Thursday, April 7, 2016

Hand tools....

I'm admittedly a power tool person when it comes to woodworking. My skills with hand tools are very limited, however, I am really trying to learn more about using them properly. I have a set of basic chisels already and I have a couple of cheap hand planes. They're both Kobalt ones from Lowe's, and while I know all the hand tool "experts" out there will balk at that, I don't really care. I still need to learn how to tune the planes properly, but I can get paper-thin shavings from my No. 4 and it does do what I want to some extent, but I'm sure it can be better.

I have learned a few things from using hand tools:

  • I can't saw straight by hand to save my life.
  • The back saw that I got from Ace is not a precision tool.
  • Hand planing a board is a workout.
  • I need a proper bench for doing work with hand tools.
It's a workout, but I did manage to plane this face flat and square.
 I've been trying to do some work on my new assembly table that I built, but there's no vise on it. I have been surviving with it by doing some creative clamping and just trying my best with it. I am starting to design a bench that might work for me, but I can also try to get by with what I have if I finally get that vise for my storage bench I built a long time ago. I have to clean off the bench and see if there's enough room for me to work with.

I really need to organize all my tools and figure out where to put everything I have. I also need to clean up my garage some more and make some space so I can work on projects.

Another thing that I've had to really get better at now that I'm using more hand tools is sharpening. I used a combination of my table saw, planer, and my hand planes to make a couple of strops. I brought one into my house for use with my kitchen knives and one is going to stay out in the shop for my chisels and plane irons. It definitely took me longer to true up a face and square an edge with the plane than it did to dimension things out with the table saw.

Now I can strop my chisels and planes. Hopefully that means better cuts.
I'm very sure that I won't be going entirely the hand tool route any time soon. While I do have a much greater appreciation for them, I know that I do enjoy the convenience of my power tools. I'm going to really have to try to develop a "hybrid" style where I use a combination of hand tool techniques and power tool techniques to make good projects. I think it can be done. I just need to practice. A lot.