In Shop Blog

We may receive a commission when you use our affiliate links. However, this does not impact our recommendations.

Tomorrow evening, I’m giving a talk titled, “Why Use Hand Tools?” Right now, the answer to that question seems to be that there’s no quicker way to make an absolute mess of your bench. My desk always looks like a hurricane hit it – but tools scattered about? That drives me batty.

Must. Make. Decisions. Then tidy up. Then have a drink.

— Megan Fitzpatrick

Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

Recommended Posts
Showing 9 comments
  • David Keller

    Here is one reason to use hand tools that I don’t often see in print: You can be a great craftsman (or – ahem “craftsperson”) and use only hand tools. You can be a great craftsman and use hand tools and power tools. But you cannot be a great craftsman and use only power tools.

    As you might imagine, this adage generates controversy, but it is largely true. It’s possible to get reasonable precision from power tools by the use of many well designed jigs, but that precision will never approach that obtainable with hand tools. What power tools excel at is something not of use to most casual woodworkers – speed and tireless horsepower. They are great roughing tools, but not so great when it comes to precision adjustment of one part to another, which is the essence of great craftsmanship in wood.

  • woodmagnet

    What, no curtains up yet Megan? ;0)
    Whoosh!(the sound of me going into
    hiding pdq)

  • Dean

    Time to turn on the tunnel vision!

  • griffithpark

    In my experience, learning to use hand tools is much simpler than learning to put hand tools away immediately after use.

    In my home shop, I blame the mess on my wife’s mountain bike. “It would be so much easier to put these tools away if I didn’t have to move this bike.” The times when her bike stays in her car for weeks at a time? I need another excuse.

  • Gary Roberts

    I have a good answer: Why Not?

    or, do you like to use hearing aids? How many fingers do you have? Is your accident insurance paid up? Where is you respirator? What happened to your face shield/protective eyewear? Ever hear the story of the guy who shot a nailgun into a wall, the nail went through the wall and hit someone on the other side of the wall?

    all real stories and questions from 15 years of work as rehabilitation counselor. Do you really want to be a client of a rehab counselor? Use power tools.

  • Steve_OH

    I could send you a photo of my bench, but that might not be a good idea. On the one hand, it would make you feel better about the mess on yours. On the other hand, it might make you run away in horror and revulsion.


  • Jonathan Szczepanski

    Megan –

    I would recommend having the drink first. It helps to make a decision faster, not always the right one, but at least you get there. 🙂


  • cmluck01

    I now know who got the primo spot in the F&W shop since The Schwarz left. Since he was/is such a good mentor and helped you with your bench building, your new spot is appropriate. Also, since he is such a great speaker, with regard to your impending talk, I must say, “May the Schwarz be with you.” We look forward to having you. Mitch

Start typing and press Enter to search