A Robust Defense of Hand Tools
Power tools are incredible innovations. With the addition of electricity or gas, power tools provide more strength and speed to get jobs done faster and often with higher-quality results. It’s why you don’t often see professionals on job sites without heavy-duty tools close to hand.
However, just because power tools are more powerful doesn’t mean that old-fashioned hand tools have no place in your home workshop. In fact, hand tools remain important in various applications, to the extent that even professionals tend to carry toolboxes with basic hand tools in case a project calls for them.
Even as you save up for the power tools you want and need, you should appreciate the value of various hand tools. Here are some of the benefits of hand tools and why you might want to upgrade your hand tool collection as soon as possible:
Hand Tools Are More Affordable
You pay a premium for the power behind power tools. Power tools rely on sophisticated technology that converts electricity or fuel into whatever motion you need—oscillating, reciprocating, blowing, heating, etc.—which means they require quite a bit more research and design as well as more extensive manufacturing processes to produce.
In comparison, hand tools are straightforward; they tend to be simple machines that rely on the most fundamental physical forces to achieve a user’s aims. Many hand tools have been perfected over generations and utilize only one or two materials, which means they are remarkably fast and inexpensive to manufacture. As a result, you can assemble a massive collection of hand tools for roughly the same price as one or two power tools, making hand tools much more accessible to a wider array of craftspeople, especially those with limited budgets.
Hand Tools Are More Precise
Power tools buzz and rattle; the power coursing through them can make them difficult for everyone to handle properly, which means they can be woefully imprecise and lead to grievous mistakes that ruin projects. If you are working on something that requires great precision, you need to use a tool that you have complete control over, which usually means you need a hand tool. Hand tools work at your pace and with your effort, so you can achieve the exact effect you need to complete your project precisely.
This is not always the case. There are a few instances when power tools can offer much greater precision, like power planers, which reduce many different boards to a very precise thickness to ensure uniformity, or drill presses, which can guarantee straight holes at precise depths. However, because most craftspeople cannot afford the most precise power tools, hand tools are the best option for those looking to be meticulous in their tool use.
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Hand Tools Are Safer
Every year in the United States, power tools are to blame for approximately 400,000 visits to the emergency room, and there are countless other relatively minor injuries caused by power tools that go unreported. Working with power tools is not always easy; few tools are intuitive, and because power tools are so powerful, the costs of using them improperly tend to be high. Even experienced tradespeople make simple mistakes with power tools that result in irreparable damage, even death.
Though it isn’t impossible to receive injuries from hand tools, it does tend to be much less frequent, and any injuries sustained are less likely to be severe. As mentioned above, you should have complete control over hand tools when you are using them, which means they shouldn’t be able to behave unexpectedly and cause damage. When hand tools do cause injury, it is most often because the user has been handling them improperly or the tool is in poor repair, which is why it is important that you understand how to use hand tools and properly maintain your tools to stay safe.
Hand Tools Are More Sustainable
Power tools require some source of energy, like electricity or gas. Unfortunately, neither of these sources of energy is consequence-free; they both have negative environmental impacts such as air pollution and climate change. What’s more, power tools often use disposable parts, like flimsy blades or sanding pads, which, in addition to clogging landfills, must be manufactured again and again, wasting natural resources.
In contrast, hand tools are manufactured once and used for decades. Their simple design and construction help ensure durability, to the extent that hand tools are often passed from generation to generation. With minimal maintenance, you can avoid paying again and again for the same tool, which means you are preserving the natural environment and your savings.
A Robust Defense of Hand Tools