Hand Tools In The Modern Woodworking Shop

Way back, before the dawn of time, woodworkers used hand tools. It was slow going but, since it was before the “dawn of time,” nobody noticed. Then, clocks were invented and power tools were born. Still, there remained the traditionalists who believed in the inherent satisfaction that came with their blisters. Eventually an accord was reached. Power tool users agreed that those who preferred hand tools only would no longer be viewed as merely woodchip stuffed shirts who eschewed progress just for the sake of tradition. And, hand tool users would no longer view power tool devotees as unskilled hackers who eschewed hand tools because they lacked the skills to use them.

What emerged was a realization that both hand tools and power tools have a place in today’s workshop. Some craftspeople use just a few power tools and others just a few hand tools. We can each find our own balance because what really matters is, “Are we having fun yet?”

There are so many different hand tools available to today’s woodworker it’ll make your eye’s spin, don’t believe me? Go to the Highland Woodworking site and look around, they have an amazing selection. Not only are there a few boatloads of new tools available, there are also reproductions of old tools (Lie Nielsen is the premier reproduction tool manufacturer) and actual old tools waiting to be rediscovered and restored. Every now and then you’ll find a well designed hand tool that is actually easier to use than its power tool counterpart. That is why it is worth exploring the world of hand tools. A well equipped shop will have a good variety of both power and hand tools.

It is important to remember, however, that if you wait to try your hand at woodworking until you have every tool under the sun you’ll never get started. There’s a term for that: sabotage. That’s right, you’re sabotaging yourself. Who knows why? Big fear of failure, fear of commitment, tool phobia; it doesn’t matter, just don’t sabotage yourself. Remember, a hobby is for fun. If your first piece comes out looking like something you made for Mother’s Day in kindergarten, SO WHAT? If it’s that awful use it for firewood and start over.

You can’t achieve perfection if you don’t get started. Heck, you’ll likely never achieve perfection but you will achieve success. You can start with basically a screw driver and a hammer. Really, you can. Still, most people can probably get their hands on a few more of the basics without too much trouble. So, stop obsessing over the tools you don’t have, or can’t afford yet and let’s get started with what you do have.

Go grab some wood, some nails, a hammer and a napkin. Sketch a plan and start creating. There’s no time like the present to try something new. {youtube|100|campaign}