…and No Other?

“Dear Mr. Sellers,
Let me ask a disruptive question. You say “The bandsaw features highly in resizing my stock. It speeds up the process”.
I have been reading your blog for a few months and I’m really surprised regarding the consistency between you general argumentation against machines and your use of the bandsaw, that is also a noisy dusty dangerous power tool. Why do you make an exception for the bandsaw and not the power plane or router? Doesn’t thsi defeat your argumentation against power tools? If we start using power tools, where to stop?”

Hello, Actually, I don’t argue with those who counter my preference for hand tools by telling me what I should do or asking why I don’t use this or that machine. I mostly dismiss them because I am likely to have used the machine methods they use a hundred or a thousand times more and I am also skilled with hand tools too. As a result of this, I can decide for myself and have no need to explain myself to anyone. You see I made a choice based on my experience. They can’t make the same choice because, for the main part at least, they choose methods that require little if any skill. I mean they can dial in the distance, lift the wood to the table and the fence, switch on and push. They are not addressing an audience every month with an alternative offering. Of the hundreds of thousands I reach this way I would be surprised if the vast majority of them do or even can own the machinery it would take to make even one of the beautiful pieces we make with hand tools in our videos. Then too, what of the costs? 8,000 (You name the currency) to set up a workshop for making a few pieces of furniture. And then what of the dedicated workspace? Again, they must have a whole garage at least to house this machinery and support equipment like a dust extractor, outfeed tables and so on. Were I to do this, the message I would send would have to be entirely different. My message thus far, without telling anyone never to use a machine in my life, Is an amazing success story. I haven’t needed a tablesaw in years, I have a power router somewhere and that is the same. I don’t particularly need a power joiner or thickness planer but as I get older perhaps I might need one. Right now I don’t. If I do need wood dimensioning in quantity I will buy it that way. Look how much space and money I am saving already.

You say that the bandsaw is, “a noisy dusty dangerous power tool.” I say no it’s not. Not when it us set up properly and used carefully. In my view the bandsaw is one of the safest machines to use provided you have the right training and safety equipment and practices. For instance, I own a meter that measures the dust in the atmosphere that cost £2,000. I did this because my film staff need to be protected as well if not more than me. Periodic testing and measuring always results in the same outcome and that is barely enough air contamination to register and certainly no danger. Why? Use a well set up extractor unit about an eighth the size of a cubic meter. The bandsaw itself occupies a footprint of foursquare feet. That’s not invasive in my garage space.

Twice you say, “I’m really surprised regarding the consistency between your general argumentation against machines”. I would ask you to cite where you saw, read, heard or watched me argue with anyone about the use of machines? I do have a stance, part of which I just outlined, ut `i am not unsympathetic toward people who have never learned to use hand tools or don’t believe tat they work as well as they do. My quest is to persuade others to understand that they can embrace hand tools as well as other methods, that they could actually give up harmful habits including smoking and choking their workshop and spending a fortune when all they wanted was a coffee table and to learn some real woodworking instead of just machining. You know, adopt an enhanced lifestyle.

For dimensioning would in a limited garage space the bandsaw knows no equal. Why? Well have you ver tried ripping a 2 x 10 inch board four feet long into four half inch thick boards on a tablesaw? I just did it in a few minutes yesterday. I find it hard to tell someone with emphysema to do such a thing. I am currently making a rocking chair with 30 parts of various sizes and some of which are curved bent or whatever. The bandsaw is just perfect and planing each piece takes but a few minutes.

I think that your question was legitimate and good. And I hoe that this helps.


  1. Dave Pawson on 5 November 2020 at 7:53 am

    Well said (and reasoned) Paul.

    • Steve on 12 November 2020 at 1:24 pm

      I am in my mid seventies,taught Industrial Arts woodworking for thirty years,mostly machines because that’s the world we live in. Some hand tools;sharpening chisels and plane irons. Safety First always. fully equipped with machines. Over the years equipped a small shop of my own with machines. First two, bandsaw & jointer. Have always hand cut dovetails,taught students the method also. It takes skills that must be learned using machines and one will discover this when you begin using them. Retired twenty years have increased my use of hand tools for the pure pleasure of them. Thank Paul for his instruction. To argue over which is silly. Choose and go to work,enjoy.

    • Stanley Gibson on 12 November 2020 at 1:35 pm

      As I become more accustomed to hand tools I use my power tools less and less. There is a satisfaction in starting with a raw hunk of timber and using hand tools only to produce slabs of lumber then work those into a piece of jointery for a gift. Ripping the slabs is hard but enjoyable. Like all the other tasks precision comes with practice.. At some point in the process I usually think about selling all my power tools and buying a nice bandsaw.

  2. Sylvain on 5 November 2020 at 7:55 am

    When you write “I just did it in a few minutes yesterday.”, I guess you mean: with the bandsaw, not with a tablesaw.

    My work space is about 2 m X 3 m and I am happy I have not spend thousands in machinery to make some things now and then.

    Thank you for your teaching.

  3. James on 5 November 2020 at 9:17 am

    I must admit to struggling to set up a small 10″ band saw I have two a Ryobi and draper. I have found them a pain to set up and grossly underpowered even cutting 2″ stock.

    I do wonder if a novice woodworker such as myself so long as they are safety conscious would be better off with a basic table saw. I have the UK Titan model and it’s fairly accurate and powerful although a slight bit noisy.

    Would save the trouble setting up a band saw.

    Btw love the blog and all the helpful information it gives week by week. Hope to subscribe to the videos soon.

    Cheers James

    • JeffS on 9 November 2020 at 3:29 pm

      Like everything else, the quality of the tool is important.
      The quality of the blade of utmost importance.

      I was told the same thing by a woodworker, bandsaw, not tablesaw. I decided to go tablesaw.. I didn’t regret it. But once I finally sorted out my band saw, I realized I could have gotten by on a bandsaw first. It took me a while to sort my bandsaw out, it was a higher quality unit. But there were things I needed to learn to run it better. My blade was my number one issue. My alignment was number 2. The saw requires a lot of offset for drift, more than the saw can handle. No matter what blade. By sticking an aux fence on my fence I adjust that way.

      I learned in a hand tool shop with my dad. Eventually we added hand power tools. When I grew up, I went back to hand tools, Even after getting a TS and BS, I still hand planed to prep wood. It was a long time before I bought a jointer and planer, because it was faster. But I still hand plane wide boards, and difficult boards with wild grain.

  4. Neil Greene on 5 November 2020 at 9:48 am

    Thank you Paul. Having transitioned from a fully equipped machine shop to hand tool woodworking I echo your sentiments. I find it much more enjoyable to work without dust masks, hearing protection. I’ve dodged wood flying out of a table saw and hundreds of other risks to life and limb. I’ve spent many hours listening to or explaining to others machine shop safety. Now in my mid 70’s I am able to achieve peace and a closer relationship with my work. I enjoy my experiences more and hope others will find the same excitement in creating beautiful projects using their acquired skills. Thanks again Paul for all you do and have done.

  5. Vidar Fagerjord Harboe on 5 November 2020 at 11:16 am

    I have presented my view on several occasions, but I think it is good to gather information and opinions on several places, given the vast number of results at search engines.

    Some machines might be useful to save time. I have two daughters aged two and four. I work full time. There is not enough time for me to do everything by hand.

    So I own both a big band saw, a good dust collector, a planer / thicknesser and a few other power tools I gathered before Paul made a workbench on a lawn, smacking a tree with a piece of 2×4” while hand planing.

    Now I own a collection of hand planes and hand tools, and enjoy spending precious time making dovetails, cutting dadoes and rabbets with a chisel and a router plane – or a plough or rabbet plane, which I recently got hold of.
    I can spend an evening cutting down stock to rough dimensions, planing and thicknessing the boards to near final dimension by machines, and then prep my hand tools. The next time I go into the shop, I can take my smoothing plane to the pieces and get them to dimension and start my joinery using my hand tools.

    But I’ll admit to this: Should I ever need to make a lot of consistent and identical parts, out comes the power tools. Then they have their place. To save precious time in order to get a project done within the timeframe I give myself. The final fettle will be done by hand anyway, and every “one off” operation likewise.
    And I will still regard myself as a wood worker (non-professional*).

