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Thread: Turning from power tools to hand tools

  1. #16
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Northeast PA
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    332
    I used to have a Leigh D4R jig for dovetails & etc, and sold it without regret the day after cutting my first dovetails by hand. Cutting DTs is one of my favorite parts of handtool woodworking without a doubt.
    Do you have a quality dovetail saw? It certainly can be done with a cheapo, but high quality tools are a joy to use.

    As far as the other machinery goes, for me it is a matter of the savings of time that a jointer and planer provide. I plane for finish, and have no problem dimensioning stock by hand that is too big for my jointer/planer. The real fun for me is in producing joinery with hand tools; you can keep the bull work
    ---Trudging the Road of Happy Destiny---

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Spokane WA
    Posts
    224
    I have a Glen Drake handsaw plus numerous LN chisels. My wife accuses me of being a tool collector more than a woodworker and I would say she's nailed it. I found that once I had the drum sander (Supermax 19-38) I haven't touched my planer. I also have a couple of older Craftsman planes, one being a block plane. I've enjoyed using the LN scrub plane and the LN router plane and the LN62 has really been fun whenever I used it. I will try dimensioning a couple of boards and see if that is as fun as I think it is. I'm just not getting the enjoyment out of all these power tools as when I work the wood with my hand tools.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    twomiles from the "peak of Ohio
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    6,389
    I currently have a thread going on, about a Step Back Cupboard.....mainly handtools....might be worth a read?

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Perth, Australia
    Posts
    5,501
    Hi again Bill

    To be blunt, I would hold on for now to either the planer or the drum sander since you concentrate on building boxes, and these really benefit from boards that have been thicknessed precisely. Perhaps in time, when you are proficient with hand planes, you can give away the drum sander.

    I could not get on without a bandsaw for resawing. Do you have one?

    You will find that always everyone here on the hand tool forum also owns and uses power tools. My main interest is designing and building furniture, and machines do all the roughing out. My hand tools come out after this to do all the joinery and finishing - all the fun stuff!

    With regard hand planes, unless you are very big and very strong, I would go with the #7 rather than the #8. Ditto a #4 rather than a #4 1/2. I actually prefer a #3, because it is more nimble, and you may too as it is a better size for boxes. At this point you need a shooting board and a plane for it - perhaps a LV LA Jack? Or something specialist?

    With handsaws and chisels, it sounds like you are set up for dovetails, and now you need a saw for crosscuts. I suspect your GD saw will be too coarse for this task. Of course, you could just use your tablesaw for this. No shame there. I would.

    The point is that you do not need to give up all your power tools. Using a combination of hand and power makes more sense to me. It is really about using the best tool for the job.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Spokane WA
    Posts
    224
    Thanks Derek. I do have a 14" Bandsaw and I think I would keep the drumsander. I also have a Kapex for crosscutting. I've heard the LN 62 is very good as a shooting plane and you can get a frog for it from LN. I have the LN 62 so I'd probably set it up for the shooting board. I'm hoping to be able to eliminate those power tools that can be replaced by a hand tool that willl give me a more enjoyable experience. As an example, I have a great router setup but I honestly don't find much satisfaction/enjoyment using it. I have the LN router plane and the times I've used it have really been satisfying and enjoyable. Same with the jointer and planer. Yes, they get the job done but when I compare the actual experience compared to the times I've used my planes and enjoyed them, I wonder why I use machines. I'm not producing anything to sell, nor am I needing any more furniture for me or anyone in the family. If I was a good enough woodworker to produce quality furniture, I'd probably hang on to everything. I guess at my age I'm looking for the most enjoyable experience.

  6. #21
    I'm one of the less experienced guys here, but here's my 2 cents:
    1. Keep the sander. If you work really figured woods or are ever thinking of building a guitar/ukulele, it will make your life much easier. While you could get a really sharp blade and overcome with technique (look at Derek Cohen and his Aussie torture wood), sometimes it's easier to just chuck it in the sander.
    2. Enjoy the journey! I feel both types of tools have their place.

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Forest Lake MN
    Posts
    232
    It would be a tough call for me to give up power tools, on the other hand I make more than boxes and time at work limits lime in the shop. For any given operation it comes down to what options do you have to do it, what is most efficient, what will give the best result, and what do you like doing.

    For example today I plan to build and install two shop made vices in a bench and also make two saw benches (the Mike Siemsen design).

    For the vices one operation will involve squaring some construction lumber (dont want the round over that it comes with). The good news is that I have lots of options to do this but the bad news is that I dont have a joiner

    I can do a rip with a table saw, bandsaw, circular saw, or hand saw and clean up the surface with a disc sander or hand plane. Or just dimension it with either the disc sander or hand plane.

