I can remember, almost to the day, when I became a hand tool woodworker, novice division. It was two years ago now that I watched the first episode of Bob Rozaieski's podcast series on building a Porringer tea table. Designed for beginners, it taught in a step by step, clear way how to make cabriole legs with hand tools. I remember thinking, "I don't know if I could ever do something like that, but I want to try." I had some 12/4 alder, so the risk was small. It went so well that I made another, then a third from claro walnut.
As I went along, I began accumulating and using hand tools, some new, some restored and made a tool chest to house them. Increasingly, my power-tool-centered workshop didn't work. It was cramped, the layout was wrong and the benches were wrong, just not designed for hand tool work. This fall, I went on a tear, selling my tablesaw, my bench and an assembly table as well as numerous tools I wasn't using. I made the Nicholson bench and repurposed an antique butcher block that belonged to my wife's parents as a joinery bench. Next up is a second saw bench that, along with its mate and a piece of plywood, can double as a low assembly table. This is where things stand:
I cannot tell you what a difference this represents. Of course, you can't see the power tools around the periphery, but that's the point. They are on the periphery. The transformation may never be complete but a tipping point has been passed.