Limitations of hand tools? - Page 2 - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #21 of 50 Old 01-25-2014, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Robson Valley View Post
Thanks CC: sums it up for me. I went into wood carving 15(?) years ago. The larger pieces (12" - 60") are excellent exercise as well! I've even tried to do a couple of logs like Guiseppe Penone but too exhausted too many times.
hey roboson ... just curious ... do you carve things like animals? i have a desire to carve a wooden elephant, and was wondering if you had any tips on how to learn how to make that a reality.
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post #22 of 50 Old 01-25-2014, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
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All these answers are exactly what I was looking for! thanks for the responses. How everyone summed it up made me realize that I do NOT need to mass produce anything by any means and will stick with basic fundamentals of hand tools and use power tools where necessary. like I said, I'm in no rush so even more reason to use hand tools. I also cut about 100 face cord of firewood a year and the good ol stihl 441 is loud enough for me. Than being said I am going to look for some good used hand tools!
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post #23 of 50 Old 01-25-2014, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
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Also, I have been watching some of Paul Sellers' videos and I noticed people mentioning him, what are some thoughts on him. He seems to me to really know his stuff (but what do I know at this point)
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post #24 of 50 Old 01-25-2014, 03:39 PM
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My opinion is...

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Originally Posted by AaBower View Post
Also, I have been watching some of Paul Sellers' videos and I noticed people mentioning him, what are some thoughts on him. He seems to me to really know his stuff (but what do I know at this point)

He's not the sharpest tool in the shed.

Pun intended.

Scott
OH, wait a minute ............Yep!.............That's what he said!

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post #25 of 50 Old 01-25-2014, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by AaBower View Post
Also, I have been watching some of Paul Sellers' videos and I noticed people mentioning him, what are some thoughts on him. He seems to me to really know his stuff (but what do I know at this point)
My thoughts on him are mixed.

On the good side, he knows his stuff. While I've heard other sources disagree with him, it's generally in a "that's not the way I do it, but it works" sort of way. He's a good public speaker, and I like the fact that he's making an effort to teach what he knows. I've seen some of his finished furniture, and a lot of it is very nice. His book is well written, and I found a lot of it quite useful; his videos, likewise, are reasonably well produced and frequently quite useful.

On the bad side, he's opinionated, absolutist, and occasionally arrogant. He sometimes approaches things from the viewpoint of "this is the way I do it, so it's right by definition", and I dislike that. His blog, in particular, falls prey to this; he's a little more balanced in person. In his writing, especially, he's very dismissive of power tools, taking the view that if you build things with power tools you're a machinist, not a woodworker, and the tone of his writing makes it sound like he's equating "machinist" with "slime". Again, in person, he's much more balanced, and he's admitted that he has power tools for things like ripping long stock, but he still has a very strong streak of "power tools bad, hand tools good."

I think that on balance he's worth watching and listening to, but only with the caveat that you should remember his biases. The same goes for any of the other hand tool heroes: Christopher Schwartz, Adam Cherubini, Jim Tolpin, they all have their biases. So do I, and probably so do you. Just take those into account when reading their books or watching their videos or live presentations.
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post #26 of 50 Old 01-25-2014, 04:24 PM
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As a side note, if I had to recommend three books for a new hand-tool worker to read, they would be:

1) The New Traditional Woodworker, by Jim Tolpin. In some ways, I think this is the best of the threefor a beginner. He works mostly in broad strokes, without getting into the kind of detail that the other two do, at least in the first part of the book. The second part of the book is a collection of projects, all of them aimed at building tools you're going to need, like a straight-edge, winding sticks, a bench hook, and things like that. I think if you went through this book first, including building the tools he walks you through, then Anarchist's Tool Chest to get further background information, then Working Wood to make your first furniture projects, you'd have a very, very thorough grounding in hand tool work. I didn't do that, and I sort of regret that I didn't. I've actually started back down that path, and it's making a difference.
2) Anarchist's Tool Chest, by Christopher Schwartz. I (mostly) like his sense of humor, and the book has a lot of information about what tools you're likely to need, and how to find good used ones. He has a fair amount of historical information, and frequently explains WHY he says what he says, which is a bonus.

3) Working Wood 1 & 2, by Paul Sellers. Again, good information about tools, including sharpening (although that section in particular is very single sided, and dismissive of people who do things differently than him), and a few good projects to get started with.


There are others, but those are the three I've found that I thought were the best.
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post #27 of 50 Old 01-25-2014, 04:43 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah just by watching a few videos he seemed to be a little opinionated, rightful so arguably from his standpoint. At this point I think it will only help me to watch anything I can. Like you said he seems to have the ability to convey his messages very well and that is very important for me. Regardless, I usually take everything with a grain of salt trying to just piece together everything I hear and make the best of all of it.