    *professional in this case meaning a person that can live off the woodworking he or she does.

    Paul, I thank you for this blog post and the clear message of it. One may think it is sad that you need to do it, but I think it is also a good thing – it proves that people cares.

    • Paul N. on 9 November 2020 at 5:25 pm

      It seems to me that Paul’s message is to celebrate hand tools, not to denigrate power tools, a message I have taken to heart. I am building a few kitchen cabinets for a loft space, and built the plywood boxes and face frames using power tools (track saw, band saw, chop saw, domino joiner). With that done in short order, I am going to spend a comparatively ridiculous amount of time making the doors and drawers with hand tools only, with a view towards improving my gappy dovetails and mortise and tenon joints. Like Vida, I use power tools to allow time for the good stuff. What is so important about Paul’s work in my view is that he is encouraging us to branch out and invest time in hand work (and it does take time on the wood, like skiing takes time on the snow). I thank him for that.

  6. Bill on 5 November 2020 at 11:44 am


    It seems for the most part lately that you already have the lumber your going to use in a project dimensioned. It would be nice with the rocking chair that you consider including a beginning video showing the process of the wood being prepared for the project….understanding a lot of it would have to be time-lapsed with breaks along the way where you may explain what’s going on.

  7. Rick Powis on 5 November 2020 at 12:40 pm

    Dear Paul,
    As always thanks for your comments. We are of the same generation with the same number of woodworking years in our closet. Where we differ is that my start was as an avocation that succumbed to the power tools of magazine adverts. I had them all and used them well. Slowly I began to realize that I enjoyed the quiet and reduced dust that hand tools provided. My machines began to set dormant and I moved from my 2400 square foot shop to a 600 square foot hand tool space. I’m now down to 300 square feet with only a 14 inch band saw, 30 inch lathe and a standing drill press which I find indispensable. As you have noted many times, dimensioning stock by hand provides much needed exercise and more satisfaction than with a 20 inch planer and 12 inch jointer. But, if I was back doing casework for kitchens the machines would be necessary for all that ply. It’s been a great journey. Thanks for your insight.

  8. steve on 5 November 2020 at 1:12 pm

    I think some power machinery to take the donkey work out of stock preparation is always a good idea and makes sense. All of the old craftsmen would certainly have used them – just as they would have used plywood as a veneer substrate had it been available.

  9. Salko Safic on 5 November 2020 at 1:15 pm

    I own a bandsaw but I have unplugged it and tucked it away in the corner. I’m still debating within myself if I should sell it or not. I know I’m not getting any younger but I’m also in no real need of it either. Yes ripping everything by hand is physically challenging and slow. However, once your muscle strength develops, it gets easier and easier every time. If you’re in business then I would say keep the bandsaw because time is money but other than that it’s a personal preference. I cannot say as I do not know if I’ll be woodworking in 20 years time to use that as an excuse to keep my bandsaw as the price of timber continues to rise to stupid amounts. I can only speak for my country.

    • Charlie on 10 November 2020 at 1:05 am

      Salko Safic;

      KEEP your band-saw, it’s paid (assumption) for and you won’t like the price of buying a new one in the future. Tuck it aside and cover it so it’s clean when you decide to re-instate it. My 2cents. Sooner or later it will be of value to your use or for sale.


  10. BenF on 5 November 2020 at 2:29 pm


    How do you decide when to use the bandsaw for stock prep / dimensioning and when to use the hand tools? I’m curious what factors for you personally. I’ve been following too and one reason I like this method (of many) is I don’t need to take safety equipment on and off but especially the safety with kids in or near the shop. I’m younger and not needing the bandsaw but not against having it for easier dimensioning and thicknessing especially given my limited time except on the weekends. Thank you in advance!

  11. Paul Boegel on 5 November 2020 at 3:49 pm

    This is, as usual, a good answer to an age-old question. As a woodworker you will soon discover that while it is nice to have the power tools you will still need to learn the skills to use hand tools. Sooner or later there will come a point in one of your projects that the power tools either will not do or are impractical. Power tools were primarily designed for industry so that a large volume of identical lumber could be had on site from rough stock. For a single night table or bookcase hand tools often make more sense, cause much less or no dust and noise and provide a sense of satisfaction that does not come from power tools. There is no escaping hand tools. You will still need them and are often much more practical for small jobs. I have a fully set up shop with an industrial tablesaw as well as decent jointer, thickness planer, drillpress and bandsaw along with a decent dust extractor. However to use this equipment I often spend as much time cleaning up as I spend doing the job. For volume you simply cannot beat power tools but for the sheer satisfaction of woodworking as a hobby it is hard to beat finally developing a skill such as sharpening a hand plane to razor sharp and completing a project by hand. That is when you understand what you have finally learned. That is a joy in itself.

  12. Don on 5 November 2020 at 4:31 pm

    Hi Paul, I respect your work and knowledge but think that you can have a dogmatic approach to woodworking. Most of the people reading your posts are amateurs or hobbyists and might be able to dedicate a lot of free time to woodworking. I used to work in the trade but now I work full time in another profession, now only working wood for about four hours a week.
    We all derive pleasure from woodworking in different ways. Yes I get pleasure from hand cutting dovetails without gaps but I also enjoy machining timber and finishing a project quickly and accurately.

    When I retire I might move over to using hand tools exclusively but this will be because I will have the time to do so. If you look at the masters of the craft, they all work in different ways. Master the use of hand tools by all means but find your own bliss in working wood.

    • Paul Sellers on 5 November 2020 at 5:44 pm

      Dogmatist or pragmatist, not one and the same but people like yourself often make statements like that that are really unhelpful and perhaps untrue if you consider the meaning of dogmatic. There is a huge opposition to my type of work. Because I choose a pragmatic approach it is all too easy to bandy words like dogmatist about, when it is indeed a pragmatic attitude that is indeed making a difference to how hundreds if thousands who follow me every month have chosen to change direction. I don’t care too much who uses what machines to machine their wood with. I explained that in my reply to the questioner. My pragmatic approach saves time and gets the point across and the job done. You must remember the opposition I have had to endure for two, almost three decades from “dogmatists” who use only machines and are advocates of machine-only methods. That is dogmatism, mine is not. I gave good reasons for my approach and chose my words carefully. I stand by the carefully thought through response I gave which was far from dogmatic.

      • Grandmaster Roubo (aka Jeff D) on 9 November 2020 at 11:33 pm

        Infidel! Heretic! Thou art unfaithful to the Divine teachings of the Church of the Splintered Eye! As the greatest woodworker of all time, only i know the True Secrets of the Grain. You must use only tools that can be held in the right hand to truly woodwork. They must be cast bronze. No iron age steampunk or later tools allowed. Purity must be maintained at any and all costs. Our cardinal sins are machining, questioning the Sacred Science, and flexible thinking. Oh, and we must wear old timey overalls. And a funny hat.

  13. Robert Lenart on 5 November 2020 at 4:59 pm

    Hi Paul
    I’m so glad you share your concerns with us and explain your reasoning behind what you say. I’m the kind of person who needs things that are new to me explained especially the use of tools whether electric powered or hand powered and, I believe your input has helped me stay safe while I learn this wonderful trade. I’m a person who has some disabilities and need the kindness, patience and, wisdom you share especially in your blogs. I’m just starting out in woodworking and I look forward to the enjoyment you offer. I wish you and your family the very best. Your friend, Bob Lenart

  14. Joe on 5 November 2020 at 5:28 pm

    Thanks Paul. A bandsaw is the one tool I want. Mostly for thicknessing wood.

    Could you please talk a bit more about what is needed for proper dust extraction when using a bandsaw such as cubic feet per min, motor horsepower, filters, hose sizes, etc? It’s probably country specific but I’d be curious to understand what you did for your UK shop as well as your particulate counts bandsaw off then on?

    I’ve developed inhalation medicines in my professional career so I take dust as a serious concern from a power tool. As it is, I have a Dylos $270 instrument to measure dust in the air when I started to work with hand tools just to see how much dust was generated. Very little is the simple answer though sawing by hand raises it some and using sandpaper by hand raises it more. I rarely use sand paper even by hand. Many thanks.

