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DeWalt PowerShop Build #1: Why? What? Where? How? When?

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Blog entry by Smitty_Cabinetshop posted 129 days ago 1104 reads 1 time favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of DeWalt PowerShop Build series Part 2: A Basic Framework »

Good day, and welcome to the initial installment of my DeWalt RAS cabinet blog.

Background
Woodworking is a hobby for me, nothing more and nothing less. Within the realm of hobby lies a tremendous range of passion; there’s ‘love it, can’t live without’ all the way to ‘it’s something to tinker with when there’s no sports on TV.’ I’m closer to the former than the latter, but I’m also a very patient fellow when it comes to getting things done the way I want them. Bottom line: It’s the journey.

Why start a blog with reflection? Why indeed. The answer lies in the connection of dots, the songline that dictates the development of my shop space and the tools it contains. Some of the things in my shop, the workbench for example, were game-changers in ways I did not anticipate. Other shop tools have been instigators in the same sense as my bench, and it is one of those ancillary paths that is the focus of this short blog series. I bought a 1956 DeWalt MBF 9” radial arm saw via Craigslist about three years ago for the tidy sum of $100. Although the saw lacked a decent blade and pawl, it did come with a rather spiffy, customized “General Electric” stand.

Don’t get me wrong. The GE stand is nice, in a 60s / Jetsons vibe kind of way, but there’s always been a sense it was not a permanent fixture. It’s not rickety, but there’s no way to add extensions to either side of the saw’s top. To work longer stock of all varieties, I envisioned a wall-length work surface that would incorporate the RAS. The surface would also include a removable fence and stop blocks for repeating cuts. Oh, and it would have to be visually appealing, like those great workstations I see in the workshop books and posted on LJs. Because what I have now is not inspirational in any way…

The simple fact is, I’m not very good at creating things from scratch. I’m a copier by nature. An improver, if you will. Give me a broken down piece of something and I’ll make something useful out of it. If it’s a decent piece I’ll kick it up a notch. But when I’m presented with a blank slate it’s tough to get started. So the Spiffy GE Stand endured as the home for the DeWalt MBF as the months went by and the excuse list grew.

— When I realized (rationalized) any type of RAS cabinet would be in the way while a partition wall was built in the shop, the cabinet waited.

— When I couldn’t decide what the RAS cabinet should look like, doing nothing seemed to be a sound approach. So the cabinet waited.

— When I decided it would be an actual cabinet, I figured whatever I built would be too big and heavy to move out of the way when I finally got around to laying down a wood floor. So the cabinet waited.

Fast forward to today, and all the boxes have now been checked. The partition wall was completed in 2012, the DeWalt PowerShop Workbench was blogged about eleven months ago and the shop floor was installed at the end of October 2013. I even had a picture of a completed cabinet (see blog link above). No excuses anymore, time to get started.

Inspiration
I’ll build a RAS cabinet in the style suggested by my saw’s OEM via “Plan No. DW102”.

I appreciate “F.W. Lane” and his pack-ratting ways… Because he saved his copy of the big DeWalt fold-out poster, I’m able to build it today. With a copyright date of 1954, it’s right on to be a match to my RAS. The drawings for the bench include construction methods that are certainly not common today. Key to this cabinet is a pair of horizontal 2×4 support beams notched into a series of vertical 1×6 ribs. The toe kick has to be cut from each rib. All inside shelves and the cabinet bottom are cut around the ribbed interior space as well. My first impression is ‘overbuilt and needlessly labor-intensive’, but I’m committed to building this thing in period style anyway. Even the dimension lumber called out in the drawing is off from today’s milled goods. I plan to use key dimensions and build the rest to fit.

Wrap-up
First time working with a real materials list, and that gave me an idea how much 1x stock I needed. That was a WAG though, as I’m modifying the original plan to better fill the space in my shop. My father found a number of donor pieces and the rest of what I thought would be needed was bought outright (a rare occurrence in my world).

Construction will use the best tools for the job, be it hand tool or tailed apprentice.

So I have my excuses out of the way and material on-hand. It’s time to get this build underway; I have no idea how long this one will be in-work, but I can’t let that stop me. Stay tuned for the next installment, where sawdust is guaranteed to be seen. Until then, as always, thanks for looking!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive



22 comments so far

View terryR's profile

terryR

2969 posts in 907 days


#1 posted 129 days ago

Great blog, Smitty. Love plan dw102… just perfect for your shop!

