Hand Tools - How to Learn the Techniques

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by amelia, Dec 4, 2004.

  1. amelia

    amelia Well-Known Member

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    I have some background in woodworking, but all based upon the most modern, finely-tuned tools. If the electricity went out, I'd be hard-pressed to flatten a board, much less make even a rudimentary joint. I've wondered whether there are resources for learning the traditional techniques for maintaining and using hand tools--schools, videos, whatever. It's a skill that I'd like to learn.
     
  2. tramp

    tramp Active Member

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    http://www.uncpress.unc.edu/woodwright/

    The above link is for the PBS show Woodwright's shop. He uses the traditional wood working tools, which i was facinated with. There's several books advertised.
     

  3. pcdreams

    pcdreams Well-Known Member

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    PBS also does (or did last time I saw tv) The new Yankee workshop. You can probally search the PBS website for that one also..
     
  4. clovis

    clovis Well-Known Member

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    I too have an interest in the old hand tools, some which I have mastered, some that I will never learn well enough to be successful with in woodworking.

    For instance, I have learned to love the brace (drill). If you have to drill some holes or drive a few tough screws, hand me my brace any day. I also fell in love with the Yankee drill. How did I ever live without that thing? As well, now that I understand old tools, I prefer to use them most times over power tools, especially if using them on a small project. I found out that bulky expensive power tools aren't as great as what they are made out to be. Still wouldn't give up my Milwaukee sawz all, though.

    I joined a group called MW TCA, Mid West Tool Collectors Association. Have learned alot about old tools, but probably won't renew my membership. I do feel like you have to understand the tools in order to use them successfully. Attend one of their local meets if you can. Its a great resource for learning and to buy old tools.

    Your library should have tons of books on how to use those old tools. Might try a book store if you are flush with cash. There is an unbelievable amount in printed form on the topic of old tools.

    There are some internet sites too, but I haven't found any great ones.

    By the way, don't overpay for your hand tools....there are millions of great 'user' tools out and about that can be had for cheap, and put back into working order in less than an hour.

    Let me know if you need more info....I learned alot the hard way, and would be happy to save you the agony.
    clove
     
  5. sylvar

    sylvar Well-Known Member

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    Just to second (or third) what others have said - Roy Underhill's Woodwright series is incredible! Watching his show growing up was such a pleasure. I have all the books in the series and he goes into detail on all the processes and how they have evolved. Another book I highly recommend is "The Complete Woodworker" edited bt Bernard E Jones.

    What clovis said about not overpaying is very true. A wire brush, some WD40 and a willingness make missing wooden parts has saved me a buldle over the years. I memory serves there is a whole chapter on restoring old tools in one of Roy's books.

    Clovis,
    What is this MW TCA you speak of? I have been collecting antique wookworking tools since I was 11. I always buy tools that are still serviceable/salvagable. Nice to know there others out there like you who actually buy these old tools to use them, not just look at them.

    Shane
     
  6. clovis

    clovis Well-Known Member

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    Shane,
    the Mid west Tool Collectors Association is a group of tool collectors. I learned alot by joining the group and attending the local meets. They have a quarterly newsletter, which isn't that great, but does have some cool info like upcoming sales, meets and auctions.
    The most of this group specializes in one area, like Stanley planes or machinists tools. The majority of these guys are interested in collector pieces and shelf queens and will pay outrageous prices for rare stuff. I would say at least 40% also use old hand tools. All of them have great knowledge about old tools.
    I joined for one year, but will not renew. I learned alot of the basics in the past year, and have enjoyed it. My extra cash is tight for this kind of thing, and also have no yearning to own a plane worth $600. (You can buy user tools super cheap at these meets, however).
    Look them up on the web. mwtca.org?
    clove
     
  7. Rod Torgeson

    Rod Torgeson Well-Known Member

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    amelia......Here is a place where you can go to ask questions about hand tools.
    http://www.sawmillcreek.org/forumdisplay.php?f=4
    It is a woodworkers forum that is visited by woodworkers that are knowledgeable about the use of hand tools. They might be able to point you in the direction of a school or a helpful video. Hope this helps. Rod