Back in the late eighties when we were living in Calgary I found this fabulous PBS TV program called This Old House.  Still watch it to this day (when our local PBS channel chooses to air it).

One evening in 1987 the PBS channel was doing one of those fund raising evenings all about This Old House.  I sent them $50 and got a mug that I always use for my coffee.  A mug with a motto that a workshop guy should have on his tombstone.  Measure twice and cut once.

Over the years I have tried to follow this but being naturally short on patience, I have often made a mistake.

But I always prided myself that when I was model building I was a different guy.  Measure 4 times and still hope that the detail would work out.

I am working on the model Diana and for the last week have been spending my time on one of the details that I love.  The double ship’s wheel.

When I make a model, when you turn the wheel, which is about the diameter of a nickel, the lines go down into the deck and through a series of pulleys and control the tiller bar and move the rudder.  I take pride in this.

I turned the wheel hub and the rims on my micro lathe.  Of course this must be turned from Balkan boxwood which is the only wood that will hold this detail.

After turning the hub and rims then I carefully drilled the holes around the circumference for the handle shafts.  Everything is going great as I started to insert the shafts to center the hub.

But it was not working out.  After a long period I realize that the 12 holes (the correct number) around the hub do not line up with holes in the thin fragile rim.  I count and realize there are 13 holes in the rim instead of 12.  Now this resulted from measuring the circumference and dividing by 12 … except there are 11 gaps (spaces) between the 12 shafts (ie, I should have divided by 11).  D-oh!

In any event, I had spent an hour carefully drilling holes (trying not to split the wood) in the rims and now have to throw them out.  So I have just finished turning new rims, and tomorrow I will have to measure 12 holes in the rim.  I came upstairs to help prepare supper and did not once issue a profanity.    The good news is that the second set of rims I made were better than the ones I discarded.