(I am going to look into the books you mentioned thanks for the advice)
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post #28 of 50 Old 01-25-2014, 05:38 PM
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yeah that's what i've been picking up from people. I want to buy some simple starter tools and then just let each project decide what else I need. Time really isn't an issue for me so if I don't have a tool I can just get whatever I need in the mean time.
Everybody has different projects that are important to them and they would have a great deal of different tools to accomplish them. It might make it easier on us to post a picture of your next project and get opinions of the tools necessary.
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post #29 of 50 Old 01-25-2014, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
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Okay that's a good idea. For me, "next" is going to be "first" and everybody had helped me a lot so I think I will find a work bench that I like and post that picture and see. Of if there are any suggestions, I know there are a lot of work bench threads on here but I would like one that is semi challenging and that would teach me a lot of different wood working procedures such as joniery and bracing and whatnot. For me I can't look at a project and just tell the difficulty level (to a certain degree). I will look around and try and find a design that is simple enough for a first project yet challenging enough to teach me a trick or two.
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post #30 of 50 Old 01-25-2014, 06:15 PM
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There's a reasonably good workbench design in the Paul Sellers book that I recommended, and another in one of the Roy Underhill books... Woodwright's Apprentice, I think, although I'm not sure. I also have rough a rough design plan on my blog, which you can find through the link in my signature.

Bear in mind that the ideal workbench for hand tool use is likely to be a different height and configuration than the perfect workbench for power tool use, so there's some compromise involved if you want to do both.
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post #31 of 50 Old 01-25-2014, 06:19 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah I watched the video that you posted. That will probably be the one I go with because I have the visual of him actually going through it step by step. Now I just have to compile a list of tools I will need before I start and gather them. I will probably shop around and find some good used tools. I will check out your blog
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post #32 of 50 Old 01-25-2014, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
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I just looked at your blog. Great stuff! I really like the work bench. Is that made out of some sort of pine? that seems to be the common trend for benches? I would have guessed hardwood would be better?
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post #33 of 50 Old 01-25-2014, 06:33 PM
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The bench I have is made of a bunch of cheap materials. The top is one sheet of 3/4" cabinet ply (the best plywood I could buy from Home Depot), cut into quarters and laminated together, then surrounded with pine 1x4 planed down to fit. The top layer of plywood is attached with screws but no glue, so it can be replaced if necessary. The legs are Douglas Fir 4x4, bought as two 8' sections. The front to back stretchers on each side are regular 2x4, and the shelves underneath are more 3/4" ply. The tool rack is pine, a couple pieces of edge-joined 1x10 for the back, and 1x2 for the actual rack.

Hardwood would certainly be better than ply, but ply is quick, easy, and cheap. And really, what matters is that it be flat and heavy; both of the bench plans I suggested in books use pine for a top surface. Yeah, maple or beech would probably be better, but pine will work just fine, especially for your first bench.
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post #34 of 50 Old 01-25-2014, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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yeah absolutely. I bought the first book you suggested and will read it as soon as I get it in. The only reason that I asked about hardwood is because my brother and I are messing around with a CS Mill and will be producing some boards soon. I know it seems like I'm putting a lot on my plate for two hobbies but I think they go hand in hand. But being in college I spend a lot of time sitting in front of a computer researching. So it might not be a bad idea to get a feel for working with hardwood and it would essentially be free. But we just started with that so we might not get it up and running until we are both out of school for the summer. I will probably end up doing the first bench with pine and if all goes well, maybe I could get a feel for planing and working with hardwood on another bench...
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post #35 of 50 Old 01-25-2014, 09:31 PM
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If the hardwood is free, by all means use it.

If you don't know, though, you'll need to dry it: I haven't done it myself, but I think the common wisdom is one year of drying for each inch of thickness if you're air drying. I'm not sure what the number is if you have a kiln, but I imagine a lot less. You really want your benchtop to be at least two inches thick, so that's a long time before you're building. Though I know people have build Roubo type benches (check Google to see what they look like) with lumber that's not entirely dry, so it might work...
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post #36 of 50 Old 01-25-2014, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah I have looking at various types of lumber. But we have a kiln setup with moisture readings taken, not sure the exact numbers off the top of my head but it will speed the process up significantly. My dad has some lumber that he has had for years in stacks in our barn the boards are probably 5/8" t0 1" thick. So I could possibly grab some for the top and laminate them together.
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post #37 of 50 Old 01-25-2014, 09:40 PM
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Actually if all you need is a small workbench Home Depot sells a premade one probably cheaper than you could buy the lumber. I believe it comes unassembled.
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post #38 of 50 Old 01-25-2014, 09:46 PM Thread Starter
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Actually if all you need is a small workbench Home Depot sells a premade one probably cheaper than you could buy the lumber. I believe it comes unassembled.
What fun is that? Its more of a learning process for me. I just want to learn some simple concepts and techniques.
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post #39 of 50 Old 01-25-2014, 09:54 PM
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Actually if all you need is a small workbench Home Depot sells a premade one probably cheaper than you could buy the lumber. I believe it comes unassembled.
Which bench? I haven't ever seen any there I'd want to use with hand tools... either they're not solid enough or they're edged with metal. If they actually have one with a good top, I might buy one just for that, to simplify my next build.
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post #40 of 50 Old 01-25-2014, 11:11 PM
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i have looked at those benches. the way the legs attach, it is certain to be wobbly
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