Most professional woodworkers and many hobbyists will, at some point, entertain the idea of making their own woodworking tools. Most jigs, in fact, are homemade, specifically designed to fit the carpenter’s saws, routers, and drills. Homemade woodworking tools are often far more useful than store bought ones, and budget friendly, too.
But admit it – most woodworkers hardly stop at making their own jigs. These concoctions are often called “hybrids”. My own dad had a machine we called the “Frankensaw”. It had a lawnmower engine and a 14 foot table – on each side. He always threatened to have an iron brand made so he could mark his furniture with “Heck for Stout”. Yes, he burned up a few saw blades.
Other woodworkers will make their own template routing machine, or slot mortising machine, or even a 3D pantograph jig. And of course, what carpenter has not made his own tool base, mobile or fixed? Some will build their own saw, including the pulleys, with metal parts they purchase for the shafts and an old motor they have lying around – like a lawnmower motor.
Handmade power tools are one category of construction. Most of these are made out of wood, with metal pieces purchased at the hardware. Another category of handmade woodworking tools is that of forged metals. Gouges, chisels, and knives fall into this category, and take slightly different equipment.
And, you may not stop with your own handmade woodworking tools. In some cases, you can find them on internet websites. This will be more common with the forged tools, since not as many people are set up with forges, hammers, and anvils, along with the know how to use them properly. Many professionals and hobbyists alike own at least one great handmade saw from Lynx, or a Hock handmade planer.
The thing is, many times a homemade tool is far better than most commercially manufactured tools on the market. Many of the assembly line tools are drop forged rather than hammered, and they are stamped or cut out. Once the shape is punched out, the metal is not tempered properly. Enthusiasts and experts will tell you that hand forged tools that have been hammered into shape rather than dropped into molds are far superior. The act of hammering the hot steel not only compresses it further than simple drop forging. The compression also increases the carbon content of the steel, which makes it far harder and more durable. When properly tempered, the tool will last much longer. Your woodworking chisels, gouges, and draw knives, when handmade, will become heirloom pieces.
While mechanical, wooden, and metal homemade woodworking tools may be common, it is less common to find homemade electronic tools. Moisture meters fall into this category. For the woodworker who keeps tabs on the moisture content (MC) levels of the woods he works on, an accurate moisture meter is crucial to own, and that’s hard if not impossible to make on your own.
It is the nature of a craftsman to want to master his field, and this often means making his own homemade tools. Always make sure when manufacturing any homemade tools to research and abide by all of the safety guidelines recommended from either the product manufacturer or from other reliable sources.