Tomorrow we do it for real: we have to make something out of wood again, and this time it will be part of our grade for the year, a whacking 2/3 of our practical grade to be exact, decided by what happens tomorrow and Wednesday morning.

So far, I’ve managed to keep my apprenticeship grades far higher than I dared expect. I’m averaging a two in theory and probably after the last exam a three in the practical stuff. A three being a ‘pass’ or ‘satisfactory’ grade. I’m not surprised that there’s a difference between the two: I hardly touched a saw before I started the apprenticeship, but I’ve been doing drawings for years. What startles me is that I’m getting something like a two in anything at all, and I’m determined to keep my grade as high as I can for as long as I can, in the hope that when it does go down it will be close enough to September 2015 that I can finish with a pass. I’m optimistic like that.

My mark from the last practical exam was 2.9. This doesn’t leave much wiggle room.

Now I appreciate that my dovetails left a little to be desired (although they are improving) and the whole step I made last week wobbled slightly, and that my grade would possibly have been a tad better if I’d not drilled four holes several centimetres from where they should have been.

That doesn’t help me feel calm and relaxed.

If I manage to drill all the holes in the right place, don’t panic, and keep moving fast enough that I can glue the construction tomorrow evening, I’ll have a chance to finish by midday Wednesday, and more importantly, hand in something that resembles a piece of furniture, not a pile of match wood.

Last week, I helped cut the wood for the exams. We had to make about 200 pieces of square beechwood, all around 10mm X 10mm X 200mm. I have no idea what we are supposed to do with them tomorrow, but I’ll update as soon as I can, with pictures if I’m allowed.