    • Bill Klapwyk on 10 November 2020 at 2:53 am

      Most bandsaw manuals will tell you what size hose and CFM are recommended. I have the Grizzly g0513ANV bandsaw and this is what the manual says about dust collection.
      To connect a dust collection hose:
      1.Fit a 4″ dust hose over each dust port and secure them in place with a hose clamp (see Figure 39).
      2.Tug the hoses to make sure they do not come off.
      Note: A tight fit is necessary for proper per-formance.

      Recommended CFM at Dust Port: 400 CFM Do not confuse this CFM recommendation with the rating of the dust collector. To determine the CFM at the dust port, you must consider these variables: (1) CFM rating of the dust collector, (2) hose type and length between the dust col-lector and the machine, (3) number of branches or wyes, and (4) amount of other open lines throughout the system. Explaining how to cal-culate these variables is beyond the scope of this manual. Consult an expert or purchase a good dust collection “how-to” book

  15. Mark D. Baker on 5 November 2020 at 6:36 pm

    Aloha Paul,
    I’m a woodworker for the past 40 years. Most of that was with large industrial machines. But today, having survived a major NDE and waking up from a coma, I’m left with 24/7 vertigo. Reasonability dictates: Hand tools only. Time dictates: I need to get this job done, lets turn on a power tool. Vertigo Rules over Time. I still have all my digits and plan on keeping them. Yes , I can’t do what I used to. Yes , I work slower and with great care. But anything is better than looking up from under the grass, I’m alive and still useful. Thank You Jehovah God.

  16. John on 5 November 2020 at 7:40 pm

    Well said. And, speaking as an archaeologist who not infrequently is attempting to explain why amazing ancient monuments needed neither metal tools, nor machines, nor some other “mysterious” high technology, you have my sympathies. Many people seem to be unaware that machine tools were developed to do tasks that were already being done by hand, or that metal tools replaced tools of stone, bone, wood, and ivory tools for the same tasks. I have a bandsaw, and a table saw, that I use for various tasks, as well as the hand tools I use primarily. The bandsaw is the power tool I use the most.

  17. Jerry Moomaw on 5 November 2020 at 8:21 pm

    When I began wood working 35 years ago, I didn’t know there was another way besides machines. All those years with the that noise and dust. Then I injured my finger with the tablesaw, and instantly swore off power tools. That one anyway. I still have my jointer and planer, and other power hand tools because I haven’t had the time to find new homes for them. I am now a fully hand tool user. I never had a bandsaw, or I might keep that one. And I never realized the beautiful finish one can get with a hand plane. Nor the beauty and satisfaction of the work. I am glad I stumbled upon Paul’s YouTube channel. Keep it coming.

  18. Michael M. on 5 November 2020 at 9:02 pm

    I do own a table-saw in a limited sized workshop, but I took the precaution of getting one on wheels to turn it 90 degrees when using for cross-cutting or ripping. I fitted it with a 8mm MDF cover so I can use it as an extra bench when not in use. My tabletop lathe or thickness planer can be mounted on it at exactly the right height. The dust-collector is also on wheels so can be placed wherever it is needed.
    The shed is only 2 x 6 metres, and partially in use by my wife for gardening with a potting table (on wheels and made from pallets).
    When purchasing equipment take care to measure up the footprint required and the space you need to be able to use it safely.

  19. John on 6 November 2020 at 12:07 am

    Ok, not one to leave to many comments but this one hit a nerve. About 5 or 7 years ago I was getting introduced to word working (furniture types of projects) and signed up for a couple of classes through some local schools. Each class was setup fully with as you can imagine an industrial collection of power tools. Each class (2 different schools) I looked around and saw all that equipment and said…there is no way we have room for all that equipment. even downsizing to smaller equipment. Each class I asked the same question: How can I do that (name the cut) without that power tool (name the tool) ? Each time I was given the similar response: Why would you want to do that? Rolled eyes, shrugged shoulders. I found it disheartening and a bit myopic on their part.

    It wasn’t until I saw Paul build that workbench in his yard and realized there was a way to accomplish making things without all the big tools. The hand tool approach may not be suitable for a mass – production level of output due to economies of scale. They are very suitable to producing good quality output with that glass smooth finish, and tight fitting joints. In many cases I can get the job done quicker because there isn’t any significant setup time required. What I was finding is that my handsaw skills over a long rip cut, or resizing material quickly was getting in the way completing projects (think re-work). Looking closely at the bandsaw after one of Paul’s video’s on the topic and using a friends one time it became clear their was room for a 10″ band saw in my workspace. It is the quietest tool (vs Router, Miter Saw, Table saw, Hand Power Saw) by far. It does not invade that quite space I love working with hand tools. It’s easy to setup to resize and rip material, not to mention cutting those curves more quickly. Leading quickly to getting the material ready for the parts of working that bring much greater joy….the part of using hand tools. As Paul mentioned, the dust, noise, and form factor of the band saw was very easy to absorb into my workspace. The bandsaw helped me address my weakness with long saw’s and focus on the build

    Thanks Paul for keeping your woodworking lessons reachable for us in the larger community of followers and demonstrating/showing us how to compliment our hand tools skills with a bandsaw.

    • Paul Sellers on 6 November 2020 at 7:31 am

      Thank you, John. The reason I keep going is not for the majority but the small cluster groups that gathered around my workbench wherever I demoed. his was real life! No clasped dollar bills shouting sell me that gadget, that jig, that machine, that piece of kit.

      • Steven Herbin on 9 November 2020 at 11:41 pm

        Paul got me started with using hand tools PROPERLY when I met him in Somerset NJ many years ago.

        I owe him a great debt. More than I could ever repay.

    • Brent Ranke on 7 November 2020 at 4:08 pm

      Reading your’s and others’ comments I am feeling blessed by the teachers that I had at Salt Lake Community College in Utah. While they do have a shop with hundreds of Thousands of dollars of equipment. CNC equipment, 4 European panel table saws, 5 sawstop table saw, laser Engraver, vacuum bag press for veneering and bend lamination, a Large timesaver sander bigger that many cars… I think you get the point they have almost everything. They also had a focus on handtools because they felt developing those skills gave an attention to detail. And they knew you would rarely be working in shop As well stocked has their shop. So they designed their furniture skill building projects to use has many of their different pieces of equipment has possible to exposure you to different methods and reduce bottlenecks for tools.
      One of the most rememberable and eye opening lectures/demos Chris Gochnour gave was showing three ways to make the curved legs of a shaker candlestick table. First, with a Coping saw, handplane, rasp, spokeshave and card scraper. Second with a band saw, oscillating spindle Sander, A large Stationary belt sander. Third, using the previous two ways to create jigs for Pattern Routing. Now I ask you which of the three methods do you think was the fastest?
      Well the answer depends. For Chris who had years of experience and have developed his skills the hand tools were faster than the bandsaw and Sanders, But more fatiguing work. And then pattern routing really started to pay off when you were making the part in the dozens or hundreds.

  20. Walter Kruger on 6 November 2020 at 12:09 am

    Similar to Jerry M, I too was taught at school with blunt tools and had radial arm saws, a huge green thicknesser and stroke sander. Now 30 years later I have discovered what I should have been shown in shop class back then. Having discovered Paul several years ago, it has change my entire perspective on the craft. I too have most of the shop machines…….. They now see much less use, using a sharp hand saw is exilarating! Paul you are phenominal Thank you.

    • Paul Sellers on 6 November 2020 at 7:27 am

      My regard for shop teachers is very mixed but generally, as we progress, fewer shop teachers have a background in real-life woodworking but they can teach textbook style–not one and the same. Same at college level too. Oh well.

  21. Roberto Fischer on 6 November 2020 at 1:02 am

    I also went to a woodworking class and all we used was machines. I almost screwed up on the table saw. When that happened I realized I was having to force myself into confidence to be able to use them and was actually uncomfortable the whole time. I left with an unfinished bench and the feeling I didn’t want to touch machines again. Youtube recommended me videos of Paul and I haven’t regretted learning all he had to teach there (and here).

