How did we all begin with hand tools

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by jacob34 posted 05-15-2012 02:20 PM 1576 views 0 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View jacob34's profile


465 posts in 2289 days

05-15-2012 02:20 PM

So I have just gotten into hand planes, this happened when I realized that jointers where more than I wanted to spend on a tool for that function. I started looking at planes and their function and ended up deciding I wanted to get into it.

My first is a block plane I just got in the mail from eBay yesterday. My question to all is what was your first hand tool and why did you decide to go that direction vs. a power tool.

I apologize if someone has posted on the topic already.

-- so a bear and a rabbit are sitting on a log

26 replies so far

View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2592 days

#1 posted 05-15-2012 02:25 PM

When I was 10 or 12, (note I’m 55 now) i started taking things apart. I took a motor off my go cart apart just to see how it worked. I’m sure it was the thought of jail time that kept my father from killing me. At some point I got so I could put stuff together as well. I’ve never stopped.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 3384 days

#2 posted 05-15-2012 02:28 PM

My first hand tool was a plane (smoother) and it actually turned me away from hand tools because it was poorly tuned. About 6 months later, I tried one that was properly tuned and planing was actually fun. Then I took a class where we made molding using a molding plane and I was hooked. Once you use a properly tuned hand plane and don’t have to sand anymore or spend 30 minutes setting up your router, its all over.

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View jacob34's profile


465 posts in 2289 days

#3 posted 05-15-2012 02:35 PM

Don your post reminds me of when I was like 8 or 9 and I took a broken radio apart and was determined that I could fix it and get it going again, all I ended up doing was make little foot killers on the floor in my room but hey still was fun. I was thinking woodworking hand tools but it is interesting to think back to the first hand tool period we have used. I worked in a machine shop running 5 spindle davenports and had to buy a cheap set of wrenches and hammers at cummings, they are all lost or broke now but I still have found memories. Thanks Don for walking me back down that road.

sikrap I thought that yesterday when my first plane came in, if I were younger the condition it was in and lack of knowledge at this point may have discouraged me and stopped my desire to learn more.

-- so a bear and a rabbit are sitting on a log

View Mosquito's profile


9353 posts in 2317 days

#4 posted 05-15-2012 02:40 PM

I think part of what drove me towards hand tools is not having an actual workshop anywhere. I don’t have anywhere to have a table saw, jointer, planer, bandsaw,etc… Everything I use has to go through a doorway or up a flight of stairs and out to the garage before I can use it…

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View Ted's profile


2873 posts in 2236 days

#5 posted 05-15-2012 02:44 PM

My first hand tool was a shoe, the toe was the handle and the heel was the hammer head. When the nail kept bouncing like I was hitting a spring, I knew something was going on. Later I saw a wall with some plaster missing, and I discovered wood lath. I also noticed the nice wood grain where paint was peeling off some trim, which led me to noticing how the trim goes together to make the door and window casings, baseboard, crown molding…. although I didn’t know what they were called at the time. My brothers and I used to sneak into abandoned and burnt out buildings, and I would always notice the architectural details. I was 10 or so, and never did outgrow my interest in home construction, which to me goes hand in hand with woodworking.

I went that direction because I had a shoe and, fortunately, I didn’t have a power tool at the time. My first power tool was a WEN portable jig saw. Though I didn’t know how to make anything, I found plenty of things to cut.

-- You can collect dust or you can make dust. I choose to make it.

View jacob34's profile


465 posts in 2289 days

#6 posted 05-15-2012 02:50 PM

A dress shoe never heard a LPC being considered a hand tool although I have killed several spiders with them maybe there should be a forum on everyday things we use as tools that are not.

-- so a bear and a rabbit are sitting on a log

View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2592 days

#7 posted 05-15-2012 02:54 PM

I’m not sure when it turned to woodworking. I remember when I was about 14 I built a shed to use as a shop out of recycled lumber. I built everything in that shop from throwing knives to bird houses.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View jacob34's profile


465 posts in 2289 days

#8 posted 05-15-2012 03:03 PM

I just love that you started with a shoe, we so many times think about our dad in the shop or buying the first tool. We forget that as kids we found what we could to get the job done. A rock or stick or even a shoe. I must as though as it was a high heel shoe, Mom, sister? and did you get in trouble for using it?

