Just a few thoughts as I progress...
I've recently realized that if you find yourself saying "I knew that would happen," you have no excuse for the mistake.
I am starting to try to use my "gut" as a tool. It's uncomfortable at first as you can't calibrate or test it, like you could a caliper, without risking failure. But I am learning that it's better to risk that failure than to run your shop without your gut on the bench.
In the process of finishing my second guitar with a French polish, I decided to do some high grit, wet-sand leveling on the top and back today. I
knew I should have laid more shellac on the top first. Though relatively unfamiliar with the process and how many polishing sessions to do (I do realize sanding is not part of true French polishing), I could just tell for whatever reason that the finish on the top was not nearly thick enough. But I had shown the guitar to my boss- not a guitar builder- and he said, "I don't do French polishing, but it looks good to me," so I went against that feeling in my stomach and sanded through the shellac in some spots, wetting the exposed grain with the water from sanding and raising it. It's an unsightly and bumpy texture now.
And the only thing I would have risked was some more time spent polishing before sanding. I see that using your instincts, though risky at first, will build proficiency with them and your making as a whole. I guess it's like figuring out how far you can progress your plane iron, inching it forward until you gouge out a long track of rosewood. Next time you'll know better. After all, I've heard the old makers in Spain used to thickness their plates with their fingers.
Any thoughts on this? Anyone recently said "I should've known," or listened to your gut?