My mother was a firm believer in the power of positive thinking. She taught me that the mind is a potent instrument, and if focused properly can perform near miracles.
When my mother would find herself faced with a seemingly insurmountable problem, she would concentrate on the issue at hand as she fell asleep at night. Upon waking, the answer would be there. This was not hocus pocus – it was the power of the subconscious put to work. While she was asleep, the inner workings of her mind was not – it was busy running through scenarios looking for the answer.
I have often used my Mother’s method to solve both design and construction problems in the shop. It’s like having a secret weapon at my disposal. It is truly amazing. I am unaware of the in-between mental process that solves the problem – I wake up and it’s all laid out. This get me incredibly excited every time it happens.
I am currently in the process of installing a custom made CNC router ( made by Carl Bruce). Years ago, I worked at Harry Lunstead Design and ran a CNC machine – so I thought I had a leg up on the learning curve and would build on that knowledge. I did however see a small problem looming on the horizon that would require a bit of head scratching. At Lunstead’s, I cut out conference table tops - all the machining was done from one registration on one face.
I wanted to take this a step further – route the shape then turn the part over for machining on the backside, then clamp it to the end of the table (my machine over-travels the end) for joinery routing ( box joints – etc.). This presented registration issues - after the first routing the shape of the piece has changed and the point of registration needs to reflect that – but how?
But then I got hit with a double–whammy! There is no registration grid on my new machine. The Lunstead machine existed in a different world – a high end industrial world that can afford luxuries that are out of my reach.
So what was I to do????? Even the initial registration seemed convoluted and time consuming. I went to sleep with this problem on my mind last night. I woke up at 3AM this morning (actually that’s my usual wake up time) and IN A FLASH – it was all there!! It was embarrassingly simple – put down a sacrificial spoiler board then route the initial registration in the spoiler board. When the subsequent registrations are needed - simply re-route that registration in the spoiler board as well.
I am certain my answer is not unique. If I had read the CNC discussion boards, I am sure the solution would have been there. But who needs message boards when you have a secret weapon.
Thank you Mom, for this, and all the other things you taught me.