As a woodworking tool company, Highland Woodworking sells both Hand Tools and Power Tools. Both types have their advantages and many woodworkers have a mix of both in their shops. This month, we want to know which type of tool do you prefer to use most often? If you prefer one type over the other, we would love to hear why in the comment section!
I am a professional luthier, I make world class classical guitars. I use hand tools exclusively, I have greater control with them, their quiet nature enhances the finished voice of the guitar and I work in a very, very small shop, I have no room for power tools.
The main reason I use hand tools is simply that I enjoy using them. Second is the superior finish and fineness of cut that comes with handplanes. The great reductions in noise and dust are also great benefits. I still use a bandsaw, thickness planer, and drill press though. Time is important, too.
I use hand and power tools at different stages of a project. Power tools are used for stock preparation and some shaping. Hand tools are used for much of the joinery and finish fitting of a project. This probably counts as using them equally but masks the fact that they are used in very different ways.
I am recently retired and have decided to make an investment to good quality hand tools instead of upgrading my power tools from Craftsman and Harbor Freight type quality to something better. I prefer the reduction of noise and dust and I do not need to do production and turn out lots of items quickly.
The question in the paragraph above the poll and the question in the poll are different, and I think the difference actually would change my answer. I prefer to use hand tools most often. In practice, I’m more machine driven in order to make better use of my limited time in the shop. I derive a lot more pleasure from using a sharp chisel than a table saw, but the table saw is a much more integral part of my work.
Sometimes I want to build a (wall, book case, etc.), sometimes I just need it built.
And this is where reality meets dream. I love using hand tools and do so quite a bit, but when I need to make 20 drawers for some kitchen cabinets they get machine cut dovetails.
I have no preference. I chose the tool based on the task/function at hand. I do prefer to use the tool in the most efficient manner and not how things might have been done in the past.
So with that I pick power tools where the area to be worked is time consuming like jointing and planing many boards. To use my various hand planes would take a considerable amou8nt of time and thus they are not used.
However, when I need the utmost control and the area I need to work is delicate, I will use my hand planes and chisels as I feel I have more control to sneak up on my desired result.
I like and use both forms of tools and believe they both perform well!
I started with hand operated power tools and benchtops, but now use 98% manual tools for about 10 years. I enjoy the quiet, the sense of personal accomplishment, and the unmatched joy of the finished product when everything “magically” comes together. I design and make furniture pieces when my wife says “I wish we had” or “we need”. Even years later I find myself smiling when I walk past a piece of furniture and think ” I did that with my own hands “.
* they aren’t actively trying to kill or maim me
* way less dust problem
* I want to be a woodworker, not a machinist
* I want to work directly on the wood, not spend all my time setting up machines, and jigs, and dust collection
* I am historically inclined and enjoy the intense cleverness in work-holding and tool use of our forebearers
* I am not a pro with time pressure and need to build many multiples
I enjoy Wood Slicer blades. Wish I was a short drive from Mr. Brock to do an in person class.
I prefer hand tools as I have a deep appreciation of traditional wood working and the craftsman that made their living using the same tools. I like the quiet, and the ability to say I used tools like my Great Grandfather’s saws which were passed down to me.
I am an O. F. woodworker 80+ still making saw dust. I have never understood the discussion of hand vs. power tools. I have been both a “hobbyist and professional” woodworker. If I had 2000 feet of molding to run I would definitely want use a molder. If I need 3 feet for an antique restoration, I would reach for my hollows and rounds. I try to use the tools that make the most sense for the job at task. I am firmly convinced that John Townsend would have had a table saw in his shop if it had been available at the time.
I enjoy hand planing, carving with a chisel and carving with a knife. If I am making something that I urgently want built, I might use power tools for efficiency (or a drill press for accuracy), but generally I will enjoy anything I make more, every time I look at it, if it was mostly or all by hand.