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View Newage Neanderthal's profile

Are you a woodworker or a tool setter upper?

by Newage Neanderthal
posted 1140 days ago


42 replies so far

View WayneC's profile (online now)

WayneC

12250 posts in 2695 days


#1 posted 1140 days ago

I belive there was a reference in Tolpin’s new book that compared working wood with machining wood. It was part of explaining his move towards hand tools. I have been considering some aspects of this.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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Newage Neanderthal

190 posts in 1148 days


#2 posted 1140 days ago

Bringing up handtools, I should have mentioned this is not about handtools vs powertools. Maloof rockers and bandsaw boxes are powertool driven, but wood working instead of machining in my opinion.

-- www.newageneanderthal.blogspot.com . @NANeanderthal on twitter

View Don W's profile (online now)

Don W

14632 posts in 1166 days


#3 posted 1140 days ago

ahhhh, but I think it takes both to be either. Anyone can buy all the right paint, the right brushes, and a piece of canvas, and they can paint. It may make them a painter, but not necessarily and artist. I, like wayne, have recently moved toward the hand tool mindset. I do however still think it takes a good craftsman to turn out fine woodworking, even with power tools.

Do what you enjoy.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

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WayneC

12250 posts in 2695 days


#4 posted 1140 days ago

I may need to go back and look up the section. It was more about setup and repetitive cuts vs. making and fitting the project piece by piece and the experience of feeling the wood as you work with it.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View EEngineer's profile

EEngineer

885 posts in 2211 days


#5 posted 1140 days ago

Well, yes!

It does take both. And it takes both whether you work with handtools or powertools. Why even use handtools? You could just chew the wood :) Debating what tools you use runs the risk of ignoring what you do with those tools.

Your complaint really just indicates how much more efficient powertools are; you feel like you are just setting up tools only because they make the actual task of shaping wood sooo much faster that it has become the smallest part of woodworking. I’lll take that; I only got a short time here.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View WayneC's profile (online now)

WayneC

12250 posts in 2695 days


#6 posted 1140 days ago

EEngineer, assuming that power tools are really more efficient for the specific task….

Don, said another way, “a fool with a tool is still a fool.” : ^ )

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Dave Pearce's profile

Dave Pearce

108 posts in 2270 days


#7 posted 1140 days ago

Nice point. And well taken, NaN. Consider this as well: Your neighbor can set his saw up to cut .397” as well. Not only that, if he follows the same woodworking plans you do from the latest issue of whatever magazines you both have, his product will look exactly like yours, and vice versa. Or at least close enough it would be hard to distinguish between the two unless they were side by side. Might be something to think about the next time you build from a published plan.

I have a fair number of power tools, not nearly as many as others here, but enough. I use them when I’m in a hurry to get past some stage in a project, but I’ve found I get little enjoyment out of them. I do prefer to work with hand tools, but sometimes it’s just easier to use a machine.

On the other side though, you might be amused to hear, I disassembled my finger-eatin’, wood wreckin’ bench-top table saw last summer. Kept the motor and the switch, tossed the rest. I haven’t missed it yet. It really was “bottom of the line” bad, so it deserved it’s fate.

For me, I kinda like spending time shaping the wood by hand. The finished product is icing on the cake.

-- http://www.pearcewoodworking.com

View TechRedneck's profile

TechRedneck

735 posts in 1455 days


#8 posted 1140 days ago

I’ve only been at this hobby seriously now for a couple years. I have power tools and actually like to tune and tweak them to get them running their best. Typically, once they are setup correctly they stay that way.

TIME is important to me. I love to use the few hand tools I own and love the feel of a nicely sharpened plane or scraper. I am not a purist (yet) and can’t imagine hand planing a rough 4/4 board when I can run it through the planer and then the drum sander and get it to the point where I can make something with it.

For me, power tools to near finish then use hand tools afterwards. Since I started using scrapers, I am using a lot less sandpaper. It’s a lot quicker to plane some imperfections out than it is to put it through a machine IMHO.

I love power tools, hand tools, wood and learning how to combine all them to make something I am not afraid to give as a gift or put in my home. If I used only hand tools I am using too much of my TIME. Working too much with the power tools and you loose that connection with the wood.

I do think that Newage makes a good point however… we do talk a lot about tools but call ourselves “woodworkers.”

-- Mike.... West Virginia. "Man is a tool using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.". T Carlyle

View EEngineer's profile

EEngineer

885 posts in 2211 days


#9 posted 1140 days ago

Yep! WayneC, thought I said that… here it is:

“Debating what tools you use runs the risk of ignoring what you do with those tools.”

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View Newage Neanderthal's profile

Newage Neanderthal

190 posts in 1148 days


#10 posted 1140 days ago

EEngineer
It is not about what tools, it is about what you do with those tools and what your mindset is. As I mentioned, Maloof rockers and bandsawn boxes I think is wood working. You are using a tool to work the wood. Ripping on a table saw is machine setup and then mindless activity. As far as handtools taking too long,this is a hobby to most of us, at least to whom I am asking the question. If the end product is all that matters then why not just buy it from a store or some other woodworker?
Also, I am NOT trying to say that doing it all by machine is some how bad or of lesser quality than by hand. I can assure that many powetool guys make much better end products that I do by hand.
All I am getting at is if 95% of your hobby time is setting up machines, and the topics you frequent are tool set up, then is it working wood really your hobby, or the machines? Time and the end product are irrelevant if its a hobby. (I fully understand why those are important to the pro)

-- www.newageneanderthal.blogspot.com . @NANeanderthal on twitter

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

4842 posts in 1396 days


#11 posted 1140 days ago

It has nothing to do with the tools you’re using and everything to do with how you use them.
They all have their place.
Tools, hand or power, won’t make anyone a craftsman, it’s just not that easy.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees. http://prmdesigns.com/

View BobTheFish's profile

BobTheFish

361 posts in 1150 days


#12 posted 1140 days ago

I don’t own any powertools. I borrow and use them when necessary, but I guess I’m not even really a woodworker per se. I get my kicks designing a project and in finishing/refinishing. Repair is also nice, and I’ll use power tools for rough cuts, but hell, I don’t even have a hand plane. I rely on mainly sandpaper and a hacksaw, or use a dremel for cutting/shaping.

