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Aside from jigs and fixtures, most tools are purchased commercially, not made from scratch in the shop. But making your tools is an option that shouldn’t be ruled out.
The Basics: • Handmade hand tools: Mainly for the fun of it. • Making power tools: Portable power tools and creativity can substitute for expensive machinery.
Handmade hand tools Depending on the complexity of its parts, a hand tool can be an enjoyable project to undertake. The same satisfaction you get from filling your house with handmade furniture can be achieved by using handmade tools in the shop.
Most of the hand tools that are reproduced by hand are composed of wood and metal parts. Shaping the wood parts falls under the domain of standard woodworking. However, the cast or milled metal parts require knowledge of metalworking and special tools that many woodworkers don’t possess.
For these reasons, hand tools such as marking knives and mallets are less difficult to make than precision tools such as handplanes and measuring tools. Still, these more complex projects are are attainable for a woodworker, and many are available as kits.
Making power tools Power tools and machinery are rarely shopmade, because low-cost commercial products are readily available. However, some machinery can be replicated by combining portable power tools with a shopmade housing.
Router tablesmay just be the most common examples. There are countless designs for shopmade router tables that range from a simple plywood table and stand to a complex cabinet with fence and table accessories.
A slot mortiser or horizontal boring machine is another tool that can be replicated with a router and shopmade mechanics.
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