Are hand tools enough to get started with making furniture?

I see this question on woodworking communities a lot, and instead of answering each one of them individually, I decided to write thorough analysis on the topic of hand tools and how sufficient they are for woodworking alone. Overall, yes, hand tools are enough to build anything you want. You don’t need table saw or even circular saw to build anything, but it’s a question of want instead of need. Unless you’re one of those purists who have a thing for not using technology in anything, owning and using powertools is much cheaper, simpler and easier than using manual labor. 

A lot of people fall into illusion that hand tools are dirt cheap and therefore, are good set of tools for beginners to buy. As a beginner, you’re not sure what exactly you want, and therefore hand tools, which are universally applicable and are dirt cheap, should be perfect choice for first tools. But only one of those statements is right. Hand tools are universally applicable, and can be used in any project or task whatsoever, but the effort it takes to make them work is so immense that you are better off not using them at all. And the myth that hand tools are dirt cheap couldn’t be further from the truth. It might be true of some low quality, rusty hand tools, which you can even get for free, but if you’re seriously considering woodworking, forget those and save yourself a lot of trouble of sharpening them and breaking them in the process. But if you’re looking for quality hand tools, I can guarantee that they are not cheap. Due to expensive materials involved in building them, some of them are even more expensive than good circular saws on the market. You can get pretty good worm drive saw for fifty dollars, while top notch hand saws can cost twice as much, and don’t even have half the efficiency that circular saws have to offer.  So if you’re a beginner looking to buy your first tool, I would recommend choosing  mini circular saw or buying nothing at all. If you don’t have about fifty dollars, which is usually the cost of high quality used circular saw, you are better off waiting until you have some spare money to spend on quality and efficiency. And unless you have specific  love of hand tools and manual work, I absolutely don’t recommend getting started with hand tools as they take more time and energy than a hobby ever should. And you can use that time and energy to make some money and buy decent power tool instead.

How to save money while shopping for power tools

If you’re money conscious, yet still want to get good deal on your first set of power tools, you’ve come to the right place. I’m just like you, and often get called cheap, especially on the internet, but I, unlike those people calling me that, realize the importance of finances in a hobby. I’ve seen many people give up woodworking, thinking that it was too expensive of a hobby to be had. Which is completely untrue, and I can prove it. Below, I want to help people make better buying decisions and not risk a lot of capital into a tool that they might never use.

Buying first set of tools is difficult for everyone, and I was no exception. Four years ago, when I was looking to make purchases, I had no idea what projects I would be completing or what kind of cuts I needed to achieve my goals. So how was I supposed to pick a saw to do the job for me? After a lot of thinking and planning, I landed on circular saw, as it seemed the most popular and universally liked tool at the time. And surprisingly, that was the right call, because circular saws are very efficient and I still use my dewalt every day, so the investment has definitely paid off.

Let’s quickly review the brands though – DeWalt and Bosch are both pretty high end, high price brands. Tools made by both of these manufacturers are really trustworthy to not fail for at least three or more years. I’ve been using mine for four years and it doesn’t have any signs of breakage. I had some spare money at the time, and opted for 120$ dewalt mini circular saw, but if you don’t have that kind of cash at hand, you don’t have to. There are affordable but quality brands, like Skil and Ryobi, which are pretty tough as well, but not as tough as DeWalt and Bosch. They are intended for lighter use. For example, if you’re planning on doing some light woodworking on the weekends, Ryobi and Skill will work perfectly for you and might last even longer than my DeWalt did. But if you’re  going to be using them every day, they’re not going to hold up, and you should be aware of that before making the purchase. A lot of people buy these tools thinking to be something they’re not. Even looking at the price should be enough to suspect that these are not the tools for heavy work, as they cost about half the price of dewalt.

But if you want DeWalt and don’t have hundreds of dollars to pay for it, consider browsing craigslist and ebay to find some good deals on used circular saws. On ebay there are a lot of scammers though, so pay attention to the rating of the seller of the saw. Having a lot of pictures is a good sign as well.

Few reasons why you should go vegan today


Preventing the manipulation of animals is not the only reason for becoming vegetarian, but for many it remains the vital factor in their choice to go vegan and keep vegan. Having emotional attachments with critters may form part of the reason, while many believe that all sentient creatures have a right to liberty and life. Specifics aside, preventing animal products is one of the clearest ways by which you are able to choose a stand against animal cruelty and animal exploitation everywhere. A more detailed overview on why being vegan demonstrates true empathy for creatures can be found here.

A growing number of folks are turning to a vegetarian diet to the health benefits: increased vitality, younger looking skin and eternal youth are merely some of the promises from enthusiastic plant eaters. Well, eternal youth may be a little positive, however, there are certainly many scientifically recognized benefits to vegetarian living when compared to the typical western diet.

Well-planned healthful diets are rich in protein, iron, calcium and other important vitamins and minerals. The more healthy sources of these nutrients tend to be low in saturated fat, high in fiber and packed with antioxidants, helping mitigate some of the modern world’s largest health issues like obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. Have a look at our completely referenced article on wellness and the vegetarian diet here. To find out more on living a healthy, daily life life, our nutrition section will be able to help.

