Why bother with Hand Tools?

When I first thought about woodworking with hand tools, I thought it was an unnecessary chore, a relic of our past. I grew to learn that it is a wonderful past time that is becoming more and more relevant in a quickly changing world.

In my first engagements wood working community I learned there was two very distinct groups. The power tool guys and the traditional guys. I think both have their merits, but in the end I decided that traditional woodworking was for me. This post will give you some ideas on what best suits you.

I am just an average guy, I am not a builder or a carpenter. I found myself with an interest in building things, and a need for a few small repairs around the house. My first learning experiences came when an outdoor setting had broken after years of service and I endeavored to repair it.

Sunburned and rotten after 10 years of service, my chair finally died

Old me probably would have just made a trip to the tip and bought a new one; but locked down at home, I had to find a way to fix it. I pulled the chair apart and surveyed the damage. I looked at what would be required to replicate the broken part and came to learn, I needed thousands of dollars worth of tools to fix this thing.

This is when I learned my first lesson:

Hand Tools are Great Value

I picked up all the tools I needed for this repair for less than $100. Don’t get me wrong, there are some really nice tools out there and you can pay a lot for them. With that said, a budget set of quality tools is inexpensive when compared to a budget power tool kit.

Hand tools are also very versatile, so that purchase will cover lots of different jobs. This means your dollars spent will go much further.

Hand Tools are Relaxing

I chose woodworking as a way of escaping a busy life. The process of building things is meditative for me. I get to make things I need, while also relaxing. Traditional woodworking is a physical process, so I get a dose of serotonin while I am at it. It requires you to focus and be mindful, a proven technique to improve mood and reduce stress.

I move a lot with my day job, and that means a lot of new inner city neighbors. While occasional mallet blows are necessary, it is much quieter than the power saw and electric router. That means more relaxation for me and less angry neighbors!

Hand Tools Are Compact

For most of us, wood working is a hobby. Space to set up a workshop is often out of reach for the majority of us. Even for those of us who have space, it is often shared with life’s other priorities.

A great benefit of Hand Tools are their versatility and compactness. Armed with the right skills, and a hand full of tools, we can achieve a lot. A table and a small toolbox of basic tools is all that is required to do most household repair work.

This is easily setup and packed up, moved or otherwise incorporated into our lives.

Hand Tools Are Sustainable

Hand tools are very simple machines. They are often only made of steel and wood, and can be expected to provide effective service for decades. Compared with the complex and difficult to recycle power tools, with short expected working lives.

There is a dedicated community of traditional woodworkers that restore and use hand tools that are a hundred years old. The design of these core hand tools have remained unchanged for hundreds of years.

A wonderfully simple and rewarding process to repair

The repair went ahead with these handful of tools, and I walked away learning some valuable lessons. Importantly, I got bitten by the bug. If I could do this with so little, imagine what you could do.

Please feel free to comment with your experiences or thoughts. I would also ask that you please consider joining our mailing list so you can join me us on our journey of learning new and old skills.

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