A move towards the unplugged???
As with a lot of woodworkers in my generation, I came into this passion completely plugged in. If I couldn’t do it without a power tool, it couldn’t be done. As I started to refine my work it was amazing to me that suddenly I was pulling those old planes I inheirited off the shelf and hoping that they might allow me to finesse a mortise and tenon or clean up a face. So I began to pay attention to those galoots out there and started to go back through my old issues of Popular Woodworking and the like and paying more attention to hand tool articles and techniques for sharpening. The seed was sown and lay dormant for a while, almost afraid to do anything more.
Well last October for our anniverssary, my wife and I spent a long weekend in Williamsburg, VA. We saw it all, but I must have made at least 15 stops into the cabinet maker’s shop. The guys there started to recognize me and call me by name. That dormant seed began to sprout and a passion for hand tool work began. Now that was only 7 months ago so hardly have I had time to become terribly proficient in the startling breadth of hand tools out there, but I have definately transformed how I work with wood. I have found a happy synthesis between the power tools and the hand tools. My jointer and tablesaw still get quite a work out, but there are a lot more chisels laying about and handplanes and scrapers on every flat surface. I have found myself buying old tools on ebay even. Check out the mortise chisels that i just got. (excuse the blatant pose, I was looking for website fodder)
All of this preamble is my way of introducing a new series of posts that will detail my shop transformation to allow for this synthesis that I spoke of above. The most glaring deficiency in my shop now is a complete lack of a bench. (gasp!) I have some things that need to be done first in order to make room for said workshop shrine however so I will start there. In other words, hand on tight and tune in for the fun!