Hand Tool Essentials Refine Your Power Tool Projects With Hand Tool Techniques Combining Power & Hand Techniques Paperback – Jun 6 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
There are other books you should probably get first if your just starting with hand tools, but this is a solid companion piece.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The book is actually a collection of articles, the primary emphasis of which is on the basics of tool preparation, and in particular on edge tools. I think this is appropriate since poorly set up and mis-sharpened tools are virtually impossible to work with. Thus, mastering the basics of tool preparation is a pre-requisite to successful and enjoyable woodworking just as mastering the basics of "blocking and tackling" is necessary for a successful football team.
The book typically offers different viewpoints by different authors -- numerous approaches to sharpening edge tools are covered, for example. Again, this seems appropriate since it gives the newcomer to the hobby a variety of different approaches with different entry-dollar requirements to choose from.
I particularly liked the detailed instructions on how to make and use certain fairly basic tools---the article on drawboring, for example, was just superb. On top of all this, the book concludes with several really first-rate projects: an arts and crafts tool cabinet, a workbench, and a sawbench that I really like. I'm actually planning on building all three projects, and I can't remember when I last saw even a single published project that I wished to build.
This is probably the best single book on hand tools you can buy. If you're just starting out, get this first---it'll save you lots of time and trouble. The more experienced woodworker will also find some very useful stuff in here.
My only complaint is that I wish the book had had more material on saws and more material on tool making. But then it would be a different book, wouldn't it?
The book is laid out in a logical way, starting with a "Why Handtools" section, going into sharpening (a must for any hand tool user), then saws, chisels, and the like. The last section are a couple of projects that blend hand tools and power tools well, and that will serve any workshop well for years to come. Honestly, the beautiful tool cabinet of Christopher Schwarz's is worth the cost of the book by itself!
This is a must have for, I believe, any woodworker. There's no preaching about hand tool supremacy, nor any reference to "quaint" ideas of woodworking. Instead, this book offers the modern woodwork a glimpse of the realms where hand tools still excel, and how they can be incorporated into the modern workshop. At the same time, it shows how a hand tool only shop can still produce quality work equal to that of the powered shop.
I have a Stanley cabinet scraper and I became convinced that they didn't work worth a hoot. Then, reading that section, I learned I had prepared the blade wrong, changed it, and feel like I got a new tool out of the deal. Great value
I reach for this often. Yeah, it's armchair stuff, but really good and quite inspiring. I think I will make the workbench at the end. Just as soon as I finish my tea...
One last thought. For sharpening; where it all begins (after the match and pig iron slag, of course), Ian Kirby's "Sharpening with Waterstones: A Perfect Edge in 60 Seconds", is really the best and most straightforward book on the subject of sharpening. The title is incomplete: he starts with a bench grinder.