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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  • File Joints for a Perfect FitFile Joints for a Perfect Fit

    by Chris Gochnour

    Files are great for removing wood when a joint is almost together—but not quite. A file will delicately trim a joint until it slides home with hand pressure and ...

  • 4 Planes for Joinery4 Planes for Joinery

    by Vic Tesolin

    Specialty planes make it easier to build furniture by hand. By adding a shoulder plane, a router plane, a rabbet plane, and a plow plane to his collection, Vic ...

  • Extend the Life of a Natural-Bristle BrushQ & A: Extend the Life of a Natural-Bristle Brush

    by Teri Masaschi

  • How to Prep Rough Lumber with Hand ToolsHow to Prep Rough Lumber with Hand Tools

    by Andrew Hunter

    Flattening and dimensioning boards by hand is the bedrock of hand-tool woodworking. Nothing can teach you more about wood than taking it from rough to ready with ...

  • Skill Building Hand-Tool ExercisesSkill Building Hand-Tool Exercises

    by Jeff Miller

    To firmly master the use of hand tools such as the handsaw, chisel, and handplane, you need to practice. Practice builds and reinforces your muscle memory, letting ...

  • Backer Board Prevents Tearout on RabbetsQ & A: Backer Board Prevents Tearout on Rabbets

    by Chris Gochnour

  • How to Master the BacksawHow to Master the Backsaw

    by Chris Gochnour

    You may be replete with power tools, but that doesn't mean you don't need a backsaw. A backsaw can cut joinery just as quickly as a tablesaw or router when you ...

  • Smooth Curves with Hand ToolsSmooth Curves with Hand Tools

    by Jeff Miller

    Every furniture style has its own visual language, and that language often involves curves. Whether you bandsaw curves or rout them, they all require smoothing ...

  • How to Make a MalletHow to Make a Mallet

    by Michael Cullen

    Make a stout woodworking mallet with an oversize head. You'll use it for any number of tasks, from cleaning out a mortise or chopping dovetails to delicate detail ...

  • Modify a Chisel for Cleaner CorneringQ & A: Modify a Chisel for Cleaner Cornering

    by Michael Pekovich

  • Easy-Start HandsawingQ & A: Easy-Start Handsawing

    by Michael Pekovich

  • Turn Your Shoulder Plane into a Star PerformerEditors PickTurn Your Shoulder Plane into a Star Performer

    by Philip C. Lowe

    Despite its name, Phil Lowe generally doesn't use his shoulder plane to trim tenon shoulders (they are too short and narrow), but it is his go-to tool for trimming ...

  • Work More Safely with FeatherboardsWork More Safely with Featherboards

    by Bob Van Dyke

    Whether shopmade or manufactured, a featherboard is a valuable third hand that keeps workpieces tight to the fence or tabletop as they pass a blade or bit. Not ...

  • Camber: The Secret to Perfect PlaningCamber: The Secret to Perfect Planing

    by Chris Gochnour

    If your smoothing plane leaves ridges on the surface of your workpiece, even after meticulous sharpening, try adding a slight arc to the cutting edge of the blade, ...

  • 4 Chisel Tricks4 Chisel Tricks

    by Philip C. Lowe

    You can do so many things with a simple, flat bench chisel: chamfer a tenon and pare its cheeks and shoulders so it fits into the mortise more easily, mortise a ...

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