Firstly, I use hand tools almost exclusively. I do have a few machines, but they are human-powered. You see … I use no electricity! Not even for light. If the sun isn’t shining … my shop is as dark as the inside of a cat.
Even with all of those candles, it’s too dark to use sharp tools. I can clean-up by candlelight, but that’s about it. I do, however, have a skylight, so on cloudy days, I can see well enough to work.
The human-powered machines I use I actually made myself. I have a spring-pole lathe, a hand-cranked drill press, and a treadle powered sash saw.
I build mostly seventeenth and eighteenth-century furniture pieces. Using period construction techniques and joinery gives me a real sense of what life was like in Colonial America. Working with hand tools is quite cathartic, in and of itself. Combine this with a period furniture project and it’s … nirvana! At least for me.