If you’re just beginning to build or you’re looking to increase your woodworking skills, you’re inundated with a lot of information and opinion, some of which is malarkey and some is not. The idea that you have to work only with hand tools from years ago to be classified as a true woodworker is something that raises the little hairs on the back of my neck.
Working in the old style doesn’t mean that you have to work with hand planes – I own power tools, machines if you will, that predate many hand planes.
Proper woodworking, however, does include hand planes; we all should be working with both power and hand tools just as has been done for years. Power tools do the brunt of the work (the lesser skilled parts of woodworking), and hand tools come out when the work needs to be fine-tuned and fit. Some feel that woodworkers in the 18th and early 19th centuries worked the same way, but used their apprentices to do the lesser-skilled work of preparing the parts and panels.