Saturday, May 11, 2013

Five Hand Tool Myths - by Megan Fitzpatrick

   The internet is filled with videos, websites and blogs dealing with any subject that you can imagine.  Part of what I do is surf the net looking for things to share with my readers and recently I found an interesting and short blog entry from Megan Fitzpatrick.  I eagerly read everything that comes from Popular Woodworking Magazine and have held subscriptions to their paper publication in the past.

   Ms. Fitzpatrick makes a very good case for hand tools vs. power tools and she does it with out getting all bound up in the romantic mythology of hand tools.  Often I find the "hand tool" (Royites) a bit tiresome ( though never Roy himself) and sometimes a bit righteous  but the beginner hand tool instructions talked about in this article ring true to my ear.

Point One:   I make cutting boards, many, many cutting boards.  For something like that, hand tools are slow.  But...for many other "One Off" projects hand tools are as fast and as efficient as setting up power tools.

Point Two: she is right.

Point Three:  hand tools require skill to get started and to keep sharp but....power tools can't make a bad design good, or hide poor craftsmanship.

Point Four:  usually we don't take the time to make the mark precise and so the tool can't make the cut, it is not the tools weakness, it is ours.

Point Five:  I did some math, she is right.  The good hand tools I own will last to be inherited  by Grand Children and I own and use hand tools that I inherited from my Father and Grand father.  That is not the case with power tools.  In the long run hand tools are the better value.

Think about it.  I would not want to give up my band saw and would never make cutting boards by hand but....lots of other jobs can be done by hand and I am reaching for planes and chisels and hand saws more all the time.


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