1 June 2015 at 10:32 pm #127442
I was an active member on another forum before this one I was there for about 6 years give or take.
In the last three years I’ve been doing more and more of my woodwork by hand and I keep getting comments like “why not just make a jig?” and when people ask how to do something, if I suggest a method using hand tools I often get shot down.
Even to the point where people target my posts and associate my screen name with negativity.
I find it very sad that anyone should be ridiculed for honing an actual skill. Not saying machine woodwork is not skilled but I am saying that it’s impersonal and tiring. I suppose I just feel down because I’d never shoot anyone down for doing it differently than I would ant yet I seem to be regularly slated.
Such is life gents.
It has made me appreciate the maturity of this forum. So thanks to one and all.
Swindon, England1 June 2015 at 11:54 pm #127444
You’re in good company here, Maxwell. Many of us have been in the same boat.
It’s like waking from a dream, really. Your eyes are opened. You’re sober and awake, now. Machines have their place. But you find yourself shaking your head at people talking about these elaborate jigs for something a rasp and some sandpaper can accomplish in ten minutes, in one notable exchange I’ve seen on the Internet. No worries, let them have their good time in the way they see fit.
Denver, Colorado2 June 2015 at 12:10 am #127445
Maxwell, I was a machine tool woodworker. I now think that, unless you’re mass producing something, it’s horribly inefficient. Why spend an hour or so making a jig I may only use once, when I can accomplish the same results with hand tool methods in a few minutes?
My main reason for using machines was that I had no confidence in my ability to do accurate work by hand. Mr. Sellers has taught me that I can be just as accurate (or even more so) with hand tools as I could do with machines.
I still think the machines have a place. I economize on my limited shop time by using machines to prepare stock and I still use machine cut joints when appropriate and I really enjoy turning. However, I love the quiet, contemplative time with hand tools.
I think your detractors are saying more about their own fears and inadequacies than anything else. So keep up the good fight! 🙂
"New York is big, but this is Biggar"2 June 2015 at 1:02 am #127446
It’s funny that you should mention that they may be covering for their own insecurities. I have noticed sometimes that people will avoid a topic because they simply know nothing about it.
I cut my teeth in machine woodworking in joinery shops, I was even once stuck on a thicknesser for two weeks on a large job. I totally don’t miss it, the noise, the mess — the effort! I mill all my stock by machine and I simply dress it with a hand plane to take out planer marks or saw marks.
I suppose I find it strange that other grown men might attack your work methods because they feel it is not as superior. Or perhaps they feel it may be superior and get defensive because of insecurities as you said…
What a strange world we live in, right?
Swindon, England2 June 2015 at 5:19 am #127449
I have to say this is one of the most behaved forums I have been on. I am a mixed user myself. Mainly I still use my bandsaw, surface planer and drill press. Everything has its place, depends what one is trying to do. I myself also got tired of making jigs instead of making furniture!
Building my tool chest I realized I could do things I could not do with power tools, small stuff, precision fit for mounting my tools to the top. I made them quicker and easier than I ever could have on a 100% power tool setup. It was quite eye opening to see how inaccurate my power tools are and how they are used compared to finishing up with a #4.
Lots of people never grow up, insecurity and lack of clue knows no boundaries of age, income, etc. Just ignore them and hang out over here 🙂
Boulder,CO http://mikeofallthings.com2 June 2015 at 11:18 am #127450
i hear what you are all saying i sometimes work alongside a team of joiners in a workshop, when i get my tools out they say things like there’s a chop saw there or why not use the thicknesser and i just say “because i don’t have to i can do it by hand”, most of them don’t even know what half of my tools are for and they make a living out of working wood,but while people are willing to buy furniture made with pocket holes and not joints we are the strange ones and i’m happy to stay that way thanks.
Eddy .. Liverpool, Merseyside, UK
,2 June 2015 at 3:06 pm #127455
I admit I would like to thickness plane my material by machine if I could. I’m not good at doing it! The problem I have with the power tool thing is it completely leaves out us apartment dwellers. I wish there would be a home remodel show that used hand tools, since that is often the way people get into woodworking. I miss hearing people frame a house with hammers. Now it is airguns. The safety factor is important too. A friend asked me to cut some pieces for him from a piece of wood that was probably 1×5 or less. He said he wished he had his chop saw. Do you really want to put your hand that close to a chop saw? Pretty scary to me.3 June 2015 at 2:58 am #127468
David, I work on my front porch so I understand the apartment dwellers issues. Fine woodworking attempts to cover hand tools but they are mainly focused where the money is in power tools.
