I was having a coffee at Steamers with my wood guy Keith today, and brought along one of the side pieces of the bench I was making to show him. Keith is a professional woodworker – you name it and he can build it. And yet he sat there smiling at my work and asked me “how on earth do you come up with your designs?” How indeed? I thought laughing to myself. So here’s the how and a story to go with it. You know me, there’s always a story isn’t there?!

It had been a while since I’ve made a bench, so I picked up some nice fir boards from my wood guy Keith yesterday. I had an idea in mind, something similar to what I’ve designed before and I was excited to get started. Maybe a little too excited…

Rustic Furniture
This was the style on the sides I was going for originally

I often design as I go, so cutting all my pieces at once doesn’t usually happen. But today I was feeling clever, so I cut all my side pieces. Well all of them but one.  I was a few inches short on my last board! No problem, I will just go grab another board, right? Wrong! In all my amateurish woodworking excitement, I didn’t realize I didn’t have the same thickness left. That’s where the “oops” comes in. Keith would never have made that mistake. He is meticulous when he builds. I am, how do I say this? I am the opposite. There, that sounds nicer I think!

So, I stood there looking at my latest “oops” wondering how I can salvage what I’ve cut. I stared at it for a while, scratching my head. I took a little break and came back to it. And that’s when the new design came to me: the middle board on the sides would now have the board that wasn’t as thick. The piece I no longer need would work for my serving boards. I put the three boards together thinking that maybe some texture on the middle board would look more purposeful. That’s Rustic Raccoon talk for: no one would know I was short a board!


I put it all together, added my favorite vintage look to the bench, stood back and thought: That was a good “oops!” – this time anyway! As I finished telling Keith the story he just laughed and shook his head. He’s getting used to my unorthodox ways of woodworking.

The bench is all finished
The bench is all finished. The oops in this build worked out to my advantage…this time!

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