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Thread: Does being neander change how you see things?

  1. #31
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Michiana
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    790
    Yes. Yes it does. I'll expound further when I have a keyboard in front of me. Thumb typing does not promote fluid thoughts.
    It's wood dust. Saw dust would suggest a problem.

  2. #32
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    Feb 2007
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    Libertyville, IL (Chicago - North)
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    It takes me far, far longer to select a 2x4.

    Also, it has given my confidence to undertake a wide range of hands on activities. At the moment, I am replacing a fiberglass insert shower with a hand-built shower of my own design and construction. I have never done anything like this before, but am confident I can do a good job. This is a true blessing.

    Unfortunately, it has also trained my eye to see shoddy workmanship that I wish I was not seeing, all around me. I struggle to let it go.

    It has connected the loop between my brain and my hands and back to my brain. That circuit has a lot of bandwidth.

  3. #33
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Perth, Australia
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    4,832
    The difference between hand and power tools lies more with the way you approach construction than simply dust vs no dust.

    There is no inherent skill learned about woodgrain if you use hand tools. This is learned by observation and a thoughtfulness - insights that are gained by those who take the time to learn, and not whether you use hand or power. Using hand tools does not magically offer this understanding and knowledge.

    There are advantages to using all types of tools. Power is not simply about replacing hands inept. At the same time, power will rarely offer the delicacy and precision that hand tools can.

    There is joinery that power tools cannot replicate, and there is an efficiency of effort that may be unmatched by hand tools when working heavy and hard woods.

    There is no doubt that the two methods approach work differently. Hand work can teach you shortcuts to create efficiency. Power can rob the student the opportunity to learn this.

    On the other hand, power makes some techniques feasible that are not the domain of hand tools, such as thin laminations for curves.

    I use both hand and power interchangeably. However, I think like a hand tool worker, for example, sawing close to the line and finishing with a hand plane. The benefit from power lies with speeding up the tasks that would have been completed by apprentices in days of olde. The benefit from hand tools lies with the ability to add the delicacy and precision in designs that are beyond power tools.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek (with a new table saw to go with a new combination plane)
    Last edited by Derek Cohen; 08-29-2017 at 9:54 AM.

  4. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Cohen View Post
    The difference between hand and power tools lies more with the way you approach construction than simply dust vs no dust.

    There is no inherent skill learned about woodgrain if you use hand tools. This is learned by observation and a thoughtfulness - insights that are gained by those who take the time to learn, and not whether you use hand or power. Using hand tools does not magically offer this understanding and knowledge.

    There are advantages to using all types of tools. Power is not simply about replacing hands inept. At the same time, power will rarely offer the delicacy and precision that hand tools can.

    There is joinery that power tools cannot replicate, and there is an efficiency of effort that may be unmatched by hand tools when working heavy and hard woods.

    There is no doubt that the two methods approach work differently. Hand work can teach you shortcuts to create efficiency. Power can rob the student the opportunity to learn this.

    On the other hand, power makes some techniques feasible that are not the domain of hand tools, such as thin laminations for curves.

    I use both hand and power interchangeably. However, I think like a hand tool worker, for example, sawing close to the line and finishing with a hand plane. The benefit from power lies with speeding up the tasks that would have been completed by apprentices in days of olde. The benefit from hand tools lies with the ability to add the delicacy and precision in designs that are beyond power tools.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek (with a new table saw to go with a new combination plane)

    Thanks guys for the thought provoking comments.
    I'd actually forgotten about this thread, since I've been focussing on my business, getting loan documents ready, Texas flooding, and the storm in Florida.

    Derek's thoughts are particularly pertinent as I find myself with increasingly less time to do stuff.
    I like neander--not to prove something---but for the practical fact that you can do a lot without needing 100's of lb of machinery, noise, and sawdust. It's like a super power to make stuff inside a limited space and tools (like my bedroom, or on the beach)...to make stuff exactly as you want it.

    I was driven to japanese tools because they work...and work well.

    However, I'm finding myself mainly using power tools for "brute forcing" projects and finishing with hand tools.
    I don't like power tools, because they're loud, spew dust, and can easily mangle fingers.
    But they work, and save much time.

    Anyways, reading these thoughts helped me clear my mind.
    Thanks.

