Necessity is a Mother or It's All Done With Magnets

Necessity is the Mother of Invention. Working without detailed plans, or in this case no plans, often present problems which require creative solutions. Here's a great example of just such a problem.

When I was trying to fit the dado plane into this space I encountered a problem - where to put the cutters. The spokeshave eliminated setting them on the bottom of this module. The cutters are "L" shaped so they'd stick out a bit if I put them "standing up" in the available space in the upper left corner of the module. They'd also get in the way of removing the dado plane. If I put them "upside down" they'd fit - but then they'd be top heavy and fall out. What to do?

MAGNETS! I already had some small flat round magnets I'd picked up just 'cause they were so cool. I could hold the cutters with magnets. O.K. that problem's solved. But how do you get them out? So I drilled a shallow hole in the end of a dowel and glued another magnet into the hole. I had a small scrap piece of rosewood - a leftover from a mitered corner of a box I'd built earlier (boxes don't count as projects do they?). I glued it on the other end of the magnet dowel and with a little sanding and shaping I had a little jeweled handled "extraction/ insertion tool". When not in use it's stuck on the screw of the dado plane's " left hold in". Slick solution and an interesting little detail in this cabinet.

That's one of the satisfying things about woodworking - encountering problems and coming up with solutions. When everything is working right the solution can be elegant - an "AH!" thing - in Zen it's "just so" or "suchness". While doing this cabinet there were many of these "AH!" moments when the form/ function/ materials/ tools/ woodworker do just what they're suppose to do. Perhaps because woodworking is a somewhat solitary thing, with fewer outside distractions, I notice and really appreciate these "just so" moments - when everything flows effortlessly and works just so.

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