Masters of the Craft

Masters of the Craft

Hand Tools Reinvented

comments (31) October 25th, 2013 in blogs

JonBinzen Jon Binzen, senior editor
thumbs up 70 users recommend

Abiel Rios-Wong beside one of his creations. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

Abiel Rios-Wong beside one of his creations.


As a boy growing up in Havana, Abiel Rios Wong hungered to use his father's woodworking tools. But they were kept in a locked case, and Abiel was never permitted to use them. In Cuba he attended a school for machinists and took classes in art, pyrography and leatherworking. After emigrating to the U.S. in his 20s, Rios Wong signed on as a longshoreman and in his spare time began making tools and selling them on Ebay and at shows. At first he turned mallets for carvers and made leather pouches for carving gouges and chisels. Soon he was buying old woodworking tools-hand planes, braces-and using his machinist skills to modify them with snazzy brass or cocobolo handles and fittings. Most recently, he's been building tools from scratch, creating a new breed of tool that blends function with a sumptuous style from the age of the steam engine. This audio slideshow presents and describes the range of his extraordinary work.  


posted in: blogs, hand tools, Tools, slideshow, custom, rios-wong

Comments (31)

SAyotte SAyotte writes: How do you go about buying one of his marking knives?
Posted: 12:35 pm on February 20th

something_vague something_vague writes: Some of the most beautiful pieces I've ever seen in my life. Truly inspirational. The fit and finish of these tools is like nothing I've ever seen before except out of Hotley's shop, and Hotley sets the bar extremely high. The difference being is Wong's tools are a bit more ambitious and original. Very nice!
Posted: 4:53 pm on November 13th

markmech2002 markmech2002 writes: These tools hearken back to days when any craftsman was proud to put their name one their work. While all of these pieces are beautiful in form, they also appear from the photos and slide show to be very functional as well.

Thank you for sharing your passion with all of us Abiel
Posted: 4:48 pm on November 11th

freestyletools freestyletools writes: hello guys this will answer some questions about the tools I make , first thanks to all for the compliments ,well I would said that first(i don't sell tools as a business, or I am interested in selling ,my tools , what I do is all for personal use, if someone likes a tool that I make I would let it go for the right, price . I am not looking with this slide show to sell anything is just to show my art work , if the tools are practical and the best functional tools or are just for sow , it don't matter to me ,as long as I am happy with what I am making and the end result that I am looking for .again I am not interested in sell .anything .I do it for fun ,and thanks again to all of you for the compliments .
Posted: 4:52 pm on November 8th

Ed_Pirnik Ed_Pirnik writes: Hi everyone - Abiel doesn't have a website however, I did ask him if folks could approach him via Facebook if they were interested in purchasing some of his tools - he responded in the affirmative.
Posted: 3:40 pm on November 8th

nikejeff nikejeff writes: A good tool does it's job well. These tools I would bet do there job very well. I love that he takes his influence from the steam era. Overbuild and with a sense of the style from that era. Tools for people who appreciate well made tools that are more then just made to function. Tools built to celebrate a craft that function beautifully.
The fact that he does this part time at night after working all day shows that it's a labor of love.
Looking forward to seeing more of his work!!!
Great Story!!!!
Posted: 10:23 am on November 8th

NikonD80 NikonD80 writes: I'm a tad confused here; is the show saying these are great tools because they look beautiful or because they work beautifully? Whilst these tools are undeniably stunning to look at and show an amazing degree of skill and craftsmanship, that's of secondary importance to me if I'm looking to buy a hand tool for use in my shop. I don't want to take anything away from this guy - his work is gorgeous but I'd be so worried about such a tool getting scratched or dinged I know my work would suffer as a result. So the key question for me is do these tools perform well or are they display pieces?
Posted: 9:11 am on November 8th

user-2882327 user-2882327 writes: Excellent craftmanship
Posted: 1:06 am on November 8th

Fire5054 Fire5054 writes: Simply Gorgeous!
Posted: 7:50 am on November 5th

Peteraus Peteraus writes: I don't know what all the fuss is about. The video ran perfectly on my iMac. One click and running.
Oh! and by the way, Beautiful work.
Posted: 6:33 pm on November 3rd

