I do thank HaShem however, that I can do some complex woodworking without electricity. I have been working on the two paneled doors for the Aron Kodesh, and I was able to do a great deal of the work, sans electricity.
Each of the doors is tall but not very wide, so I needed longer tenons to keep the doors together, therefore haunched tenons were the order of the day.
”The haunched tenon has a notch cut on the top cheek. This creates a short stub tenon that extends to the end of the board. It strengthens the joint by adding support in this area that would otherwise be left unsupported. The haunched tenon is well suited for use in panel-frame construction because the tenon will fill the same groove that has to be made for the panel”
—by Sam Allen; Wood Joiners Handbook
I cut all the tenons with a variety of hand saws and fit them with a rabbit plane. I will admit that I cut the mortises with my Hollow Mortise Chisel machine, mainly because the power came back on when it was time to make them, plus the fact that I love that tool! I don’t use it for every project, but man alive it is a real time saver! And this is the topic of this blog, time.
I can make mortises by hand, but three factors emerged that prevented me from making them by hand. First, I don’t have a quarter inch mortise chisel. Second, my quarter inch auger bit has a screw tip so it is hard to pull back out. Third and most importantly, time. This project, like most of my commissions, is billed as time and materials, so I can’t burn time just because I like to use hand tools. I still need to figure out how I am going to bill my time while I was working in the shop without power.
Sometimes, the fun of using hand tools can be a real dilemma for me. Come on! I’ve got a new tenon saw and I recently got my antique miter saw sharpened, so how can I resist using them! I actually don’t mind getting rough cut lumber that is cupped and somewhat twisted, because I can use my planes to flatten one side (the fun part), then run the other side through the power planer (the boring part). As much as I enjoy using my hand tools, I am extremely thankful for my power tools tool. I will even go so far as to say, the my increased use of hand tools has made me a better power tool user because I can read the wood better. That being said, time is money and without my power tools I could not run a profitable business.
One day in my paranoid future when the lights go out for good, I will at least be able to still make furniture (not that we will need it since we will be too busy running from crazed zombie vampires), but I will be happy in the knowledge that I am a better woodworker because I am a modern traditionalist.