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Blog entry by Ron Messersmith posted 04-17-2018 04:46 PM 851 reads 0 times favorited 29 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’m curious about what woodworkers feel about incorporating CNC into their woodwork. I’ve always thought it would diminish the craft but I’m beginning to change my feelings about it. The potential seems too large to ignore. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

-- Jupiter



29 comments so far

View DS's profile

DS

2917 posts in 2420 days


#1 posted 04-17-2018 09:45 PM

This could be a fairly heated discussion on here. It is not surprising that many folks have shied away from this topic for most of the day today. (124 views and no comments until now)

In my experience, most who oppose CNC of any kind in woodworking, have never used one. They usually resort to calling folks “machine operators” instead of woodworkers.
I might argue that you could call a woodworker who uses a tablesaw a “machine operator” just as succinctly.

So, all that said, I AM a woodworker who uses CNC machines – Not only CNC Routers, but CNC panel saws, CNC machining Centers (P2P), CNC Shapers, CNC dowellers, CNC dovetailers, CNC cutoff saws and CNC lathes.

The use of CNC machines does not in anyway diminish me as a woodworker. If anything, it expands my abilities to be creative and boosts my productivity as a craftsman.

Okay, bring on the naysayers.

My 2 cents.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

3250 posts in 1988 days


#2 posted 04-17-2018 10:02 PM

To me CNC woodworking is just a new branch. I would love to be able to try it out but the hurdles with the software are too large. It is also a costly branch. It is interesting but just not for me….yet.

No matter what, I would favor hand carved or handmade over CNC.

View Ottacat's profile

Ottacat

476 posts in 1851 days


#3 posted 04-17-2018 10:19 PM

So far I have yet to see a significant reason to get a CNC. What exact potential are you seeing? I don’t find myself looking at many project plans and thinking that it would be too time consuming to make without one.

View John Smith's profile (online now)

John Smith

900 posts in 162 days


#4 posted 04-17-2018 11:40 PM

if you do use a CNC – and you make artistic items or signs,
it is considered by some to be Blasphemy to say it is ”Hand Carved or Hand Crafted”
when you never actually touch it with a hand tool.
processed on the CAD/CAM would be more appropriate and easily accepted (by some).

and that is jus my humble Dos Centavos for the Evening News.

.

.

-- Graduated Valedictorian from the University of HardKnocks --

View DS's profile

DS

2917 posts in 2420 days


#5 posted 04-17-2018 11:50 PM


if you do use a CNC – and you make artistic items or signs,
it is considered by some to be Blasphemy to say it is ”Hand Carved or Hand Crafted”
when you never actually touch it with a hand tool.
processed on the CAD/CAM would be more appropriate and easily accepted (by some).

and that is jus my humble Dos Centavos for the Evening News.

.

.

- John Smith

John, I get the point of what you are saying. There are some canned CNC patterns, as it relates to “carving”, that I would not consider to be actually carving. They are nice scenes though, and they really do pop when “carved” in wood.
For me, I rarely, if ever, “carve” with a CNC. I have a full complement of Pfiel Swiss made tools for that. But, the blank for the apron I am carving will most likely be outline shaped and most of the major relief done on a CNC before my gouges ever touch the wood. (Right tool for the right job and all.)

As for making claims of “Hand Carved” or whatever. I just don’t see those claims being made by anybody.
Likewise, I don’t know of anyone claiming they cut cabinet parts by a handsaw when they really used a tablesaw. No one really cares.
(Reminds me of when houses were advertised for sale with wall-to-wall carpeting – these days, it is a moot point. People expect it without making any claims.)
Nevertheless, I agree it would be wrong to misrepresent your work as something it isn’t.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View Rich's profile (online now)

Rich

2826 posts in 589 days


#6 posted 04-17-2018 11:51 PM


if you do use a CNC – and you make artistic items or signs,
it is considered by some to be Blasphemy to say it is ”Hand Carved or Hand Crafted”
when you never actually touch it with a hand tool.
processed on the CAD/CAM would be more appropriate and easily accepted (by some).

- John Smith

Really, John? Blasphemy? I’d say you, of all people, have little room to talk. And don’t try to deny it because I have absolute proof that will stand up in any court in the nation.