    The sander is out because I dont want to deal with the dust in the garage, this time of year in MN is not conducive to opening the doors more than needed or running an air mover to clear the fine dust from the air. The circular saw is out because to cut it straight enough would require a guide and on a narrow bard that requires a jig. The hand saw is out because that sounds like a pain and with my skill on a longer rip cut I dont think it would save much time over just planing it out. The band saw is out because the TS will do better and because while during the summer my TS is usually tucked away to make room for the mower right now it is set up and would be slightly better for this operation.

    So I will either rip with the TS and finish with the hand plane, or just plane it down. Either is reasonable because it is just a couple short boards and my decision will likely come down to if I feel like a lot or a little planing at the time. If I needed 20 if them instead of two I would curse myself for not having a joiner and use the TS and hand plane.

    The saw bench will be all hand tool even though power might be easier in some cases but just because I want to do it that way.

    So I guess I took a really round about way to say that more options is better than less and lets you work how you want to when you want to. All of that being said if you know your projects and how you like to work and selling power tools will fund the hand tools you need or want by all means go for it.

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Princeton, NJ
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    Bill, have a look at my website, the majority of the projects I’ve made are near entirely by hand. I have some serious equipment now becuase I’m setting myself up for chair making with scale and a short lead time. However living without power tools is both enjoyable and a wonderful teacher. It has been invaluable to me.

    www.brianholcombewoodworker.com
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Dickinson, Texas
    Posts
    5,423
    Come on guys, a died in the wool woodworker must have one of each.

    Actually, it's good to have hand tool and power tool skills. I do. I don't like ripping long boards with my Disston saws. I have seven of them.
    I also have four backsaws including a 4"x20" rip saw made from a Bontz kit.
    I also have a Jet bandsaw and a 10" Delta table saw with a carbide Forrest blade.

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Heidelberg, Germany
    Posts
    144
    Why did you buy seven rip saws if you don't like hand ripping?

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Spokane WA
    Posts
    224
    I’m almost done taking down a construction grade 2x10 left over from a deck structure rebuild. It came from Lowe’s and is Douglas Dir. I know one thing for sure. I won’t be using a handsaw. I’ve been using my Scrub and my old Sears to get close and then finishing up with my 62. I’ve had a lot of fun. Somehow I Planed the second board too thin at one end and have almost 1/4” to plane down. I made a mistake and didn’t put a scribe line around either board.

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Dublin, CA
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    4,123
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Sutherland View Post
    Just said goodbye to my Jointer and the Dewalt 735 is next. Thinking of getting the LN 8 or 7, LN 4 1/2 and Veritas Combination Plane. What do you think? I want to do hand cut dove tails so my Incra LS plus router table and Jessem Lift and Incra Clean Sweep setup may be next on the chopping block if I can master hand cut dove tails. I have the Bridge City Tools JMP that I will use for dove tails as well.
    I'd keep the 735. At least that's what I did.

    Thicknessing by hand is hard work that doesn't add much value in terms of the quality of the results. There are a lot of us who joint by hand, then thickness with a lunchbox, then do everything else by hand.

    I'd definitely lose the drum sander before the 735. You can get a better finish quite easily with hand planes.

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Dublin, CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Sutherland View Post
    I have a Glen Drake handsaw plus numerous LN chisels. My wife accuses me of being a tool collector more than a woodworker and I would say she's nailed it. I found that once I had the drum sander (Supermax 19-38) I haven't touched my planer.
    I have to admit that I'm biased against drum sanders. Too noisy,too dirty/dusty, and they tear the living daylights out of the wood's surface. I can see why the SuperMax would be more productive than the 735, but I just can't abide it :-).

    I did put a Shelix headset in my 735 FWIW.

  14. #29
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    Dec 2015
    Location
    Dublin, CA
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    [QUOTE=Bill Sutherland;2765229I've heard the LN 62 is very good as a shooting plane and you can get a frog for it from LN.[/QUOTE]

    Nit-picky, but... Like most bevel-up planes the L-N 62 doesn't have a frog. The iron rests directly on a machined surface that is integral to the body casting. Perhaps you're referring to the possibility of swapping in different-angled irons?

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Spokane WA
    Posts
    224
    Sorry about that. It’s the “Hot Dog” that you can get.
    One thing I noticed when researching the 19-38 was that everyone who had one made the remark that they never knew how they got along without it. I find I feel the same way. I find I can take two boards that are almost perfect in dimensions and run them through a few times side by side and end up with identical dimensions. To me the 735 is like a scrub plane.

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