    • Paul Sellers on 6 November 2020 at 7:25 am

      That was so well put, Roberto. I believe most people feel the same way. They start out uncomfortable, force themselves to gain confidence, take all the precautions of self-protection and even then the wood smacks you square in the face. The safety mechanisms don’t stop things like kickback , blade over-ride with climb cuts and such. Knots splinter and fly and wood splits just when you least expect it. It’s not much fun when the timber closes in on the back of the blade despite having a riving knife. Uh uh! But the sales staff never mention these things. No sir! Not good for the bottom line.

  22. Samuel on 6 November 2020 at 1:33 am

    Grab a computer mouse, to control a bionic hand that holds the pencil to mark the line.
    Some machines are useful…some are not an improvement.

  23. Vidar Fagerjord Harboe on 6 November 2020 at 8:26 am

    Have to share this one: the other day, a person in a facebook group asked how to make the cross-grain cut between dovetail pins (the pin socket) for an outdoor bench he is working on. All kinds of methods was presented, including various jigs and thingamabobs available for purchase.
    Using a chisel was of course suggested. The person chose that as his preferred method (good choice…), but with a twist: He will remove the bulk of the waste with a chain saw, then chisel for the fettling! I had SO many comments and questions, but managed to keep still. 🙂
    To each his own method, I guess…

    That’s another video idea for you there, Paul: making perfect dovetails with a chain saw!

  24. Simon on 6 November 2020 at 8:26 am

    I don’t understand the dogmatism some people seem to get into.. Sometimes it seems to happen fairly strong in the world of hand tool woodworking and it saddens me. People, loosen up, please! Here is what I found to be the most valuable insight from watching Paul and reading his blog for years: you don’t NEED power tools, you don’t NEED space, you don’t NEED money. If you know what you’re doing, everybody can make beautiful furniture from wood with very limited tool.

    This is wonderful and Paul is bringing joy to so many who thought woodworking wasn’t possible for them! But then people seem to translate that into “Woodworking with machines is for the devil and we will openly condemn you if you use machines! This is our elite circle of hand tools only!”. Whats up with that? Guys, it’s about enjoyment! If people have the money, have the space and most importantly: if they enjoy using machines, let them machine away! If someone would tell me that he just loves cutting weird power router ‘dovetails’ with his complicated jig and it makes him happy, you know what we should say to that person? How about “Good for you! I hope you often find the time in your life to go into your shop and power-route boxes and drawers and cabinets!”.

    Just my 2 cents.

  25. Dr. Christian Rapp on 6 November 2020 at 9:23 am

    The bandsaw hits the nerve! Ok, I am also considering buying a saw. I researched a lot. I will post some of the insights in the following.

    Upfront there is the one question, not found in books videos yet, it boils down to me and I would be happy for clarification Paul! Question: If I want to ripcut say boards for a bookshelf 180x30cm (sides of the shelf) how (a) consistent will a bandsaw do that (both pieces same width over whole length?)? (b) will the surface be fine or always need planing? (c) will the edges be dead square? From what I read and saw it seems the bandsaw is very versatile but not the best choice for clean, repetitive rip cuts and often distance between fence and blade is below 30 cm (width indicated in specs usually total distance but that means you do it freehand).

    Why I ask that. I still train using hand saws (with joy!) but results so far not always accurate enough. I have a small Festool chop saw that deals with cross cutting up to 30 cm what suits what I want to built when it has to be perfectly square. I have a track saw but cutting the two (!) long sides of one board exactly parallel is difficult with it.

    So my solution might be buying a mobile carpenter saw. They have still a small footprint, they combine chopsaw (you can pull the blade to you while wood rests still, with a range of up to 43 cm) and a circular saw. You can rip cut wide and long boards. The pioneer is https://erika.mafell.de/?L=1 Unfortunately the price is nearly prohibitive… Festool offers an alternative with sawstop (but no pull function anymore). Both would cut up to aroung 8 cm what is enough for me.

    So some of the results for the research: As Paul said most saws stem from Asia, China. It seems there are few Italian companies still building notably https://www.acmitaly.it/en/machines/band-saws-1? (sold in UK too) It seems many other European companies buy from them (e.g. Felder) and customize. It seems one Italian manufacturer was bought by this company https://www.panhans.de/products/band-saw-machines/400-900/?lang=en but but a steep price tage. Minimax seems interesting too, as I understood from San Marino https://machineatlas.com/guides/guide-to-scm-band-saws/ There is one more German top notch producer but beyond all budgets (starts at 5k) and forgot name at the moment. A book that I found informative https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/1565238419/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Thanks Paul for providing a space for these discussions!

    • Dave Gardner on 9 November 2020 at 10:05 am

      The trick with any bandsaw is the setup. Any fence or guide needs to be parallel to the blade including any t-slots on the table. The blade will cut straight as long as it’s equally set and sharp on both sides and tensioned enough. If you use a blade to cut curves it will not cut straight afterwards just keep it to cut curves.

    • Paul N on 9 November 2020 at 5:41 pm


      I know you directed this question to a different (and far more knowledgeable) Paul, but let me put in a good word for the band saw for the simple reason that it is so much quieter and also allows you to “feel” the cut better (not to mention the ability to resew, cut curves, etc.). The downside is that in my experience the bandsaw leaves a rougher edge (maybe because I use a resaw bade for ripping as well). But I have no regrets about getting rid of my table saw. It seems like a “no brainer” now, although there was a point where I could not imagine woodworking without it, although it has always been an avocation for me.

  26. Salko Safic on 6 November 2020 at 10:35 am

    Why was my post deleted?

    • Paul Sellers on 6 November 2020 at 12:11 pm

      No reason. It wasn’t!

  27. nemo on 6 November 2020 at 5:58 pm

    What I have taken away from the countless times I’ve seen you explain your view on woodworking machines is that the tool should not be, or risk to become, a substitute for skill or acquiring skill. The satisfaction and personal pride derived from overcoming your own limitations and learning a skill are more valuable (to me, at least) than a table or desk drawer that took a few hours less to make than without the use of a machine.

    I find it odd when people want to speed up the process of doing something they (supposedly) enjoy doing. To me it sounds a bit like reading an enjoyable poem or book as quickly as possible so you can get on with other things. Makes no sense to me (outside of a business environment where productivity is prime). But to each his own. Also not sure why more than a few people are so uncertain whether they ‘are allowed to/should use’ machines. If there’s one thing I hope you’ve shown over the years is to forge your own path. Teaching skills and techniques so you become independent, rather than dependent (whether on machines, jigs or gurus). ‘Liberation’, in a sense. Perhaps it’s my imagination but I get the feeling that some think that ‘now we’re allowed bandsaws’, without it being considered cheating. ‘Cheat’ if you want, or don’t if you don’t want to. How hard can it be to do what you think is best for you. The only real judge is yourself.

    Some people still enjoy photography using a 45-year old all-manual analogue mirror-reflex camera (the sort with film in it), despite everyone telling me of all the benefits and advances made in camera-design over the decades. I don’t argue about it but simply continue doing what I do. It just gives me satisfaction, including the repair of such a camera, and I enjoy making pictures with one, as opposed to a digital camera (which I also have and use). Every time I use a digital camera I feel as if the camera is in charge, not I, and that I spend more time trying to undo what the tool wants to do. I prefer my equipment as dumb as possible and make the decisions myself. A bit peculiar or excentric even, perhaps, but mostly harmless.

  28. Vodkovski on 6 November 2020 at 6:59 pm

    What kind of extractor do you use Paul? I love my bandsaw but need an extractor to deal with the dust when I use. The one I have now still leaves a fine dust everywhere. Showing us how to set it up for best possible air quality could be useful.

    • Vidar Fagerjord Harboe on 9 November 2020 at 10:49 am

      I believe Paul has a twin motor vacuum collector from Record Power, possibly a DX4000. I purchased a Camvac CGV336-4 unit with twin motors that filters down to .5 microns. The Camvac units can be fitted with hoses to the exhaust port that reduces the noise considerably. A person on some forum made a sound baffle from about 1 meter of 4” soil pipe lined with egg carton shaped foam (sound dampening materials).
      I haven’t made one yet, but I intend to do so since running the motors is way too loud. Even running a single motor is very noisy.