That small stuff is extremely dangerous on the power tools, fortunately I have all my fingers still. The chop saw, I clamp everything, I have had it shoot small stuff across the room. Not that one can’t get cut on hand tools 🙂
Boulder,CO http://mikeofallthings.com3 June 2015 at 10:35 am #127473
I don’t visit other woodworking forums, and if I do it’s just to look at completed projects. I do watch other videos on youtube, but ever since subscribing here, I just don’t feel the need to try and learn from anyone else. I’m mean, we have access to the real deal! Someone who not only apprenticed but made a living on handcrafted furniture. In fact I probably unfairly scrutinize other internet proclaimed authorities, to the point it’s frustrating and bothers me.. Anyway everyone here is a joy to converse with. And I do enjoy reading about what others are doing and how they tackle different obstacles during their project builds.
My chop saw has been retired and if I had a boat it would be re-purposed as an anchor. because it’s a cheap saw and doesn’t cut square and I’d prefer not to spend 30 minutes tuning the saw every-time I need to cross cut something. Not to mention dust goes everywhere and there is no way of controlling the dust.3 June 2015 at 2:55 pm #127478
I am fortunate enough to have two workshops one for dimensioning stock and then other for building projects. I’ve said it before and I’ll mention it again, if anyone lives near swindon UK I am happy to plane rough stock on my planer thicknesser…. max rough dimensions are 8x7inches
Swindon, England16 July 2015 at 11:47 am #128555
I have just read your post Max and have to say I am on your side. Folk prefer hand tools for many reasons, some like ourselves that wish to learn skills and others simply because they cannot afford expensive machines and the bragging rights that go with them. Hand tools are relatively inexpensive and can be acquired easily, and often for a pittance, usually from the guys with the big Routers and table saws, who have never learned to use their hand tools in the first place. Keep with the faith bud.
Nottingham, England16 July 2015 at 5:28 pm #128559
I remember when I first decided to go the hand tool route a friend of mine said “You do know your setting yourself up here don’t you?” To this day he still doesn’t get why I prefer to use hand tools. He has almost every machine under the sun but seems to spend most of his shop time on machine maintenance rather than actually making something. So, he has a lovely organised workshop whilst I have a home with something I built in every room. I do use a PT machine sometimes but I only break it out now for larger stock. I find it some much easier and more enjoyable to prep by hand.
Keep Calm and have a Cup of Tea16 July 2015 at 8:18 pm #128561
For me, the hand working of wood has opened doors to needed skills. I have all the machinery. Low end mostly, but table saw, band saw, drill press, jointer, routers, planer and best of all…Powermatic mortising tool. Now, after watching as many of Paul’s videos as possible, I’m having a really difficult time even thinking about using the machinery. My first thought is how to do this right now…and without setting up any machines and making test cuts! I still use the tools I have, but there is an inefficiency about them when it comes to making one of anything, which is what I do almost exclusively. I can say that I’ll never abandon the power tools. Why would I? I don’t see the difference between power and hand tools as a divisive issue. The use of both makes the end result happen more quickly than using only one method exclusively. Although, there is a certain satisfaction that comes with gaining a skill while using hand tools that I don’t necessarily get from power tools. IMHO…that is!16 July 2015 at 11:01 pm #128563
This week I fired up my power router for the first time in months. I’d forgotten what a mess it makes. Ironically I was making a cart to hold my shop vacuum and Dust Deputy. At least I got to give the finished product a really good test. 🙂
"New York is big, but this is Biggar"25 July 2015 at 9:03 pm #128799
What you have said Peter in your first post is spot on, machinery does have its place for the grunt of milling long boards any smaller manageable pieces that’s 1 metre or less can easily be thicknessed with a scrub plane health permitting of course. I cannot blame those who use machinery because they have health problems eg bad backs, in fact let me rephrase that I cannot blame anyone using machinery full stop if that’s what they choose but I do have issues with machinists who laugh and ridicule those who choose to work with hand tools. What I dislike the most is those who use CNC machinery and then pass that work off as their own. But you should never consider using a lathe or a scroll saw as machine made because it isn’t, what ever you produce on those two machines is entirely by hand and many hand tool purists needs to understand that as well. if you use a jointer, thicknesser, tablesaw and then dovetail by hand I wouldn’t consider that to be handmade but turning stock on a lathe or scrolling I most definitely would for the obvious reasons your hands did it not the machine but your hands sculpted, shaped etc that piece.
Having said that no one should feel shamed resorting to machinery and no one should be ridiculed by using solely using hand tools. However I do feel that those woodworking machinists would if they could use hand tools more often if they had the skills to do so.
The Lost Scrolls of HANDWORK
(Hand tool only woodworking magazine)
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