Embracing Electron Power: My Migration Towards Power Tools
by Patrick Harper - Blood, Sweat, and Sawdust
I love my hand tools. They’re soothing and cathartic. But, the one thing I love more than using hand tools is designing furniture. Eventually, I want to do this full-time. If I want to take this passion full-time, I need to embrace electron power. I need to focus more time on design and less on milling lumber. My hand tools will always have a place in my work flow.
I start this migration with the purchase of a Minimax FS30 Jointer/Planer combo. My single most tedious task is milling lumber by hand. Milling by hand teaches you a lot about wood, but it consumes too much time to focus on design. I purchased a combo machine, due to limited shop space. This will be a solid investment. Minimax has a proven track record and their corporate offices are very close to me. I also considered Hammer, but ultimately decided to go with the FS30.
The new circuit has been run. All I need to do is get her off of the pallet. Free beer for any helpers!
Next, I will buy a table saw. I love flexible European-style, sliding table saws. However, most are out of my budget. Sawstop is my second choice. They build a solid saw with a proven safety record. Following that, I will likely invest in a hollow-chisel mortiser. I plan to build a lot of furniture with mortise and tenon joinery, so this will also come in handy.
It won’t all happen right away, but I will embrace the change and move on to bigger things. Wish me luck!
Very cool…. Nice Machine
Thanks Bartee! I’m excited. I need to get the darned thing off the pallet and clean the cosmoline off of her.
I don’t think you will regret moving in this direction. As someone who wants to design, build, and sell furniture you have to consider efficiency and whether doing a task by hand adds perceptible value to the final product. I think both machines and hand tools have a place in a professional work flow — machines to quickly do tasks that otherwise would take much longer by hand, and hand tools to do things that machines cannot, and to leave a human touch on the piece as well. The trick is to find the right balance.
I recently bought a SawStop and highly recommend it. It’s a wonderful saw, far better than the Bridgewood cabinet saw it replaced. Everything about it is top notch, including fantastic dust collection. Even without the safety features it’s a great saw. I know they sell a sliding table as an attachment, but I don’t have one of those. I can guarantee that you will be very happy if the cartridge ever fires and you walk away with all your fingers and a tiny scratch.
Jeff, thanks for your words of wisdom. This is very helpful considering you and Brian do work similar to what I would like to do.
Do you own the Professional or Industrial Sawstop?
I own the 3hp professional with 30″ fence. The industrial saw would be overkill for me.
I’m thinking the same thing, though I might go with the upgraded 36″ fence if I go that route.
You definitely want the best fence.