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Thread: Full neanderthal or hybrid approach?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Northeast WI

    Full neanderthal or hybrid approach?

    Curious how many people in the neanderthal haven still incorporate power tools into their work. For smaller projects I find by the time I go through machine setup and hooking up dust collection in my shop I can cut one off pieces with a handsaw. When I have a really long ripcut or a lot of repeated crosscuts though the table saw usually comes out. I have a crosscut sled I can mount a stop block to so the Miter saw doesn't get used much. Actually, my two most used power tools are the table saw and the bandsaw.

    How do you incorporate power tools into your hand tool shop?

  2. #2
    I use my machines for the heavy or tedious work - preparing the stock, ripping, resawing, rough sizing. I use my hand tools for the "finesse" tasks...... If I can make a cut faster with a backsaw than I can set up a machine, I do so. I cut dovetail joints and tenons by hand, but use a machine for mortises. I (usually) cut grooves and dados with a combo plane. I really enjoy shaping tapered (square) legs with a handplane instead of my bandsaw, or shaping curves with good rasps and a spokeshave. I almost never use sandpaper before finishing - I use a #3 or #4 to pulling fine shavings (for me, around 0.002") and leave it at that.

    For me, this has been a very successful approach. YMMV.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Longview WA
    Blog Entries
    My three biggies in the power tool world are a bandsaw, drill press and lathe. Though a couple days ago a saber saw was used to cut off part of a shelf in setting up some of Candy's rock shop equipment.

    Like Jason, a lot of simple cross cuts are easier to do by hand than setting up the band saw. Though drilling eight countersunk holes in a strip of wood to mount cleats on a wall was easier to do on the drill press.

    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Edmond, Oklahoma
    I use an electric drill a lot, and others like circular saws, a jig saw, routers, and sanders a little. I use my table saw some, but mostly use hand saws. The table saw is not easy to get at, as room is a major problem until a shop comes my way, but will use the table saw more when it is handier to get to and use. However, even if readily available, like it has been at times in the past, I would still mostly use it when there is quite a bit of saw work to do such as repeated cuts, as I still prefer handsaws.

    I hope to add a few pieces such as a jointer, band saw and drill press when space becomes available, as these are so useful for a lot of things and I don't want to go out of my way to do a lot of grunt work by hand. Basically in the past I have used whatever is quickest, easiest, and most appropriate, given my skill level, for a given task. I will probably take that same approach in the future.

    All told, I like hand tools, they don't make much dust (a significant factor for me), are primarily safer than power tools, don't make much noise, and most of the time are quick and easy to set up. Thus, all things being equal, I am more prone to normally grab a tool that doesn't have an electrical tail attached.

    Last edited by Stew Denton; 09-17-2021 at 10:00 PM.

  5. #5
    I have two shops. The machine tool one is in a stand-alone building near the lake cabin. The hand tool shop is in the condo in the city. The hand tool shop is strictly to be neighborly about noise. I have a bench top hollow chisel mortiser in that shop because it is quieter than the regular mortising chisel. I am interested in the hand tool craft. Learning to build things in the same way as they were built before the Machine Age holds a strong appeal. I want to learn how to saw straight, use a plane for both dimensioning and smoothing, to cut classic joints using hand tools, to figure out how things were done with simple tools. It is definitely a hobby and no output from that shop is expected by Janicewhokeepsmehumble.

    For production, I use machine tools. A batch of Christmas presents, a wall of kitchen cabinets, a special item needed at church, those go through the power tool shop. I can do everything faster and more accurately by machine. I like tuning my power tools to the limits of dial indicator accuracy. I like to set up the machines with jigs and holding fixtures that are faster and more accurate than hand positioning. I like small production runs of items. The challenges are different from hand tool work but machine craft for me is every bit the challenge of craftsmanship as hand tools. Speed and accuracy are dual goals. I am glad to be able to do both.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    twomiles from the "peak of Ohio
    The Dungeon Wood Shop is a Hybrid one....I use the tool I feel is best suited for the task I want to do.....Don't really care how "fast" things go, shop is NOT a "production" shop. I'm just a hobbyist, working to keep what skills I do have sharp. Not really into the brand name of the tool thing, either.....most of the tools I use are older than I am...about 80% of them.

    If a task in the shop is taking 1 hour to do, or 3 hours to do..doesn't really long as the task is done to the standards ( what level I have) I want....usually I try to get 3 tasks done in a session....with each task getting done before I start on the next one. Accuracy? I work with wood, and it might change a size, depending on humidity....not much sense in 0.0005" tolerances, is there....this is a WOOD shop, not a Machine ( Tool & Die) shop.

    Main goal when I am in the shop? To RELAX...and maybe have a wee bit of fun...not interested in "Juried Show"sort of things....after all, I AM the Jury....
    A Planer? I'm the Planer, and this is what I use

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Newtown, ct
    Jointer planer, bandsaw, drill press and router table are used extensively but hand tools are used for final fitting. Generally I use the best tool for the job however I won’t do machine setups if a simple saw cut with a hand saw will work. Hybrid all the way.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Fairbanks AK
    I like the surface quality I can achieve with hand tools, but I am too old and to impatient to be thicknessing boards by hand. I tried it a few times, but I have a thickness planer and a jointer both. My lathe slays electrons. I do prefer to run my radial arm saw outdoors, it makes quite a mess in a hurry.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2021
    Spartanburg South Carolina
    I like the safety of hand tools. I also prefer it to be quiet and less dusty. I will break out the planer and jointer if I have several boards to dimension for a project but have started dabbling with using hand planes to flatten stock. I am wanting to get my saws all tuned up this winter so they will all be ready to go. I agree that by the time I get my table saw unfolded and set up I could have just grabbed a saw and cut board faster. The plan right now is to turn my existing shop into a hand tool "den" and build a larger addition to use power tools and assemble larger projects.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by steven c newman View Post
    The Dungeon Wood Shop is a Hybrid one....I use the tool I feel is best suited for the task I want to do
    What ever will give me the desired result

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    N. Idaho
    Also definitely hybrid. For the "fine" stuff, I reach for hand tools first, but have a full complement of stationary tools for house projects that are more about getting it done. The tool chest I'm working on has been ~90% hand tools. I used a planer to thickness the drawer stock and bandsaw/tablesaw for a few other cuts, but all the joinery has been handwork. I have done several projects as 100% neander and these have been very instructive. That said, the fully, truly long term 100% neander is a rare bird I think.
    "You can observe a lot just by watching."
    --Yogi Berra

  12. #12
    Show me one person who would claim they are 100pct Neander…

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Putney, Vermont
    Quote Originally Posted by Prashun Patel View Post
    Show me one person who would claim they are 100pct Neander…

    We do not have too many her on the site but I think Mike Allen1010 comes very close.

  14. #14
    The only power tool I really use with any kind of moderate regularity is the thickness planer. Taking down a whole bunch of 4/4 to ¾ is time consuming. I get one side flat and twist free and then plane the other side down to thickness. If I only have one board then I’ll do it all by hand because it’s kind of fun. More than one board, or several, is not so much fun. A couple times a year I’ll pull out the table saw if I have a project where I need to rip cut a lot of boards (like building a bench or something). Anything else basically doesn’t get used for the hobby. Now home improvement – that’s where I’ll use power tools because I’m not going to enjoy the process and I just want to get it done, and I don’t care so much about the quality of the work. That said, if there are home improvement things I can do with hand tools and get away with it, I generally will.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by steven c newman View Post
    The Dungeon Wood Shop is a Hybrid one....I use the tool I feel is best suited for the task I want to do.....
    Amen brother, agree totally..

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