Pros and Cons of Woodworking with Manual Tools - Page 2 - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum

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post #21 of 82 Old 01-15-2016, 07:27 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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you seem to have missed the point

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Originally Posted by Toolman50 View Post
This post is the silliest post so far for 2016.
Hand tools or power tools?
Really?
Open it up to everything else in life;
Walk or ride?
Dig a grave with a shovel or a backhoe?
Do it the hardest/slowest way possible or do it easily and quickly?

You get my drift.
Since the beginning of time, man has always looked for a better way of doing things. Unless you're demonstrating how something was done in the old days, I see little reason not to progress forward.
There's are millions of folks who ride motorcycles and it's not about the destination. Having ridden to both the East and West coasts from Detroit, there is nothing quite like the fresh air and openness and the rumble of a Harley or other V twin engine. A 100 HP Harley will get you there as fast or faster than a sub compact car with the same HP, but you won't have the same experience. For some, it's about the journey and sometimes the comradeship of riding with other like minded folks.

You may not want the fastest or easiest means to get to the destination, you may just want to plug along and enjoy the journey........

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specfic. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo
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post #22 of 82 Old 01-15-2016, 09:06 PM
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Ok, go for it.
He he. You know it was a joke. That is quite a table!
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post #23 of 82 Old 01-15-2016, 09:16 PM
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There are unlimited options for those who love working with wood. You can do amazing things with routers, CNCs and other machines, but there’s something to be said for working with manual tools as well. If you’ve been thinking of taking up manual woodworking, here are a few things that you should consider. Manual tools aren’t for everybody, but it may be worth checking to see if they suit you.

Pro: Greater Control

When you’re working on wood with manual tools, you have complete control over every move you make. You control the angles, the pressure and the length of each motion. This means you can shape the wood to look exactly the way you want it to look, instead of trying to find the closest approximation you can while your power saw or lathe does its work. You also don’t have to worry as much about feeding the wood too quickly or the machine cutting too far because you’re directly controlling the speed of the blade or the length of the cut.

Con: Learning Curve

Working with manual tools isn’t easy – depending on how dependent you are on power tools, it might entail a pretty steep learning curve. When using manual tools, you’re performing some of the same tasks, but different movements and levels of pressure are required. If you’re not used to it, you might find yourself making more mistakes than you normally would simply because you haven’t yet learned the proper way to work wood with manual tools.

Pro: More Adaptability

Manual tools can make it easier to adapt what you’re doing on the fly, especially if you’re working with unfamiliar wood or wood in its natural state (as opposed to lumber or processed wood). It also gives you more leeway when inspiration strikes, letting you change what you’re doing far easier than you could when working with power tools. This doesn’t mean you can always just ignore your plans and do something else with manual tools, but there is a greater amount of adaptability involved in most situations.

Con: Slower Production

Power tools are nice because they speed up a lot of woodworking tasks. When you’re working with manual tools, you have to make every cut, carve every line and sand every surface by hand. This can be very slow work, especially if you’re used to a much faster production rate. Depending on what piece you’re working on and which tools you’re using, working with manual tools may frustrate you at first.

Pro: Feel Like a “Real” Woodworker

There are likely some who would argue with this, but some woodworkers find that moving from power tools to manual helps them to shed the mindset of being a “hobbyist,” because they’re working hands-on with the wood instead of just running it through machines and piecing together what comes out the other side. Not everyone experiences this, of course, but it can be pretty satisfying once you have a finished piece that you’ve shaped with your own hands.

Con: Manual Limitations

One big problem with using manual woodworking tools is that you’re largely limited by your physical strength and endurance when working on a project. Working on wood by hand can be very tiring, especially if you’re not used to it. Depending on the tools you’re using, your arms will get tired, your hands will cramp and you’ll have to be careful to make sure that your work doesn’t suffer as a result. You’ll get used to it over time and build your endurance, but when first starting out, you may wind up sore in muscles you didn’t even realize were used in woodworking.

Is Manual Right for You?

If you’re not sure whether you should give manual tools a try, consider how much control you like to have over the wood you’re working on.

Some people find using manual tools frustrating and only use them for fine detail work, if at all. Others enjoy working by hand whenever they have the time, setting aside the power tools whenever possible in order to get up close and personal with the wood.

