why do you use hand tools? - Page 4 - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #61 of 66 Old 12-28-2012, 02:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Robson Valley
I have and use some real technological achievements. They are just as useful as iron was to people from the Neolithic.
Power tools and hand tools are equally useful. . . depends on the use.
***Absolutely. I enjoy my power tools but after reading posts by hand toolers I find myself drawn to hand tools. I have several planes and I'm in the process of restoring one right now.
Car? SUV? not transport vehicle equivalents? what's that about? Same thing. How often do you jump around in the bottomless mud with 4X4 and a barking big 454cid V8 to get you where you _need_ to go? Or better yet, to get me out of where I've been?
*** Never. My SUV has a 3.4 liter V-6. It carries my work gear and tows my tent trailer just fine.

Since I have to have some form of truck or SUV in order to transport my tools and equipment to the job and enjoy the outdoors it only made sense to buy a 4WD.

If I towed a heavier trailer and needed a "barking big 454cid V8" to do so I'd buy one and make no apologies.
I'm shopping for a draw knife and a spoke shave. I hope to score old ones that I can fix up. I want to see tools used for great lengths of time. Not buy, buy, buy, spend, spend, spend. Oh but it isn't chrome shiny enough. Horse puckey, say I.
***The best shine there is comes off the cutting edge of a very sharp tool yes?

When I die, I want to go peacefully like my grandfather did — in his
sleep. Not yelling and screaming like the passengers in his car.

Jack Handey
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post #62 of 66 Old 12-28-2012, 01:29 PM
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Ah yes. The matte finish from a 4k water stone and its transformation to a blinding shine with the strop. Yes, indeed.
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post #63 of 66 Old 01-05-2013, 11:57 AM
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For me, it is a therapeutic hobby. I'm a software developer by profession, so I spend all day sitting in a chair staring at a computer screen. I NEED to get up and do things with my hands.

My woodworking interest came as a result of my project to organize my garage, making shelves and drawers and whatnot. I initially fell into the power tool rabbit hole, and then realized how much fine dust routers and table saws spew into the air, and how bad it was to breathe it.

When it got to the point where I needed a big noisy machine with tubes everywhere for dust control and ear muffs and a mask to cut a piece of wood on a machine that could send me to the ER in a split second, it hit me: this is NOT the hobby I wanted.

With hand tools, it gives me what I need: just me and the wood, and a few hand tools to shape it with, and I'm happy.
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post #64 of 66 Old 05-07-2013, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by jharris2 View Post
Have you ever considered that your hand tools are are probably machine made? Delivered to you by mechanized transport using petroleum based road surfaces? Do you own a car? Do you have electric lights or use candles for lighting? Gas, electric or wood stove? Spinning wheel and hand sewn clothing? Air conditioning or servants waving palm fronds?

I wouldn't be so concerned about the environmental impact of using power tools.

I just rediscovered this thread, and thought I'd drop in a comment on this.

Yes, my hand tools were (and still are, for the newer ones) machine made. But let's talk about resources.

My old brace has a pound or two of steel in it, and some small pieces of wood. My collection of bits adds a few more pounds of steel. It was probably built sometime in the mid 1900s -- there are no remaining identifying marks, so I have no way of knowing. It's been happily drilling holes since then, and could easily do so for another hundred years with reasonable maintenance. The jaws might need a new spring sometime soon, and I probably out to put some lubricant in the jaws sooner or later. It weighs very little, and hundreds could easily be shipped in a single truck. All the oil-based (or nuclear, or coal, or hydro, or solar) energy needed for this tool has long since been used, unless I buy new bits.

Now let's look at my drill press. It's a bench-top model, built in 1980 according to the ID plate, and weighs around 60 pounds, give or take. Most of that is iron or steel, but there's a significant amount of copper in the motor, and some rubber in the belt. The motor will run for a while, but sooner or later the brushes will need to be replaced, and to be honest, I'm not that confident that the motor will last much longer. The belt is starting to wear out, too, and the power cord has already been replaced once. It's fairly big, and the box it was shipped in was bigger still. You could probably put 100 of them on a big truck for shipping. Further, it needs to be plugged in every time I want to use it. So it shows a much higher embodied energy (the energy used to build it), it took more energy to ship, and it uses more electrical energy every time I use it.

The same arguments hold true for almost all hand tools; a rabbet plane is cheaper, energy-wise, to build, ship, and use than a table saw or router. The same comparison holds for a hand-saw vs. a table or band saw. That one is remarkable... a good table saw will mass several hundred pounds, and you'll fit tens of them on a truck. A handsaw weighs only a couple of pounds, and you can fit hundreds of them on a truck.

I'm not saying people shouldn't use power tools: there's a cost in human efficiency, and for production work the math there goes in favor of power tools a lot of the time. But it's not an all-or-nothing equation. If my choice to use hand tools was based on use of fossil fuels (it's not), I wouldn't say that's invalidated by my use of electricity to light my house. I'd say I'm offsetting part of my use. That's something the crunch-granola types have been forgetting all these years. Being eco-friendly (for lack of a better term) isn't all-or-nothing. It's a matter of making some compromises to get a good standard of living while doing as little damage as possible.

Anyway... that turned into more of a rant than I intended: sorry about that. I'll just step off my soapbox now, and go back out to the shop...
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post #65 of 66 Old 05-07-2013, 11:23 AM
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I just posted on this very topic here:


That's my $0.005 worth of two cents...
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post #66 of 66 Old 05-07-2013, 12:45 PM
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I'm a very visually oriented person. Perhaps that's why the shapes in wood carvings are so appealing to me.

Carving is wood work in slow motion. I get to watch the sawdust spill out of a saw cut. I get to watch the split develop just ahead of my froe. My spokeshaves make the most amazing curly wood bits imaginable. The gouges, crooked knives and skews take away (nearly) predictable fragments of waste wood. I guess I'm in it to have the time to think about the process as opposed to jumping to the finished end. There's nearly a Zen-thing shaping a kitchen stick handle with a spokeshave.

I have some power tools which I use to cut wood into managable pieces for the design I have in mind.
Everything happens so fast, there's not much that I care to watch or have the opportunity to see.
I realize that I could work faster with more effective rough-outs with a bigger bandsaw and so on.
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