I have always been a "dirty hands" kind of guy. I love to work with my hands and have always had jobs that reflected that. Coal mining,
welding/construction and my hobbies reflect it also. Wood working/carving, carpentry, building pretty much anything and learning new tricks along the
way. I've remodeled my house over the years and enjoyed every minute, because it was built to reflect my tastes. Office work is not for me. I
did it for about a year and it drove me right up the proverbial wall. Give me the harshest Winter or hottest Summer, over sitting in an office, any
day. I want to be out side, creating something and be able to stand back at the end of the day and say "I made that". Even when I did it for a
living, I did quite a bit of at home carpentry in my spare time before my accident, but since I became disabled, I have much more time to devote to
it.. It takes me longer now, but I still get it done.
Now, wood working can get as complicated as you care to make it and the tools to do it are, well, Legion. Honestly, because I enjoy using my hands, I
have a mix of power tools and hand tools, but leaning heavily toward hand tools. I have a : circular saw, router, electric drill [ the ol' plug it
in the wall kind ] a chop/miter saw, 2 belt sanders, table saw, along with a grinder and a cordless drill, but I like my hand planes and good ol'
muscle driven tools the best. It's the feel and smell of the wood, watching that perfect, paper thin shaving curl, the beautiful exposed grain, while
that pile of lumber turns in to what I want it to be. Lately, with the help of a strapping 18 year old, I've been turning some old logs in to
boards and using those to build whatever project I have going.
One thing you'll always need... A speed square. Or at least some kind of square. They come in all sizes from this, up to big framing squares.
These are one of the most common tools you'll see a carpenter carrying, because they're small, very versatile and fairly inexpensive. Under $20.
Saws. You gotta have something to cut the wood and these are my all time favorite.
It's a Gyokucho Noko Giri. Which is basically a Japanese double edge [ Ryoba ] pull saw. One side has large teeth for ripping [ cutting with the
grain ], the other has finer teeth for cross cuts [ across the grain ]. 2 saws in 1 and It. Is. Sharp. There are several types that come in all sizes
for everything from large posts and beams to dove tail cuts for a jewelry box.
The kind you usually see are "Western" type, which is a push saw, meaning the teeth are angled so you push it forward to cut, while with these, the
teeth face the opposite way, so you pull. It gives a much straighter and finer cut [ for me ] because when you push a saw, it can warp, which causes
an "off" cut. [ Pick a blade of grass, put it between your fingers and push. It warps, right? Now pull it between your fingers...See? The
tension keeps it straight.] The pull saws are thin, but stiff, so you don't get a wide cut.
There are several kinds of these, all of which can look very much alike, but have finer or courser teeth and teeth per inch [ tpi ], depending on what
they're used for and the type of wood you're cutting. While I own both push and pull type saws, I use the pull type the most.
Take a look at this guy. He goes by The Samurai Carpenter and he has some very interesting videos.
I watch him and many other videos of traditional Japanese/Korean/Chinese carpentry to get ideas and techniques, then get some scrap and practice,
practice, practice. If you are a beginner [ or an old pro do it your selfer ] watch Paul Sellers. He is a Master Carpenter, but breaks everything down
to clear, step by step instructions and can show you how to make a homemade tool, that works just as well as a store bought.
I wish I had one of these, I really like the craftsmanship that go in to them. I do have my own version, made from an old file, but I'm hoping to get
one in the future. Maybe a birthday present to myself. Take a thin, sharp knife and make a mark on a piece of wood, then use a pencil to make one
right beside it. Big difference. There's nothing wrong with using a pencil, for most cuts, it's what I still use, it just comes down to
personal preference and when doing dovetail cuts for, say, a drawer, you have to be precise. I'm sure there are many carpenters who can use an old
crayon and still make precision cuts.
Japanese marking knives
Japanese hand planes. These are a dream to use. Hand forged, laminated steel blades and they are razor sharp.Watch this and you'll see what I
mean. I've used one to finish a table top, without sandpaper. These are also used on the pull, instead of the conventional push type hand plane. I
have both types, but if I want to get a fine finish, without having to sand, I use these.
