Home Improvement

Hand Tools Book

Essential Hand Tools: 26 Tools to Renovate and Repair Your Home by Norm Abram (Editor), The Editors of This Old House Magazine Essential Hand Tools: 26 Tools to Renovate and Repair Your Home
by Norm Abram (Editor), The Editors of This Old House Magazine

Paperback: 104 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.50 x 9.75 x 8.75
Publisher: This Old House Books; (January 15, 2000)
ISBN: 0966675304

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Amazon.com: The function of power tools is to enhance the speed and force of those tasks originally performed by hand tools, but as useful as power tools are, there are still many tasks which simply cannot be done with a power tool. Mastering basic hand tool use is crucial to any renovation or repair around the house, and this book lays out the basic collection of important hand tools needed by any do-it-yourselfer, explains their purpose and proper use, and will give any beginner the practical information necessary to get started. It is generously illustrated with color photographs of new and historic tools. --Mark A. Hetts

Book Description: Whether you're a home repair novice or a veteran renovator searching for new tricks of the trade - you'll find invaluable advice and expert knowledge about hand tools straight from master carpenter Norm Abram and contractor Tom Silva in this full-color tool book from the editors of This Old House Magazine.

From the Back Cover: Are hand tools important? Ask a craftsman who teaches millions of people the how-to of home renovation, master carpenter Norm Abram. After years as a host of the celebrated PBS television show This Old House, he answers simply: "Mastering them is how I began." whether you're a home-repair novice trying to fill your first toolbox or a seasoned home renovator prowling for tips from craftsmen such as Norm and This Old House contractor Tom Silva, you'll find just what you need--the essentials--in this lively, no-nonsense guide from the editors of This Old House Magazine. Pull up a sawhorse, settle in for a good read and find out what your favorite carpenter has to say about his tools.

Ask a craftsman and you'll find that almost every one will profess a love of hand tools. What's more, the explanation that follows invariably turns tradesmen into poets. Tom Silva, contractor for This Old House, puts it this way: "If you've ever trued up a door with a long door plane and heard it slice off the wood, there's nothing nicer than hearing that sound or smelling the wood and feeling the shavings curl up on your arms." Hand tools are elegantly simple and peaceful to use; they are the sail to the outboard of power tools. Using them isn't necessarily better than working with power tools; it's just different. But what a difference.

• As master carpenter for the celebrated television series This Old House, Norm Abram introduced the notion of building craftsmanship to millions of people. (How did he earn the title "master carpenter," you ask? Doing roughly 30 years of serious on-the-job carpentry.) And Tom, as a busy construction and remodeling pro, has seen more parts of more houses than you can imagine. Norm and Tom love what they do, and most of what they do involves tools. As Norm once noted, "Hand tools largely defined my father's career, and mastering them is how I began."

• When Norm worked on his first projects as a teenager, house building was a craft still practiced by those who, like his father, Louis, built with handsaws and hammers. Tools were cradled in fabric loops sewn to a carpenter's overalls. Experience was earned by working with seasoned craftsmen. These days, construction is a split-second world of power planes, laser levels and the arterial links of power cords. Norm wouldn't build without power tools, of course, but he brings to his work a sense of tradition and a level of craftsmanship that comes from years of reliance on hand tools. Tom puts it this way: "We used to make our own miter boxes, but my nephew Charlie has known mostly power tools. I don't think he's better or less of a craftsman, but he'll never get that feeling that comes from working primarily with hand tools."

• In the following pages, drawn from This Old House magazine, you'll pick up practical tips for the use and care of hand tools directly from Norm, Tom and other craftsmen. The surface of a favored tool, paint-flecked or burnished smooth from years of use, reminds us of what a craftsman--or an amateur--can accomplish. With any luck, it may even represent the cherished and irreplaceable, such as the block plane that Norm inherited from Louis. Tools with that kind of connection bring more to the work than a keen edge. --the editors

Customer Reviews
A Good Read, July 21, 2000
Reviewer: rower46 from Southern California
This book is a good read and a practical reference.

Although I am not a professional craftsperson, or even "seasoned" by most standards, I am a tool nut and have been using them for nearly fifty years in a variety of situations and know my way around a toolbox. However, the book showed me some common tools in a new perspective and has even given me an excuse to pick up a few more unusual tools for my collection. An example would be the cat's-paw. I was not familiar with this device before, but have now learned how superior one is to the claw of a hammer or a flat pry bar for pulling nails.

The book is more a discussion of the philosophy and theory of tools than it is an instruction manual. Nevertheless, I highly recommend it to anyone trying to get a handle on how to start putting a kit together and those who are curious about what two famous carpenters have to say about a tool you may have been using seemingly all your life.

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