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Thread: Exhausted hand tool worker

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    Perth, Australia
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    8,472
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Hutchings View Post
    I'm building a simple table / bench for my recently acquired RAS. I made the legs out of 4x4s I had laying around and squared up 2 sides with my hand planes and finished on the table saw. I did the same to an old 2x4 I had. What a freakin workout!! I did enjoy it, for a while, then I was wishing I had my electric planer that my SIL borrowed or maybe it's time to buy a jointer. I have a 19x38 drum sander so as long as I get close, I can finish on that.

    Now I'm on to the mortises and I'm not going to chop 8 mortises so I set up the router. I don't have a plunge router strong enough so I'm using my 1 3/4 HP Porter Cable router in a Bench-dog table. I thought about using spacers to act like the steps on a plunge router but I don't have any material flat enough, may have to make them. I'll need enough 1/8" pieces to stack up to 1 1/4". Is there a better way?
    You are such a WIMP, Richard!

    I am kidding, you do know. My posts and builds have for a few decades included and demonstrated the use of hand tools. Many likely associate my woodworking as that of a hand tool fanatic. But I have always stated that machines are equally important. I did my time with just one machine, a tablesaw, and am still perfectly capable of dimensioning rough timber into perfect boards using hand planes and hand saws. If you read too many fori posts you get the impression that only real men use hand tools - there are so many posers who do not actually build anything.

    I own all the major machines, and use them for all the rough preparation. Hand tools are used for making and fine tuning joinery - because I enjoy doing it this way (however, not when there are a dozen mortices. Then I prefer a router). And used for finishing surfaces - because I enjoy doing it this way, plus the finish is far superior to sanding (but I do have and use sanders). As an amateur, the journey is something to enjoy, and I try to do so. But this is only make possible if machines take care of the grunt work.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    Last edited by Derek Cohen; 06-24-2022 at 9:12 PM.

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Warwick, RI
    Posts
    670
    Came up with a quick and easy for me, mortising method. Seems to work pretty well for soft woods, may have to use a router bit for hard wood after the drilling. Anyway, I'm happy I found a method that I won't shy away from and fearlessly build with mortise and tenons.

    <a data-cke-saved-href="https://youtu.be/yXK3K0x1RJI" href="https://youtu.be/yXK3K0x1RJI">


  3. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Warwick, RI
    Posts
    670
    My only problems with hand tool methods 1. Noise from chopping and 2. I have very limited time to get anything done. I only hope that in retirement I'll be able to spend time making dovetails and mortises, I really enjoy doing these things by hand. Dimensioning lumber, not so much, unless it's a jewelry box or something similar. I think I need a planer or jointer or combo. Since I have a drum sander, I think I can easily get by with a jointer and my handplanes for the other sides before running through the sander.

    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Cohen View Post
    You are such a WIMP, Richard!

    I am kidding, you do know. My posts and builds have for a few decades included and demonstrated the use of hand tools. Many likely associate my woodworking as that of a hand tool fanatic. But I have always stated that machines are equally important. I did my time with just one machine, a tablesaw, and am still perfectly capable of dimensioning rough timber into perfect boards using hand planes and hand saws. If you read too many fori posts you get the impression that only real men use hand tools - there are so many posers who do not actually build anything.

    I own all the major machines, and use them for all the rough preparation. Hand tools are used for making and fine tuning joinery - because I enjoy doing it this way (however, not when there are a dozen mortices. Then I prefer a router). And used for finishing surfaces - because I enjoy doing it this way, plus the finish is far superior to sanding (but I do have and use sanders). As an amateur, the journey is something to enjoy, and I try to do so. But this is only make possible if machines take care of the grunt work.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    61,320
    Richard, you may very well be well served by a nice Jointer/Thicknesser combo for general flattening, straightening and thicknessing material prior to continuing with your hand tool work. While I understand you have a drum sander, they are not ideal for actual thicknessing beyond minor adjustments. J/Ps typically have generous width, too, whereas a wide jointer can be as expensive if not more expensive than a J/P combo.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Warwick, RI
    Posts
    670
    Yeah I bought the drum sander for guitar building and it was perfect for that. I just might sell it and get a planer and jointer.

