When to throw in the towel… Update 5/4

We’ve all had a project that no matter what we do, it just doesn’t work right, something always goes wrong and in the end it winds up on a shelf collecting dust and taking up space never to be touched again.

Presently I’m facing this issue with the new wooden computer case I was building. I say was because I’m about to throw in the towel and scrap it in favor of a new design for several reasons. The reason for this is simple.

I got a birthday gift card for a local hardware store, and this is not their fault at all mind you. I went there to spend my gift card and they didn’t have what I normally use for stains and finishes so I went with some new stuff that I’ve never used before. There is where the problems started. The stain took forever to dry, way longer than I was accustomed to, then I added the new sealer on top of that and it still hasn’t dried yet and it’s been two days. Parts of it are dry so what happened is beyond me… humidity maybe.

So now I’m left with a sticky computer case that I can’t finish and I can’t really remove the finish without destroying the case so I’m left with the option to let it dry until my next days off or just scrap it and start over on my days off and chalk this up to a learning experience. That knowledge being… be careful when trying out new stuff.

So what I’m thinking of doing is scrapping that case altogether and going with a smaller and much more compact design. The reason this one is so large is to accommodate the full size hard drive, which can easily be reduced in size by using an SSD or a laptop drive. I have a 500gb laptop drive which is more than ample space for what I need as I only use it for rendering my videos and the files for those are hosted on my main computer. The large fan was a thought based on how hot computers generally run, this thing stays cool and doesn’t need such a large fan so yeah. Scrap it and go smaller.

But there does come a time when you’ve worked on something trying to fix things and getting nowhere that you just sit back and think “Is it worth it?”

In this case, not really. If it doesn’t dry soon it would be far easier for me to start over and go smaller than to wait and try to fix things even more. Time and money is also an issue. The idea was to do this on a $10 budget which I exceeded already with the little brass corners… but those were a must have.

So yeah, if you’re sitting down working on a project or considering putting something aside or on the shelf… stop, think about it a bit more with the thought… “Is it worth it?” and “When will I get back to that?” and look at any other half completed or failed projects on the shelves in your shop and then make a final decision.

For me, in this case, if it’s not dry by the time my days off roll around, it’s getting scrapped and replaced. It’s scrap plywood so no great loss there. It’s just frustrating to have put so much time and thought into this project.

I’ve several more projects I want to work on, start, finish, and having this one failure is slowing me down. Time to move on and learn from it.

So keep an eye out for the new and improved wooden computer case with a right proper video of the build from start to finish.

UPDATE 5/4/2020: Apparently time took over on this and as I was at work things worked out in favor of this little project. I came home yesterday to find it had completely dried and could even apply a couple more coats of clear poly to it and it dried as well. Perhaps it was the humidity, perhaps it was just not meant to be on that day or…. perhaps… the Fourth was with me!

So now this tiny little computer is back working on my desk and looking quite stylish. I’m loving how the finish finally turned out and I was even able to add a proper power button and power LED, the latter of which can be seen as that white dot on the front. I might make some feet for it to stand up on and give it a bit more character, I think I have just enough scrap walnut to pull it off.

Now unfortunately, I didn’t film the final assembly of this little nightmare but I am however planning on several more builds along these lines to include a NAS setup that might help me to replace my poor old main computer which hasn’t been upgraded since 2015.

So yeah, it just took more time and in the end it all worked out… now to see if this applies to other things going on my life.