Measure Twice Cut Once

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My seventh grade shop teacher, Mr. Clinger looked just like Fred Mertz on the old “I Love Lucy” show. He was gruff and smelled of chewed cigars and shellac. The one thing I remember him drilling into us was “Measure Twice, Cut Once”. Wood doesn’t get bigger, only smaller. If you are working with some expensive woods like walnut or cherry, a mistake can be costly.

Impulse Control

Seventh grade kids will start cutting wood as soon as they get a saw in their hands. With no thought or direction. You and I can break this rule with little or no consequence building something like a cheap saw horse. But, how many times have you been bit in the ass by getting in a hurry? Me? I’ve lost count. Measure twice, cut once is a life rule that you can and should apply to any important decision. Thinking about marrying that girl? Measure twice, ask once. If you get it wrong it’ll cost you big time. Buying a car, or house, same thing. Taking a new job, measure twice, jump once.

Don’t cut it Too Close


Another thing Mr. Clinger told us was don’t cut right on the line. When marking a cut line on a piece of wood with a pencil one side of the line is the piece you need, and the other is called the “waste” side. Mr. Clinger said to always cut on the edge of the pencil line on the waste side, just in case. You could always file down or sand down that tiny bit of wood if it was still too long. Making big financial decisions, or working out a budget? Don’t cut it too close. White lining on your motorcycle? Don’t cut it too close. Leave a little margin for error.

Who knew you could learn life lessons in shop class.

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