Forgotten hand tools


When I started with woodworking, I thought – power tools. I could say – I know how to use them. Router, drill, sander. It looked straight forward and easy. But when I decided to switch to traditional woodworking and it become a bit unknown area for me. On the other side, hand tools I’d discovered… made me felt like this it the way to go. What I found out?

Marking Gauge.

Before I thought – pencil is precise enough. If something is not precise – it must be the ruler.  Since I’m using below marking gauge, my work, with hand tools, is far more precise. Additionally, gauge like this, cuts the fibers. The cut is precise and visible. It works well with and across the grain. You can even sharpen the gauge blade. All you need to remember is that reference side, needs to be straight.

Japanese Saws.

Until I got these saws, I’d been using standard ones from local stores. I thought they are fine as they were cutting fair enough. The cut however was rough and I needed to plane or sand it.

Japanese Saws have changed my sawing completely no matter whenever it is cross- or rip- cut. Precision and quality of the cut couldn’t be compared to the saws I’d been using till then. The cut did not require any finish.

What surprised me was that this was pull saw (instead of western push saws). This way, there is less power used to do the cut. Saw can be also thinner because of less tension. Speed and easiness of cut was something I didn’t expect.

Of course there are western push saws that gives similar results, but about them I knew before.


Set of my Japnese saws

Router Plane.

When to use standard plane – we all know. But what to do when we need to plane recess bit bellow main surface. Additionally what if the recess to small for normal planes?

This is when a router plane is useful. It is extremely precise and easy to use tool. I used mine for the first time a week ago. It felt like I was using it for months. It was easier then using standard plane (evenI did take it straight out of the box).

Veritas Router Plane

Modern router plane

Winding Sticks.

They are very useful in traditional woodworking limited only to hand tools. I didn’t expect them to use them so often. Until you get twisted board, you don’t need them. They help to spot the twist and to straighten the surface. We use them, by placing each on on opposite ends of the board. Then we look to spot the twist. If there is a twist, the sticks won’t be aligned.

It is handy to have them in few sizes. A pair for small and precise work.  But to straighten a tabletop, bit longer will do the work.

Of course you can do them by your own. Best would be a stable wood – an exotic perhaps.

Roubo Frame Saw.

Some time ago it hit me quite hard. How the hell I shall rip the board without using circular saw? How to rip it to make to thinner boards?

A traditional vertical frame saw, can do the work but it doesn’t look right for me. A rip saw could do it, but I still lack experience. My adventures with my rip saw are painful.

I did find this Roubo Frame Saw some time ago. It turns out that it has been used for few centuries and it worked. It came in various sizes and could be used by to men even.

This saw is one of the tools I would like to build soon. I have the blades already. All I need to do is rip some oak to build saw for ripping more oak!

This is also incredible. The fact that you can build your own hand tools, as others build them centuries ago. And what is more fun, it will serve you for decades.

Original plate from Roubo book.