( a converted 3 car garage + workshop).

Where are you based? Where did you source your N.E timber from? Really nice job BongoD :) Congrats!

Thanks for taking the time to post this how to article
bongodrummer (author)  David Trees11 months ago
Hi David. Thanks for the encouragement. The coffee table sounds good. I haven't ever used Camphor Laurel, but apparently (ok my quick wikwikipedia look suggests) it has volatile chemical compounds in all pats of the tree - which would fit with the strong fragrance of the wood. I guess extra precautions when making dust and working it would be in order..
Like the living in a converted garage idea.

Not actually sure what you mean by N.E timber(?) but I'm guessing you mean the teak. It was a scrap we had left over from some other projects, but the wood came to us originally from the local university, who were 'brutalizing', (erm, I mean 'modernizing') their science labs. Teak was often used for science benches because of it's excellent chemical resistance. 

I'm based in West Wales. If your anywhere nearby, Flowering Elbow's having an open workshop day soon, come along!
bongodrummer (author)  bongodrummer11 months ago
I say West Wales, but the shop is a little more mid - near Carmarthen.
danielhwolf11 months ago
Awesome! I love it. Have my own history of fails-into-features, but none as nice as this.
MarkML11 months ago
Beautiful work! Excellent Instructable, very well written, concise, but provided a wealth of information. As a mere amateur, I learned several techniques that I haven't seen before. Thanks for sharing your excellent ideas!
dalesql11 months ago
Very cool feature. Great save. +1
Shooglenifty11 months ago
Brilliant.

Go on the Celtic Welsh.
webdeblee11 months ago
Love this! great example of saving a project, thanks!
Ray from RI11 months ago
So was the design you used, suppose to represent some kind of animal real or imagined??? Just curious?
bongodrummer (author)  Ray from RI11 months ago
No not really, it was a compromise made between me, the pencil I was using, the size of the hole that needed filling, the grain of the ash and the shape of the teak off-cut I had to work with. In other words, it was kind random... But one of new owners have likened it to a dolphin and the other thinks it's a mole shape.
I thought it was supposed to look like a damp puddle, like the window was leaking! It makes you look twice :-)
Very nice work. I had never thought about using a trimmer to straighten a jigsaw edge either - but I don't have a lot of experiences with routers.
Hey what ever works.. it was a good save
LynxSys11 months ago
Very nice work, the fit is perfect! I used to use the upside-down belt sander trick (from step 6) a lot, so I eventually built a jig to make such tasks easier, and keep things square:

http://www.instructables.com/id/An-edge-sanding-table-for-your-belt-sander/

It's helped me reduce my number of belt-sander manicures, too!
Bettybstt11 months ago
Really nice job! Wish I had thought of this for some of the mistakes I've made. Your attention to detail is delightful. Nice instructable.
nic nak11 months ago
"he who never made a mistake, never made anything", nice rescue, looks beautiful.
SussoGobbino11 months ago
Amazingly smooth! And the view from the window is awesome, where is it?
bongodrummer (author)  SussoGobbino11 months ago
Thanks, it's in West Wales, on the coast. The pictures definitely don't do it the view justice. Our friends run a guest house so you can even stay there :)
Looks great! Unfortunately, I'm too far away and I can't afford to go on a vacation ^^
shannonlove11 months ago
"Yes I know... Don't give me that measure twice business, it still happens, and when it does what are you going to do?"

Mistakes are always going to happen. If you can do any kind of work without error, you need to get out of the craftsman business and get into the the laying on hands and other miracles.

I believe it was the late, great James Kernov, himself that said that graceful error recover was the true mark of a master craftsman. The goal isn't to be perfect in the shop, the goal is to deliver   a piece that the end user sees as high quality. How you reach that goal is largely irrelevant. 

Even if you could prefect yourself, you can't prefect the natural wood which is always hiding some invisible biological unique that arose when the tree was alive. It is the biological form and variability that give wood its great beauty but it also makes it impossible to predict exactly what you will find as you work it. 

Once, I  found a near completely spherical knot about an inch inside a piece of oak. Must have been the start of a carbuncle or burl that then got encased by healthy wood. When cut into by the table saw, it just popped out leaving a marble sized hemispherical dent in the wood. At the time, I had no idea how to fix that and had to abandon the piece. That was an expensive lesson in humility.

Turning a mar into a decorative accent is a time honored practice. Even better, it make the piece utterly unique, a factor of potential financial and sentimental value. 

Well, done. 

bongodrummer (author)  shannonlove11 months ago
Couldn't agree more. Mostly all what makers do is make is mistakes, the trick is in working out ways to make them happy :)
OutlawKtulu11 months ago
Nice Save!

I will take away one thing that I will use in my future projects, Hot Glue Gun Channels! I like that!
bongodrummer (author)  OutlawKtulu11 months ago
Yep, hot melt channels are useful . Also, love the way you picked out something to take away - good attitude. You may not like a project, but there's almost always some inspiration in there somewhere ;)
rednemo11 months ago
Many carpenters I've know don't even measure once -- they just eyeball it. The trim will cover any gaps!
bongodrummer (author)  rednemo11 months ago
Ba professionals... Quick and dirty wins the day.
timmyzog11 months ago
Beautiful fit and finish. I noticed that you changed the direction of the wood grain on the patch. When designing in wood, it is important to think about what happens as wood expands and contracts. Windowsills end up getting a lot of sun and moisture so the changes can start to cause failures at seams. I think this piece is small enough so that it won't break. Let us know how it goes. I really like it!!
bongodrummer (author)  timmyzog11 months ago
Hay Timmyzog. About the grain direction: very true! During dry periods it will not shrink as much along the length of the grain - I will add that important consideration to the 'able when I find the time. The piece I added was at a diagonal, so not as bad as if it was completely perpendicular. The direction of the grain was kinda dictated by the size and shape of the off-cut of teak I had to work with. Like you, I think it was small enough to be ok though. Certainly a big consideration for large patches though.
djkraz11 months ago
Thanks for the great instructable! I'm a huge fan of mixing contrasting woods on my furniture so it's great to see some good instruction on how to get creative with it. I must say though, the shape you went with is not very pleasing imho...sorry. Very nice work though!
tioshrek11 months ago
damn!!! great job! a horrible feeling when that happens but it's even better come up with a nice solution for a problem!

thanks for the share!
gantzeka11 months ago
What creative and beautiful sills. I love the irregularity. The 'goof' turned 'unplanned success' really fits. I love these! Great job.
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