Which Power Tool

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    Ok I know we all love using hand tools, but if you were to add just one power tool to the workshop, which one would it be if any.

    Personally I don’t think there is anything wrong in using both, I don’t have any power tools apart from a hand drill. If  I added one I think I would go for a thickness planner, flatten one side with a hand plane, run it through the planner and finnish it with a hand plane. Or it could be a bandsaw, or a drill press, I think it would be a hard choice.

    I love the hole process of making something with hand tools only. It’s a skill that has to be kept alive, and thanks to guys like Paul passing on his skills it will be.

    So if you added a power tool to your workshop, which one would it be 🙂

    John Poutier

    I vote for the bandsaw. I’m no where near being the seasoned woodworkers that most of  you fellows are but here is my reasoning.  When ever Paul begins a project, no  matter how simple or complex, he has always started with pre-dimensioned wood.  The way I get to that point in my work space is by using the bandsaw attatchment on my Shopsmith.  It provides me the ability to manipulate the wood in all three dimensions, length, width and depth.   Everything else is then up to me.  Lately, I’ve even been taking split oak firewood and turning it into something I can work with.  I’m not sure I could use any other machine to do that.

    Great question Ken and I’m looking forward to seeing the responses and learning from the others.



    Yorktown, Virginia

    Ron Harper

    I have been doing this for many years. More than some of you have been alive. Used to have a very well equipped power tool shop. Have chosen for lots of reasons to work almost completely with hand tools.  The easy answer is the bandsaw. It is also the right answer IMO. Second would be a thickness planer. The bandsaw is an incredibly versatile tool. But my reason is that the band saw if tuned properly, is a very accurate ripping machine., and it is so very much safer to use than a table saw. I rip by hand unless I have a lot of ripping to do. Then I let my bandsaw help. After eight feet or so, it gets to be a lot like work.


    I’ve been in woodworking just long enough to have made a bunch of wrong decisions about what to get, when.  Now I’m hoping to get rid of my low-end tablesaw and my jointer to offset the cost of a bandsaw.  They’ve been gathering dust, unused, for almost 2 years now.  I already have a lunchbox thicknesser planer.  The bandsaw (when it comes) and the planer are the two tools I think for sure I would keep in what is now almost exclusively a handtool shop.  I like working at night w/o disturbing the neighbors, and I really like for my 2,4,6,8,10,12, and 14 year olds (warning: child gloat) to feel comfortable hanging out in the shop with me and fiddling around with the tools to create something ex lignum.



    Just moved to NE Ohio


    Bandsaw for me, the only reason is to rip boards to width, right now I am limited to standard dimensioned lumber 3/4 inch thick.  I would like to be able to buy 4/4 lumber and make some 1/2 inch thick pieces and the bandsaw is the most accurate way I know of.


    Brent Ingvardsen

    If I could have only one power tool, then I also would vote for the bandsaw. However, the planer/joiner sure does make light of the donkey work of truing up rough stock.

    Meridianville, Alabama, USA


    I hope I can keep from having *_any_* power tools for woodworking. But we’ll just have to see what happens.  🙂

    I’d like to do some green woodworking by riving wood from the tree too.

    I guess if I ever break down and get some power tools though, I’d have to agree with the assessments above.  The Band saw and the planer seem to make sense.  I might add a sliding compound miter saw to that …maybe.

    Texas, USA


    The bandsaw is most versatile during stock prep and – if well tuned – there’s very little to do in terms of planing afterwards.

    Cordless drill/driver.   Reason being my hands are pretty well jiggered by arthritis nowadays and manual screwdrivers can be a tad too painful to use.

    The vast majority of my tools are cordless, but they’re primarily driven by a single manpower motor and the enjoyment of a quiet life. 😉



    George Bridgeman

    I’m struggling with this question at the moment! It’s either a bandsaw or a planer thicknesser. I think the bandsaw offers better value and would get more use but the one thing I don’t enjoy doing by hand is thicknessing and/or squaring stock. I’ll probably still go for a bandsaw though.


    "To know and not do is to not know"

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