If you have been keeping up with the latest woodworking blog posts on forums and sites alike, I’m sure you’ve realized by now that some people advocate “more power”, while others have more appreciation for the craft of hand tools. The tool power gang defend their theory by talking about accuracy and speed, while the hand tool purists claim how the old masters did everything by hand and swear by the purity of the hand work. But I can’t blame them, they all have some fair points. Me? I’m here to help us all get along and give you my frank opinion on the matter.
As someone who makes his living by building cabinets and furniture, I can frankly say that I can’t create my masterpieces without using both power and hand tools. While it is possible to create outstanding furniture from rough lumber with the help of hand tools solely, you’d have a hard time making money out of it as it would take you a lot of time to shape wood as you desire it to be. The power tools I have help me perform tedious tasks, such as squaring stock, quite efficiently and fast. Nevertheless, many woodworking tasks require the usage of multiple machines and coordinating the accuracy between all the machines can be quite an issue.
On the other hand, my hand tools give me the advantage of precision. Performing fine carving and detailed work on my furniture pieces requires great control over the tool I am doing it with, and for that reason I prefer using hand tools. Moreover, they always work. There is basically no need for fuel, air pressure or power for you to be able to use them. Power outage? No problem, I can still carve my design and work on my end-product. Plus, hand tools are much smaller and compact compared to power tools, which enables me to take them with me whenever I need to.
Taking bare pieces of wood and working on them to create a piece of furniture is what fulfils me and what I truly enjoy doing. Plus, making it at a profit gives me the freedom to keep doing what I love. In my workshop, the power tools are prominently positioned on the floor, while my hand tools are carefully stored and I have them within easy reach. And yes, both are crucial for turning the vision in my head into a valuable and long-lasting product, so make no mistake and make sure to equip your workshop with a variety of both power and hand tools to create unique and outstanding high quality pieces.