The Slightly Confused Woodworker

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Why I have a tablesaw.

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I haven’t made a piece of furniture in many months.

I’m not too happy about that fact. This has been my longest stretch without making a piece of furniture since I started woodworking. But I found that my hiatus did have one added benefit; it gave me time to think. In actuality my upcoming project has been in the planning stages for several months though I only decided on starting it a few weeks ago. But it has given me more time than ever to plan every joint, the assembly order, and all of the little details that are sometimes missed, not only in my head, but on paper. But the real “rarity” was my laying out every tool that I plan on using for each phase of the construction. I can’t recall ever doing that before. Of course, like most woodworkers there are certain things I do during a project that happen “on the fly”. I’m sure that this project will have some of those moments, but I think they will be few.

When I said

When I said “layout the tools for the project” I meant in my mind’s eye. But all of these planes will see use.

Friday afternoon I got to do something that I don’t often get to do: Go to my local lumberyard. For the record, this lumberyard is not a hard wood dealer. Though they offer some oak, maple, and cherry, most of their business is geared towards construction. What they do offer is very nice, clear pine, and that is what I purchased. The only mistake I made was not purchasing enough, and that only because it wouldn’t fit in my car. But I got enough for the bulk of the construction, which cost me $78.00. While I would have loved to build this project from oak, I chose pine because it was in my budget. $78.00 gave me both case sides, all 5 shelves, and the top and bottom trim pieces. The only thing I am missing is the 3 boards needed for the back.

Stock prepped

Stock prepped

Though I’m happy to have visited the lumberyard this past weekend, the real reason I am writing this post concerns my table saw. Anybody who reads this blog on a somewhat regular basis knows that like nearly every other woodworking blogger on the internet, when concerning woodworking, I often use hand tools. I’m not a zealot; I’ve said many times over that I don’t care who uses what. And I’m happy to say that it’s been a while since I’ve come across the “Hand tool vs Power tool” forums. While I don’t see the spiritual side to using hand tools that some woodworkers claim to find, I do enjoy using them. However, on Saturday morning I prepped all of the stock for this project, first rough cutting it to size and then sawing it to finished length and width. I did nearly all of that prep work using my table saw.

A panel sled and a clamp make repetitive cuts accurate and easy

A panel sled and a clamp make repetitive cuts accurate and easy

In approximately 30 minutes I had the bulk of that work finished. The only hand tool that saw action was the #7 jointer plane which I used to clean up the edges.  Having that table saw saved me a lot of time this past weekend. It allowed me to get a lot of grunt work finished and still take my kid to her soccer game. In short, it allowed me the time to sweat the small stuff when the time comes; it allowed me speed and accuracy; it allowed to me start making furniture again, and it allowed me to once again be a real woodworker

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9 Comments

  1. I couldn’t buy your pile of clear pine for $78 in my part of the universe. I’ll have to crunch the numbers on driving to PA round trip from RI to visit that lumberyard.

    • billlattpa says:

      It was $3.30 per board foot, wide stock, and very clear-nice grain with very few, if any defects. The other yards in my region are at $5-6 per board foot on pine this width/clarity. So it was a very good price. This whole cabinet is only going to cost around $115 in material. You can’t beat that anywhere.

      • Kinderhook88 says:

        Indeed, I can’t beat that anywhere around me. You’re in PA, Bill?

      • billlattpa says:

        Yeah, southeast pa. I’ve found that the construction lumberyards are the best place to get clear pine. They don’t offer much in hardwood, but you can get pine, poplar, and oak at a much better price than the hardwood dealers.

      • Kinderhook88 says:

        I don’t have much to brag about where I live now. I lived in the Shenandoah Valley (VA) for a while, though, and there are some great lumber yards there.

  2. Art Watson says:

    Bet it felt great to get back in the shop! I’m hoping to get a little shop time this weekend (fingers crossed) 🙂

    • billlattpa says:

      Yes it does! I got started yesterday morning. Case should be assembled next week and ready for the details.
      Sorry about the late response. I couldn’t log on to wordpress for a few days for some reason.
      Thanks
      Bill

  3. I will say this about tools, Both power or hand tools are good for any shop. I do use my bandsaw for break down of material. then I go to hand tools. I like the control and no dust. But I also notice I get better results from handtools. I enjoy your blog. The reason being you are to the point and very direct. Thanks for your time to write it….

    • billlattpa says:

      Thanks! And I’m glad you enjoy the blog.
      I’ve come to the conclusion that I will be using a table saw for many years. As I said, I’m not a tool zealot. The only reason I would like to eliminate the table saw is because of the dust factor. If I weren’t woodworking in my garage and had a dedicated shop I wouldn’t be so concerned with it. So I try to keep the use to a minimum.
      Sorry about the late response, I couldn’t get onto wordpress over the weekend.
      Bill

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