A rare sunny weekend, quite a good reason to stay out of the shop – although I was not completely successful in accomplishing this. There were a couple of repairs to finish off, particularly the reading chair pictured in the last post. This looked like a simple job - always a warning sign. "It'll just take me half an hour", and the next thing you know, you're working on a sunny Saturday with no end in sight...

However, that's all done now, and I'm musing on the art of the fudge. There are several kinds of fudge in woodworking, but they all involve dealing with errors and mistakes, and how to get past them without starting over. The essence of a good fudge is that  not only  should it not shout "ERROR!" at the casual viewer, but that it  actually adds to the interest and craftsmanship of the object.

Two of today's repairs rather fulfill this mandate, although in the case of repairs we're not discussing errors of workmanship or design, but accidental (mostly) damage.

A quite upset neighbour came by last week with a small but heavy object wrapped in a blanket or two as well as an old curtain. We unwrapped it reverently, and revealed a quite attractive small clock, recently purchased and even more recently damaged  by having some heavy object dropped on its delicate projecting semi-circular moulding over the clock face. A small but very prominent piece of the moulding was now missing. C. was in despair; she'd tried to repair it herself with plastic wood filler, with the predictable result that the damage was even more visible than before.

My notion was to cut away a quarter inch strip of veneer from the top surface of the clock (this being sufficient to encompass the damaged section). The walnut veneer would then be replaced with a thicker piece of appropriate decorative wood - in this case rosewood. The end result, if nothing went wrong, would be a decorative raised edge above the moulding, somewhat more elaborate than the original, but quite in keeping with the style of the clock. The damage section is simply removed by being absorbed into a new and different edge treatment.


Under the masking tape is a narrow rosewood strip.

The second fudge was to a dining table which happens to be our own. A small tea-light set on the table one night had somehow flared up, and become hot enough to burn a deep black ring into the table top before Joanne extinguished it. The good thing was that the damage was almost in the centre of the round table. The bad thing, that the mark clearly was going to extend a longish way below the surface. Since the owners didn't object, I decided to add another inlay to the top - a small  hexagonal panel with wenge stringing around the edge; this would also match the hexagonal form of the table base.


Recess cut for hexagonal inlay. The dovetail key will disappear (too bad) and the burn is clearly visible and will also disappear (good).


Carpathian Elm burl veneer in place, ready for glue. The one-sixteenth inlay stringing will be added later.


Clamping the inlay: the jack sits on a hex-shaped piece of ply, slightly smaller than the inlay. The board on top of the jack is being pushed up against a ceiling beam, providing a potentially dangerous amount of clamping pressure......
We'll take a look at it tomorrow.

Overheard on the Guardian podcast today: "[Participating in a wheel-chair marathon] helps a person feel a lot more normal than he would normally feel".