Hand versus power tools

Another man and I had a discussion a couple weeks ago. The question of power versus hand tools.
The context was replacing springs under a truck or van. I've done leaf springs, but not coils. The first leaf spring replacement, I did at a friend's garage. I'd left most of my heavy tools home, figuring he was well supplied with tools. I was disppointed to find that someone had just stolen some of his tools, including his impact wrench.
We put a 7/8 socket onto a breaker bar, and got the nut started. And then quickly change that to a ratchet, and keep pulling. We were both sore at the end of that experience.
The other leaf spring, I brought my own impact gun. It's not a fancy one, it's a Wel Bilt, from Harbor Freight. I heated the nut, and then pop the impact gun on, and pull the trigger. Don't let off the trigger, till the nut is off the bolt. That seemed to work fairly well.
However, my friend (who is far more athletic and muscled than I am, was, or will be) prefers hand wrenching.
So, what do the other fine posters on this group think? Hand wrenches or power tools? Lets not dissolve into chants of "Great taste / less filling" which was a mantra from a beer commercial a couple decades ago.
--

Christopher A. Young
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

Use whatever you have at hand or want excuse to get. If it's time-critical, power tool <may> save some, but then again, an impact wrench can wreak havoc if used improperly, too.
I see it as the proverbial "tempest in a teapot"...
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Power tool are great if you're using them where there's power. But they really suck if you're halfway out I-80 in the middle of the night,
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

I have compressor in my garage. Air tools beats hand tools hands down. I also have some cordless tools, drill, saw, etc. Tony
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it's really nice to be able to just pop a nail in when you've got things aligned rather than worry about hammer blows knocking things around.
then again there are situations where no power tool is gonna do what a chisel or block plane can quickly do.
they are complements to each other
w/regard to power tools in automotive shops... well using them once pretty much dictates using them again and you can feel pretty silly after nearly giving yourself a coronary trying to get a lug nut off by hand and watching it come off easily w/an impact wrench.
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This is a simple question with many answers. In all actuality, there is a place and time for either type of tool. I prefer to use hand tools at work, as I work with 7mm screws and such all the time. Phillips head screws, 8mm screws, torx stuff..........none of which are torqued terribly tight. None of which are in a hard to get to situation. So, I prefer a ratcheting screwdriver most of the time. I am as quick as someone with a screw gun most of the time because I have been doing it so long. Very rarely is a power tool of any benefit over the hand tool in my work. (every now and again I wish for a battery powered impact for seat bolt removal in cars )
At home, I use a similar philosophy. If I can do it by hand, and have the energy to do it, I use hand tools. If I am tired cause I have worked all day, and lack the energy I may use a power tool.
Just tonight, I got out and used a pruning saw (hand powered) for half an hour. I have a chainsaw, but no ladder, so this was the ONLY method I have of working on the high branches.
If I do wood work of any kind, I try and use power tools with guides and such to do more accurate work, as I haven't a steady hand, and like another poster, I think nailing with a power nailer would be an awesome thing if I had one, as wood tends to move as you screw/nail a lot of the time when there's just marks to line up.
All in all, they noth have their place.
It's certainly not a matter of whats better for the sake of power or not.

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MUADIB
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Like most things,..it depends. You have to look at the situation. The one you stated first, if you used a power tool and it stripped the nut...what next. Sometimes it may work to start it by hand and then power it the rest of the way off. Old rusty stuff is tricky since you do not want strip it. For woodworking, power tools save time, time, time. My 2 cents.
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===========================I rebuild/restore cars as a hobby.... and I have a complete woodshop in which I build furniture as my other hobby....
Using a impact wrench is just much easier physically ...no brainer not to use one ....picking up an air rachet on the other hand pure is more trouble then it is worth unless I am removing a manifold etc and will be removing more then 6-8 bolts....this is justified only because it saves time...
In the woodshop... I'll use the jointer to produce a flat surface on a piece of lumber..then flip the lumber to produce a flat edge which is 90 degrees from that first side......then walk over to the planer to produce the second side which is perfectely parallel to the other side... Now I can use the Table Saw to finish the work piece
Using a hand plane works BUT it honestly takes not only much more time..BUT a HELL of a lot more skill...
On the other hand using a cabinet scraper is much faster and produces a much smoother surface then using sandpaper...either by hand or with a power sander...
Bob Griffiths
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when your young ,dumd and full of...... time ,,,,hard work dont seem to matter as much.as a matter of fact ,i did alot of things the hard way cause it was a good workout ,but time takes its toll on us all and using your head more with power tools keeps me working where i might not be working at all without them.. i use power tools for anything they will work on ,it saves time ,,and sweat. i can remember when granpa built a trailer out of an old rear end and drilled the holes with a bit and brace , it took him a long time,weeks ,but he was steady and persistant and got her done. i think i could drill all those holes in a few hours with a good drill. lucas.
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I drilled several 5/16 holes in some really tough angle iron the other day to make a brace for a lawn mower. Coulda done them wtih a hand drill, and a couple weeks of labor.
In the context of the original question (changing springs on a vehicle) I really like impact wrenches when possible.
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Christopher A. Young
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It's usually a matter of final appearance and time, as well as which tools are available.
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