Over the last several woodworking project I have been having a hard time dialing in the accuracy of my cuts. Increasingly the things I want to build are demanding tolerances approaching 1/1000 of an inch. It’s tricky to accomplish this level of accuracy, because it’s not always perceptable until assembly that a cut isn’t straight, or angles are off by half a degree.
Getting things accurate, without buying more expensive tools requires being extra careful about measuring the tooling. Double checking the squareness of table saw blades, measuring the placement and straightness of fences, checking that things are secure and not shakey etc. It’s tedious to have to double check all these things before making cuts.
In the process of trying to get more accurate I think I’ve upped my woodworking skills quite noticably.
One interesting thing I have found about woodworking that has parallels in my professional career with software development is the effort spent building tools often has a good payoff. In software, rather than doing something tedious many times I’ll hack a quick script together. In woodworking spending a bit of time making a jig can have a similar benefit. Sometimes in bigger software projects it’s worth taking the time to build entire sub-projects to aid in achieving a goal. More than a simple script or jig, building tools themselves can make what was an impossible to build goal possible.