Bob817 Bob817 writes: OUTSTANDING!!! Magnifisent! A true Craftsman, a must see for every want to doer.
Posted: 12:58 pm on November 3rd

user-2431152 user-2431152 writes: Not enough adjectives to describe the work. Masterful artistry in metal and wood, standing alongside such giants as Maloof, Krenov, and Nakashima! Thanks for the photo and vdeo.
Posted: 12:19 pm on November 3rd

trinity_too trinity_too writes: Are people clicking on the first photograph, not on the second photo which starts the video? This works just fine on my PC. Spectular work by Mr. Wong - these tools are a feast for the eyes!
Posted: 10:24 am on November 3rd

RGJ RGJ writes: Outstanding work!!!

Posted: 6:15 am on November 3rd

Jhopewell Jhopewell writes: Looks like an interesting video but as one said already,
Doesn't work well on a ipad.
Web interface, with chrome browser
Posted: 9:22 pm on November 2nd

henritiens henritiens writes: Great first picture. Too bad the video doesnt work on my android galaxy4.

Posted: 9:16 pm on November 2nd

starryNight starryNight writes: The slideshow doesn't work very well on my iPad for some reason.
Posted: 1:20 pm on November 2nd

Mortimor Mortimor writes: Mr. Wong's work is innovative, original, beautiful, and fascinating. The work displayed is that of a master artist.
I am both jealous and inspired. i hope he will chose to work full time as an artist as their is little doubt of his success.
Posted: 10:57 am on November 2nd

66hawkeye 66hawkeye writes: you guys hold the honor for
Posted: 10:10 am on November 2nd

gbear1 gbear1 writes: Wow, very cool tools...I would keep these in my house and not in my shop. I would just like to look at them everyday!
Posted: 10:03 am on November 2nd

Texglide Texglide writes: What a bunch of moaners! Nice piece keep up the good work.
Posted: 8:14 am on November 2nd

a_ponderer a_ponderer writes: Note to the narrator: In the interest of accuracy, when in the video, referring to finding the right size "chuck" to hold the ebony dowel, those devices are "collets," not chucks. The collet holds the work in a collet chuck (or collet holder). Pictured in the video is a rack of different sized collets, not a rack of chucks.

Mr. Rios-Wong sure does some nice work!

Posted: 2:58 am on November 2nd

woodworkingdad woodworkingdad writes: Yes, I would like to contact Abiel Wong to fine out if he would sell me just the machined brass pieces and blade for a marking knife so I could make my own handle.
Thanks so Much,
Posted: 7:33 pm on November 1st

squaredog squaredog writes: Did some forget to turn on they switch!
Posted: 9:10 pm on October 31st

squaredog squaredog writes: Did some forget to turn on they switch!
Posted: 9:10 pm on October 31st

Babates Babates writes: These tools are beautiful! Does Mr Wong offer them for sale? If so, does anyone know where?

Posted: 11:06 am on October 30th

Hacker Hacker writes: And what is Mr. Wong's website or contact info?
Posted: 8:25 pm on October 27th

LarryNS LarryNS writes: Maybe the editor and webmaster need to coordinate their work closer and not advertise a video or slideshow only to have unsatisfied subscribers who came looking for it.
Posted: 12:29 am on October 27th

LarryNS LarryNS writes: Maybe the editor and webmaster need to coordinate their work closer and not advertise a video or slideshow only to have unsatisfied subscribers who came looking for it.
Posted: 12:29 am on October 27th

TotallyRetired TotallyRetired writes: Where is the Abiel Rios Wong's slide show?
Posted: 2:34 pm on October 26th

robbo41 robbo41 writes: My subscription copy with this guy's work on the back cover came two days ago. Very cool stuff. So ... why not just post the slide show? You know, I think it might be really interesting to take a look at further, I come here and nothing. So I look around: Thanks to google images, I found a bunch of pictures already available on the web. I think your web strategy needs some tweaking so that people who come to your site stay on your site.
Posted: 6:44 am on October 26th

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