Tools – part 1

I was cleaning up the shop today in preparation for getting some work done and I thought I’d take a few pictures of some of the tools I commonly use.

I enjoy working with hand tools and prefer using them instead of power tools whenever it is reasonable to do so. There are many aspects of lutherie and woodworking that can be accomplished more quickly with hand tools than one would think.

Power tools often need to be set up to perform a specific task but a well maintained hand tool is always ready to go to work. Power tools are also loud and they fill up the room with sawdust.

There is also a feeling of being in contact with the work and experiencing the subtlety of the wood that I only experience when working it with hand tools. I can feel, hear and smell the wood responding to being worked. This is a sensory pleasure but it also gives me information about the characteristics of the wood I am working with. As an organic material every piece of wood is different even when sawn from the same part of the tree.

Planes. You can’t have too many. Well…you can but that hasn’t stopped me! I use planes all the time for truing boards, planing tops, backs and sides to thickness, shaping parts and many other tasks.

This photo shows some of the planes I most often reach for. They are each set up for different functions such as joining and truing long edges, rough and fine smoothing, trimming, shaping and cleaning up parts and more.