      A box fan with a very fine filter mounted to it should improve the air quality even further. Matthias Wandel has at least one video on the subject. You can of course buy a ready made unit if you prefer.

      Remember that there’s HEPA filter and then there’s even better filters. Learned that recently on a BOSCH tool course I took at work.

      As for the effectiveness of vacuum dust collector such as my Camvac – I found the warning in the user manual pretty explanatory. It states that one should avoid the end of the hose being sucked to the floor, as the unit will launch itself in the direction of the hose! A person reviewing his unit in a Youtube video stated that it had happened to him, leaving a good dent in the unit itself.

      My old dust collector can’t cope with the fine dust from my band saw, but I suspect it might do a better job on the planer/thicknesser for chip removal. Usually, a regular dust collector moves a LOT of air but with very little pressure. Good for high volumes of chips (planer / thicnkesser), not good for fine dust as it requires large diameter hoses.
      The vacuum dust collector have a lower airflow, but much higher pressure. This is ideal for finer dust, but it might not be able to remove all the chips on a planer/thicknesser. I haven’t tried my unit yet, as I am rebuilding my shop.

      Disclaimer: Camvac is owned by Record Power. I am not affiliated with Record Power in any way. I own a Record Power BS400 band saw and a 55 litres 2000W twin motor Camvac unit, both purchased retail by me. I saw Paul using equipment from them, did my own research and bought the units. Using the same tools as Paul does has proven to be a good idea time and time again.
      I find the quality of these units excellent and do recommend them. YMMV, of course.

  29. gerald l anania on 7 November 2020 at 3:09 am

    I have been woodworking for 40 years. Most product was for family friends and my camp. It was mainly machine based. I hated the dust situation and when i moved to a new home I decided to not put in place my previous dust collection equipment. A bit of space saving and a huge reduction in noise level. I became acquanted with Pauls techniques with hand tools and moved into thta wholeheartedly. In the last year i have been dealing with severe carpal tunnel and recently had surgery. So far after 10 weeks the hand is till in bad shape. I may have to revert to some of my power tools. Ie pounding my hand with a palne to level or dimension wood is difficult and likely to aggrvate the situation. One of the main piece of machinery I am relying on is the bandsaw for dimensioning and resawing. Why not use the e table saw? Because I do not trust my hands ability to handle wood onthe table saws.
    I do intend to try to switch to my other hand but that will take a while. I am 74 and feel I want to enjoy what I do and if that means power tools so be it. This is Not a criticism of Pauls processes of which i am a strong supporter . it si rather that I felt a need to make people aware of a part of the wood working world that has some physical issues.
    Sorry this is getting logwinded but I recalled this episode from when I attended a wood show in Saratoga , NY USA. At the show i was looking at some slabs of exotic wood and a gentleman in wheelchair was talking to the vendor. I was eavesdropping and heard the two of them discussing the different processes the disabled man used to do his work including overhead pulleys to lift wood onto tables , etc, The man did not let his ” physical limitations” I left that day with a much stronger appreciation of other workers determination and creativity. Iam trying to use that mans as an encouragement to what as been a painful process for me but no where near as difficuklt as what that man dealt with everyday of his life.

  30. RODNEY MAGEE on 7 November 2020 at 7:59 am

    I’m 75, I have had a hip and wrist replaced and am now rehabbing a knee replacement, both shoulders have had surgery and I receive periodic injections in my lower back. I have a handsaw, table saw, jig saw and circular saw, I sold my jointer. Thanks to Paul I’m enjoying learning to use hand tools and how wood feels and reacts to being worked. I will, because of the above named problems continue to use my power tools for donkey work, I sometimes cannot go into my shop because I hurt. I happen to be a big fan of Norm Abrams, he got me into believing I can do this and sometimes I watch the shows. I have never heard of read Paul say the only way to work wood, what he says is the way to learn how wood reacts to being worked on is by using hand tools, also, for him and many of us the quiet, the exercise, and peace that comes from hand work is what matters to him and he. He teaches efficiency and the ability to get projects done by hand and for that I’m most grateful, teach on Paul, I will continue to do what I have to to be able to pick up a plane or scrapper to build a joint and put a smoothness to my work.
    Thank you!!!

  31. Arthur Schueler on 7 November 2020 at 11:49 am

    Regarding dust collection, I jumped down that rabbit hole years ago and the amount of obsessive detail available online almost made me question reality itself. Another time and money sink.

    For bandsaws, I haven’t found an ideal dust collection system owing to the nature of the saw design. However, I did find a dust collection system that rivals the $500+ ones that I built for about $100. It’s simple an industrial drum fan that is sitting in a frame of 1/2 plywood, where I cut a circle in the plywood and affixed it to the plywood. I made a three sided box (was meant to be temporary but it worked great became permanent) with one side a high efficiency furnace filter, one side the fan, and the other really just thick cardboard. All taped with good duct tape, and I used paracord to hang it from rafters.

    When I turn it on, it aggressively filters the air. No dust settling anywhere! Filters last a long time

  32. François-Yves on 7 November 2020 at 2:42 pm

    Hi Paul,
    I sincerely thank you for your elaborate answer to my question.
    I used to do woodworking when I was a child with my father. He made all windows, doors, cupboards for our house and even some beds and desks. Only with power tools. He couldn’t really use a hand tool. He used to prepare the stock for me for my small projects because his machines were of course too dangerous for me.
    When I got older I continued to work wood occasionally, but without machines I was very limited. I didn’t want to follow my father route by using machines. He became near deaf due to the noise. Would I have wanted to follow this route, I couldn’t have done it because I lack place, time, will to invest so much money in a workshop just for a hobby.
    I’m 40 now. Last year I wanted to make a dining table but I came against the wood planing issue. Then a friend of mine told me about the possibilities of hand planers and doing my desktop research I found you blog. It has been a revelation to me. I discovered thanks to you that I could do fine fournitures with hand tools. I just had to learn! You opened my eyes on the richness of hand tools and the world of possibilities hey open. You have more than convinced me, why my question regarding the bandsaw.
    I like the idea of hand only woodworking. It brings more satisfaction, more freedom, is safer for kids and so on. I must admit that I will always prefer hand tools over machines by principle. I admit there is a part of activism in it. Not that machines are bad in principle but there is always the risk that the machine will alienate you. That said, I fully understand that if you are in a hurry, or need productivity for some reason, or have physical hindrance, power tools are useful.
    By the why , which bandsaw maker do you advise us? 😉

  33. david o sullivan on 7 November 2020 at 3:06 pm

    SANDING nobody talks about the sanding ,machined wood requires a lot of sanding that’s a lot of dust the worst kind IMO . have a shop 10’x10′ with a 16″ bandsaw i recently cut up an 8’x9″x3″ oak beam with a roller table temporary fixed as an outfeed at my door for a few different projects sawing a 1/16 to an 1/8 from a line a couple of blades with different radius cambers and a smoother an hours work .hand tools are fast very fast and accurate. machines wont read the grain for you . how long does it take to sharpen joiner knifes how long does it take to take them out fit them back then fettle the machine to make sure everything is aligned or worse still they cant be sharpened . you can have serval blades ready to go with a jack or scrub and a minute to touch up an edge if needed . and what about the sanding 240 grit is all you need and that just to rough up the surface not smooth it so a finish has a chance to grab

  34. Christopher Johnston on 7 November 2020 at 8:26 pm

    Anything more than a 6 in deep cut on a table saw is ridiculous . Even at that the piece must be flipped end for end It is actually nobody’s business what he uses . being primarily a hand tool worker does NOT mean NEVER using a power tool . People cause contoversy where there is none . paul does a lot for woodworkers worldwide ,I just think he should give seniors a discount on his masterclass lessons . Most of us are on pensions and cannot afford the same as working people .

