Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Tool talk... One thing that comes up often in discussion with other wood-workers is whether hand-tools or power-tools are preferred.

In my woodworking, I find that hand-tools when used to augment the accuracy of power-tools can increase both quality and efficiency . Here's an example. The first photo is of tear-out that often happens when the router bit has to remove fragile material at the end of the cut. In this particular instance, a great deal of care was taken in the feed direction and rate to avoid this event, and yet, as you can see, even with a skilled operator, use of the router can lead to disappointing results. The following photos are of quick hand tool techniques that allow the routing of rabbet joints to be done cleanly and without error.
Step one... set up a marking gauge to scribe a line across the grain corres-ponding with the depth of the rabbet.

Step 2... place a sharp chisel point into the marking gauge line and strike it with a mallet to make a relief cut.

Step 3... Rout carefully as before, but you will get much better results.

There is a saying attributed to psych-ologist Abraham Maslow, "If the only tool you have is a hammer, you start treating the whole world as if it is a nail."

You can see that it is important that we give our children a variety of tools, including woodworking tools, if we want them to be able to work with sensitivity toward the achievement of quality, both in school and in life. If the only tool you have is a computer, the question becomes, will you treat others and the whole of the natural world as virtual and essentially meaningless?

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