I am semi-retired living outside Phoenix, AZ. Yes, as you may have heard, the summers here are hot. The purpose of this blog is to document the way I adapt using only hand tools to build personal furniture items.

I’ve butchered wood most of my life, built my first boat at the age of 7 with my buddy using leftover bits of plywood and 2×4’s. Think more of a Huck Finn raft than an actual boat. It didn’t have a prayer of floating and to prove it me and my friend dragged it to the pond and watched it sink straight to the bottom. Several years later I would build some boats who would float.

Over the years I built up my tool collection till I had a complete power tools shop with table saw, bandsaw, jointer, planer, routers, etc. Even bought some hand tools that I was beginning to use. In 2000 I bailed from my JOB in biotech, packed the tools up and moved to Mexico, lived on the beach and drank margaritas. Found time to build a few things and learn ways the Mexicans built stuff. When the Pesos started running low a friend bought everything in my shop when I moved back North. I held onto my small collection of hand tools and brought them with me.

After living in the Phoenix area awhile I took a class in woodturning from a guy just down the road, Marc Spagnuolo, who went on to become the Wood Whisperer. I bought a lathe, chucks, and all sorts of tools. Turned out all sorts of bowls and boxes and pens, gave most away as gifts, loved it. Following a personal upheaval I sold the whole kit to a friend in Olympia, WA.

My wife has a business of interior decorating and furniture upholstery in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. She started needing plywood window cornices by the boatload and asked me to make them. I decided on a Festool setup which works perfectly for cutting sheet goods. I have since built furniture frames using the Festool equipment though sometimes I wish for my table saw to rip out the boards.

Over the years I’ve collected a few hand tools but never seemed to incorporate them into my woodworking, always easier to turn on the power instead of sharpen a tool. That is about to change. I am dedicating myself to using only hand tools for building furniture. I’m not going to Craigslist the Festools but I’ll only use them when building paying jobs for our business. Space is limited so I’ll have to come up with a way to incorporate my hand tool shop in with the existing power tool shop.

I will use this blog to document what I do and how it works for me. Stay with me and hopefully you will enjoy the ride.

– Carl


  • Luke Townsley  On July 19, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    I just added this blog to my blog aggregator at UnpluggedShop.com.

    When you make a new post, within about two hours, the headline will automatically appear on my site so woodworkers everywhere can click over to your site and read it.

    If you ever have any questions or concerns, please let me know.

    I usually try to get blogs that are at least 50% woodworking hand tools or of unique interest to hand tool users.

    A link to my homepage or blog is always appreciated, but hardly necessary.

    Luke Townsley

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