Many years ago I visited the Anthony Hayes cabinet shop in Williamsburg. I was astounded at how small the work area was compared to the number of work benches and the number of pieces of work-in-progress present. I mentioned it to the individual working there who was interacting with visitors. He stated that conditions and layout represented the historical records. The amount and quality of work produced within this space was really surprising.
Modern equipment and some materials require a larger working area than hand tool woodworking. Efficient use of hand tools means the tools need to be close at hand and many of the operations are confined at a single bench. In addition, there is less dust generated and the noise levels are lower (except when I hit my finger with a hammer). A common perception is that hand tool woodworking is less efficient, less accurate, and takes more time. The truth is that it can be very accurate and quick, depending on the exact functions performed. I do use machinery to help eliminate labor intensive work and I use hand tools where it makes sense to do so. Hand tools give me greater pleasure and greater control. It requires a different skillset than power tools but that’s part of the fun. Another advantage is that you can equip a hand tool shop for much less money.