Hand tool vs Power tools

Derek Cohen (in Perth, Australia)
Hi Bill

I imagine it depends on whom you speak to. A woodworker who is comfortable with hand planes will have a different perspective from one who does not use them.

When one rips or cross cuts with a handsaw, it is expected that the surface finish will be rough and uneven. As a result, it is more usual to saw just off the line and complete the dimensioning with a hand plane. Sawing with a bandsaw is similar in that the quality of the line cut demands that further work is done.

In my expectation, a predominantly power tool user will seek to make a finish cut off the table saw, which is capable of doing so. Then it is important that the machine cuts precisely, and the finish is the best possible. The search goes on for a saw blade that produces a "glue line" finish. All this is less important to a hand tool orientated woodworker.

Ironically, I have just upgraded my table saw from a contractor, which I have had for 20 years, to a Hammer K3 Winner (slider). The importance for me is that the slider makes ripping intuitive (set the board on the slider at the angle desired, and rip it off). This is a different approach to a traditional table saw (where one rips using the fence). The bandsaw is similar in that one can either rip along a drawn line or against a fence. The bandsaw is more free hand (like a hand saw), but the slider is closer to the bandsaw than a traditional table saw might be.

Given the choice between a bandsaw and a table saw, I'd have to go for the bandsaw since it is capable of re-sawing boards, which the table saw cannot do. One of the reasons for choosing the K3, however, was that it has a small footprint - about half that of a Sawstop, which I did consider (I only have half of a double garage for machines. My shop is a little longer, and the hand tool area is at one end). Perhaps that may influence you ...

Regards from Perth


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