How do you categorize yourself?

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Let me clarify...


Are you a handtool worker?

Powertool worker?

Or a hybrid woodworker?


How does this break down?


Let's say someone uses mostly hand tools, but also uses a tablesaw, bandsaw and a thickness planer, does that make them a "Hybrid" woodworker, but on the slant towards handwork?


How about if a person uses mostly power tools, but uses some handplanes from time to time?


I am thinking about this because I get alot of gruff because I consider myself a handtool guy at heart, but I use some machines to do the heavy lifting so to speak. The main item I do not have (and probably will never own) is a powered jointer. This seems to be the distinction between the power tool, and hand tool camps.


So, in short, I was just wondering how you think of yourself in terms of classification. And what makes you think that way. If you want to include stuff like, "I have 50 routers, so I must be a power tool guy" thats great! Also, if you have 50 handplanes, but consider yourself to be a hybrid guy, I want to hear it! :)


If there is enough response, I will tally the responses if you want me to.


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I try to use the best tool for the job.  Whatever is the most efficient and yields the most precise results possible and I happen to have at my disposal...that's the tool I use.  Sometimes it's a hand

I own a chisel but its lost at the moment. If it cant be done with a machine or power tool its not gunna get done.

Oh, I thought that Paul-Marcel meant if you see a problem and it makes you hungry you get double points. That happens to me all the time.

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For the last 5-10 years I have considered myself to be a cabinet maker who is trying really hard to be a fine woodworker.
Okay, that doesn't answer your question.

I would say Hybrid.

I have a lot of hand-tools, more handplanes than routers. I enjoy the hand tools, but if I need to get a job out to a client, boom, the power jointer and power planer get a work-out.


Having said that, if I only have one piece to joint. I can stick it in the leg vise and hit it with the number 8 almost as fast as powering up the jointer and dust collector and blazing it across that. I guess it sort of depends on what kind of shape the board is in to begin with.


Again, it also depends on the job. I'm finishing up a bed with radius cut styles, I can't imagine doing that with out a router and a trammel.


Next job, is a farmhouse table. There will be a lot more hand tools involved in that one.


So, in conclusion I'm a "Former Normite Cabinet Builder, Who is Desperately Trying to be a Fine Woodworker, But Will Use Hand Tools or Power Tools Depending on What the Client (or my wife) Has Asked For Hybrid Guy."


.... um ... did that answer your question?

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I am probably about the same as Mel.  I try to use handtools for most things, but don't hesitate to use the thickness planer, TS or bandsaw, when that is the best tool for the job (lots of repetition, etc.)


I like to think of myself as a handtool woodworker with machine apprentices.  I know its corny and over used, but I like the analogy.

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I am hobbyist so I don't really have to worry about deadlines or things of that nature.  But I would classify myself as a "hybrid".  When I started, not long ago, I used almost exclusively power tools.  I didnt know squat about woodworking, but I knew there were machines that made things easier.  In time I started using hand tools more and more.  I stumbled across Roy Underhill on PBS.  Now I cant imagine doing "woodworking" without touching a part of it with a chisel or a plane.   Oh yeah, chisels were really the gateway for me, not planes.  You can do a lot with a chisel.  A lot.  But I have quite a growing collection of planes.


But with more experience I've also learned to use my power tools, well, better.  I would never give up a tablesaw.  WAY to efficient at breaking down material.  Or just doing anything.  If I have to make a ton of tenons the tablesaw is the machine for the job.  Second, bandsaw.  Want to resaw, cut a cool curve, rip, whatever. Mine gets a ton if use.  Third, planer- Just saves so much time. And can save you a TON of money in the long run if you buy rough cut lumber.  Plus I've made tapered curved legs with it, only way I could figure out how. 


So in the short for me: Hybrid.  Machines for breaking lumber down. Hand tools for joinery and finish.  Satisfying all around.

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 I am trying to learn to using smoothing planes because I don't like sanding but so far the ROS is more idiot proof :).  I have a bevel up jack plane that is good for boards that are too big for my machines.   In general I will use the fastest, cleanest, most idiot-proof technique I can afford. 


