I was just going through a couple of the old Triton Club Magazines and I thought that maybe I should resurrect this story of the type of problems that can beset a dedicated wood worker. This is from the year 2002s May/June Newsletter.
Ok, let’s talk seriously about mitres. What are mitres I hear you ask!............... well, in a religious sense they are the dinky little hats worn by the upper echelon of the major uniform wearing religions. That is said with apologies to the Salvos who have the good grace to wear a uniform that wasn’t designed by Michaelangelo during the renaissance. If you look at the picture provided then the woodworkers who are reading this will, no doubt, nod his/her respective head, jump to his/her feet and cry “Eureka”. Why she/he would do that I have no idea but you have to admit that the titfa has all of the angles that makes the woodworking mitre the wondrous thing that it is!A woodworking mitre is an inherently simple thing. it is simply a joint that is made between two pieces of wood where the meeting sections are angled. Now stay with me here because this is where it starts to get a little complicated. In the perfect world of mathematics, a 90oangle that is halved will leave you with 2 X 45oangles, correct? .............. ergo, (love that word) four pieces of wood with the ends cut at 45o when joined will make a square box shape.....Y/N? HA!....not when I cut the bloody timber it doesn’t............. it is at this point that we enter a surreal world where the laws of physics do not apply. In this cosy little world my mitre box was made by Picasso who was obviously under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs at the time, the timber that I am cutting is made of (very expensive) silly putty that oozes out of shape the minute that it is cut and it takes fourteen pieces of (usually very expensive) wood to get four corners approaching the correct angle. Into this equation we also need to factor in vast quantities of wood filler at this stage of the project.There is no doubt that geometry has some serious flaws in this rarely visited world, for example: 4 X 45o should equal 180o Y/N? In my universe the answer comes out at approximately 185o or 174o or even 3,244.1o or any other number that the ever vigilant gods of mischief and mayhem decree. The alert readers among you will notice the fact I have used the term ‘approximately’ when describing my mathematical attempts in the previous sentence. I realise that this term should never be used when dealing with the rather exact science of mathematics but it is a part of system in the crazy world of mitre joints.It is at this point that I must appeal to the reader, Will someone, anyone, out there initiate me into the secret society that controls the arcane art of accurate mitre cutting...Please! I know that there has to be such a society because of the refusal of so many people to discuss this matter in polite society. Having passed on my plea to all and sundry I must then issue this warning........ The next person who casually drops the phrase ... “Just mitre the joints and whack ‘em together for a perfect fit”... will find a bomb in his/her undies. Keep in mind that is is simple to make a bomb, plans are on the internet and the ingredients are in the kitchen according to many films that I have seen. Mitres however, are far far more mysterious.Sorry about this little outburst.... I think that I’ll have a Bex, a cup of tea and a lie down now! Bye!