Hand tools or power tools. What approach to woodworking is right for you?

Hand tools or power tools. What approach to woodworking is right for you?

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One of the things beginners discover when starting a woodworking hobby is that there are different types of woodworking. Figuring out what interests you will spare you from spending money on tools and equipment you don’t really need.

In this video, I’ll break down the 4 woodworking approaches to help you determine which style is right for you. Keep in mind, these are broad categories and there can be plenty of overlap between them depending on the individual. Think of these as your general philosophy towards woodworking.

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  1. Randolph Whitely on January 22, 2022 at 9:35 pm

    Great stuff!

  2. Savas Sarioglu on January 22, 2022 at 9:35 pm

    That was really helpful. Much more than listing the types indeed. ..

  3. Bill Wheaton on January 22, 2022 at 9:36 pm

    And then there is boat building… yikes

  4. Wolfman on January 22, 2022 at 9:37 pm

    Thanks Steve!!! Great Info!!!👍😎

  5. MachTwo57 on January 22, 2022 at 9:42 pm

    I fall into the armchair style. I’m really good at criticizing while doing almost nothing. Very good at it actually. 🙂

  6. Brian Kinsella on January 22, 2022 at 9:43 pm

    "You’d have to be pretty determined to saw a finger off with a handsaw." CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

  7. Cerberus on January 22, 2022 at 9:43 pm

    I love using my L-N hand planes but I’m not looking to plane all my rough lumber with them.

  8. Zac Burgess on January 22, 2022 at 9:43 pm

    And you can always flow from one style to another as you go. Started with hand me down construction hand tools. Then as I got better and more space I was able to pick up power tools and use those. But now that I have kids in the shop with me the loud tools scare them off so we’ve been learning how to use more hand tools so we can work on stuff together

  9. Alejandro Richli on January 22, 2022 at 9:44 pm

    I need to start watching this video again because all I can focus on is that amazing cabinet/desk in the upper right corner of the screen.

  10. Victor Quesada on January 22, 2022 at 9:45 pm

    2:50 REX! Love the collaboration between you guys! I am so glad to have both of you available to get the jobs done around the house.

  11. Chris HB on January 22, 2022 at 9:46 pm

    On the esoteric end of hand woodworking is “H Carpenter” and his demonstrations of traditional and modern Japanese joinery. Challenging to replicate, but amazing to see.

  12. Jorge LeRoy on January 22, 2022 at 9:46 pm

    Hey, Steve, tried to get your jig plans twice and have yet to receive the email to access them. Hate to do this publicly but still looking for them. And no, they are not in the spam folder.

  13. Anthony Hitchings on January 22, 2022 at 9:47 pm

    I have no interest in woodworking as a hobby. I do woodworking when there is a project around the home that involves wood.

  14. Jaime Chagoya on January 22, 2022 at 9:48 pm

    What about the absolute purist. The guy who plants the tree, cuts it down when it’s grown, and then use only hand made tools. Anything other than that is just guys using cheating methods

  15. Mdjabed Syllhet on January 22, 2022 at 9:49 pm

    Hello sir how are you I can do this work can you give me a job please

  16. FVU on January 22, 2022 at 9:51 pm

    …and the 5th category: Mainly making ornaments by wood turning or a scroll saw.

  17. George Sebastian on January 22, 2022 at 9:52 pm

    Can’t imagine using only hand tools for woodworking… the mdfs, melamine boards are such a hustle to cut… I prefer power tools until I need a hand tool

  18. Suparman 123 on January 22, 2022 at 9:56 pm

    hello guys, I’m from Indonesia, I’m a connoisseur of your channel, although I’m not good at English, I really like your educational content, thank you

  19. dumptruck_ds on January 22, 2022 at 9:57 pm

    Great video Steve. + Really enjoying your new podcast. Hopefully you can get Rex and James on there at some point. And dare I suggest Mr. Sellers? Thanks for all you do!

  20. Glen Roberts on January 22, 2022 at 10:00 pm

    Excellent video! Concise, informative, easy going. Thanks.

  21. Michael Carter on January 22, 2022 at 10:01 pm

    As a mostly power tool oriented woodworker, I do supplement with hand tools quite often. A block and smoothing plane can be a real time saver.

  22. Allan H on January 22, 2022 at 10:02 pm

    Great segment Steve. As woodworking is becoming more and more popular, this is great information for many.

  23. David Hawley on January 22, 2022 at 10:03 pm

    And a fifth style, ‘green woodworking’, which uses a set of tools you won’t find in the usual hand tool style.

  24. Poncio on January 22, 2022 at 10:03 pm

    if woodworking were a sport, you would be the best coach anyone could have. I love the way you explain things

  25. Brew of Qi on January 22, 2022 at 10:08 pm

    Nice vid! I’m middle aged but new to wood crafting & trying to balance machines and hand tools. It’s tough, tho soooo satisfying when I finally get it right. Thx for helping us mere mortals! CHEERS!!

  26. Nick V on January 22, 2022 at 10:10 pm

    FYI the ‘send me the tool list’ link throws a 404 not found.

  27. Married Man Woodworking on January 22, 2022 at 10:12 pm

    This may be one of your best "non-project" videos. Well done!!!

  28. Tegnet on January 22, 2022 at 10:13 pm

    I was looking into digital woodworking when I first started out. Mostly laser cutting. But man… Stuff like the Glowforge is still something like 6000$ (Plus insane delivery and taxes when you’re not in the US)… If you want anything cheaper… Then it’s those cheap Chinese models which need like 20 runs to cut through. You can get shops to laser cut for you, but around here that shit is expensive as well.
    On top of that, I do own one of those semi-high level 3d printers… And the maintenance you have to do on those machines to keep them going as they’re supposed to… Not much into that either and was a bit afraid cnc and laser would be the same.
    So I just went with good old power tools in the end. And its still very rewarding when everything works out on a project.

