Thanks all. After using the bench and vise a bit, I think it’s absolutely the most important tool in the shop. Having a dedicated workplace with all of your tools in one place within easy reach makes it easy to just work. No distractions like “Am I going to need a new type of router bit?”, or “Is my table saw wide enough to cut a dado across a 48″ bookshelf side?”, “I need to go buy a dado blade set before I can to that.”.
That’s what is really great about Paul’s total method of using a small tool set and old techniques. It’s all in one place and it all works together with just you and the wood. The tools are just the instruments of your hands and your skill. It’s no longer a matter of who has the most expensive or largest number of power tools. It’s just you, your skill with a small tool set, and the wood. You cannot make a table saw any more accurate than it was manufactured. You CAN practice your skills with a tenon saw, chisel, and plane and make them better.
I’ve been a computer graphics consultant for about 20 years now, and there’s a very similar thing happening now in my industry. In the past, the guy that had the most knowledge about how the software and hardware worked was the winner, not the best artist. Now there has been a shift whereby the software complexity has gotten out of the way of the artist, and the truly talented artists are really shining through. The tools have gotten out of the way of the artist. And I believe Paul’s crusade to bring back the simple ways are doing the same thing by getting the tools out of the way of the artist in each of us.