I have a friend that came into possession of sash tools for window making as they did in the 30's. Plus some more specialized planes. I would love to have those tools but he will not part with them in his life.
I admire his find and he has used some of these tools to recreate some old stiles that are almost impossible to find anymore. He is one lucky guy. Doc Ferg
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post #24 of 82 Old 01-15-2016, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
There's are millions of folks who ride motorcycles and it's not about the destination. Having ridden to both the East and West coasts from Detroit, there is nothing quite like the fresh air and openness and the rumble of a Harley or other V twin engine. A 100 HP Harley will get you there as fast or faster than a sub compact car with the same HP, but you won't have the same experience. For some, it's about the journey and sometimes the comradeship of riding with other like minded folks.

You may not want the fastest or easiest means to get to the destination, you may just want to plug along and enjoy the journey........
I compliment you for such a viewpoint. And there's no room for argument because I know you are right. It is still mind boggling to me. It's like me trying to understand why an Amish man plows his fields with horses.
I own hand tools, electric tools and a growing number of battery operated tools. I pick the best tool for the application. I don't choose the tool because it makes me feel closer to nature or whatever.
Although I too used to like to feel the wind in my face.
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post #25 of 82 Old 01-15-2016, 09:29 PM
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He he. You know it was a joke. That is quite a table!
It'll be the last for me. I will never have the time or the strength to do another project like that again. I think I was around 25 when I built that table. I know I started it around 1977 when I took woodcarving classes. 1/2 of one of the faces on the figurines I didn't do, the teacher carved it to show me what to do. I took classes from this guy for two or three years. http://www.texaswoodcarving.com/ludwig-kieninger
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post #26 of 82 Old 01-15-2016, 11:11 PM
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For my two cents which doesn't mean much, I believe a person who uses hand tools is a true master carpenter
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post #27 of 82 Old 01-16-2016, 12:19 AM
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For my two cents which doesn't mean much, I believe a person who uses hand tools is a true master carpenter
Only if he produces masterful work. Remember that during the days when pros used hand tools, there would only be one master over a whole group of journeymen and apprentices - many of whom only turned out moderate quality.
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post #28 of 82 Old 01-16-2016, 12:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toolman50
This post is the silliest post so far for 2016. Hand tools or power tools? Really? Open it up to everything else in life; Walk or ride? Dig a grave with a shovel or a backhoe? Do it the hardest/slowest way possible or do it easily and quickly? You get my drift. Since the beginning of time, man has always looked for a better way of doing things. Unless you're demonstrating how something was done in the old days, I see little reason not to progress forward.
Outhouse or indoor plumbing. Chainsaw or chopping axe? Cell phone or telegraph? Typewriter or computer?

Last edited by hwebb99; 01-16-2016 at 01:00 AM.
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post #29 of 82 Old 01-16-2016, 01:40 AM
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When you have deadlines to make you need to go with what is fastest and does the best job. I am past all the deadlines now, so I want to take my time and enjoy wood working for a change, not go at it at breakneck speed to finish and get it set.

Another reason I want more hand tools is, I piddle around in the shop after hours when I can't use power tools, as the noise would disturb neighbors, so the quite whisper of slicing wood with a super sharp plane or cutting with an old antique hand miter saw really fills the bill for me.

I like to just take my time, do a little work, sit and drink coffee and enjoy what I am doing, I am too old for the fast pace now days. It took me a looooong time to get here so I am going to enjoy it.

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post #30 of 82 Old 01-16-2016, 02:03 AM
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When you have deadlines to make you need to go with what is fastest and does the best job. I am past all the deadlines now, so I want to take my time and enjoy wood working for a change, not go at it at breakneck speed to finish and get it set.

Another reason I want more hand tools is, I piddle around in the shop after hours when I can't use power tools, as the noise would disturb neighbors, so the quite whisper of slicing wood with a super sharp plane or cutting with an old antique hand miter saw really fills the bill for me.

I like to just take my time, do a little work, sit and drink coffee and enjoy what I am doing, I am too old for the fast pace now days. It took me a looooong time to get here so I am going to enjoy it.
Sounds like you found a hobby.