  29. UserNameAnonymous on January 22, 2022 at 10:13 pm

    Another benefit of hand tool woodworking: hand tools are truly "Buy Once, Cry Once." I have 80-150 year-old hand planes that work like new. Planned obsolescence wasn’t a thing back when they were made. Many power tools made today (even contractor-grade ones) won’t last more than a decade, even if you take good care of them.

  30. Bill Wheaton on January 22, 2022 at 10:14 pm

    I would add one more area, that is, hybrid woodworking and metal working. April Wilkerson and Pask Makes come to mind.

  31. Scott on January 22, 2022 at 10:15 pm

    Power Tool woodworking – ibuildit – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjA8vRlL1c7BDixQRJ39-LQ
    Hand Tool woodworking – Frank’s workbench – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCK-RcAfd3rmUG1NdEnkT-kQ, The HandToolery – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC33RmG_ubJcNF7k474XLssg

  32. Gary Lennon on January 22, 2022 at 10:16 pm

    "Tools and equipment that you don’t really need"

    You sound just like my wife!! 🙄🤣

  33. Michael Prozonic on January 22, 2022 at 10:17 pm

    What a great video to make us all feel like one big community no matter what approach we take as an individual.

  34. Thomas Hverring on January 22, 2022 at 10:20 pm

    Yeah, yeah, Steve, that’s all well and good, but where are the cats?

  35. Miłosz on January 22, 2022 at 10:20 pm

    I think most of us is the last group. Sometimes Im traditional woodworker when my son is sleeping (almost like its my choice :))
    The most common thing is the novice thihns that lack of tools or cheap tools restrict their skills. But its the opposite. The good professional will always do better than novice whatever off brand tools he uses. Its like expect you can run marathon like the olimpic winner if only you get his shoes. My advice is always: buy basic tools when you start because the thing which restricts you is your skills not the tools. When you learn skills you learn which good tools you really need.

  36. The Little Woodshop on January 22, 2022 at 10:21 pm

    I love powertools but sometimes hand tools can not be replaced

  37. Tony Tech on January 22, 2022 at 10:22 pm

    Excellent video Steve. Very thoughtful and well written. Nice work!

  38. C&A on January 22, 2022 at 10:22 pm

    Lookin great, Steve! Keep up the good work!

  39. All My Hobbies on January 22, 2022 at 10:23 pm

    I can’t believe I’m becoming the old traditionalist who thinks woodworking with CNC is cheating I’ll stick to my tablesaw planer bandsaw. What are they going to call those crazy handtool guys like traditional traditionalists.

  40. Juan Pablo on January 22, 2022 at 10:24 pm

    For a second I thought Tom Brady has woodworking channel.

  41. Marty Knowles on January 22, 2022 at 10:24 pm

    Can’t believe you didn’t give Marc Spagnuolo a shout-out in your final woodworking description. His book, Hybrid Woodworking is an incredible resource on the subject.

  42. Stanky Piece of Bluecheese on January 22, 2022 at 10:24 pm

    The fifth style is the one you enjoy.👌

  43. TMBridge on January 22, 2022 at 10:25 pm

    <3 the term Blended Woodworking! Really stick it to the guy who took what woodworkers had been doing for decades, slapped the word "hybrid" on it, and subtlety implied (imho) it was a whole new paradigm of his own inception.

  44. Jason Bailey on January 22, 2022 at 10:26 pm

    Loved seeing you recommending Rex Kruger. He does a great job of explaining hand tool woodworking. Funnily enough, he was a power tool guy when I started watching him, but got on his “Woodworking for Humans” series (sadly, for him, you’d already taken the best name) and his lost himself in the world of hand tools, despite one of his earliest videos poking fun of James Wright’s hand tool method for flattening something. Pretty sure he’s going to move to all hatchet and pocket knife woodworking soon…

  45. David Sherley on January 22, 2022 at 10:26 pm

    I would suggest you add Rob Cosman to your list of references. Rob has hand tool skills up at the level of Paul Sellers, but he also uses power tools for preparing stock. Cosman’s work style is a modern, pragmatic approach to high quality furniture making.

  46. Darrell Curr on January 22, 2022 at 10:28 pm

    I am very glad you haven’t experienced an injury that changes your life Steve, i wish I could say the same thing, I had a bad accident back in 1993 where I broke my back, after 4 surgeries on my back I was in a wheelchair for 2 years and finally got back to work after 6 years! I walked with a cane for years but I was getting better as time went on and was able not to use the cane for walking. But the last couple of years things started to change again as I am back walking with a cane again and any long walks I have to use a wheelchair again. I’m 63 now and retired on disability and started up my wood shop in my garage. I love working with wood and I’ll do that for as long as I can! It keeps me sane and gives some hope in life that I can still make things that I enjoy!

  47. Darrell Curr on January 22, 2022 at 10:29 pm

    I always enjoy watching your videos and I learn things from your videos, I have a 42” TV in my wood shop so I can watch all of the videos in there as I’m working sometimes!

  48. Darin Hudson on January 22, 2022 at 10:29 pm

    A video that isn’t a live AMA type or a ‘short’?… am I gonna have to re-subscribe now?

  49. Sam C on January 22, 2022 at 10:33 pm

    I split the difference between traditional power tool and hand tool woodworking. I mostly saw with power tools since it saves time and I haven’t mastered the hand saw yet. I like to bounce back and forth to keep things interesting.

  50. W1ldt1m on January 22, 2022 at 10:34 pm

    Great video! I’m hand tool and hand held power tools blended. I have a tiny shop so taking the tools to the work I most efficient for me.