Power tools are relatively modern innovations in the history of woodworking, and they have improved the speed and efficiency of the craft. However, they require a unique set of skills and techniques to ensure safety and accurate results.
• Follow best practices: Common power-tool operations have well-established procedures in place.
• By machine alone: The power tool can accomplish just about any task a hand tool can accomplish.
Follow best practices
All of the basic machinery and power tools available to woodworkers have a long history of use for a wide variety of operations. As a result, a basic set of procedures can be followed with any tool.
Mainly these established rules are designed to ensure operator safety, such as keeping hands away from moving bits and blades and preventing kickback. Manufacturer guidelines are always a good place to start when using a power tool for the first time. Be sure to study these if you are unsure of how a tool should be operated.
Aside from safety, the need to produce clean, accurate cuts consistently has contributed to the set of standard operating procedures. For example, when using a router, best practices suggest always cutting with the grain and in the opposite direction from the rotation of the bit (the opposite of a climb cut). In addition to improving safety, following these guidelines will lessen your chances of tearing the grain or gouging the workpiece.
By machine alone
In the last century, the tool industry has evolved, and now there is a power tool for just about any conceivable operation. As a result, a modern woodworker who has access to electric-powered alternatives may have little knowledge of hand-tool techniques.
Whether the task is cutting joinery, milling lumber, or shaping furniture parts, there exists at least one way to accomplish these tasks with power tools. Often there are multiple solutions. For example, a mortise can be cut with a router, a drill press, or a hollow-chisel mortiser, in addition to a stout chisel and mallet.