Leaning how to use a power tool can be is one of the most important subjects to master in woodworking and carpentry.  You might think, “what is there to using a power tool, just turn it on and go”.  To an extent that is true, but the next time you see someone showing you a review or are watching someone do some work, pay attention to how they use the tool.  You will be surprised how many people either do not know how to use a tool or are thinking about other things other than using the tool itself.

Lets take a hammer as an example.  How many people do you see trying to hammer a nail in.  They will hit the nail as hard as possible.  Also notice where their hand is positioned. Most of the time it is close to the the head of the hammer.  You will see people doing this all the time and then they wonder why they always bend the nails.  This gets to my first point of learning how to use tools.  The head of a hammer has weight for a reason, use it.  Pick a hammer up and try driving a nail into some wood while your hand is towards the hammer’s head.  Next, move you your hand to the back of the handle and try again.  This time don’t use a lot of force.  You will notice a difference.  The second way, with your hand at the back of the hammer handle, will work much better.  Now you will not have to focus on hitting the anil so hard and can focus on where you want to hit the nail, which will cause less bent nails.

Have you ever had a nut so tight you can not get it off?  What happens when you get a bigger wrench with a longer handle? Most of the time you can loosen it right away.  Have you every wondered why?  Well, it’s because you are using the right tool for the job.  The longer handle gives you more leverage, which puts more pressure on the head of the wrench, more torque.

Have you ever seen someone drilling or sawing, and you can just tell they are using so much pressure to get the job done it looks like they are going to pop a vein?  The harder you push on your tools, the less control you have on them, raising the chances of getting hurt.  Remember, the power tool itself only provides two things: a place to hold your hands and the power to spin the bit or blade.  Let the blade or bit do the work, not you.  If you think the drill bit is not drilling fast enough, maybe it is dull, or maybe the battery needs recharging.  My point is that by using a lot of force, the only thing you really accomplish is a red face.  Yes, there are certain applications where you need force, but as you use the tool or understand the job, you will know which jobs need force and which ones don’t.  If your using a table saw, don’t try and jam the wood through the blade.  Once you start feeding the wood, you will be able to feel the feed rate and use that speed.  Jamming the wood through does nothing, except put more wear and tear on the motor.  Remember, the only thing that does the cutting is the blade, not the motor, not the table, not your force, just the blade.

My point is always use the right tool for the job and use it the way it was intended to be used.  This saves you a lot of time and aggravation.  Let the power tool do the work, not you.  Let the blade or bit do the work.