From recycling our household rubbish to biking to work, we’re all conscious of strategies to live a wholesome life. One of the very best things someone can do to lower their carbon footprint is to prevent all animal products. This goes way past the issue of cow flatulence!

The production of beef and other animal products puts a heavy burden in the environment – from plants and water needed to feed the critters, to the transportation and other procedures required from farm to fork. This property contributes to developing world devastation by driving impoverished people to grow cash crops for animal feed, as opposed to food for themselves. On the flip side, much lower quantities of water and crops are required to maintain a vegan diet, making the switch to veganism among the simplest, most enjoyable and best techniques to decrease our impact on the surroundings. For much more about how veganism is the way forward for the surroundings, visit our environment section.

Exactly like veganism is the sustainable choice in regards to looking after the planet, plant-based living can be a more sustainable way of feeding the human family. A plant-based diet requires just 1 third of the land needed to support a meat and meat diet. With increasing global food and water insecurity due to a multitude of environmental and socio-economic troubles, there’s not been a better time to adopt a more sustainable way of living. Preventing animal products is not only among the easiest ways an individual may reduce the strain on meals as well as some other resources, it’s the easiest way to take a stand against ineffective food systems which significantly affects the poorest people around the world. Read more here on how vegetarian diets can help people.

Just found perfect hatchet to split wood on my camping trip

I’ve been occasionally going camping with my girlfriend and some of her friends for about one year now, and noticed that we have consistently one problem on the camp – getting good logs to burn.  Some of them are wet, and the dry ones are too big to set on fire, so we always end up scrambling some leftover pieces of wood together to fire up our modest campfire. But this time, that was going to change. I got sick of this situation and got to research. I googled and learned a lot about how to set up a proper campfire, and how to get wood properly.

Turns out, there are special tools for exactly this kind of thing. They’re called splitting mauls, and if you haven’t yet guessed it, they are used to split these logs into smaller pieces that burn more easily. Of course, they are not mainly used for camping but at backyards instead, so they are very bulky and long. So not very portable and definitely impossible to carry on a camping trip. I continued my research, desperately trying to find something suitable for our situation. Regular axes or hatchets didn’t fit our requirements, as they were just not designed to properly split the wood, or they were too heavy for us to carry. And then I came upon one product that I needed to see – Fiskars X11. Fiskars is famous for making high quality axes and other tools, and I’ve noticed that during my previous research on splitting mauls. And it turns out, they made wood splitting hatchets that perfectly fit our requirements. Fiskars X11 is 17 inches long and weighs only 2 pounds. Which is not perfect, but good enough compared to everything else we’ve considered. And we did watch some videos where people reviewed and had shown Fiskars X11 in action. This little splitting maul was supposed to be one handed, and due to its small size, it was only supposed to be on small logs. Like, really small. That spooked us, but we paid around forty bucks and got one from Amazon anyway.

When it came and we first took it for trial on camping trip, we were pleasantly surprised. Yes, it was small and not very powerful, but it made up for those flaws by sharpness and perfect design. It perfectly split the smaller logs, but it struggled with the big ones. But we just had to hit big ones few more times until they were finally split. And it’s not like we had whole tree cut down to split, so few more strikes didn’t really matter.  That’s how we found perfect splitting maul for ourselves.

Are the vegans the only ones who care about suffering of animals?

Lots of men and women identify themselves as animal fans, nevertheless intentionally or not, this rarely extends into the animals we use for food. There are plenty of misconceptions about how animal products are got and we frequently turn a blind eye towards inhumane animal agricultural practices. Animal welfare is an issue we want to push from our minds, even when it is introduced to us in an objective way.

Factory farming displays a number of the most severe examples of animal cruelty for food manufacturing. Regrettably, factory farming provides the most competitive prices and makes the most profit, so it is difficult and sometimes impossible for smaller institutions to endure without adopting the same principles. The competition from large businesses has made it extremely tough for everyone to offer more humane alternatives since it’s simply much less profitable. Factory farming is a completely horrifying business, the focus is on profit and production, the well-being of these animals and employees involved is nearly non-existent. Everything comes down to money.

Here is a concise summary of only some of the routine procedures of this animal agriculture sector. If this disturbs you, then I highly recommend looking deeper into these issues because there is far more to understand. In the end of the post we have supplied some documentaries, books, and online resources for learning more.

The creatures are kept in overcrowded places with minimal if any room to move, the surroundings is filthy, and the atmosphere will be thick with the smell of ammonia and physical waste. The creatures suffer injuries which are often left untreated, from broken bones to burns and lesions from constant contact with their own waste.

With the focus on profit, time is money, meaning slaughterhouses process as many animals as possible in any particular day. It is typical for the production lines to be moving so quickly that the procedures employed to kill the critters are rarely effective and create a lot of suffering and pain. Because of the quick processing time many of the creatures are still living, terrified, and in unimaginable quantities of pain during skinning, scalding, and dismemberment.

These are regular practices — millions of creatures endure this cruelty and torture each and every day and it’s not just the animals that suffer. Slaughterhouse workers are in an great risk also. Cattle frequently weigh over a ton and tend toward thrashing and kicking, putting the employees in wonderful risk of serious harms. Workers can also become violent at home, and misuse alcohol or drugs in an effort to assuage their own guilt and stress over what they have witnessed or participated in.