What’s my proof? I saw this little goody on the counter at Woodcraft recently. Did you carve it by hand? I doubt it.

Blasphemy!

(Just kidding, of course. I took that photo to rib you with. Little did I know such a perfect opportunity would present itself)

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Desert_Woodworker's profile

Desert_Woodworker

1355 posts in 1214 days


#7 posted 04-18-2018 01:11 AM

As for CNC – I recommend Laguna. As to the above, hand carved… Does your product “sell” or not; are you proud or self-satisfied with your product?
The CNC is another tool for the shop; stick around more new tools will be coming…

Whatever you are going to do – you will need both of these…

-- Desert_Woodworker

View John Smith's profile (online now)

John Smith

900 posts in 162 days


#8 posted 04-18-2018 01:30 AM

oh my oh my oh my ~ RICH !! that is one funny find right there !!
I am still waiting on the lawsuit results for wal-mart
to stop using my name on their caller ID labels !!!!

Touche’

.

.

-- Graduated Valedictorian from the University of HardKnocks --

View Rich's profile (online now)

Rich

2826 posts in 589 days


#9 posted 04-18-2018 01:45 AM


oh my oh my oh my ~ RICH !! that is one funny find right there !!
I am still waiting on the lawsuit results for wal-mart
to stop using my name on their caller ID labels !!!!

- John Smith

I also hear you, or someone with your name, often checks into sleazy motels that charge by the hour.

Seriously though, I’ve seen that display at the store for ages. Believe it or not, I just took that photo yesterday so I’d have it if the right time presented itself. Then BAM, this thread and your post came along and I couldn’t type fast enough.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View John Smith's profile (online now)

John Smith

900 posts in 162 days


#10 posted 04-18-2018 02:53 AM

LOL Rich – you crack me up !!! my wife came in from the back room to see
what I was laughing so hard about. I tried to explain the CNC thing to her but she
just shook her head and walked away. (she is Chinese and just doesn’t get our “humor”).

-- Graduated Valedictorian from the University of HardKnocks --

View woodbutcherbynight's profile

woodbutcherbynight

4562 posts in 2409 days


#11 posted 04-18-2018 04:51 AM



As for CNC – I recommend Laguna. As to the above, hand carved… Does your product “sell” or not; are you proud or self-satisfied with your product?
The CNC is another tool for the shop; stick around more new tools will be coming…

Whatever you are going to do – you will need both of these…

- Desert_Woodworker

I am no doctor but are you supposed to take it out and hold it in your hand like that????

ROFL

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

8047 posts in 2328 days


#12 posted 04-18-2018 01:08 PM

Because any router work has a minimum cutter diameter (and therefor minimum inside corner radius) almost all of the intricate CNC work that I’ve seen requires hand finishing.

Thus I believe this statement is incorrect….


you never actually touch it with a hand tool. processed on the CAD/CAM would be more appropriate and easily accepted (by some).
- John Smith

When I routed my daughters name into the rail of the hope chest I made for her, a lot of time went into cleaning up and detailing the lettering by hand. I’d wager there was more chisel time in the project than actual machine time.

-- It’s the knowledge in your head, skill in your hands and motivation to create in you heart that makes you a woodworker. - Mainiac Matt

View Andre's profile

Andre

1837 posts in 1806 days


#13 posted 04-18-2018 04:21 PM

When I routed my daughters name into the rail of the hope chest I made for her, a lot of time went into cleaning up and detailing the lettering by hand. I’d wager there was more chisel time in the project than actual machine time.

I am on the side that CNC is not real wood working! when you hold the router in your hand and direct its travel still is but couldn’t, shouldn’t be called hand carved? I have seen a lot of projects come off a CNC machines that look completed. Just my 2cents!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

4770 posts in 3243 days


#14 posted 04-18-2018 04:45 PM

To me it doesn’t matter whether an item is hand crafted or CNC’d. It’s the final result I’m looking for. CNC is just another tool in one’s arsenal. Technology marches on. To really be a purist on craftsmanship, why not go all the way back to the stone age and work with the most primitive tools.

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

3250 posts in 1988 days


#15 posted 04-18-2018 05:29 PM

To each their own….

The work that someone like FancyChip does are really good. If it was done on a CNC, I would not look at it.

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