Man Versus Machine

ArtsetmétiersI have mentioned before that I prefer working with hand tools. There are a number of reasons for this. A hand tool becomes an extension of my hand when working and I feel more intimately involved in the work. I get a sense of feedback from the wood and the tool letting me know what is going on and how best to proceed. There is also the relative calm and quiet in the shop that allows me to listen to music (or more likely the BBC World Service on Internet radio these days.)

I also love and appreciate a fine hand tool.

On the other hand, power tools have their place. I am happy that I can resaw on a bandsaw. Resawing by hand would be interesting but very time consuming. A drill press makes drilling a straight hole much easier than when using a hand drill. A router makes routing the rabbet for binding quicker than cutting it totality by hand. And recently I have acquired a small table saw, a tool that has always scared me. It makes certain tasks easier and more predictable.treadlebandsaw

I have found the use of power tools to be a necessary and reasonable trade off so that I can get a little more work done , and there are a few tasks that I can get done a little more accurately.

And I still have to operate the machines and feed the wood through or control the wood as it gets sawn, routed or drilled.

It’s not the same as working completely unplugged but I am getting used to it.

A majority of the time I put in on each instrument is done with hand tools and I plan on keeping it that way.

I keep the power tools in the basement and work with hand tools in my shop. I still work at a bench with a rack of chisels in front of me, a bunch of planes, rasps and files, etc.

And the radio is on and I am happy.