The Quiet Shop

Because I have very young children, I have to work with very quiet tools. Routers and table saws make the babies scream, which is bad. I work with in the quiet shop, and I work almost exclusively with hand tools.

Location: Greater Northwest Chicagoland, Illinois, United States

Thursday, February 01, 2007

How did I get started?

I started woodworking as a distraction when my wife was pregnant with our second child. We had a new home, and I knew that no home was complete without a workbench in the basement. I worked at the public library at the time, so I checked out a book by Scott Landis call The Workbench Book. This really turned on a lightbulb for me.

The next step was to get the right tools - this is were problems began. All the plans called for table saws, routers, etc. I had none of these. With a new baby on the way, the budget was very, very modest. I had to borrow thirty year old hand tools from my dad. I found it very difficult to find any instructions on building things with hand tool.

However, hope came from Bob Key, who offered a simply bench made with 2x4's and hand tools. Perfect. It had massive mortise and tennon joints. By the time I was done, I was hooked on hand tools.

To do serious woodworking, however, one needs to be able to mill wood flat and square. To do that requires a table saw, jointer and planer ($1,000+). Or, it requires a Ryoba Saw ($40), a used jack plane ($35). The hand tools take practice, and shapening, and fettling, and more practice, but you cannot argue with the economics.



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