  5. #35
    Hunkered down here in Florida, I can see my Neander ways will keep me able to work while the power tool guys up the street are out of juice for a while. Even if I lose my gen set and, hence, my lights, I can work by candle light or oil lamp. I wish now I had a shirt with those puffy sleeves. And maybe a vest. We are still in the very earliest stages of Irma where I am, but we're starting to have power outages already from the outer bands knocking down trees.

    "Improvise, adapt, overcome." Gunny Highway
    Fair winds and following seas,
    Jim Waldron

  6. #36
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    One great thing about handtools. I saw a post by Chris Hall some years ago he had made a nice simple structure and lived out in the countryside for a time.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  7. #37
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    Mar 2015
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    Virginia
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    No need to recharge the brace.

  8. #38
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    Dec 2015
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    Dublin, CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by James Waldron View Post
    Hunkered down here in Florida, I can see my Neander ways will keep me able to work while the power tool guys up the street are out of juice for a while. Even if I lose my gen set and, hence, my lights, I can work by candle light or oil lamp. I wish now I had a shirt with those puffy sleeves. And maybe a vest. We are still in the very earliest stages of Irma where I am, but we're starting to have power outages already from the outer bands knocking down trees.

    "Improvise, adapt, overcome." Gunny Highway
    Ouch, sorry to hear you're in the path. Best wishes for you and your family to pull through OK.

    I saw some footage this morning of blue flashes from transformer explosions. Ugly.

  9. #39
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    Dec 2015
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    Dublin, CA
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    Replying seriously this time: Developing neander skills has greatly improved my approach to small and detailed work.

    In the past if I was confronted with a job that wasn't worth the effort to set up a power tool, such as low-volume stuff that requires significant up-front jigging/fixturing with a power tool, then I'd usually find some excuse not to do it. Having some degree of hand-tool skill (I don't claim to be expert) has opened up a whole new world of approaches to such work. Likewise I now find myself creating details that would be impractical with my power tools.

    Working by hand has also taught me to read the wood better than before, which has actually improved my use of power tools.

    I'm fairly careful about my lungs (wood dust can be very bad news) and have less-than-ideal dust extraction for my power tools, so not having to put on a gas mask every time I work is a big plus.
    Last edited by Patrick Chase; 09-10-2017 at 5:10 PM.

  10. #40
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    Jun 2008
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    Charlotte, MI
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    1,455
    Yes, it absolutely changes the way you look at woodworking and other manual crafts.
    Your endgrain is like your bellybutton. Yes, I know you have it. No, I don't want to see it.

  11. #41
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    Feb 2003
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    Pleasant Grove, UT
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    yes, it does. It opens up options. That's mostly about it. With the right tooling, skills, energy and time, there's very little that can't be done with either power tools or hand tools. What balance of the above factors works best varies between individual and application, as well as across time. One CAN get a flawless glasslike finish on ANY wood using either handplanes OR power sanding. One can cut variable spaced teeny weeny dovetails with power tools. One can take a tree down with an axe and turn the thing into a full bedroom set without the expenditure of a single electron. It's just a question of the above balance.

    There is one other element that neander introduces. Taking more care to avoid "wasted effort", simply because that wasted effort involves more sweat.
    It came to pass...
    "Curiosity is the ultimate power tool." - Roy Underhill
    The road IS the destination.

  12. #42
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Boulder, CO
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    So for me, the Neander impulse is about other pre-existing personality quirks that show up two other places: In my kitchen (I'm a much better cook than woodworker) and in my coding.

    -> I tend to value skill and pre-planning over "just banging something out". It drives me nuts reviewing code changes were the underlying bug fix makes the overall code flow much worse because the other person couldn't be bothered to understand the surrounding code. I will take the time to properly sear the steak. That's just how it's done.
    The downside of this is I can sometime sover-moralize choices as "right" and "Wrong"as opposed to "quick but good enough" vs "slower but likely not effectively any better".

    -> I don't like participating in things I don't particularly understand the operation of. My rule in coding is I never copy and paste code I don't understand.
    -> I don't mind going slow as long as I don't have to do stuff over. I want to do things with the highest quality,strongest way possible because I am LAZY and want things to stay solved once I solve them.

    As I've gotten older I've come to realize these are, in fact, quirks. Hopefully as we age, we become more self aware and flexible in our outlook.

    These quirks shows up in my cooking alot as I don't really do power tools in the kitchen either unless they do something I can't with my knife. I will sit there and chop 50 lbs of peaches instead of using the food processor in order to keep listening to music while I work.

