WT270 – For the Love of Hand Tools

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We are breaking from our usual format while we’re on vacation but don’t worry, we’ll be back on Sept. 14th! Today, Shannon is telling us why he’s attracted to hand tools.

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3 replies on “WT270 – For the Love of Hand Tools”

Hi Shannon,

I find satisfaction working with hand tools for many of the same reasons as you shared in this episode. Being much younger in my experience with the craft, but similarly eager to learn more efficient methods, I wonder if you could elaborate on where you’ve to found to be the best sources of information for some of these details such as logic of saw-tooth geometry, or specific working methods. Currently, I’m best able to consume/reference information on the web or in books, such as recent releases from Lost Art Press. Do you have a “Top 10” reading list you could recommend?

Thanks, always!
John from North Wales

John when it comes to efficient working methods, your best bet is to spend time at the bench. Its a personal journey frankly where you make discoveries based on the work you actually do. There are books that will tell you to “let the saw do the work” but that holds no meaning until you have a saw in your hand and feel and see the difference in the cut by relaxing and letting the saw cut. There are lots of books that detail projects and detail tools and their uses, but I don’t really know of many that talk about workflow and efficiency. However, I can point you in a few directions.

Anything by Roy Underhill but his latest “With Wedge and Edge” is a great one.
There is great info on saw tooth geometry on the Blackburn Tools website or I have a post on the tooth geometry as well.
Lost Art Press as you said is a great place to look. “The Essential Woodworker” is a favorite as is “The Joiner and Cabinetmaker“. Of course the “Chairmaker’s Notebook” is top notch whether you plan to build a Windsor chair or not.
The Artisan of Ipswich” by Robert Tarule is a fantastic look into a 17th Century Craftsmans shop
The Village Carpenter” by Walter Rose is another look at a shop but this time the 19th Century
The Wheelwright’s Shop” by George Sturt is yet another peek into a period shop but this time as it transitions to modern tools and machinery.

But the best way to learn is to pick a project and unplug through the entire thing. Even the arduous, nasty and repetitive tasks. You will find your efficiency and uncover things that stand in the way of it. In other words, cold turkey is a good option even if you reinstate some power tools on the next project.

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