Oct 12 2012

Woodworking Tools for the Left Handed Woodworker. (Righties Too!)

We have heard from many left handed clients, thanking us for our attention to left handed tooling. We have offered nearly every right handed tool we make in a left handed version since day one, as well as with the introduction of each new tool we offer, and for the same price, either hand.

Call it a mission statement if you like, but I personally like helping woodworkers create, while achieving their personal best levels of craftsmanship no matter which hand they favor. Our tools are designed to help create fine craftsmanship with either hand, no matter which side you favor. We make a number of woodworking tools and jigs that are purpose-made to help unlock the creative process, making the tools you may already have, work even better and more accurately, by giving both you and your tools as much capability as we can in the process.

Curves often look right when faired by eye, particularly when they are not adjacent to each other, but some of the hardest things to do are straightness, squareness and angular accuracy, exactly where you want or need it. Why? Because the look and fitment of everything matters in fine work.

In joinery, the squareness, straightness and fitment are often everything to the joint. Starting with straightness is a set up for accurate squareness, because the layout tooling transfers accuracy from one place to another.

Shooting your work matters a lot in joinery, including dovetailing. While we are not so concerned with dovetail angles specifically, we are very concerned that the end grain of the boards are square side to side and edge to edge, or the boards will not come together square. That isn’t good in case work. Further, the end grain after shooting is smooth, and layout with both pencils and knives is much more accurate and easy to see and saw to, than that over rough sawn stock.

In joinery, glue is adhesive, but lasts because the physical joinery fits right. It is the joinery that bears the load; this is because the accuracy and close fitment of the joint leaves just the right amount of space for glue. When all this comes together simultaneously, glue holds and the joinery lasts for years. That is what strength and beauty are made of.

Other times we are trying to bookmatch boards or veneers, maybe joint stock that is awkward, short or thin without endangering our fingers on a powered jointer. Sawing compound angles by hand without becoming a contortionist, or even just saw accurately where needed. Drill squarely on any flat surface, or rasp and shape ergonomically.

Where possible, I have always felt that either hand should have equal chance of doing great work. We strive to make what we see in our mind’s eye translate to the woodwork and it doesn’t matter which hand we favor.

So whether you are southpaw or not, we offer nine different shooting board models, as accurate as we can possibly make them from wood, that can be made specifically for either left or light handers. Most of our shooting board accessories, which greatly enhance our boards capabilities, can be specified for left handed use as well. When Lie-Nielsen produces the LN-51-L Shooting Board Plane in the future, we are ready to offer left handed 51 Shooter shooting boards for use with it, too.

Our Sawing “East / West” Bench Hooks are available in left or right hand models, and are ready for use with both Japanese and Western style saws. Saw to the line and shoot the rest of the way. Our Handsaw Mag Guides are extremely adjustable, and will work equally well for either hand.

Our Drilling Guides are ambidextrous. They help you start drill holes that are square to the work with either hand or electric power, and with either right or left hands.

Our Rasping Fixture will allow you to rasp ergonomically on anything from cabriole legs to saw handles, without the use of a vice, and often at angles that are more comfortable than when the work is held in a vise. It also protects the workbench from damage from the rasps and we make it for use with either hand.

We also offer a Planing Stop that will effectively stop thin, thick and even curved stock, that mounts easily to either end of a bench, depending on which planing hand you favor. It maximizes the usable planing length of your bench, and is out of the way of other woodworking activities when not in use.

To help keep all your tooling running sharp, Our Sharpening Strops and Sharpening Stations pay attention to the need for flat surfaces when sharpening, making sharpening, and sharpening maintenance easier in handy to use ways, no matter which hand you favor.

We continue to develop new tooling, and as always, with attention to both left and right handed or ambidextrous operation, so please keep an eye on our New Products Page for news about that. Please feel free to follow any of the links to look at tools that help make fine craftsmanship easier. If you have a tool idea you would like us to consider for use in either hand, please contact us and let us know. Remember our mission is about helping you achieve your personal best in woodworking craftsmanship.

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© Copyright 2012 by Rob Hanson for evenfallstudios.com All Rights Reserved.

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