Using Hand Tools

In this golden age of electric-powered machinery, knowing the basics of handsaws, planes, chisels, and measuring and marking tools is an essential skill set that can add quality and personality to your work. However, using hand tools takes practice and
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  • Using a Scraper PlaneVideo: Using a Scraper Plane

    with Philip C. Lowe

    In the seventh of our 8-question series on handplanes, an award-winning furniture-maker and teacher explains how to prevent a scraper plane from chattering

  • Using Wooden Molding PlanesVideo: Using Wooden Molding Planes

    with Philip C. Lowe

    In the second of our series, an award-winning furniture-maker shows how to buy, sharpen, and use antique molding planes

  • Woodworking for KidsWoodworking for Kids

    by Doug Stowe

    A seasoned woodworker and teacher explains the importance of setting up woodworking programs in schools

  • Smooth a Round Edge with a SpokeshaveVideo: Smooth a Round Edge with a Spokeshave

    with Gary Rogowski

    Learn how to clean up a round tabletop edge with a spokeshave and apply a chamfer on the router table

  • Get the Most from Your Bench ChiselsGet the Most from Your Bench Chisels

    by Chris Gochnour

    They've been used by generations of woodworkers and are still one of the most versatile hand tools in the shop. As Chris Gochnour explains, chisels are invaluable ...

  • Flat and Square by HandFlat and Square by Hand

    by Philip C. Lowe

    The first task assigned to any student in Phil Lowe's furniture-making classes is to use hand tools to plane a board flat, straight, and square. This is more than ...

  • Bench Chisel TechniquesVideo: Bench Chisel Techniques

    with Garrett Hack

    Review the basics of chopping and paring with a chisel in the last of our 10-question series on choosing and using chisels

  • How They Did It: Before the BandsawVideo: How They Did It: Before the Bandsaw

    with Mack S. Headley, Jr.

    Handsaws of all shapes and sizes were used to cut curves and rough shape furniture parts in the 18th century

  • How They Did It: Before the RouterVideo: How They Did It: Before the Router

    with Mack S. Headley, Jr.

    18th century craftsmen used an array of hand planes to plow grooves and dadoes, and profile edges

  • How They Did It: Dimensioning Lumber By HandVideo: How They Did It: Dimensioning Lumber By Hand

    with Mack S. Headley, Jr.

    Before power tools, 18th century craftsmen wielded handsaws and planes to four-square lumber for furniture

  • The Five-Minute DovetailVideo: The Five-Minute Dovetail

    with Gary Rogowski

    Practice hand-cut dovetails without the pressure in this easy exercise to strengthen your hand-tool skills

  • Using a Japanese Pull SawVideo: Using a Japanese Pull Saw

    with Gary Rogowski

    An alternative to the western dovetail saw, the lesser-known pull saw is versatile and produces a thinner kerf

  • Chop a Mortise by HandVideo: Chop a Mortise by Hand

    with Frank Klausz

    Learn the basics to cutting a haunched mortise with a chisel

  • Determining Grain DirectionDetermining Grain Direction

    by Chris Gochnour

    Furniture maker and author Chris Gochnour offers tips for reading the direction of the grain in a variety of wood species in this basic overview on the anatomy of ...

  • Half-Blind DovetailsHalf-Blind Dovetails

    by Carl Swensson

    The handsome half-blind dovetail is easy to find — it is often used to join drawer fronts to drawer sides. When made with contrasting woods, the result can be especially ...

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