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Embrace the opportunity to fail – Building Capacity

Failure sucks. I mean hey we all want to succeed right? So why do I value failure and hope you’ve recently experienced it? Simple, if you aren’t failing you aren’t testing the limits, you aren’t growing.

Now let’s be realistic don’t fail by doing stupid stuff – getting injured or messing stuff up that could have been easily avoided doesn’t make sense.

Nor does making mistakes that could reasonably easily have been avoided by learning from the experiences of others – build upon per-existing foundations where you can – that’s smart.

Rather, push the boundaries for opportunities to learn, experience and grow.

Take this weekend for example. I had nearly 300 board feet of 1″ thick, 12″ wide rough pine lumber to turn into standard supers for the bees. A simple woodworking exercise right – even had one of the standard Langstroth hives I’d purchased last year from Dancing Bee Apiaries but kept unassembled to act as a pattern. I’ve even got pretty nice tools and quit a bit of experience with them. So it should have been comparatively easy to secure success right?

But, in spite of all of that there were still a fair number of failures. I thought that I was being smart using a nice 12″ compound miter saw to cut the boards which were up to 12′ long down to the appropriate size. Turns out that wasn’t such a great idea in practice. Once the boards were planed and ripped down to length the ends that had been cut on the miter saw weren’t at right angles to the long edges… and I’d been so efficient that I hadn’t left extra for trimming later. Oops, and it also was a real pain to try to pin the boards to the fence on the miter saw, which resulted in a fair number of edges that weren’t parallel to the long edges even before the other operations.

Also sub-standard was the cutting of the finger joints. There were a lot of finger joints to cut, and I found that the the key moved ever so slightly and the tolerances became looser as I progressed. Add onto that the number of keys to cut and it became a sizable job, oh and those not quite right angles caused by using the miter saw… since I was using the ends a the reference, it added to the problem.

So, the end product leaves something to be desired to say the least. Oh sure with a bit of extra trimming and some extra glue and paint they will get the job done. But, definitely not a pro-job.

Now, I did look for suggestions on how to tackle the task before I started out – but I didn’t find that much beyond plans.

So there will definitely be a number of sub-par supers in my apiary as a result of this weekends work and failures.

But I did learn a lot from each point of failure. The ugly supers were the price for the opportunity to lean and figure out how to refine the process. i haven’t squandered that.

Now I know how I am going to cut the boards to length next time. I’ve got a sketch of a special guide for the circular saw that should allow me to do a better job faster than would be possible with the miter saw.

For the finger joints – I’ve got another design sketched up for a jig that should make it possible to not only make a bunch of fingers at the same time, but also takes care of the indexing – and uses the long edges as the reference sides.

Will those modifications to the process work? I think they stand a good chance – but, but I know that failure there will simply see me go back to the drawing board.

So, take the opportunity to see where you can fail, paradoxically I think it’s the quickest way to success.

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