why do you use hand tools? - Page 2 - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #21 of 66 Old 09-23-2012, 09:15 PM
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post #22 of 66 Old 09-24-2012, 09:00 AM
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I started with power tools and started to learn to use hand tools when I discovered that there were things that I wanted to do that you just cannot do or cannot do very well with power tools. I was startled to discover that I preferred to use my hand tools. I enjoyed the quiet. I liked the fact that now I can spend a lot of the time I used to spend worrying about safety thinking about how to do the job at hand.
Now I am becoming comfortable with both power tools and hand tools and I have discovered that I now think differently about each step in the process of building something. If I need to get four 18" x 4" pieces out of a board, it is quicker to rip a long piece with a hand saw, trim up the cut with a plane and then do the cross cuts with a hand saw. If I need forty pieces, my table saw might be quicker. Or, if I have just gone through the process of setting my tablesaw up to do rabbets and then discover that I need to rip two more pieces, it is so much simpler and easier to just use my handsaws and not try to find that perfect setting again. And if I rip a board either by hand or on my table saw and then discover that it is a 32nd of an inch too wide, it is both quicker and easier to mark it, clamp it to my bench and take off the extra with my Siegley #7 bench plane. PLUS, if I am careful about the grain, I probably won't have to sand the piece later.

Some operations are actually more difficult to accomplish with power tools. I use my drill press all the time, but it was the wrong tool to use to cut the dog holes when I built a workbench because it is so difficult to support a 6' x 3' x 3' piece of lumber and move it through the drill press. Easier by far to clamp the piece down, lay out the dog holes and then use a brace and bit. And once that the bench is built and some dog holes need to be added, a brace and bit is the only way to go.

So hand tools have not just brought safety and tranquility to my shop: they also provide a whole set of new ways to address each step of the build process.
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post #23 of 66 Old 09-24-2012, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwohltman View Post
I am an early beginner. I am starting with a small utility table, but I'm using it as an opportunity to learn as there are lots of projects I can do for our home. I am a little uncomfortable buying a lot of power tools seeing I have no idea how far I will go with this. I'd also be very concerned about safety and I won't even get into space. I'm in a two car garage regularly used for two cars.

I am a little bit surprised how many different tools I need. For instance, i had no idea I'd need 3 bench planes and a block. Here is the thing though. It seems like even those on power tools actually need most of the same tools. For instance, they can use a power jointer, but they will still need a jointer plane. They can route a groove but i've heard youtube clips saying how they should still use a router plane to guarantee an even depth.

So right now as a beginner I feel like that as I learn skills and a acquire tools, they will not be unnecessary if i later acquire more power tools. For now, it's just my circular saw.
YOu honestly don't "need" a whole lot of power tools to get started. As far as power tools go, I get the bulk of my work done with a folding contractors table saw, a router with fixed, plunge bases and an edge guide, random orbit sander, decent circular saw with various fences and some hand tools. I do have a jointer which I use rarely as I purchase the bulk of material surfaced 3 sides (S3S).

I have handplanes which I use frequently, my chisels, squares and other layout and set up tools but you can most of these things reasonably too.
And you can do a whole lot with your circular saw with a rip and crosscut blade.

Yes, there's an investment factor but it wasn't that bad for me.
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post #24 of 66 Old 09-24-2012, 10:24 AM
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Less noise and less dust. I can use them in my basement shop.
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post #25 of 66 Old 09-27-2012, 06:06 PM
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My only power tool that gets used everyday is my table saw. I use hand tools to build virtually everything. I am slower with hand tools, granted, but the end result is ultra fine and my joints are always strong. Working with power tools on expensive wood makes me nervous, just a fraction of a mm out and you could be left with a little gap. Sometimes that's fine but sometimes it's not.

Noise... Hand tools are so quiet, that is why and always will be why I'll never be a nut for power tools :0
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post #26 of 66 Old 09-28-2012, 07:11 AM
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Well, there's a multitude of reasons.

I'm in a woodworking class, and I'm behind six skeetering slowpokes waiting and waiting all day long.
I had the choice to do that and not get anything done, or try out hand tools.
So I just got into them. And I did them more and more and more, and It has really shown me a true passion and love for the craft as well as the skill. It makes me appreciate all the furniture of generations past.

And it's just so satisfying running your hand across a smooth planed tabletop, and then feeling a surface sanded to hell and back.

Right now, it's just what does the job right for me.

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The Line above is true
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post #27 of 66 Old 10-05-2012, 03:41 PM
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the reason I use hand tools is because Im to lazy to push all the buttons and pull the levers lol

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post #28 of 66 Old 10-05-2012, 06:22 PM
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A lot of my clients want a traditional craftsman... Which to them means that I simply don't use power tools... My woodworking skills are actually better with hand tools than with power tools. I only use a router and a table saw for speed and ripping large boards / sheets.
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post #29 of 66 Old 10-05-2012, 09:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lawrence View Post
the reason I use hand tools is because Im to lazy to push all the buttons and pull the levers lol


Thats just down right funny!

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post #30 of 66 Old 10-29-2012, 10:13 PM
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I once made a open cabinet with two plate shelves, a nice valance, and a 1/4" plate groove in each shelf.

I thought, "I'll make my Grandfather proud and do it all by hand". Did the curved valance by hand, and the 1/4" groove with a 1/4" chisel.

