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Learn to Use Hand Tools - Learn More About Wood


I love my hand tools, but I'm not a maximalist. I use both hand and power tools in my shop every week.

So, while I would never recommend you only use hand tools, I do think everyone should use at least a few of them in their work.

There are some things you just can't learn about wood when you're using power tools.

Hand tools foster a collaborative connection to the wood. As you learn to use them, you'll begin to think about working with the material instead of working on the material. You'll gain insight into the subtle differences between species and grain patterns. You'll find ways to use the strengths, weaknesses, and movement of the wood to your advantage.

This deeper understanding leads to more enjoyable work, stronger joinery, and better designs.


One such lesson comes up in this week's video.

Did you know... Wood is easier to shave and split when you're working parallel to the radial plane. The bonds between the cells are weaker in the radial (quarter-sawn) plane than they are in the tangential (flat-sawn) plane.

This is especially helpful to know when you're splitting parts out of a log or shaving dozens of spindles for a set of chairs.


This week's video covers the initial layout of the taper on your practice leg. Jeff and I do some math in public. And you'll learn how to deal with minor run-out in your parts.


Are you thinking about giving hand tools a try?

Don't know where to start?

Send me a note. Tell me what you plan to build next.

I'll be happy to recommend one or two hand tools that you can use in your next project. I promise it will change the way you think about and work with wood.


Some Classes You Might Like


Jeff Wyatt

of Copper John Woodworks is teaching a

class at the

Sam Beauford Woodworking Institute in Adrian, MI

August 21-25

Robell Awake and Charlie Ryland

are teaming up to teach you how to

at the Woodworking School at Pine Croft in Berea, KY

September 4-9

Is there a woodworking class or instructor you really enjoyed?

Let me know in the comments!

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