-- so a bear and a rabbit are sitting on a log

View helluvawreck's profile


31378 posts in 2891 days

#9 posted 05-15-2012 03:24 PM

When I was a kid my family rented an older house from my grandmother and in the cellar room under the house there was an old work table and some old tools hanging on the wall that had been left by someone years before. I did the best that I could to clean them up and I used them to build some crude things but I enjoyed it. It probably wasn’t much more than a dozen or so tools. Maybe a couple of saws, a plane, an old brace with some bits, an eggbeater drill, a couple of hammers, and some chisels, etc.


-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View chrisstef's profile


17424 posts in 3031 days

#10 posted 05-15-2012 03:30 PM

I inherited some old planes after my grandfather had passed. He will always be a man i admire and try to emulate. Ive always liked old things, especially tools. I started doing a little research on the net about the planes and disston saws i had just inherited. Coming from a mechanical family it was only natural that i started tuning up the planes and using them. While i think my full blown addiction is creeping to a halt im always on the look out for just one more plane i can use or donate to a young man or woman looking to get into woodworking. Thats what Pop would have done. So for me its the story behind them or the new chapter of life they will lead.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View jacob34's profile


465 posts in 2289 days

#11 posted 05-15-2012 03:30 PM

Helluv do you still have them? My son wanted to get into wood working when I started the shop I bought him a coping saw, hand drill and built a small work bench for him, unfortunately the hand drill is screwy and it is hard to get the drill bit in strait.

-- so a bear and a rabbit are sitting on a log

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2512 days

#12 posted 05-15-2012 03:30 PM

When I was 5 or 6 dad gave me a pocket knife. It was a Schrade and had two blades. One for whittling and the other called a “hoof cleaner” that I never did know what it was for. That is, until I started having to remove stones and crap from horses hooves.
That little knife taught me to whittle, taught me the value of a sharp blade, taught me how to sharpen, taught me how much worse it hurts to get cut with a really sharp blade, but that a dull blade will cut you more quickly.
I used that knife to make one of my first wood working projects, (It was a piece of a knot from a Douglas Fir shaped like Robby the Robot’s antenna). I used that piece, a Chesterfield cigarette carton, 5 old Eveready D cells, some wire and a shirt button.
It was suppose to be a bomb that I could put out to blow up the coyote that ate my pet rabbit. It didn’t work.

I didn’t learn until about 10 years later the coyote that ate the rabbits was us. Dad butchered them and we had a fine repast. <sniff>.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View jacob34's profile


465 posts in 2289 days

#13 posted 05-15-2012 03:42 PM

I remember my grandfather telling me the same thing about sharp and dull blades. My father bought my first pocket knife a cheap one at walmart one bladder, which one day after doing something wrong was whittling on the porch, mom can out and went to smack me needless to say she still claims I stabbed her. which is difficult to do when they are behind you and your unaware of them being there but hey it happens.

-- so a bear and a rabbit are sitting on a log

View bandit571's profile


20232 posts in 2708 days

#14 posted 05-15-2012 04:56 PM

First hand tools??? I think it was that “Handy Andy” tool box I got one year…..

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15369 posts in 2643 days

#15 posted 05-15-2012 05:09 PM

My dad has been a renovator all his life. A flipper by today’s lexicon, but only in addition to his office job. The first tools I used included a hammer and crowbar, pulling nails after demo work. Man, did I pull many a nail. Whole rooms full of boards, with every size and kind of nail.

I saw a hand plane in a garage cabinet one time when I was about 10 and asked dad what it was. It’s a tool for edging doors vs. the circular saw, he said. It was no where near fettled or sharp, and I made a mess of a piece of scrap, when he said yeah, I’ve never had luck with it either.

Fast forward to my bench build three years ago, and I used a Sandusky wooden jack to flatten my benchtop without knowing what I was doing… It was oak, and there was no other tool I could come up with to touch that hard surface. If Schwarz could do it, so could I. That was 80+ planes and 80+ other assorted hand tools ago, I’d have to guess.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

showing 1 through 15 of 26 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

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