Woodworker's Central
Woodworker's Gazette
Gazette Archive 7/21/02

A Book Review by Bob Leroux

Title: Choosing & Using Hand Tools

Andy Rae

Published by: Sterling Publishing Co. Inc.

387 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016-8810
ISBN 1-57990-294-4
Price Softcover: $19.95
208 color pages

Power tools allow us to watch them perform, but hand tools from the basic to the specific are for the wood lover's caress. From a chisel to a japanese miter square they are more than just an extension of our hands, they are an extension of our head and heart.

Now, remember we are talking about HAND tools. The operant word "hand" describes it for those of us whose hands have to be in touch with and guide the tool to reveal the product as it unfolds. If "feel" is part of the process for you, these are those tools that are basic, those that are specific and some tools that are for occasional job-specific use; but always an extension of the woodworker's hand and mind.

If you are a decent woodworker and enjoy reading the "tips" sections of your woodworking magazines, even if it's just to remind yourself, "Yeah! I knew that!", this book is concentrated fun. If you are on your way from a serious beginner level on up to the next level, this book will fill lots of gaps in regard to tools you need and can choose to acquire.

The book is episodic.. like opening a can of peanuts...you start with one or two short tips but pretty soon you are devouring the material by the handful. It fills in the cracks any woodworker has in his repetoire.

For those with a dedicated work area it can serve as a checked-off inventory of what you already have or for some a checked off wish-list that significant others can refer to at appropriate gift times.

The 208 page softcover book, colorfully illustrated with photos and drawings is logically arranged beginning with acquiring new, used and even the occasional antique tool; storing & maintaining same; tools that hold; tools for layout; tools for striking; tools for pulling, prying, twisting, boring, scraping, chiseling, carving; edgetools and saws.

Who should spend $19.95? The woodworker whose son or daughter is starting to pick things up. The retiree looking to avoid wasting time getting into a new hobby. The now serious woodworker who needs to get organized. The woodworker who likes sitting down with a 'good" book.

Bob Leroux

Editor's Note: Sterling Publishing has graciously donated several books for review which are passed on to our members free of charge in exchange for thoughtful, honest reviews. Thank You! And you can usually find their titles at a discount from Barnes And Noble

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