  35. mark leatherland on 8 November 2020 at 12:36 am

    I’ve done quite a lot of sawing with handsaws since I’ve started woodworking now. Re-dimensioning rip cuts and sawing up sheets of 3/4″ ply etc. It’s really helped develop my technique and muscle memory for sawing generally so that the finer joinery cuts have become so much easier than when i began, so that i now go into my dovetail cuts on carefully prepared stock without anxiety and with confidence that has given me a sence of freedom! Also my cross cuts are now consistently acurate and tight to the knifewall. I now feel like I’ve ‘got it’ and so now is the time for me to invest in a bandsaw I think. Thanks Paul for helping me to gain the sense of freedom that i mentioned. It’s a great feeling 😀 👍

  36. JohnM on 9 November 2020 at 12:04 pm

    If you are working for money use power tools – if you are working for fun use hand tools !

    I was taught at school by a very good woodworker Mr Harden – not sure what his woodworking background was.

    I remember him well despite it being 50 years ago. Every time I read the word sandpaper in Paul’s box I get a flashback to one of the boys asking him for some sandpaper, his retort was Sandpaper is for budgie cages if you want some you had better go down to the pet shop – we use glass paper !

    He would also have got very upset seeing planes placed blade down on the bench – I can’t remember the reasoning but it might have been the risk of putting the sharp blade down on a metal tool in the well of the bench ( what happened to benches with wells ?) I still put my planes down on their side in case the teachers ghost appears ! My plane shelf has wooden strips to lift the front of the plane above the shelf. It would be interesting to calculate and measure the force required to bend the tip of a plane iron – as it is approaching infinitely thin when sharpened it can’t be very high – think of bending a piece of 1 thou steel shim, it does not take much force.

    To get back to the power tool subject the only power tool we had at school was a pillar drill for ‘small’ holes, bigger ones were made with a brace & bit. There was a small circular saw bench and also a powered grinder for plane irons & chisels but we were not allowed to touch these. Oh there was an open gas ring as well for boiling the water for the scotch glue.


    • Paul Sellers on 9 November 2020 at 1:43 pm

      I think that your opening para is probably too broad. It sounds as though power equipment has only just come in this century. Machines, freestanding and hand-held go back at least 65 to several hundred years and more. It’s funny how one is “fun” and the other what gets the business done, how you make a living and so on. I’ve spent the last 30 years explaining how machines work and work well and then so too hand tools. I am pretty sure I can dovetail the corner of a drawer faster by hand than using a power router but if I had fifty drawers of identical size to be made then the power router would win. Reality is, unless you are a kitchen box maker, we rarely make more than one or two drawers for a project that is sized the same as another. That being so it is not worth setting up the router to do it. It is too easy to discount the loss of space given to machine equipment and then too the safety issues surrounding them. Most dovetails I make take me 20-30 minutes per corner. I have never needed to cut a dovetail with a machine in 55 years. I have worked with my hand tools and machines side by side for those 55 years. The reason? It made the whole experience productive, practical and economical. The reason most of those who are “working for money” is that they cannot work with hand tools because they never developed skills. The machines were invented to dumb down handwork and make every cut made come off rotary cut. That made more money for bosses. People today may no longer be shackled to machines as in centuries past but woodworkers are today are often shackled because they don’t believe hand tools work so efficiently and effectively or at least they don’t believe that they themselves can do it. Therein is the sadness. I don’t think it is as much about “fun” as enjoyment. Two very different things.

      • Rich T on 10 November 2020 at 1:08 am

        Hi Paul, it’s a difficult statement that many will not agree or accept that you don’t need machines to be a professional woodworker however to be a better woodworker or a craftsman you need to be able to use hand tools. I make all my income, thanks in part to watching your YouTube videos and a desire to keep the knowledge and and satisfaction of working wood by hand as my father and grandfather did all their careers, making furniture. I am not a box assembler or a 2×4 chop saw table/bench builder calling myself a custom furniture maker I have learnt to do everything by hand by doing it. I have a museum of hand tools that has each been honed and sharpened to do exactly what I want when I want and I know how each will behave and the results it will give. I get satisfaction from these I also know how to fix mistakes from these tools. I also have a workshop of machines just for the necessity of getting a job done So as to continue to be profitable but I can’t imagine starting out and only using machines. There is so much I have learnt and appreciate from the wood and working with my hands that I would not have had with only machines. I do all my joinery by hand and as you say Paul it is no slower than setting up the machines, a lot safer and infinitely more satisfying. I don’t build hundreds of kitchen boxes or doors but I do have freedom, flexibility and a good income.

  37. Jeff Rogers on 9 November 2020 at 2:16 pm

    According to encyclopedia Brittanica: “Simple machine, any of several devices with few or no moving parts that are used to modify motion and the magnitude of a force in order to perform work.” I see the inclined plane as the predominant machine used in hand tools for woodworking (chisel, saw, plane, router plane, drill bit, knife etc…). It is also the predominant machine used in electrified tool (table saw, band saw, router, etc…). The difference? Hand powered vs electrical powered. Hand tools should not be looked upon as a lesser machine because it does not have a cord hanging from it. Following Paul’s methods one can attain a high degree of precision and accuracy in woodworking.

    • Paul Sellers on 9 November 2020 at 2:46 pm

      Currently, I am cutting up the cherry for my Brazos Rocking chair using initially the bandsaw to rough down and then hand planing and truing the face and adjacent edge to each piece. I then plane the other two faces to width and thickness using a vernier for finalising my strokes. My 1″ thick stock finishes to 1.0?? or less so this is plenty accurate.

    • Vidar Fagerjord Harboe on 11 November 2020 at 1:03 pm

      Hand tools are as chordless as they come… Although I prefer a mug of ol’joe or tea over the black and gold colored coffeine bomb some people drink. Tastes as advertized – battery acid. Yuk!
      That being said, a battery operated drill or screwdriver is a fantastic tool in almost all cases. Unless your finger is digital (on or off), you can operate it with just as good precision as a brace and bit. The last quarter turn before the brace bit tip emerges on the other side can be done by just turning the machine, in most cases eliminating the _need_ for a brace. Although I certainly will buy and use one of the “first chordless drills”, as Paul would put it. 🙂
      To me, the self-drawing feature of an auger bit in wood is priceless. If you have ever tried to persuade a dull drill bit through even the softest of pine, going full hog on the RPM, you know which horror scene I’m picturing…

  38. James on 9 November 2020 at 2:40 pm

    I like to buy wood from local sawmills. It is usually in pretty poor shape dimensionally and takes a good bit of work to get into a usable state. For that I really depend on a heavy duty joiner/thickneser/table saw/chop saw.

    Getting to sized and 4S stock is not the “fun” part of woodworking and honestly I think the project starts when you finally get the lumber ready to work. So going from a truck load of white oak from the mountains in West Virginia to a bench loaded with amazing wood takes some processing power. If I did not like working with local sawmills, I would just buy 4S stock and drop the joiner/thicknesser. I could also drop the table saw and simply use my bandsaw.

    Either way, it is about the work, the wood and the skill. The tools chosen are up to the creator of the piece. When I am working at my bench with chisel and plane I feel that I am creating. Prepping the stock to get to that point could be called craft, but is more akin to work.

  39. Matison on 9 November 2020 at 4:07 pm

    I still have a very large dent in a heavy wooden door to remind me of the dangers caused by only a second or two of inattentiveness on the tablesaw. Had I been standing a few more inches to the right, I could have been badly injured by the kickback of a large, heavy board.

    Now, my tablesaw is mostly used as an additional base for long boards that I am planing and cutting by hand. I don’t miss the dust or the noise.

  40. Pat on 9 November 2020 at 4:51 pm

    I have always wondered if you did all the dimensioning by hand, or by hand plus the bandsaw, or is there a jointer lurking in the background. A powered jointer that is.. not a No. 8.

  41. Bill G on 9 November 2020 at 6:18 pm

    Paul’s post has generated a lot of comments, but there is no real consensus. For my own part as a hobby woodworker I own lots of power tools but my goto item is my bandsaw. It is my assistant, my labourer and my work horse. It cuts things up for me to finish by plane and chisel. It is also better than me for cutting blanks for the lathe.

