Progress of a self taught cabinet maker #1: Tools, wood and a great payoff

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Blog entry by RGtools posted 03-21-2011 05:23 AM 4156 reads 1 time favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Progress of a self taught cabinet maker series Part 2: Took the 50 home. »

It’s been a great month for tools and progress in my shop. I finally got all my planes hung up on the rack I posted earlier. I’ve had a much better time keeping my tools sharp since. Something about having the tools right in front of me gives my an instant inventory of what I need to do. I moved my saws around to make room for my newest bowsaw a massive rip tooth machine (5 tpi. cut twice as fast as my 5 tpi panel saw).

I finally managed to get a hold of the dovetail marker from my friend Julio (this was a bit of fun since I was using my works ups program that no one knew how to use) and it was worth every bit of trouble. I have placed it right next to my Glen Drake and it makes me smile each time I use/see it.

Other tool buys, that I am excited about are my nicely sized hewing hatchet (needs a new handle) and I finally found a plow plane (NO 50 Stanley all the blades in great condition) which I have put on hold till my next pay check but it’s coming home by the end of the week.

but all the tools are not worth it if you don’t use them. I finally made a decent dovetail by hand, I would say third times a charm (try two split to hell).

It’s nice to see progress.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

11 comments so far

View rkoorman's profile


381 posts in 3741 days

#1 posted 03-21-2011 07:46 AM

Progess indeed. Your shop is looking good. How do you handle dust in the workshop?

Take care



View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 5016 days

#2 posted 03-21-2011 08:28 AM

Your shop looks great and so does your progress.

Nice set of hand tools there:)

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Hayabusa's profile


173 posts in 3797 days

#3 posted 03-21-2011 10:47 AM

It is a wonderful shop full of soul like his woodworker, keep up good work
It is very impressive and funny to see my dovetail marker at that nice place after having it in my hands and now with you, and I was very satisfied how quickly it get to you thanks to ups
Love those bowsaws !

View StumpyNubs's profile


7837 posts in 3718 days

#4 posted 03-21-2011 02:38 PM

You cheated on your progress samples! You sanded up the #3 nicely and not the #1! :)

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 3572 days

#5 posted 03-21-2011 03:12 PM

Rkoorman, thanks. Dust is not a major issue for me since I do not use power tools very often. A few brooms and a trashcan is all I need. (and the shavings make great tinder for my woodstoves in the house). I do have a canister dust collector for when I do break down a slay electrons but I hate it, it’s louder than my table-saw.

Todd, thanks.

Julio, always great to hear from you and I like seeing the marker on my shelf for much of the same reasons.
StumpyNubs (great screen name by the way) #1 was not worth cleaning up (look at the gaps), no 3 cleaned up but not sanded (I have an aversion to sandpaper on wood).

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View JasonD's profile


180 posts in 3779 days

#6 posted 03-21-2011 07:35 PM

RG, first off all, did you make or buy your bowsaws? I’m in the market for one, but on the fence about whether I want to make it or buy it.

Secondly, awesome work on the dovetails!

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 3572 days

#7 posted 03-22-2011 01:58 AM

Worth the money (at the least buy the blades they are cheap). I own a 24 inch turning saw a 24 inch “tenon saw” 9tpi, and a 5 TPI monster (28 inches) for resawing.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View JasonD's profile


180 posts in 3779 days

#8 posted 03-22-2011 02:49 AM

I’m mainly looking for resawing / regular ripping.

How do you like the wing nut / bolt instead of the traditional leather twine / wooden key to tighten. It seems like it might be harder to tighten (by hand, at least) towards the end once the tension is building up with the wing nut. Of course, this is my inexperienced assumption. Have you used the 28” 5tpi to resaw at all? Was tensioning it tight enough difficult? What would you say is the thickest, widest, longest piece you’ve resawn with it (also what species)?

Sorry for all the questions. Hope I’m not pestering you. :)

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 3572 days

#9 posted 03-22-2011 03:53 AM

No, I love talking tools. I like the wing nut because you can really “dial in” the tension on the tool, and I had some concerns about the twine losing tension over time. That being said, both designs have been in use for a very long time with neither of the two supplanting the other; in others words make your choice, either way you should be fine.

The big saw (28 inch 5 tpi) is a [email protected]#$ing monster when in comes to wood removal, I conducted a test on some 3/4 inch hickory and I wish I would have taken a picture. I established a kerf of 1/8th of a inch with my 5tpi bow saw and my panel saw (same TPI freshly sharpened), and took 7 full blade width strokes. The panel saw got about 3 inches down the bow saw about 7. A major difference tension makes, but it does come at a price, You have to have the frame saw at a different angle than the blade, and this means putting your hand at a different angle to the blade; something that you can get the hang of but can be a bit disorienting if you switch back and forth between saw types.

I will be re-sawing a lot of Black Walnut and some Wenge in the near future so I will keep you in mind when I write a more comprehensive review. I would have done some re-sawing but I need to tweak my vise so it grips well enough to saw in parallel with the jaws, I normally saw perpendicular to the vise because it holds better but this does have limitations. 28 inch saw, 24 inch bench against a wall, you do the math.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View JasonD's profile


180 posts in 3779 days

#10 posted 03-22-2011 06:03 AM

That’s one thing I love about the leg vise on my Roubo bench. It holds like a BEAST parallel to the jaws. To test it out the first night, I clamped a piece of 2x scrap in the vise, tightened it “just enough” (only about a 1/4 turn past contact), and it held well enough for me to do dips off the scrap wood. :)

What I’m thinking about is ordering the ECE 28” 5TPI blade from the site you linked and building my own. I guess the traditionalist in me just REALLY wants the leather strap and key. lol

Plus, it’ll only cost me $16 for the blade, plus a couple dollars for the leather. I have enough scrap hardwood to build the frame without having to spend the money (probably make it using a mix of hard maple and red oak – I love using those two woods together).

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 3572 days

#11 posted 03-22-2011 03:05 PM

Just remember that you need be able to rotate the saw out of parallel with the blade (you can buy the hardware kits as well for these) and you should be fine.

Your bench is awesome. Roubo is the way to go, if/when I build another bench I will go with either that or the Nicholson. Some blocking will solve my issue, I just haven’t needed to saw in parallel yet so I haven’t bothered.

I let you know when I give it more of a workout, I forgot I’m also using it to slab out a 12 inch thick Yew log….now that is going to be fun.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

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