How to work using wood hand tools?

How to work using wood hand tools 1

Woodworking by hand is not engineering. Aim for too tight a tolerance with your thickness and you’ll only be dismayed to see it has moved after you’ve polished off your pot of tea.

It interested me when I read a bit of observation on planning. It described the shavings from afore plane as the thickness of an “old coined shilling”, or an “old groat” if the wood was harder or the grain difficult. We consider this to be in the region of a strong or slack 1/32″. So pretty heavy.

wood hand tools
Image Source: Wood & Shop

Another point from this was the lack of winding sticks in the prepping process. I rarely use winding sticks and have to admit I’ve always felt inferior for it since I’m sure it makes me sound rough. It states to use your eye and a ruler. Eye and the plane sole works for me.

What Is Wood Hand Tools?

Hefty shavings and a lack of winding sticks, is this crude? It’s certainly not precision engineering. Nor is it slow.

This is hand tool woodworking.

We teach a traditional yet modern approach to woodworking.

Traditional because we use hand tools, but I think of it as modern because we’re not about re-creating history.

hand tools
Image Source: The Spruce Crafts

I seek methods that are the most efficient and productive for the individual maker.

If you’re new to hand tools, then you’ll get a better understanding of this mindset by having a read about the shortcuts you can take when cutting mortice and tenons by hand.

Or you might be asking, do you need a bandsaw?

And if you’re looking to set up your tool kit, here’s my guide for everything you need to start woodworking with hand tools. There’s a lot less than you might be thinking.

Welcome to my beginner’s guide for getting started in traditional working wood hand tools! Traditional woodworking with wood hand tools is my great passion and the passion of millions of people around the world. However, it can be very confusing trying to learn traditional woodworking if you don’t have the right resources. So I’ve worked hard to create the most simple and understandable resource on traditional woodworking to help people just like you.

essential wood hand tools
Image Source: Fine Woodworking

Using Traditional Or Wood Hand Tools

So what is the definition of a traditional woodworker? Is it someone who builds furniture only by candlelight and scoffs at the use of modern power woodworking tools? To me, traditional woodworking is about using traditional joinery, finishes, and methods to create beautiful and quality furniture that will last many lifetimes. Yes, here at Wood And Shop we focus mostly on using wood hand tools, but in my opinion, quality traditional style furniture can also be built using woodworking power tools. I personally love using woodworking hand tools, but I incorporate a mixture of woodworking hand tools and woodworking power tools to balance personal enjoyment with productivity. But whichever balance you decide to strike between power tools and hand tools, I strongly encourage you to learn the fundamentals of hand tool woodworking so that you can better

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you can better understand traditional furniture making. And you’ll also discover that some woodworking tasks are actually faster with woodworking hand tools!

Below you’ll find an index with summaries that will help you navigate through each of my ways to work wood hand tools. Enjoy!

Understand And Buy the Right Wood Hand Tools

Learn which traditional woodworking hand tools you need to get started, including workbenches, hand planes, hand saws, chisels, and marking gauges.

Setup Your Workshop And Tool Storage

Learn how to set up a small, quiet, & clean traditional wood carving hand tools shop, even in small spaces like an apartment loft, a basement, or even in a garage or shed.

Learn how to Sharpen, Tune, And Refurbish Tools

Learn how to set up and sharpen your own new and used wood cutting hand tools, and discover the joy of bringing quality vintage tools back to full use. There are huge amounts of hand tools for shaping wood in the marketplace. 

how to Sharpen wood hand tools
Image Source: Popular Woodworking Magazine

Learn how to Use Woodworking Hand Tools

Learn how to actually use different traditional woodworking hand tools, including tools like a dovetail saw, a spokeshave, a jack plane, or a compass & square.

Learn how to Design Woodworking Projects

Learn how to design woodworking projects in different ways, including sketching, using traditional furniture ratios, and even free woodworking design software.

how to Traditionally Finish the Wood
Image Source: 7RouterTables

Learn how to Choose Stable, Strong, And Beautiful Wood

Learn all about wood, including which types of wood to use for furniture, hand scraping wood tools, how to select stable wood from the lumber yard, and even how to get wood from logs.

Learn how to Square And Flatten Rough Boards

Learn how to turn rough lumber into a square, flat, smooth, dimensioned board using only traditional hand saws, hand planes, wood hand carving tools, and marking and measuring tools.

how to Square And Flatten Rough Boards
Image Source: Woodcraft

Learn how to Layout And Cut Joints

Learn how to join your freshly dimensioned pieces of wood together using traditional layout and marking methods combined with strong and beautiful wood joints.

how to Layout And Cut Joints
Image Source: SketchUp Community

Learn how to Assemble, Fasten, And Glue-up

Learn how to properly assemble and fasten your joinery together using different methods including traditional animal hide glue, clamping, and traditional cut nails.

Learn how to Traditionally Finish the Wood

Learn how to bring out the beauty of your finished wood projects using traditional furniture finishes including shellac, linseed oils, varnishes, and waxes.

Use Carefully

However, before you get started, there are a few safety rules all woodworkers should know how to use a new woodworking tool without hurting yourselves, especially if you intend to use common wood hand tools and power tools. These machines can be sharp and may cause serious injury if you don’t take the proper precautions. So, have a safe workplace.

Use Carefully
Image Source: TechLifeLand


Woodworking is a valuable skill and art form that can bring you a ton of enjoyment when you take the time to learn the basics. However, you must use common sense and pay attention to basic rules for your safety as well as the safety of others.

Of course, it’s very hard to recommend the perfect starter set because your requirements alter depending on the projects you have in mind, but the above tools will allow you to build everything we’ve made so far in our various ideas.

By the time you’ve got to grips with this basic set of wood hand tools, you’ll have learned so much that you’ll know exactly what you need to buy next. If anything at all.

wood tools
Image Source: Popular Woodworking Magazine

You’ll see a lot of these articles on websites, so why should you be listening to this one?

This article follows projects which are ideal for teaching you to build with this minimal wood hand tool kit. so, You will know it all by yourself.

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