Cannot wait for the sawdust…

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View Don W's profile

Don W

14635 posts in 1166 days


#2 posted 129 days ago

that’s quit a RAS cabinet. It’ll fit your shop well.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View Dave's profile

Dave

11142 posts in 1439 days


#3 posted 129 days ago

Smitty a very interesting read. You gave us insights on your passion and thought processes.
This build should be most interesting and fun.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are." http://chiselandforge.com

View lysdexic's profile

lysdexic

4779 posts in 1222 days


#4 posted 129 days ago

Last time you were “baffled” by the baffle. Did you get that resolved?

-- It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe. - Muhammad Ali

View lysdexic's profile

lysdexic

4779 posts in 1222 days


#5 posted 129 days ago

Never mind.

I went and re-read the other blog. Now I remember that dude Dave coming in from nowhere and noticing the 18” vs 24” depth. That was strong work.

Interestingly, he has only made 3 more posts since.

-- It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe. - Muhammad Ali

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

9588 posts in 1217 days


#6 posted 129 days ago

I’ve pm’d freakazoid from that blog, he’s still in the game and planning his PowerShop build as well. :-) I’ve not checked in with Dave, and you’re right. It was very strong work on his part. Note the drawer on wheels in the actual picture of the cabinet. That will be done here, I’m just sayin’...

There are a few other changes envisioned to the draw’d version of the bench. It’s too tall, and the aesthetic is a bit stocky to my eye and will be addressed (I hope) during the build. The end caps will not be painted ply, for example, but raised panels or beadboard panels. The top will not be plywood, either. All that is notional at this point (not planned in detail at all) because there’s lots to do between now and the time those details become reality.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View lysdexic's profile

lysdexic

4779 posts in 1222 days


#7 posted 129 days ago

For ease of reference…

Ironically, the perfect color..

-- It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe. - Muhammad Ali

View lysdexic's profile

lysdexic

4779 posts in 1222 days


#8 posted 129 days ago

I was looking at the PDF. At 7’4”, that is a wide cabinet.

You have piqued my curiosity here because I really, really need to do the same with my miter saw. I just keep putting it off. Completion of said cabinet would be quite liberating.

-- It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe. - Muhammad Ali

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

9588 posts in 1217 days


#9 posted 129 days ago

Not a fan of the ring pulls, but the sawdust drawer is da’ bomb. That cabinet is true to the drawing, without a doubt.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View Mauricio's profile

Mauricio

6747 posts in 1750 days


#10 posted 129 days ago

Woo hoo! Can’t. Wait to see it come together!

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View ShaneA's profile

ShaneA

5254 posts in 1197 days


#11 posted 129 days ago

The fact that the picture Mr Yo posted is green is some sort of sign. While I have not completely finished my own miter saw/storage doohickey, it is nice to have a stable surface and extra doors and drawers to store stuff. Plus it will make the thing more accurate and easier to use. What else could one want?

View stefang's profile

stefang

12576 posts in 1933 days


#12 posted 129 days ago

I like the idea of building DeWalt ‘matching’ cabinet Smitty. I’m sure it will turn out quite well.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View jjw5858's profile

jjw5858

1110 posts in 1201 days


#13 posted 128 days ago

I really like how you are doing this old school bench Smitty, I know you will do a great job on it. All the best!

-- "Make something you love tomorrow...and do it slowly" JLB

View terryR's profile

terryR

2969 posts in 907 days


#14 posted 128 days ago

That shade of green has been growing on me!
Might end up on my tool chest…

What pdf? Did I miss the plans? :(

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View ToddJB's profile

ToddJB

1710 posts in 729 days


#15 posted 128 days ago

I’m a copier by nature. An improver, if you will. Give me a broken down piece of something and I’ll make something useful out of it.

Smitty, this statement really resonates with me. My creative talents are in expansion, not in origination.

This project also resonates with my love for old DeWalts. I currently have two. A 54 MBF 9” (which I need to sell) and a 53 GWI 10”. I also picked up my MBF for $100 but the blade on it is shot, and good 9” blades are not cheap, so I opted to get the bigger brother when the deal came along. I’ve built it completely into my work bench and I love the set up. I use it all the time. I think this project will pay off in huge dividends once it’s up and an running.

Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

showing 1 through 15 of 22 comments

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