It seems that some woodworkers do enjoy the process as much as the result, for me I tend to enjoy the results a lot more, regardless of which tools I used.   Designing furniture, watching it progress as a I build, and using the furniture is more satisfying than any one step of the process.  For example, I don't get particular joy out of the act of running something through my planer or achieving a whisper thin shaving from my hand plane.  I do enjoy seeing the wood grain for the first time when milling rough stock, but which tool I used does not add to or take away from my enjoyment.   Similarly, running an edge over my jointer is no more or less enjoyable than using a hand plane.   But arranging the boards to find a pleasing grain pattern is a lot of fun for me.   Setting up 100 clamps and cauls and washing glue out of my hair kind of sucks, but seeing the glued up panel scraped and sanded and ready for finish is satisfying.  

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An A-to-B woodworker - whatever I need to do to get me from point A to B under the circumstances.  I steal time when I can, and that sometimes is at night or early in the morning, when I can't use certain power tools because my house it too close to the neighbors.  As a result, I use more hand tools simply to make progress.  In a perfect world I would use whatever is most efficient, but I don't have that luxury at the moment.  It has led me to do things in a non-linear fashion; I sometimes have "rip days", usually a Staurday or Sunday, when I try to make a number of rips on the table saw for the projects I am working on.   

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Very few are hand tool aficionados to the point that they hand saw from tree to furniture. The question then becomes how much hand tool use or what type of hand tool use makes one a hand worker. To be a hybrid I feel one must be free from loyalty to either hand or power tools. Some like Marc seem to grab the "best" tool for the job. Others just gravitate to what feels right for the day. I think occasional use of a handplane does not necessarily make one a hybrid, nor does inclusion of a band saw in a hand tool shop. I consider myself hybrid by this scale because I am neither for or against hand or power tools but this moniker only occurs to me in the presence of TWW podcast and WTO forum. Without I would just consider myself a woodworking hedonistic mutt

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-->moniker only occurs to me in the presence of TWW podcast and WTO forum



Totally agree.  I originally wrote that the term "hybrid woodworker" was a silly term made up to sell books but decided that it was kind of a mean thing to say :).  I know from my day job that marketing is all about drawing a box around something and giving it a name so that you can create a target market and I don't begrudge people for doing it.  That being said, to me it is just woodworking.  Using the tools you are most comfortable with isn't a fad or a fashion statement and doesn't need a label, in my opinion.   

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Very nicely put C.


I enjoy using hand tools but do I want to do everything by hand? Nope.


The only true hand tool guy that springs to mind is Peter Folansbee (I'm sure there are others and links would be appreciated). Even the likes of Sellers who are heavy hand tool users have band saws in the shop and use power lathes.


I find the labeling a bit tricky, I just like woodworking and I like to use hand tools when I gain enjoyment from doing so. 

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I'm a hybrid woodworker. Life is too short to thickness a board by hand for instance even though I've done it many times in the past. But I absolutely adore cutting dovetails by hand with some cool jazz playing in the background.

A sensible combination of machinetools, powertools and hand tools is the way I work.

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I agree with Eric. I use the best tool for the job. I make my living in the shop, so it all boils down to "time is money". On personal projects, I indulge myself in an occasional venture into the past with hand tools only, but that is not often. I love the feel of a good sharp plane on a fine piece of hardwood, the fine thin shavings that curl up, producing a slick finished edge, and the satisfaction that comes from doing it the old fashioned way, but for the most part, I use machines.

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I guess I would classify myself as a power tool woodworker, I hardly ever touch hand tools unless it's just a saw to trim a small part, but then again I do find myself doing an awful lot of hand sanding, so does that make me a hybrid?

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==> awful lot of hand sanding, so does that make me a hybrid?

==> No, that makes you bored. And me bored, too. :D

Hand sanding? Isn't that what shop helpers are for?

Don't forget the numb hands and my 13 year old shop helper is on strike, and my other one is two months old today... I don't think he's going to do much sanding unless the sander produces milk...
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