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Woodworking Tools: Right Selection And Care Will Save You Money, Part 2
Woodworking: Tools Of The Trade, Part 2 - Tools For Cutting
A civilization's maturity and intelligence is judged, in part, by the diversity and sophistication of its tools. When it comes to woodworking, the human race is quite advanced. There are general tools that work well in many situations, and there are specialty tools made for one specific purpose. There are tools that require only manpower and a rudimentary knowledge, and others that utilize computer programs, a wide range of knowledge, and a powerful motor. We have even learned how to harness power for our tools and package it in a small battery component, giving us the freedom to take our tools wherever we need them.
It is truly amazing and wonderful to contemplate the vast number of tools and all that woodworkers are capable of doing and creating with the help of these tools. And for many people, working with tools is one of the thrills, or even obsessions, of woodworking.
Woodworking and related tools have become so popular that there are numerous companies that manufacture these tools and thousands of places to purchase them. Combine that with the vast numbers of different types of tools and it can get overwhelming, especially if you are new to woodworking. Our experts helped us focus on the basics to develop an overview of those tools needed to get a good start in woodworking.
In the most basic terms, a woodworker needs four kinds of tools. They need a place to work, tools for cutting and shaping, tools for assembly, and finishing equipment. This simple statement provides the basis for the following discussion of woodworking tools.
The tools listed and described here represent just the tip of the iceberg. In keeping with the philosophy that it is best to learn the basics first, and to not invest large sums of money until a person is certain that they have an ongoing interest in woodworking, the emphasis is on hand tools, with a few basic power tools thrown in. These tools should prepare you for a variety of beginner projects and give you a solid foundation of equipment and knowledge to build upon.
Tools For Cutting
Backsaws are for the majority of joining work you will do on projects. In this category, the tenon saw and the dovetail saw look similar. Both have square blades and a back strip to hold the blade in place. This strip is usually made of brass in a good quality saw. The difference between the two is that the dovetail saw has more teeth per inch to make finer cuts, such as a dovetail. A tenon saw is for more basic joint cuts such as a bevel. It will likely get used a great deal. A third type of backsaw is the bead saw, which is often used for carving miniatures.
Narrow-bladed saws are for cutting curves. The thin blades with many teeth allow for fine cuts and advanced maneuvering. There are several different types, including a bow saw and a keyhole saw. The coping saw, such as that shown here, is perhaps best known. It has a swivel handle and is often used for cutting holes in plywood and getting the right curve on trim and small project pieces.
Many woodworkers prefer the fretsaw, which is similar to the coping, but has a deeper U-shape and clamped blades, which allows for more versatility in blade selection. A keyhole saw is similar to a handsaw except the blade is long and narrow. It is ideal for cutting curves and holes.
Care & Maintenance
Expert woodworkers typically are divided on the need for a power saw. Several feel that beginners could do just fine without the power equipment, while others feel that a handheld circular saw or even a table saw was an important investment. If you have the budget, have worked with the basic manual saws, have a project in mind that requires many cuts, and are likely to stick with woodworking for a number of years, a circular saw or table saw can be a good investment. They range in price from about $40 for a good circular saw to several hundred for a table saw.
A huge area of woodworking consists of creating plaques and figures using a scroll saw. If you plan to work with these types of projects or designs where you need to make many curving cuts and patterns, you will likely want a scroll saw.
It is also important to note again that each type of tool has its own care and maintenance needs that are often more specific than what has been touched on here. The details have been left out of this book to avoid overwhelming someone who is brand new to woodworking. However, their omission does not mean they aren't important.
"Failing to care for your tools is ridiculous from a financial standpoint," stated shop teacher, Kevin Warner. "Why spend $20 on a good quality handsaw or clamp and then allow it to go dull or rust? Not only will you loose money, your work will suffer because your tools won't perform as intended. And it will take you more time in the long run. Taking good care of your tools is one of the first steps in becoming a serious woodworker."
Copyright © 2005 by Ferhat Gul. All rights reserved. You may redistribute this article in its unedited entirety, including this resource box, with all hyperlinked URLs kept intact.
Ferhat Gul is the publisher of the brand-new "Woodworking Beginner's Guide - Tips From Experienced Woodworkers to Help You Get Started", made just for people who love woodworking. This comprehensive, yet compact woodworking introduction for beginners is easy to read and helps to save time, money and effort.
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