Woodworking and bowling?  What two activities could be more different?  When I lived in Bryan/College Station in the 1970’s I bowled quite a bit.  At various times I bowled in 4 or 5 leagues.  I was single at the time so it was a great way to spend my spare time and meet new people.  I didn’t begin my woodworking hobby until the 1980’s.  As you may know, I started a new project (I don’t bowl anymore) for Lyndsey.  It’s a sleigh bed and the plans call for a lot of “measure twice – cut once” steps.

So, how is this like bowling?  In bowling I always concentrated on a spot marked on the lane.  If I hit “my spot” and was consistent in my delivery of the ball, theoretically the ball would hit the “strike zone” and knock all the pins down.  If I missed the “spot” by one inch, it made a huge difference when the ball arrived at the other end of the lane.  One inch here may be one foot there.  So it is with woodworking.  Especially when there are 70 or 80 pieces on my current project.

Headboard and footboard posts – Sleigh Bed

These posts are the first step in the project.  Two boards are cut according to the plan design.  Then these two pieces are laminated.  After that, it’s router work time.  A 3/8″ groove (mortise), 5/8″ deep must be cut on each post to receive the tenon of the raised panel that completes the headboard and/or footboard.  After finishing the grooves for the footboard post, I discovered there was a small error in placement of between 1/16″ and 1/8″.  Small error, but it’s very much like missing the “spot” in bowling.  The correction must be measured twice (at least) and cut once to keep the project simple.  The wrong correction at this point compounds the problem as each other piece in the footboard is joined.  I didn’t want to want top make an adjustment on each new piece so I needed make the right correction in the beginning.

“Laminated scrap pieces to test my correction”

With scrap material I will be able to measure twice and cut once and test the results before continuing with the laminating and router work of the rest of the pieces for the footboard.

 So, not only is woodworking and bowling similar in some ways, but they are both similar to life itself.  Each decision we make in life not only has an effect on us…it affects other lives as well.  If we miss the “spot” or don’t “measure twice – cut once” in our decisions, the effect on our life and the life of others can be tremendous.  It is very much like disobedience to God.  Sometime we try to measure sin as being small, medium, or large (maybe XXL) to justify something we just want to do.  One of our “small” sins in missing the “spot” affects our relationship with God (and others).  If we don’t make the proper correction, it is much easier to move on to the “medium” sin and then on to the “large or XXL” sin.  So, that’s the way life is like woodworking and bowling.  A little error here is a large error down the road.


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