These are to help cut and "fine tune" a dove tail joint, shave off that little bit to make a better fit. They're a "must have" for hand cut
mortise and tenon carpentry or a thousand other uses.
These are a few of the wood workers tools and I've left out many, many of my others, but you'd be surprised what you can do with just a few tools
and determination. I know there are some who have 10s of thousends wrapped up in a shop full of machines, but I still like my hand tools the best. I
hope you enjoyed this and truly hope you'll get out and try to make your own book shelves, coffee table, jewelry box or what ever grabs your
imagination. Youtube has some pretty good videos on making a nice outdoor table, out of nothing but a plain ol' wooden pallet. There's "scrap"
lumber every where and with a little work, you can bring out the beauty and turn it in to something useful. I had a couple of boards of cherry wood,
left over from building a coffee table,, that I turned in to a nice picture frame. I already have a house full of furniture, so I give most of my
projects away. People give me lumber all the time, so I turn it in to what ever strikes my fancy, then give it to whoever needs or wants it. I just do
it to have something to do.
You don't have to spend a fortune, it's easier than you think and brings a sense of pride when you stand back and say "I made that".
I plan on making a jewellery box but haven't decided yet on wood or design I think it's a precious gift idea, there was one in our family for
generations it was given to my mother but my step c you Nt father smashed it so I want to replace it (I picture her giving it to my kids on so on)
I would welcome some tips
Ah lol I am impatient you already mentioned some I only read up to the shavings and got excited
I watch this guy pretty often and he puts out free tip videos about twice a week. Not long ago, he made a jewelry box for his wife that turned out
i dont know why but that video brought tears to my eyes when she uncovered the box , im pretty sure shes proud of him and i know that hes proud of him
self , i would love to have this talent , and you will reach that point of being proud of your self too , that's if you aren't right now , thanx for
Let me add these iron age tools are more expensive than power tools in many cases.
I have lots of expensive steel. I also am not to proud to be working towards buying a table top cnc and just bought a laser etcher/cutter.
I love my hand tools but after working for years in a boutique guitar shop my labrum and tendons in my wrists are shot. So much so I couldn't compete
in judo anymore because of it.
If your trying to make money woodworking a mix of power tools and hand tools are needed as you say. For me It has to be a very expensive guitar to
say cut the mop or abolone by hand for inlays.
Awesome though to read another carpenters passion. I remember my first set of Japanese tools.
Side note. Worst injury I have ever had other than the arthritis like issues was sharpening a cabinet scraper. I looked away to talk to my boss and
ran my palm across the blade I was burnishing. It looked like when Han solo cut open the tan tan and put luke inside. First time I had seen what fat
looks like under the skin.
edit on 2-6-2016 by luthier because: (no reason given)
Oh, I know. There's a reason I keep the covers on the chisels and it's not just to keep from damaging the edge. I guess that's the worst thing about
the pull saws. As sharp as they are, if you have your hand beside it, holding the board and it skips out when you're just starting the
I've been involved in carpentry pretty much all my life, in one way or another and no matter what, I still prefer my hand tools over power. The power
tools are great and get a job done quick, but it's just the feel of shaping it by hand that keeps me going back to the old ways. If I'm doing a job
for someone else, I'll use them to get it done and it'll be just the way they wanted, I don't skimp on craftsmanship, but if it's for me or someone I
care for, I'll do it all by hand.
You wouldn't believe the number of self proclaimed journeyman carpenters ive met who had no idea what the notches in the Swanson speed square were
for. Ive taught General Contractors how to find angles and roof pitches. A simple, yet valuable tool. Will accept nothing less than a Swanson in my
bags. Have both sizes.
I knew a wise old carpenter who had a few of those Japanese handsaws. He swore by them and they come in quite handy. However, for versatility's
sake, I pack an electric "multi tool" type saw with all the various attachments. As my experience in building has evolved, I've become much more
interested in fine wood work. Totally digging this unexpected thread and couldn't pass up the chance to post on it. Curious to get into some of these
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