I use my Systems Engineering skills to pay for the use of my woodworking skills. I've worked in the information technology field about 20 years. My career transition was from being self employed as a general contractor where I did a lot of custom woodworking, cabinet making and furniture building, along with typical carpentry and building activities. Basically my hobby became my job and my job became my hobby.

At 54 years old I finally built myself a decent shop and began working more with hand tools and less with power equipment. I’m by no means a purest and still love my shaper, but sometime the quietness of a hand plane is soothing enough to not want to turn the planer on. I like the Quiet and Solitude that comes with working with the handtools.

That said I've also always like to restore things. Almost anything from old Victorian homes to screwdrivers. My shop is full of tools I have restored. My grizzly cabinet saw was $200 and a few days of sweat Equity. I recently restored a Walker Turner 16" bandsaw I bought for $100. I have restored well over 300 handplanes of all types. My planer is a restored Craftsman (Belsaw) planer.

The list goes on and on, but I couldn't have afforded the quality and quantity of tools buying new. I understand restoration isn't for everyone, but it sure is a fun way to get what you want if you enjoy it like I do.

I'll still never part with my table saw or bandsaws. I don't turn my jointer on a lot (restored delta), and i could probably be convinced to live without my planer, but I also have a sawmill, so I use rough sawn almost exclusively. I like the mix and every hour in my shop is a decision, hand or power.

-- -- There is nothing like the sound of a well tuned hand plane. - http://timetestedtools.com (timetestedtools at hotmail dot c0m)

5 Comments

Ahh the Don has arrived.
OK everybody relax.

Good to see you here Don. I look to your experience when I need to find the “plane” truth. As I get more and more interested and intrigued by hand tools, your writings become more and more “required reading”.

-- The early bird gets the worm but its the second mouse that gets the cheese.

While building a timber frame porch for a customer we were talking about the fact that I’ve been collecting antique hand tools. He then told me of a tool box he had that I might like to see. We went into his garage and he uncovered a large wooden tool chest. My jaw dropped when he opened it up to reveal it was packed with hand tools from the late 1800’s. While I was drooling and telling him what they were he said it was his grandfather’s and had been in a museum till his mother gave it to him thinking he could use them. Not knowing what they were let alone how to use them. He asked me if I would like to have them!? I was speechless! He said he was looking for someone to give them a good home for the past twenty years. I have just begun the process of sorting them out and deciding the most appropriate way to care for/repair them. I am going to gently clean the hand made tools. And restore the manufactured tools to working order where they will get many more years of service in my shop. After that they will most likely go back to a museum.

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-- -- There is nothing like the sound of a well tuned hand plane. - http://timetestedtools.com (timetestedtools at hotmail dot c0m)