Introduction to Buying Power Tools for Woodworking
By Joshua Farnsworth
My woodworking website is primarily focused on using traditional hand tools, but I’m not the kind of person who is going to say that you should only use hand tools. I don’t. I absolutely love hand tools, and use them much of the time. But I’m also realistic. Woodworking hobbyists won’t build a whole lot of furniture if they only use hand tools…unless they don’t have to work for a living. And professionals would find it very hard to make money in our day using only hand tools.
I’m more concerned with how the furniture fits together than how the parts were made. I love to see woodworkers making quality, long-lasting furniture using traditional wood joints, regardless of whether their furniture is a traditional style or a modern style, or whether it’s made with hand tools or power tools. What matters is that you enjoy yourself and that you feel safe.
I just so happen to enjoy using hand tools for many tasks in my workshop, and find that they are quieter, safer, more historical, they sometimes give superior results (like with hand-cut dovetails), and are quite often faster than using power tools. But if I’m in a rush and power tools will save me time, then I’ll use power tools to cut my joints. Or if, for example, I really don’t feel like cutting a bunch of mortises by hand, then I’ll use a hollow chisel mortiser, a plunge router, or a drill press. And I almost always mill up my boards with power tools, unless I have boards that are too wide for my woodworking machines.
I’m recommending that YOU use the best tool for YOUR job that YOU enjoy using the most. Hopefully that means a good balance between hand tools and power tools.