  13. #43
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    Feb 2003
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    Pleasant Grove, UT
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Springer View Post
    These quirks shows up in my cooking alot as I don't really do power tools in the kitchen either unless they do something I can't with my knife. I will sit there and chop 50 lbs of peaches instead of using the food processor in order to keep listening to music while I work.
    See, that's where "options" comes in. Your peaches example is perfect. Me, I would DEFINITELY use a food processor for 50lbs of peaches. Yet I rarely use my food processor. 5 peaches? Those I will chop. Not, mind you, because I prefer using the knife or the relative silence. No, because the hassle of getting the FP out and then cleaning it afterwards outweighs the "convenience". The same dynamic is in play for me in the shop. My DP, OBS, and 14" BS are the only power tools I have that are always plugged in. So if I'm going to use the TS or J/P, I have to plug them into the dryer outlet in the laundry room AND then hook them up to the DC, which ALSO has to be plugged in. So I'll often use hand tools for quick things rather than hassling with the tailed apprentices.
    It came to pass...
    "Curiosity is the ultimate power tool." - Roy Underhill
    The road IS the destination.

  14. #44
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    St. Francis, Kansas
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    128
    I'm kinda the "new guy" if you will. Not to wood working, by no means, but to this neander deal. I've been wood working over 25 years, some construction, but mostly in the shop. I'm a retired OTR truck driver with most of my body beat to hell from sittin' in a truck all my life.

    How I got started in this endeavor, my Sawbones told me over 25 years ago if I didn't quit eatin', sleepin', thinkin', & drinkin' trucks, there was goin' to be a small funeral here. Mine. At that point, my loving bride decided I needed a hobby to lower my stress & get my mind off the trucks. Somehow, she come up with wood working. I'd never been around it in my life, only to haul lumber. So, followin' my Sawbones' orders, & goin' along w/her brilliant idea, the library became my best friend. I checked out books on everything from wood to the tools. Read all I could before we started buyin' tools.

    We finally bought a few used tools. A RAS, a ts, router & a few bits, drill & a few bits, palm sander, level, & a single speed scroll saw. I went to the lumber store & bought some lumber, & started foolin' around & just tryin' to get the feel of the tools. As the years went by, I managed to perfect the scroll saw. I've worn out two. We own 5 scroll saws now, & a shop full of about all the toys I can get in my tiny shop.

    I don't do much hand work, honestly, because I'm self taught on power tools. I've got a few hand planes, & do use a couple of them, especially when I've got a glue up to big for my planer. But I don't know anything about sharpening the blades, none of that. I've read some about it, but haven't used mine enough for them to be sharpened. I want to learn more about it, & want to use a few more hand tools. I think the biggest thing for me usin' hand tools is the connection w/the wood. I can see the beauty of it closer, smell the different woods. With power tools, you don't get that opportunity. What comes off the jointer & out of the planer is what you have.

    Safety is another issue. Not so much for me, but for others that come in the shop. I don't have to worry about them getting hurt.

    My apologies for the length, & maybe this wasn't the place to post what I have, but, from reading all the other posts ahead of mine, I've learned a lot. Being a scroll sawyer by choice, there's alot I don't know, but want to learn. Hopefully you fellas will help me out. I appreciate the chance to post. Brad.
    Sawdust703

  15. #45
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Vincennes, Indiana
    Posts
    607
    Several things come to mind that have changed since I've gotten serious about using hand tools. First, I've come to appreciate how much can be learned by just listening to the way a blade is cutting. The sounds made as you work give you hints about the sharpness of the tool you are using, the wood and it's orientation that is being worked, and the effectiveness of the work holding method being used.

    We have a senior center near by with a wood working shop that I occasionally visit usually to use their wide jointer when surfacing a wooden plane. I always amazes me during the visits how noisy the shop is at any given moment. I recently invited the person who oversees that shop to visit mine. He had a few interesting observations. There is no saw dust, you don't use sand paper do you? Rarely. You have a radio playing in the shop and where is your table saw?

    Lastly, I've learned to appreciate tool marks (or at least accept them!), as the signature of the maker. Learned this first from making windsor chairs. At first I tried to make them "Walmart perfect". Now I use a scrub plane as a finishing tool on the chair bottoms. It's wonderful to see people's reaction when they discover this while exploring the chair. It is almost sensual!
    Life's too short to use old sandpaper.

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