Woodworking Without Power Tools, A Life-Long Love Affair With Hand Woodworking Tools

I am now in my mid 60’s and have left the carpentry and job worksite behind. I saw over my career a great popularization of power tools. Now nearly everyone with an interest is home improvement owns a router these days. It was not so when I started out.

When I began working as a carpenter for a small privately owned company, house restoration was on the rise in the cities. People had become interested in remodeling their house to the standards of its elegant past. People like myself were hired as craftsmen and craftswomen in order to bring a bit of the artisan to the work site. We often came to the projects before electricity was installed (or plumbing!) We used cross-cut and ripping hand saws to cut materials. Sometimes we made our own woodworking hand tools on site to perform specific functions such as scribing a line off an uneven wall onto a piece of molding that needed to deadend onto a brick wall. Or creating a beading scraper out of a piece of an old industrial bandsaw blade using a file.

I learned from folks who had done this for many years and I found I made a fast and deep friendship with my tools and materials because of it. I learned to use a small low angle hand plane until it became like an extension or a part of my hand. It performed its function perfectly. Later when I went to work in a shop and actually came indoors these skills proved invaluable. In repairing antique furniture for instance I took many of these job site carpentry skills with me and I saw them develop there even more.

There is something about the relationship between the hand, the tool and the material that creates a revolutionary leap in the mind. You evolve so to speak in what ever you are doing. Over time without really contemplating it you are teaching your hands and fingers to think. They no longer work outside of you but inside of you. As if different parts of the brain are being fired in tandem. And as a result you grow more intelligent in a very practical way. Not in a factoid swallowing way but in an ease with seeing a situation and allowing your body mind and spirit to accomplish the task because you have already done the hard work of creating an inner language with your tools and materials.

Source by Patti Tronolone

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