Customer Reviews

49
4.8 out of 5 stars
Hand Tools: Their Ways and Workings
Format: PaperbackChange
Price:$19.13 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

49 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
It is a pity that Watson's book is not better known among woodworkers, as it is the most comprehensive guide to using hand tools that I have yet seen on the market. Watson devotes chapters to workbenches and vises, braces and bits, chisels (which he covers quite extensively), files and rasps, mallets, saws, sandpaper, squares, and planes (the most extensive chapter in the book). He also covers less common tools such as the drawknife, the marking gauge, scrapers, the inshave, and the spokeshave, as well as very common tools like wire brushes, levels, nail sets, and screwdrivers. Watson's descriptions of each tool's function are clear and concise. His book is not cluttered by text, though it does a thorough job of explaining not only common uses for hand tools, but also advanced techniques. For example, this is one of the only woodworking books I know that explains how to cut a chamfer with a hand plane, or how to use a rasp to cut a round tenon on square stock. Perhaps the book's only fault is that it does not discuss either wooden planes or Japanese tools at all. But the book's greatest strength is its illustrations, all drawn by the author. Photographs in many other woodworking books have too many shadows to be very useful, and often a crucial tool operation is hidden by the hand that is performing it. Watson's masterful drawings overcome this problem--they illustrate tool mechanics, user posture, and wood texture, all with a minimum of extraneous detail. This work is the best single-volume book on traditional woodworking tools and techniques currently available. It is also significantly longer--over 400 pages--than most other woodworking books. Watson is required reading for anyone interested in the topic, and his book is the standard by which all other woodworking books should be judged for years to come.

Edit to add: Seven years after I wrote the above review, I find that there are one or two books on hand tools that are more comprehensive, such as Chris Schwarz's _Anarchist's Tool Chest_, but Watson is still head-and-shoulders above most of the competition. I still recommend it as the best general introduction to working wood with hand tools.
22 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
I have recently taken an interest in woodworking. Being someone who like to learn about the theories before actually doing anything, I started buying and reading a number of woodworking books, and doing some experimenting and practicing with the information I learned.
This book is the most useful one that I have read yet. It is extrememly easy to read, and captures the basic techniques for using a number of common hand tools. The chapter on chisels is one of my favorites, and the chapter on planes has clearer instruction on how to use different type of planes than another book of mine that talks only about planes.
Reading this book after reading other "how to" books about joinery, furniture, etc. clarifys a lot of things, making the picture complete so to speak.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 1996
Format: Paperback
In this book you will learn the tricks that a master
woodworker teaches his apprentice. It is the best book
on using and caring for traditional woodworking hand tools
I have found. It covers everything from hand planes to the
lowly nail set using excellently clear illistrations. In
the back of the book is an appendix with plans for a no-
nonsense workbench and other handy shop items you can make
yourself.
It has the best advice on sharpening hand saws and other
tools I have ever read. The author uses clear, concise
language that even a hairy-knuckled woodworker can undersand.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is an excellent primer for anyone interested in woodworking with handtools. Clear illustrations identify tool particulars and correct usage and maintenance of each. All woodworking handtools from handplanes to screwdrivers are included. Also included is an appendix listing essential handtools for any woodshop. I have found this appendix, and the book itself, indispensable.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2008
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I found that this book gives a great starting point on hand tools. There are some techniques given here that are very important and applicable with using power tools as well. Ever thing of drilling larger holes from both sides to avoid tear out? Want to use a hand plane to take off 0.001" to fit a tenon joint together? Want to use tools that help you avoid wood dust hypersensitivity pneumonitis and occupational asthma? Start using hand planes instead of sand paper.

I also found that there are other ways to sharpen chisels and hand plane blades other than keeping the angle with your hand, as the author recommends. However, the author comes from a time when sharpening jigs were not around, so I cannot fault him for not mentioning the sharpening jig. The author also proves that you don't need a lot of fancy power tools or jigs to be a woodworker. One example is to use a try square and a hand plane to mill lumber.

I rate this book 4 stars because it is a starting point for people who are working with wood. The book does not incorporate the latest techniques and improvements of hand tools. But is that really a bad thing when starting out?
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 1997
Format: Paperback
The author has a gift for explaining some complex techniques in simple English.
The drawings add immeasurably to the effort. I borrowed this book from the library, and now will order my own copy.
If you want to be a traditional woodworker, you will be thrilled how the author goes tool by tool through those things that you need to have in your shop and illustrates what they are for and how to make them do what they are supposed to do
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a beautiful book, the moment I read the first chapter I was wishing I'd bought the hard copy so I could put it in pride of place on my bookshelf.
I loved the illustrations, which are on almost every page and give exactly the right amount of detail in a way that photos can't. But the best part is the author's wonderful writing style, which really conveyed a sense of the timeliness and pleasure of woodworking. Even when describing such mundane things as taking measurements, the author has a great knack of focussing on the human aspect of the process, the decisions that need to be made and the emotions that the wrong and the right decision evoke. This, to me, is the reason working with handtools it is such a satisfying pastime, and this book wraps up all of those experiences in a really beautiful way. Top marks.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
As someone new to woodworking who wants to focus on hand tools, I found this book an excellent introduction to tools ranging from the obvious to the relatively obscure. When I picked it up, I didn't think I had much to learn about, for example, hammers and screwdrivers; I was wrong. Then came the tools that I knew little or nothing about, such as draw knives, spoke shaves, marking gauges and bits and braces. Watson provides explanations of the working principles behind each, pointers on their use and proper maintenance, and offers plans for home-built accessories to improve the utility of your workshop. He even provides his readers two workbench options that I wish I'd seen before I built one of my own. Watson's writing is straightforward and clear, his voice is experienced but never condescending, and his drawings not only provide guidance but also lend a warmth and sense of craft to the book that make it a pleasure to return to again and again. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in woodworking. It's a great place to start, and a reference you'll return to for tips, ideas, and reassurance.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2007
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I don't gush over books very often but this is one of the best investments I have ever made. The illustrations are startling and the writing is clear and unadorned.

What Watson does very well is assume nothing with regard to his reader. He neither panders to the "old pro" nor is condescending to the "rank amateur." He just talks about how to use hand tools, how to think about hand tools and how to appreciate hand tools. I don't think there is a person doing wood working today who would not find something in here that makes them say "Oh, yeah..., that's a good idea."

I have spent quite a lot of money on the Taunton woodworking library and I value them highly. They are good books. But this one is the first one I pick up when I am just spending a few minutes sitting down or before drifting off to sleep.

One caution - this book is about "hand tools" and does include chapters on tools like "hand augurs" which very few of us use, however I have to admit I am tempted to buy one just because of the obvious pleasure this guy has in them. One of my quirks I suppose.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Taking my first steps into woodworking was both exciting and daunting. Even after completing my first workbench, I realized I didn't know how to use half the tools at the hardware store, or what their intended use even was! Watson's book was like a lighthouse in the fog. Now I know what those tools do, and how to use them safely and effeciently. Of course, it doesn't hurt to take a peek at certain chapters again, before diving into the next project. Aside from its functional aspects, this book is a work of art in and of itself. I enjoy just casually flipping through the pages to admire Watson's fine pencil illustrations of perfect hand tools in play. One of the prized books in my quickly expanding collection.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed


 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Your Recently Viewed Items and Featured Recommendations 
 

After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in.