It is a valid enquiry. The reason I would not generally advocate the other machines is because the process of hand work has proven to be so effective and then good for me. Why not for those who seek the enrichment hand work brings too. A lot of the woodworkers following here started out with machines but then discovered the power of hand work and it’s fulfilling rewards. The main struggle many had was with the hard slog of stock reduction in hardwoods and, additionally, the time that took to get to the interesting elements of woodworking that they enjoyed the most. The bandsaw is not the downward spiral to the slippery slope, it’s a practical solution with the smallest footprint and it dimensions stock for us to continue the work with our much loved hand work and hand tools. Surprising to machinists, people I work with want hand work as I do myself. I like chopping my mortises and pitting my wits and body against difficulties. It keeps me tome up to use hand methods. I will do it as long as my body and mind holds out. It is not wearing my body out, it’s keeping it toned. I just entered my 55th year of working daily, six days a week with hand tools. And I feel great!
My decision for fine hand work needed hand skills not machining. In fact machining could never match what my customers wanted which was not mass making methods to reduce costs. My customers wanted qualities they could only get with handwork. It was distinctive in the same way some people want a hand stitched suit with evidence of stitching showing throughout the work. having mastered my own workmanship I felt I could help others to find their way to progress skill building.
The bandsaw is the least invasive of all machines, it takes up little space and in my view, though there are inherent dangers as with all machines, with the right safety patterns and procedures, there is no reason everyone shouldn’t have the benefits for stock reduction and preparation prior to the work with hand tools. For the majority a machine workshop with half a dozen dedicated machines would be just impossible. I learned that early on in my work teaching. Then there are the surveys we have done through the years that showed how the majority woodworkers around the world had only a 10′ by 10′ space to work in. Even one machine would crowd out all other possibilities. It’s mostly practicalities that help determine which machine to buy. To some woodworkers the tablesaw is like the microwave is to the kitchen. Just how do you melt butter?
It really should not be a surprise to anyone that I have no problem with machines. It has been pure assumption that I never use or used machines and I understand that. Often in any given conversation it is not what people say that makes the statement but what they don’t say. I rarely mention tablesaws and planers, power routers and skilsaws and such because I so rarely of ever use them. I love that I don’t rely on them too. So that then for some people at least becomes a more profound statement than any spoken words I might offer. It is natural to assume that I do not like machines when i actually do like them. What I don’t like is how people never get to know hand tools and the way they work. “They never develop their knowledge and ability because, well, they don’t think that they are efficient. They can’t understand because they only ever used machines and poor quality, poorly sharpened and poorly set hand tools. The wow-factor of a sharp chisel, a plane that shaves onion-skin shavings and so on usually transforms the way they think in a matter of minutes. That’s why we are here.