As we all work hard and try to find the best and most efficient ways to work, we somehow miss something every once in a while and wish we could turn back the clock.
It all began when I met with a builder who was finishing up a new elementary school. We were speaking because they had plans to put in hundreds of laminated counter tops throughout the school. This was a big job so I took it. To be honest, growing up learning furniture making, this was not the dream job I thought I would be doing. But, like everyone we have our bills to pay, and a couple months of steady work is nothing for a furniture maker to shy away from.
The shop was outfitted to work as a factory with an assembly line. We made room for the stacks of particle board we were using for our base and emptied the racks to make room for the laminate to stand.
We were all ready to go, and the project went really smoothly. We would cut the particle board to size, cut the laminated strips for all the edges, and cut the laminate tops.
We set up a station where we attached two pieces of particle board together for thickness, followed by the station where we began our gluing. The gluing went well, and we had great success.
I am one for details and precision. Yet, to be honest, I was ready to bang out this job and was looking for any shortcuts I could find. Unfortunately, I could not find any.
We continued with applying the edges and then trimming the excess with a trim router. The next step of filing the edges was the most labor intensive and delicate. Although very important to the final product, it was a stage I would have liked to have done without. After hours and hours of filing day in and day out, we were finally finished. We delivered the counter tops, the school was happy, and then it was time to work on the next job.
It just so happens that when speaking to a friend about this experience, he laughed and pointed me in the direction of a trimming bit that also files at the same time. This saves just a few minutes of filing on one counter top, but it would have saved me a few days of work with the amount of counters we made for the school.
I could kick myself and be upset that I did not know such a tool existed, but I suppose that would not help. I have no time machine to go back, but I do know that for the next time I have a way to work much more efficiently.