• Advertise with us
Blog entry by Eric posted 04-24-2008 05:42 PM 879 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Last month, I posted about my adventures in hand-cut veneer. I was pretty proud of myself for how well it turned out; I felt a bit like David fighting Goliath (Goliath being the giant hurdle of working without power tools) and cutting off his big fat head.

I got several very positive comments both here and over on my personal blog. The comments made me feel like even though I am still brand new in the craft, that there are already some things I can do well. One comment in particular (from Luis) still rings in my ears:

You are an excellent sawyer!!
There are a lot of areas in woodworking where my brand new skills are quite raw – including sawing. But knowing that experienced woodworkers see promise in what I’m doing has given me more confidence in attempting new things.

Tonight I needed a thin strip of wood for my chisel box. It will be glued to the inside of the box lid and will rest against the chisel handles to keep them pinned down when the box is closed. None of my plywood was thin enough, so I said, “Guess I’ll have to just cut a strip myself!” Telling myself, I’m an excellent sawyer! I jumped right in, grabbed the only scrap left of the wood I was using for the interior, and started in on it.

When I was done, I had a strip of wood that was 3/64” all the way down. And when I sized it up where I needed it to go, I had cut it way too thin! So I’ll have to mix and match the woods after all. Oh well, it’s just a chisel box.

But tonight was a lesson in confidence. Kaleo recently passed on advice from one of his instructors to “trust in your hand tool skills” and not to worry about screwing up. Confidence goes a long way. And so do compliments, so let’s all keep encouraging each other as we all progress in the craft!


-- Eric at

8 comments so far

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 3814 days

#1 posted 04-24-2008 06:26 PM

So cut another! I am sure I am not alone in admiring your tenacity with the hand tools. Keep it up.

-- Scott - Chico California

View Thuan's profile


203 posts in 3817 days

#2 posted 04-24-2008 06:37 PM

If you can do that with a Ryoba, wait until you get a dozuki, you’ll be cutting your own paper.

-- Thuan

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3767 days

#3 posted 04-24-2008 07:31 PM

wow, I for one love hand tools and I agree that it is hard to get past power tools but you are doing a great job. I like Kaleo’s advice too. really the only way to get good at hand tools is with practice and trial and error. I try to improved my hand tool skills every day. so great job and I look forward to seeing what you can do with these skills that you are learning.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3821 days

#4 posted 04-24-2008 10:30 PM


Great post. Sawing in a straight line is, in my opinion, the most fundamental hand skill to develop. Everything else just seems to revolve around this ability.

Developing confidence in your abilities is fundamental to mastering hand tools.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 3798 days

#5 posted 04-24-2008 10:43 PM

more patience than me.. this is for sure!

-- making sawdust....

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 3783 days

#6 posted 04-25-2008 03:03 AM

I don’t know how much credit I can really take for my “tenacity” and “patience” – the only reason I’m doing this crazy stuff is because I want to do woodworking but don’t have power tools! Where there’s a will, there’s a way…

-- Eric at

View jjohn's profile


390 posts in 3713 days

#7 posted 04-25-2008 03:35 AM

I’ve said this before, and don’t mind saying it again; Every really good wood craftsman starts out with the hand tools. It teaches patience and slows you down just enough to really get to understand what you are doing, and why. One of the harder things for me is the fact I worked in rough carpentry for so many years simple throwing 2×4s and ply. that I have a hard time slowing down and appreciate the craft. Enjoy yourself and take your time learning how to us those hand tools. You are off to a really good start.

-- JJohn

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3895 days

#8 posted 04-25-2008 04:24 AM

Eric – the first time success can really make us feel confident in our ability. Then when we can’t repeat it the first shot of confidence keeps us from getting frustrated and we just try again and again——until we really can do it and it’s not a fluke or luck——its skill. You’ll get there. If I can do it you can do it. Keep it up!

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics