My Hand Tool Journey #5: A Practical Application

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Blog entry by Kent Shepherd posted 12-11-2009 12:23 AM 2210 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Moulding Plane Set-up; Part Two Part 5 of My Hand Tool Journey series Part 6: Santa Is Early This Year! »

I have been working on a bed for my first grandaughter for quite some time. Since I am finally close to finishing, I will begin a blog on that soon. In the meantime, I will share some more of my handtool journey. Up until now, I know I haven’t shown a lot of practical information—I mean really, who’s actually going to make their mouldings with a wooden hand plane. I showed all that because I found it fasinating to learn how things were done before we got spoiled with power tools. There is considerable satisfaction in using those planes, but I realize not everyone gets into that.

So, Let’s see if we can show some practical applications for hand tools. In making the curved top for the back piece, I had a major blow-out from the router. Well, actually, I had two!

I needed to glue a piece in, but I had to square it up first. Out came my shoulder plane. It’s good for more than trimming rabbets. I just held it as straight as possible to get started. I didn’t really matter so much where I cut, I just needed a straight 90 degree notch to glue the repair piece into.

I put in this picture to show the importance of a work bench with vices. I spent an amazing number of years in my career not having one. I just made do with make-shift tables or whatever was available. The more you get into hand tool work, the more you realize the bench is probably the most important tool you have. I would never go back to the way I used to do things. This one came from Garrett-Wade about nine years ago.
At the time it was not terribly expensive, and has served me well. However, being on LJs has made me want to build a new, bigger one very badly. I have to get some other projects out of the way, and someday I’ll really do that.

This is the piece cleaned up, ready for the repair piece to be glued in.

Since I had originally used a bearing bit with a template to route the curve, I simply rerouted to clean it up.
Finished up with a spoke shave (sorry, forgot to get a picture—I think it was past my bed-time) and there you have it.

Like I said from the beginning, with me it’s not hand tools versus power tools, it’s using them in harmony to get the desired result. I could have clamped on a sraight edge, set up a router and routed the same thing. Don’t you think it’s easier—and quicker to do it this way. When you begin to think outside the power tool box, suddenly work can actually becomes more efficient instead of less, and I get to use the wonderfull gifts my lovely wife gives me.
That’s it for now. If you’re still interested, I share more later.


12 comments so far

View FlWoodRat's profile


732 posts in 3902 days

#1 posted 12-11-2009 12:34 AM

Kent that was a very nice and informative posting. I’m sure your granddaughter will enjoy that bed for quite a long time. All the while GrandPa will know that his little Angel is sleeping safely in a bed constructed with love.


-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning....

View degoose's profile


7231 posts in 3348 days

#2 posted 12-11-2009 12:35 AM

i think the more you post the more I want to be a galoot… and still keep my huge collection of power tools… and learn more about using hand tools..

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3666 days

#3 posted 12-11-2009 12:42 AM

Nice work!

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3296 days

#4 posted 12-11-2009 01:00 AM

degoose=debloak doesn’t it… trying to get the Aussie language down…i love the blogs your doing on the hand tools…..i haven’t used a lot of hand tools , but really feel its when you do there seems to be of a connection with the wood..ive got bad prob with my arms…i think its a nerve problem in my upper back or neck…so my future doesn’t look to hot for developing a stronger use of the hand tools…planes and more chisles…but i sure admire your ability to do so…and am following your tool blogs with sheer enjoyment…so i hope you do more…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3551 days

#5 posted 12-11-2009 01:07 AM

Thanks Ken. I am really enjoying this blog too. Maybe I should start using more handtools too.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3279 days

#6 posted 12-11-2009 01:17 AM

Grizz. I had neck surgery 2 1/2 years ago and have constant numbness in my right hand from nerve damage, so I can’t take that as an excuse. Now, go buy some planes and get to work! LOL—Just messin with you.

Thanks for the interest, guys


View patron's profile


13603 posts in 3334 days

#7 posted 12-11-2009 02:41 AM

got to ’ hand ’ it to you , kent ,

this is a good example of the uses of handtools at work ,

soon you will be able to work in a closet ,
like dilo !

great play by play with the pictures .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Mike's profile


252 posts in 3376 days

#8 posted 12-11-2009 02:45 AM

This really is an art in itself! Great Job.


-- Mike, VT

View RKW's profile


328 posts in 3440 days

#9 posted 12-11-2009 05:16 PM

Kent, Once again: thanks for sharing your knowledge. Im finding this interesting and insightfull.

-- RKWoods

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3279 days

#10 posted 12-11-2009 05:26 PM

David, I can’t work in the closet. There are too may skeletons in there!
(I wish I had his talent)


View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3327 days

#11 posted 12-11-2009 05:43 PM

Nice work Kent. For me, fixing mistakes is what woodworking is all about (because I make a lot of them). If I kept a ledger of the good and the bad things I’ve done with wood, I would definitely be in the red! Philosophically I do believe it is better not to make a mistake, but knowing how to fix one as you have done here is also an invaluable part of craftsmanship.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3108 days

#12 posted 12-29-2009 03:10 PM

Kent you said that nonobody wants to make the molding by hand well thereĀ“s is at least one crazy Dane here and I now of one or seven more
when I decidded to go the woodworking way last year I allso said to myself it have to be with aut power tools if possiple ( but now thinking a bandsaw for resawing wuold be nice) and you are doing a great job here so just let all of your knowlege and know how flow from your hand like a machinegun


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