Some say that practice makes perfect. A wiser man will tell you that only perfect practice makes perfect. So if you’re having problems with any of your hand tool skills, get out there and practice perfect practice. Now, say that three times fast.
Don’t wait until you start a new project to attempt a new skill for the first time. Find some scrap lumber and practice first. Take your time, focus, and perfect your technique before putting it to use on exotic lumber.