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post #31 of 82 Old 01-16-2016, 06:21 AM
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I may have missed something but isn't this pros and cons of HAND tools? I didn't think it was a comparison between hand tool wood working and machine woodworking both of which have their place in any good workshop.

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post #32 of 82 Old 01-16-2016, 07:41 AM
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Only if he produces masterful work. Remember that during the days when pros used hand tools, there would only be one master over a whole group of journeymen and apprentices - many of whom only turned out moderate quality.
Also in the old days the master craftsman used the best type tools available for the time. I have to think if the machinery we all use now was available them they would have used it. It's mainly a different attitude today. In the old days the master craftsman took what ever time was needed to produce the best work possible. Not like today where producing a product fast trumps quality.
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post #33 of 82 Old 01-16-2016, 08:16 AM
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Also in the old days the master craftsman used the best type tools available for the time. I have to think if the machinery we all use now was available them they would have used it. It's mainly a different attitude today. In the old days the master craftsman took what ever time was needed to produce the best work possible. Not like today where producing a product fast trumps quality.

"Also in the old days the master craftsman used the best type tools available for the time. I have to think if the machinery we all use now was available them they would have used it."

I would agree..


"It's mainly a different attitude today. In the old days the master craftsman took what ever time was needed to produce the best work possible. Not like today where producing a product fast trumps quality."

I would disagree..

I can use whatever time is required to build a product, but once built a production time frame is developed in order to establish a reasonable price.

"It takes just as long to do it right as it does to do it wrong"

The time frame from yesterday is the same today as it will be in the future.
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post #34 of 82 Old 01-16-2016, 08:30 AM
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"Also in the old days the master craftsman used the best type tools available for the time. I have to think if the machinery we all use now was available them they would have used it."

I would agree..


"It's mainly a different attitude today. In the old days the master craftsman took what ever time was needed to produce the best work possible. Not like today where producing a product fast trumps quality."

I would disagree..

I can use whatever time is required to build a product, but once built a production time frame is developed in order to establish a reasonable price.

"It takes just as long to do it right as it does to do it wrong"

The time frame from yesterday is the same today as it will be in the future.
I just meant in general. There will always be exceptions. What I meant is the stuff produced in factories today they cut as many corners as possible to get the product out the door.
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post #35 of 82 Old 01-16-2016, 08:59 AM
where's my table saw?
 
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this thread is off the rails

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I may have missed something but isn't this pros and cons of HAND tools? I didn't think it was a comparison between hand tool wood working and machine woodworking both of which have their place in any good workshop.
It has devolved into a discussion of Hand vs Power tool, which is not the original topic. Thanks for pointing out the obvious!

The "cons" of hand tools may bring up the use of power tools, as it relates to time and energy required, but this thread would be more interesting if we stayed on topic....JMO.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specfic. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo
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post #36 of 82 Old 01-16-2016, 09:55 AM
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I just meant in general. There will always be exceptions. What I meant is the stuff produced in factories today they cut as many corners as possible to get the product out the door.
Corner cutting doesn't always mean the product suffers. Sometimes its about being more efficient. The plant I work for has seriously spent money on "The Toyota Way" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Toyota_Way It will take time and money but WORKS

But I do understand what you are saying.
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post #37 of 82 Old 01-16-2016, 04:08 PM
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Also in the old days the master craftsman used the best type tools available for the time. I have to think if the machinery we all use now was available them they would have used it.
Absolutely. In fact, they did continue to adopt newer/better/more-efficient/whatever tools as they came along which is what led us to today.
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It's mainly a different attitude today. In the old days the master craftsman took what ever time was needed to produce the best work possible. Not like today where producing a product fast trumps quality.
You must consider who those master craftsmen of old were working for. I'm sorry, but the ordinary people like pretty much all of us here could not afford their work. Period. Not back in the days of hand-only tools. To think otherwise is to live in a fantasy land where the past is all rosy and good and today is totally evil. The masters worked for those who could afford them. Their journeymen and apprentices may also have turned out work for whatever middle class there was. Poor people made their own or sat on crates. Most poor people were farmers and quite independent enough to make a table or chair, but unable to afford the best woods or tools and did not entertain in the high society levels where craftsmanship was mandatory. They made chairs to sit in. I know because I've got a bunch of them that my wife salvaged from the barn of the farm she grew up on. I really wish she hadn't. She thinks I can fix them up and make them nice.

