“Measure twice, cut once”

IMG_1303I know the “Woodworker’s Mantra” as well as anyone that’s ever picked up a saw. No doubt there is an equivalent for when it comes to using a drill, or other tool, for that matter.

The above photo is emblematic of my checkered history of using tools. I did measure twice before drilling the new tent ridgepole I made. Despite the care I took, the hole for inserting one of the end poles in the ridgepole ended up . . . sorta . . . out of kilter. What you don’t know is, I trimmed 1.5″ from the ridgepole and gave it another try – with the same result!

I could blame this on my lack of the proper tool for the simple task of drilling straight through a piece of wood. I can’t afford to purchase a drill press for my occasional need to do this. Yes, I may have a friend that owns a press but to use it would require arranging a time to meet, driving to her or his house to accomplish a minute’s-worth of work then driving back home. Bleh.

How to deal philosophically with situations like this? Perhaps the phrase that fits is: “making do.” Of course, “making do” has negative connotations, like when you’re forced to find a poor substitute for something else, or having to accept a makeshift solution to a problem. It means you’re putting up with a result that leaves you feeling unsatisfied or disappointed.


It may sound polyannish but there have been countless instances in my own life when making do worked out. That includes the example cited in this blog: the end pole peg fits the cruddy hole I drilled into ridgepole just fine. So, am I settling for less than perfection? You better believe it. But darned if I’ll lose sleep over it!

What do you think?

One thought on ““Measure twice, cut once”

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