    I occasionally use a power plane to get down to near the line. But again I regard it as my assistant, I m not lazy but at 76 I need some slack!

  42. Daniel Batts on 9 November 2020 at 6:30 pm

    Hi Paul,
    My introduction to woodworking was The New Yankee Workshop. I like Norm and his projects are nice, but that was before the only source besides books since way back then I had no internet to go to. Looking back, I wish I would have had someone like you to start me off with hand tools instead. Besides all the money I would have saved on power tools, I would have gained the satisfaction of making things with real skill instead of ” dialing it in and pushing the wood” as you put it. In recent years I have switched to all hand tools. I do have a cordless drill, but I also have some brace and bits sets that I enjoy using. Many of my tools I’ve bought for next to nothing at peddler’s malls and restored. Not to mention many of my grandpa’s old tools. Thank you Paul for sharing you vast knowledge with those of us who desire to learn the traditional way of woodworking.

  43. Stephen Dale Bamford on 9 November 2020 at 6:30 pm

    To everything there is a season… Methinks that is what you’re really saying…

  44. Joe Renta on 9 November 2020 at 6:37 pm

    Hello Paul, I have long ago resigned from the debate team. Life has long ago gone well past the “too short” stage.
    I have found I can admire things for what they are and always learn something in the process. As to should I agree or not is really not a requirement.
    I enjoy your sessions and am working to set up my shop (after I rake leaves) and have no doubt most will have thoughts as to how I should do something differently. That is fine-when you pay my bills I am happy to listen.
    Enjoy yourself Sir.

  45. tayler whitehead on 9 November 2020 at 6:41 pm

    i agree with your reasoning paul. as a now retired furniture maker who needed a certain amount of throughput to feed myself and my family, i adopted a hybrid method of working. i worked from home in my small workshop making custom pieces to order. as much as i would have liked to have completed pieces entirely by hand it was not practical for me. and i say “me”, not necessarily for anyone else. so yes i do have dimensioning machinery to get my stock quickly to rough size where a few strokes from a plane has them ready to be assembled. i only adopted this method because i found it hard to price pieces competitively when my work was already substantially more than mass produced pieces from say china. but when i have the luxury of time, i am or more than happy to ditch the power.

  46. B.F. Tobin on 9 November 2020 at 7:34 pm

    I have a 2 bedroom apartment, with my workshop in one bedroom. My bandsaw is an old Delta 14″ with a riser-block. This is the one piece of power equipment I would not want to be without. I can dimension lumber and cut curves. With the low tension silicone steel, half inch blade, I get cuts in many woods that only need fine sanding. With my five-eights inch resaw blade, I can cut one-sixteeth inch veneers from a 2″X10″ piece of hard maple, sapele or shedua without any problem. This still has the same half-horsepower motor it came with. If woodworking was my livelihood, I would replace the motor with more HP. I have used frame-saws and bow-saws back in the 1970’s, but I’m now very grateful for my bandsaw.

  47. Richard Misdom on 9 November 2020 at 7:40 pm

    Keep on keeping on Paul. I welcome the evolution to and from power tools. I still enjoy horseback, while also finding tremendous value driving an suv as well. I will admit to continuing to feed my collection of both hand and power tools, even upgrading in recent years, and you should continue to take great satisfaction in knowing you are informing and educating a great range of interests as well as budgets. Thank you again.

  48. Robert E. Hart on 9 November 2020 at 8:54 pm

    Well said. I have both. The power tools and the hand tools. Which do I use? The one that best fits my task at hand. Simple as that.

  49. Mark R. Johnson on 9 November 2020 at 9:06 pm

    I’ve been thankful for Paul’s focus on hand tools. I have no garage or workspace for powered tools, just a small shed in the backyard. If it weren’t for Paul’s videos, I would never have realized the joys of fine woodworking that a simple saw, a plane, and a few chisels can bring.

    On a nice day, I wheel out my little hobby bench and listen to the birds sing while planing boards and marking out dovetails. I’m still just a novice, having started just weeks before COVID hit, but working wood has helped keep me sane and connected in an otherwise crazy world. I’ve also managed to create some nice gifts for family that I can still marvel at: “I made that, it’s beautiful, and because of the techniques I learned, I know it will last for decades to come.”

    Thank you, Paul, for this gift of knowledge.

  50. Bob Vogel on 9 November 2020 at 9:38 pm

    I have a basement full of power tools. Alas, I do NOT have Paul’s skill with hand tools, although I have most of those as well. My bandsaw came late. It’s an older Delta 14″, and the more I use it the more I tend to agree that most of what I’ve ever done with my table saw could have been done with it. I like it. I guess if I could only have one power tool a bandsaw might be the one I’d choose too. I still use the power tools, to compensate for the undeveloped hand tool skills 🙂 But I watch and read Paul’s stuff because I enjoy hand tool work more, and (unlikely but possibly) someday I’ll be half decent at it. Not that it’s that hard to learn, I’m just getting a bit old to be at the beginning of a learning curve. 🙂

  51. Randy Hamblin on 9 November 2020 at 10:12 pm

    Paul, after watching many of your videos, I bought an inexpensive Stanley #4 plane, sharpened it, used it, and experienced a relationship with the wood I have never before had. Just seeing, feeling, and hearing the shavings come off that plan was thrilling. I now find myself looking for reasons to use the plane just for the experience of it. Ha! I’m only a beginning hobbyist, and nearly 70 years old at that and I am barely glimpsing an early understanding of your obvious love of what you have been doing for decades. I am nearly finished with the sharpening plate holder (made mistakes but learned much), still looking for the “right” inexpensive window washing fluid here in the US (Ha!), and have my eye on building the plywood workbench, and beyond. I have much to learn, and to enjoy. Thank you, Paul!

  52. Tim Lee on 9 November 2020 at 10:42 pm

    I am very much the hobbyist, so spare time and weekends. My view on the machines being discussed – for what its worth!

    Being short of money for woodworking, I beg, steal and rescue my timber from various sources – with joinery shop offcuts and skip finds featuring prominently. For the same reason I have no possibility of any power tools beyond relatively cheap hand held ones such as a drill.

    As a result everything has to be done with the hand tools (mainly restored ebay offerings)

    To give an example ….. I had a series of oak offcuts ( 60mm x 250mm by 500mm (ish) long. Ripping these down by hand and then planing to 3/4″ boards that could then be glued up into panels was quite the work out. Given the option of running them through a bandsaw and then cleaning up by plane … I would have bitten your hand off! However, having a Spear and Jackson panel saw sharpened according to Paul’s video did do the job and made the project possible.

    In a similar manner I picked up a load of floor boards which needed the tongues and grooves removing and a fair amount of twist planing out. Again, all doable and it gave me some lovely 15mm thick stock, but a lot of time and grunt was required.

    Its a shame that there isn’t a community machine shop/maker space near me that I might have access to when needed.

    Preparing the cutting list accurately I find is generally a lengthy process.

  53. Stephen Tyrrell on 9 November 2020 at 10:54 pm

    A band saw is out there on my list somewhere but not a huge priority. My workshop is the space created when I back my car out of the garage and wheel the bench into the middle. I can thickness quite wide boards by hand now after a bit of practice. It is laborious and takes time but what a workout!

  54. Larry O'Hanlon on 9 November 2020 at 10:57 pm

    Retired machinist here, just getting into a little bit of wood working. I am rehabbing old canoes, good boats that need new seats, thwarts, and gunnels.
    Using hand tools, I sure don’t miss the air hoses, extension cords, and batteries that were required to keep the machines running in a machine shop. So peaceful to simply hear my wood plane slicing off a few high spots.

    • Merton Bisbee on 10 November 2020 at 12:00 am

      I was a builder/contractor for years. I have tools, probably way to many. But as time goes by I reach for the hand tools more and more. If I have a lot of wood to process I’m going for the power tools. If not so much I prefer the hand tools. I enjoy woodworking at any level. It is all good! Enjoy working the wood as you like. Paul you are a wood guru, I appreciate all that you have shown me.