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    61,320
    I don't use my drum sander much, but I do use it...and more so with some of my own guitar work. It's particularly needed for thinner stock for any kind of project. My J/P, however, gets a lot of mileage.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  7. #22
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Highland MI
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    4,349
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    Tiring, yes. Necessary, not anymore. Go back to the times when lumberjacks felled trees with an axe. Swinging an ax all day long. Most of us would last about 5 minutes. I imagine the same can be said of using a plane. Ah, the good old days weren't so good.
    NOW you tell me...

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Warwick, RI
    Posts
    670
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    I don't use my drum sander much, but I do use it...and more so with some of my own guitar work. It's particularly needed for thinner stock for any kind of project. My J/P, however, gets a lot of mileage.
    Yeah, there's lots of uses for it and I know I'd miss it. I'll eventually get back to instrument making but right now, I'm enjoying the hell out of building stuff and and getting things done in the small amount of shop time I currently have.

    I went down to the shop this morning and laid out 8 more mortises and cut one in 10 minutes. I'll be able to cut all the remaining seven in about 1/2 hour next time I go down there. Now I need to order a dado set to cut the tenons.
    Last edited by Richard Hutchings; 06-28-2022 at 10:36 AM.

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    61,320
    Yea, I'm really enjoying the small projects I'm finally back to working on, despite the limitations of my temporary shop for space, so I absolutely understand!
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  10. #25
    Join Date
    May 2021
    Location
    Spartanburg South Carolina
    Posts
    368
    I guess I enjoy the journey more than the finish line. I like the fact that I don't need eye, hearing, breathing or ear protection. I also like the workout that planing gives me, Lord knows I need the exercise. I find it peaceful using hand tool to complete the task.

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Warwick, RI
    Posts
    670
    I enjoy all that stuff as well. My problem is small projects done by hand take me months to complete. Until I can up my time in the shop, I will suffer the machines and get a few things finished. I'll get bored with that and go back and forth on hand tool and machines once I have more time. Maybe I'll never have the time to do all hand tool work. I do have enough time to get some projects done with machinery. 15 minutes to a half hour a day, maybe a couple of hours on the weekend just doesn't lend itself to getting anything done.

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Los Angeles, California
    Posts
    596
    I can chop a 3/8" mortise in about 10 minutes. I might suggest you look at a couple videos by Paul Sellers for the proper technique. He does it slowly, chatting instructions, in about 5 minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPBkO2chZxk In another video, he makes a wooden guide to keep the chisel at the proper angle and takes about 30 minutes for a through mortise including making the guide. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-08PY3stgo Probably the best video he has which replicates the way I was taught at the Homestead Woodworking School where Sellers taught, includes the proper angle of the chisel and prying out the waste, making a ramp of sorts, which goes really fast https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_NXq7_TILA That slightly off 90 degree angle and prying method is used by Frank Klausz https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4QnrUCtvgU and Rob Cossman and Matt Estlea.
    Regards,

    Tom

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Nov 2021
    Location
    Columbia MO and Howard County MO
    Posts
    867
    In the absence of manual labor the gym has become common. I know quite a few laborers, none of us have seen the inside of a gym since school days. A strong human can produce a few hundred watts of energy for a short time. Hand tools have major limitations. They are important for learning skills and to give workers an understanding of the forces required for various tasks.
    Last edited by Maurice Mcmurry; 06-29-2022 at 7:48 AM.
    Best Regards, Maurice

  14. #29
    I was taught using machines. I love machines. I reached a point when I learned to sharpen decently and my woodworking really improved. Hand tools have saved my bacon way more than I could have imagined. Now I love hand tools and machines.

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    550
    My work involves about 80% hand tools and 20% machines. Thatís the time per project using each method, not a breakdown of tasks. The YouTube crowd would call me a hybrid woodworker. I enjoy hand tool work more for the obvious and already stated reasons - dust, noise, safety, etc.

    But three things havenít been mentioned:
    1) Regardless of how many times I use a hand tool I either learn something new or improve my skills. The only time I feel that way using a machine is with my scroll saw, an 85 year old Delta 1200. No coincidence that itís by far my favorite machine.
    2) Correcting mistakes. Because hand tool work requires time and frequent measuring/evaluation, itís easy to spot a minor mistake before it turns into a catastrophe that delays and/or ruins the project.
    3) I will only admit this on a woodworking forum, lest people get the wrong idea. I love fondling my hand tools. Thereís a warmth and comfort factor using a finely made and tuned hand tool that just doesnít transfer to machine plug and play work. Now if I were rehabbing old American iron that would be different, but thatís not woodworking per se.

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