Skill Building Hand-Tool Exercises
Practice, and you'll gain better control over your tools
Synopsis: 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 you perform the physical tasks routinely and making them second nature. Practice also lets you build up mastery of the underlying skills by isolating them, or reducing them to basic elements of technique. Jeff Miller, who is a musician as well as a woodworking teacher, knows the value of practice. Here, he shows the basic exercises you can do regularly to keep your skills in top form.
Before I made furniture for a living, I made music. As a player in orchestras and brass ensembles, I stayed sharp in the way that most performers do, with hours and hours of practice.
So when I came into the woodshop, it seemed natural to practice my new skills with the same sort of discipline.…