  55. Stephen on 10 November 2020 at 1:20 am

    I am pretty much of Paul’s vintage, I think, and only took up woodworking at retirement. I am far too much of a newby to criticize anyone, let alone a master craftsman like Paul, for his tool choices! I don’t have a workshop, just a cramped storage area at a Canadian summer cottage. Everything has to be carried or rolled outside for use. In light of all that and because of some specific projects I had in mind, I bought a job site table saw with large tough wheels early in my learning process. A bandsaw would have been difficult to set up in my circumstances. I don’t regret my choice given the situation but now I want to transition to more hand tool work for reasons similar to many others here. I look forward to learning from Paul and others. The cottage is closed for the winter and soon enough my work area will be several feet deep in snow. I will pass some of the quiet time to come watching Paul’s videos. And, come spring, a small 10 m sq shed will be built which will become a dedicated workshop. I expect to have some happy winter evenings thinking of what can be fit into that space. Cheers to Paul and to you all!

  56. Roger Allen on 10 November 2020 at 4:39 am

    As one relatively new to wood-working which came to me like an epiphany through the current pandemic, I have come to love the aesthetics of doing things by hand and so far have only one Bosch power drill which I use seldom in favour of a brace and bit with lovely old bits I bought at a flee sale. I recently made a mallet from Yellow Box and Australian ash all by hand with no screws or glue. The Yellow Box was a billet of firewood with the bark on.

    My workshop is the end of our car shed and my joy is doing things slowly and making mistakes.

    My Japanese pulling saw allows me to cut long lengths of board with the precision of a table saw, while hand planes, various and chisels are a delight.

    As a lung specialist now aged 69 I have seen to much dust-related obstructive lung disease patients (COAD or COPD) and love the sight and smell of shavings and saw dust but not generated by machines. I had twin uncles both of whom smoked. The carpenter who used power all his life tools died of COAD while the other who was a farmer did not but of something else.

    Cologne cathedral and the pyramids were build by hand. Hand work is a Zen experience for me at my pace in a world where work is at frenetic and with multiple things done at once. I have a patient waiting now. The journey is the joy; the destination not so. We get restless there.

    I don’t believe in dogmas or high priests but love hearing from experts in this field as it is my new paradigm and one were I am both and older man and a baby. Do what suits you best as we all have different work-places and ideas.

    Finally, I am making a Moxon vise from undressed Australian Red Gum which looks beautiful when planed. It is very heavy too. I have followed Paul’s way of cutting a rounded corner with a chisel but as I don’t want a band saw it may be imperfect but the imperfections of hand-work are the signature of skill, aspiration, vulnerability and personal philosophy in a world which is spinning too fast and does not value time-investments except in share portfolios.

    “There is a crack in everything. It’s how the light gets in.” (to quote the late Leonard Cohen).

  57. Jacques Fouche on 10 November 2020 at 7:10 am

    Since I don,t have enough space in my garage to have saw pit or a friend willing to get in the pit and saw with me, I would like to have a bandsaw.

  58. Paul Magyar on 10 November 2020 at 11:35 am

    I use 2 power tools both the cheapest available from screwfix a bench drill and a bandsaw the quality of both tools are laughable compared to tools I have used as a toolmaker BUT they both work and are OK if you factor in there limitations and set them up optimally the bandsaw happily cuts oak accurately up to 80mm thick…….

    I use them rarely and normally rip timber with a handsaw surprising how quickly you can I would as Paul says get dimensioned timber when appropriate.

    I do woodworking along with my other interests I have as I like to make things by hand even with my arthritic fingers handwork is so rewarding.

  59. Roger Browning on 10 November 2020 at 3:07 pm

    My 2 cents. I got rid of the table saw because of dust and safety. I bought a decent band saw, although the size is great for working with small boxes, resizing is out of the question. Go bigger than 9″. If you do decide to get one, go with quality. One that can be accurately set up. Read up on how to go about doing that so that you can accomplish correct setup from the get go. Some will say that a band saw makes dust too. I agree, however a lot of us out there use shop vacs with cyclone separators and have dust mufflers on the exhaust to minimize the dust. I have found that being able to extract dust and small chips due to the efficiency of drawing air through the closed system of blade housing and pickup points is far better with a band saw than any table saw or open bladed saw I’ve ever used.

  60. Thomas Glover on 11 November 2020 at 6:43 pm

    To be fair, power tools is more to speed things up, if you are a dedicated furniture maker and you have to do wholesale type jobs then power tools are great as it increases productivity, you would have other staff to help in a assistance if your event happens and you lose a finger, but for the humble shed woodworker power tools
    Can be dangerous. I myself nearly chopped off my index finger in my right hand all because there a you tube videos on making a home made router table yet the safety features aren’t there. I was naive and crazy to think that I would not get hurt. The only power tool I would have is a bandsaw. Never hear or see videos of people having accidents on them mainly table saws.

    I’d rather use hand tools no noise no fine dust plus gives you a workout. Planed over 15 120cm planks of pallet wood square I was goosed Out of breath. I tend not to stop and just go and get it done but I wouldn’t like to go to the gym after a full 8-9 hours using hand tools. Just a brew and my tea would just be required and shower. Plus the smell wood gives off when being planes is quite unique.

  61. Morgan Mitchell on 12 November 2020 at 4:31 am

    After moving into our new home, we quickly decided that the large finished basement would provide an opportunity for a workshop. Rather than pulling tools and machines out onto the lawn and put back at the end of each day we would have the ability to organize and set up a proper shop. With this newfound space what we fill it with is so very important. No matter how many great tools there are we must consider our budget and workspace. We decided that the exchange of giving up a small amount of space is worth the efficiency a ban saw will provide.

  62. Robert Brownhill on 12 November 2020 at 11:52 pm

    I set up my shop, containing a tablesaw, bandsaw, router table and plainer/jointer. and handtools, when i first started it was mainly for repair and maintenance around our house following my fathers death, knowing my lack of skill with sawing and planing, the motorised method was quicker, easier, more accurate and yes more dusty (my fifth purchase was two powerful shop vacs), as the repair etc has given way to pleasure woodworking and with the aid of pauls vids i have moved more and more toward hand tools, and only the other day i had some work to do and thought about the time to set up my machines and vacs for really brief usage, and decided to head down the hand tool route, maybe not as quick or spot on as machine tools but i am getting there. i wish i had the skills to go almost totally manual (i can see that needing a bandsaw will always be there, and for me a router) and i admire those who can, but if i had tried to go totally manual at the start I would almost certainly have quit in disgust at my ineptitude, and were i to try going totally machine now i would quit as it would be too much like a factory. I still own the machines, but to be honest the only 3 to get regular use are the bandsaw, a pillar drill and a turning lathe, the rest i will use rarely and only if the time taken to set up can be justified (cutting a sheet of 1/4″ ply (at the price of the ply) i would use a table saw for the more accurate cut with less chance of my cocking up). i do feel the questioner was incorrect in saying paul argued against machines, he has said that he doesnt use certain machines and teaches alternate hand methods, he encourages and explains for those who want to learn, i for instance had trouble getting the hang of sawing, but then saw Paul with a Ryoba and i love and can now use my pull saws well and i am improving with regular saws. i feel if you want mainly hand tools with some machine aid then Pauls the guy, if on the other hand you want to hear the jet engine whine of a cyclone and the noise of mainly machines whaere you spend as much money on power tools as you do time working, then try a site like the woodwhisperer. neither is a wrong approach, but both are alternatives. its all personal in the end.

    • Paul Sellers on 13 November 2020 at 7:36 am

      Your route to hand tool woodworking and the reality of postponing development in real woodworking is not an option for the majority but because it is, as you say, the easy option many see that as the path to go even if they can’t.

  63. Jack Miller on 16 November 2020 at 6:23 pm

    I’ve been woodworking all my life and still consider myself a beginner. What I have found is if you are trying to cost justify any tool as a DIYer it’s a no win situation. My experience is whether it is hand or power tool get a good tool and maintain it. You can purchase used tools if you are willing to put sweat equity into restoring them. With all that said I have a mix of power and hand tools. Quite often I use a hand tool even though I have a power tool that could do the same job especially if I don’t have the power tool readily available to use as I have a small shop. I think you just enjoy the experience and be safe.

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