Woodwork Tools Blog

Jan

7

Woodwork Tools

I think it is fair to say that anyone with a passion for woodwork, generally shares an equal passion for their woodwork tools. After all, it is the knowledge of your woodwork tools, and your skill in using them that plays a huge part in the enjoyment, satisfaction, and results achieved in your workshop.
Powered woodwork tools play a major part in the modern workshop – you can get power tools for just about every application you can think of these days, as well as a whole range of tools that seem to cater specifically for applications that you haven’t thought of (for example the electric hammer – what were they thinking??). Power tools fulfill a couple of basic needs to the woodwork enthusiasts:
1. they have the potential to save enormous amounts of time and energy, and
2. they satisfy the needs of the “Tim the Toolman Taylor” inside all of us – that part of us that is always looking for the next gadget or gizmo that will give you “more power” to get a job done more quickly and easily. (I trust I was not the only person who found Home Improvement entertaining…)
I don’t think I would be alone in admitting to countless hours spent thumbing longingly through the latest tool catalogs, dreaming of the vast quantities of time that could be saved if only I had that little thing-a-me-jig. Even though I rarely buy any of these tools, I do still enjoy seeing what is available and and imagining what could be achieved if only I had a workshop stocked with all of the latest power tools.
But despite the interest in power tools, I have generally found that if you ask a woodwork junkie to pick out the woodwork tools which they enjoy the most, you will generally find them reaching, not for a specialist, high powered tool, but more likely for a cherished plane, a chisel or some other un-powered hand tool.
Hand tools seem to hold a strange attraction to woodworkers, and not just those that prefer the traditional methods. Often times I find that the right tool for the job is actually a hand tool – it is quicker to setup, quieter, and I believe often gives a better finish than a power tool. One of my favourite aspects of woodworking is taking a freshly sharpened plane to a piece of timber – I love the feel of the plane and even the sound that is made as a paper thin wafer of timber peels away. For me, this is what reminds me that I love woodworking – and this is a feeling that just cannot be replicated when using a power tool.
If there is one guide that I think is a must have in any woodworker’s library, it is “Hand Tool Essentials: Refine Your Power Tool Projects with Hand Tool Techniques”. This book is, to me, essential reading if you want to get the most out of your hand tools. It covers most of the hand tools you will ever need, including techniques for using, maintaining and sharpening your tools.
There are a couple of things that I feel really sets this book apart:
1. The book is aimed at people who actually use their woodwork tools – not people who just collect them – the authors have excellent knowledge, and impart a real sense of love for their subjects.
2. Hand tools are not being touted as the only way to do “real” woodwork – as the title suggests, the book embraces hand tools as complementary to power tools, rather than as competitors. This is an approach that is sorely lacking in many books, yet I believe is indicative of the way that most people go about their woodwork.
In my opinion, this book contains all the information required to transform your hand tool experience. Beginners and seasoned woodworkers alike will find this book an enjoyable read, and a handy reference guide for years to come.

I hope you enjoy the blog as much as you do your woodworking tools!

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