We do live in a different world now. Everyone thinks they are, or should be, nobility. We all demand the biggest house, the fanciest car, etc. But few of us can truly afford all of this and so we demand the most stuff for the cheapest prices. And we keep Ikea and Home Depot thriving. We buy cookie cutter McMansions in subdivisions full of thousands of nearly identical ones. I've seen one subdivision of $1M+ houses with only three floorplans to choose from! That's mass production and that's how you make things cheap. Cabinets were made of laminated MDF and drawers were stamped steel. Real crap to my eyes, but they looked rich from across the room. I've also seen how those houses were put together. Ick.

I'm sure the master craftsmen of today would still prefer to take whatever time is necessary to produce the best possible work. I think there are a few even now who really can do that. But as I suggested earlier, no matter how much time they had I bet they would still use the most appropriate tool for the job and not be saddled by the religion of either only working manual or only working power.
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post #38 of 82 Old 01-16-2016, 08:16 PM
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Ok, go for it.
Steve
Ive seen carved furniture similar to yours in antique shops
It seems most of it was made in Germany.
Most of it had a very dark finish.
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post #39 of 82 Old 01-16-2016, 08:43 PM
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Steve
Ive seen carved furniture similar to yours in antique shops
It seems most of it was made in Germany.
Most of it had a very dark finish.
Actually the inspiration for the table comes from this picture in a book I have. This table was dutch. I did get some help from a German guy learning how to do it. Most of the carved furniture was made in the 19th century and it was just the style then to stain furniture dark. The picture of that table was taken more than 30 years ago and the finishing work wasn't very good. I just put a clear finish on it and there was too much variation in color of the mahogany I used. The majority of the wood I used was unusually dark for Honduras mahogany and a few pieces were unusually light making an awful contrast. I have since refinished the table and bleached the dark mahogany a little and stained the light wood so it is now uniform.

To tell the truth that table is another one of my unfinished projects. I built the table intending to put a marble or some natural stone top on it banded with a carved trim around the edge similar to the picture. It still has a Corian top I put on it until I could get a stone top made.
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post #40 of 82 Old 01-16-2016, 11:51 PM
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Absolutely. In fact, they did continue to adopt newer/better/more-efficient/whatever tools as they came along which is what led us to today.
You must consider who those master craftsmen of old were working for. I'm sorry, but the ordinary people like pretty much all of us here could not afford their work. Period. Not back in the days of hand-only tools. To think otherwise is to live in a fantasy land where the past is all rosy and good and today is totally evil. The masters worked for those who could afford them. Their journeymen and apprentices may also have turned out work for whatever middle class there was. Poor people made their own or sat on crates. Most poor people were farmers and quite independent enough to make a table or chair, but unable to afford the best woods or tools and did not entertain in the high society levels where craftsmanship was mandatory. They made chairs to sit in. I know because I've got a bunch of them that my wife salvaged from the barn of the farm she grew up on. I really wish she hadn't. She thinks I can fix them up and make them nice.

We do live in a different world now. Everyone thinks they are, or should be, nobility. We all demand the biggest house, the fanciest car, etc. But few of us can truly afford all of this and so we demand the most stuff for the cheapest prices. And we keep Ikea and Home Depot thriving. We buy cookie cutter McMansions in subdivisions full of thousands of nearly identical ones. I've seen one subdivision of $1M+ houses with only three floorplans to choose from! That's mass production and that's how you make things cheap. Cabinets were made of laminated MDF and drawers were stamped steel. Real crap to my eyes, but they looked rich from across the room. I've also seen how those houses were put together. Ick.

I'm sure the master craftsmen of today would still prefer to take whatever time is necessary to produce the best possible work. I think there are a few even now who really can do that. But as I suggested earlier, no matter how much time they had I bet they would still use the most appropriate tool for the job and not be saddled by the religion of either only working manual or only working power.
The sad part is, some of the wood workers back in the 1800s and earlier were slaves.

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