How to do more with hand tools

How to do more with hand tools is the question this site seeks to answer.

For newbies, it means figuring out what all the excitement is and how to get set up.

For the more experienced, it means learning more advanced techniques and developing relationships with other hand tool workers.

My site here at UnpluggedShop.com offers hand tool updates from other sites and also forum updates from hand tool forums. If you follow those authors for a while, that is a good start towards getting into hand tools and has accounted for much of my education.

The downside to that method is that it takes a lot of time to sort through all the information. Keeping up with all of the posts is a bit like drinking out of a fire hose. It's very refreshing, but can be a bit much. There are also some great books and videos from Lost Art Press and other publishers, that offer really great in depth stuff.

Sometimes it's nice just to have a quick way to figure out what you need. To that end, I'm working on refining and expanding the Getting Started section of the site, developing a series of ebook guides, and some other things to get new woodworkers happily sliding down the slippery path of neanderthalism.

Since I started this site in 2007, I've felt like there should be a lot more people doing hand tool woodworking and adding hand tool techniques into their work. I still feel that way.

There is just something therapeutic about pushing a plane along a board and watching a shaving curl up; guiding a well tuned saw through a board as the sawdust drifts to the ground, checking a board or project by site and by feel, and the myriad of other tasks associated with hand tool work.

Hand tool woodworking can be cheaper than getting a dog, atv, four wheel drive truck, fancy lawnmower, boat, season game tickets, and a host of other hobbies. Not only that, it is a hobby you can make to pay for itself if you so desire.

The stark contrast hand tool woodworking provides to our hyped up, fast paced, highly technical, extremely abstract, mile wide inch deep lives is striking. I used to use the tagline “Therapeutic woodworking” on this site. I think that says it about right.

Now if you will excuse me, I'm going to go make some shavings.

Luke Townsley
UnpluggedShop.com