When I was done I thought I heard my Grandfather say "Idiot, you had a table saw and you used a 1/4" chisel"

Now I have never met my Grandfather, He died before I was born, but I never forgot his lesson of using what does the job best.

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post #31 of 66 Old 10-31-2012, 09:29 PM
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I use hand tools because I can't afford the power tools. And often the hands on work is more fun.
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post #32 of 66 Old 11-04-2012, 09:31 PM
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I guess most things could be done with hand tools but how do you get a shaped edge without using a router?
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post #33 of 66 Old 11-04-2012, 10:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duane Bledsoe View Post
I guess most things could be done with hand tools but how do you get a shaped edge without using a router?
As in moulding? With moulding planes, combinations planes or a scratch stock. Simple chamfers and round overs can be done with a block plane.

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post #34 of 66 Old 11-04-2012, 10:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duane Bledsoe
I guess most things could be done with hand tools but how do you get a shaped edge without using a router?
Almost every power tool used in the modern shop is designed to do a job that was once done by hand. In almost every case, the power tool does it more quickly but not necessarily better and often not safer. Power tools have their place, but too many people try to use them for everything, even for jobs where hand tools are clearly the better choice. Case in point: cutting dowels. I see articles in the woodworking mags with a title like "Safest Jig For Cutting Dowel Rods On Your Tablesaw." Two nicked fingers later, I realized that the safest way to cut dowel rods is with a bench hook and a back saw. Period.

Now when I need to do something, I often ask myself how my Grandfather might have done it. In the case of shaping edges, Granddad would have used wooden molding planes built for the job just like router bits are today. Some of those molding planes are still around, but new woodworkers don't find out about that until long after they have invested in a router or two and a basic load of router bits.
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post #35 of 66 Old 11-04-2012, 10:48 PM
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I'm one of them. Never knew, although common sense "should" have prevailed since our forefathers obviously had a means of doing it. I was foolish enough to only consider the ultra detailed stuff when I asked that question, thinking that each tiny detail was carved by hand. Didn't even consider round overs and other long but simply curved edge patterns. What's worse is that the average router won't even do the stuff I was thinking of at the time either. They say there is no dumb question, but some are awfully close.
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post #36 of 66 Old 11-05-2012, 07:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duane Bledsoe
I'm one of them. Never knew, although common sense "should" have prevailed since our forefathers obviously had a means of doing it. I was foolish enough to only consider the ultra detailed stuff when I asked that question, thinking that each tiny detail was carved by hand. Didn't even consider round overs and other long but simply curved edge patterns. What's worse is that the average router won't even do the stuff I was thinking of at the time either. They say there is no dumb question, but some are awfully close.
There ARE NO dumb questions. BUT sometimes we ask a question and feel dumb when we hear the answer. In many cases, and this may be one of them, that feeling should be ignored. Sometimes we are conditioned to think about things one way and no other. Example: we buy and use commercial cleaning products that we have seen on TV and most people just think that Windex is how we clean window glass. Our great grandparents cleaned windows and they didn't have Windex. How did they do it? It turns out that you can make your own glass cleaner (1 cup water, one cup rubbing alcohol and one tablespoon white vinegar). Costs about 10% the cost of Windex and works better. Yet we have come to think of Windex as the only way to get windows clean.

Same thing happened in woodworking. After WWII machines became available that did jobs we have always done by hand and now most people think that's how the task must be done. Dirty dishes? Pop them in the dishwasher. Need to cut the end off a board? Push it through a table saw. That's how it's done.
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post #37 of 66 Old 11-06-2012, 08:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firemedic
While I fully agree biscuits / plate jointers are useless I do see both sides of the coin.

There was a time when labor was cheap, hand tools were very much applicable because that was simply the only option. Now days labor is incredible expensive (in relative terms) so faster = greater bottom dollar for the guy trying to compete and feed his family.

I chose to use hand tools, almost exclusively, because I enjoy them but also primarily because it's a skill set that would be lost and forever forgotten were it not for knuckle heads like us to keep it alive. I am a very big proponent to history as well as self reliance and hand tooling fits that model very well. I also enjoy the education aspect of it, teaching a new skill to others is very rewarding.
Let me first say that i love hand tools. i have quite an extensive collection an use them for every project. But, why would you consider biscuit jointers useless? I find them very useful at aligning face frames on a cabinet and use them for aligning large panel glue-ups. Certainly they are not necessary but can definitely make a job go faster.
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post #38 of 66 Old 11-06-2012, 09:50 PM
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Like I said, I understand why they are used however they are pointless for furniture. For the record I don't consider plywood suitable for furniture.

When it come to cabinets (plywood) by all means - fill em up with biscuits and pocket screws!

Biscuits add no value of strength to a long grain joint. They are a poor alternative to options for end grain to long grain joints and are horribly useless for end grain to end grain joints.

Pocket screws are much the same. They also disregard wood movement - not an issue for plywood.

So as I said, I see both sides but there is no place for them in my shop.

btw, I do have a plate jointer... I wouldn't knock anything without trying it I'd be more than happy to part with it if anyone wants it. It's a Freud.
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post #39 of 66 Old 11-07-2012, 07:29 PM
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Fire medic, are you selling it?
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post #40 of 66 Old 11-07-2012, 08:09 PM
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Sure, send me a PM so as to no hijack this thread.
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