Years ago in HS woodshop, I wanted to learn how to do everything by hand. I did dovetails by hand (they were god awful, but damn it, it was hand done, and that alone was rewarding), sanded my tables flat with a sanding block, and so on.

I raise the ante on your “powertools vs. handtools”. Is it really woodworking if you’re just using someone else’s plans and ideas?

Granted, handwork is a valuable and hard earned skill, but if you’re building a table for the sake of building a table, (tops and legs, maybe an apron if it seems necessary), or making a chair according to plans you bought, or if you turn pens or make cuttings boards (even if they’re pretty), are you really learning about the materials? are you really understanding and talking to the wood?

When you use a joint, are you doing it because it looks pretty, or because it’s necessary for a joint of that particular strength to be used there?

Do you rely on the same mission style elements, or do you step back and try to add variation? Do you sit down and build your furniture before you build it?

Do you just use woods because they’re pretty, or do you plan out how your piece will age (The worst abuse is padauk for its vibrant color which inevitably fades. In fact, I bought bloodwood instead of padauk for an upcoming table project just for that reason.)

Do you take into account that your wood has unique characteristics beyond “indoor/outdoor” uses, and do you utilizes stronger woods fore thinner lighter designs where less strong woods might not be able to handle?

Do you mix media? I’ve seen recently some elements of brass incorporated in turnings that really rocked.

When it comes to finishes, do you just have one standby finish or do you take into consideration the use of the piece: a jewelry box might be fine with just a hand oiled finish, since it’s not going to get much abuse, but a dining table would really benefit from a much more durable finish. Do you consider stains as a way of dyeing the wood or enhancing?

I’m not saying that if you don’t you’re not a woodworker. In fact, These things are what draw me to the work, rather than the working of the wood itself, and why I don’t exactly claim to be a woodworker in the traditional sense.

But these ARE considerations that can bring a whole new level to how you “work wood”.

Back to the original question though: I have much more respect for the handmade method, but I think to each their own with their methods. Each person, like myself, is drawn to the working of wood for different reasons. Someone who works with machines may just get their kicks some other way.

View reggiek's profile

reggiek

2240 posts in 1868 days


#13 posted 1140 days ago

Having had the experience of the purists and as a machine “setter upper” I do not see what the argument is? Using a machine – or using a handtool both require skill….a different skillset mind you…but a skill nonetheless. I enjoy using both…and my enjoyment is not lessened if I use a bandsaw to cut a curve then if I spend a bit of time with rasp and scrapers. I do this hobby for my own peace of mind anyway and I find that both methods satisfy me in this regard. This does not mean that a machine can take away the need for using my hand tools….or vice versa….I just try to get the best from both and I use both regularly.

I work the wood to see the beauty inside….I also enjoy the problem solving…the project coming to fruition as it takes shape….The sad thing now a days is the folks that do not have any knowledge of woodworking could not tell you the difference between a hand made/fitted joint…and a machine made/fitted joint – how many times have we seen discussions of comissioned work that a customer feels they do not get value from a crafted object versus a cheapo from the local bargain store?

This just means that the commercial woodworker would be out of business without powertools….or else be relegated to making specialty pieces for a small market…..There are true artists of both hand made items….and machine made items. For example….take a look at the American Wood Turner…..you could make these turned items by hand….but would they be any more beautiful?

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

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Gregn

1642 posts in 1581 days


#14 posted 1140 days ago

You realize, I have to play devils advocate here. Since this is neither a one v.s. the other deal, let me ask this question. If you set up the table saw for a cut and you set up or adjust your hand plane for a cut are you not in essence setting up a tool for use? Is not a router plane also a tool that needs to be adjusted for depth of cut? Before using a hand saw we make sure the set is right and the teeth are filed just right so that the saw cuts true. So in effect both hand and power tools require some type of set up to work properly. I agree there is a lot more talk on forums about tools and how to set them up and use them. In my opinion its not so much the tool you are using that would make you a woodworker or a tool setter upper, but the kind of joinery one uses in their woodworking that would define if your an assembler or a joiner in your woodworking. One joint that I wouldn’t care to hand cut would be the box joint, this I would prefer to cut with a machine, where as with dovetails I would rather cut by hand. Knowing which tool to use and when to use it for different joinery would be more defining to me as to the skill level of a woodworker.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

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rsdowdy

105 posts in 1794 days


#15 posted 1140 days ago

Man…I wish I could set up tools right. I think I’m more of the mad artist! Ok. Lets try this setting…. hey not so bad….bet those people with perfectly set up tools cant get this result! Ha!

Actually I work 70+ hours a week, so my spare time is important to me. If I had real skill, I’d love to do everything by hand and turn out a museum quality piece, but, no…and there is so much I want to build and I want to make it. I don’t mind being tagged as a machine setter upper….who knows…maybe as time goes on I’ll gain a few real skills.

Royal

View live4ever's profile

live4ever

982 posts in 1608 days


#16 posted 1140 days ago

Big time tool-setter-upper here and love every second of it. Would I enjoy it if the end-result wasn’t shaping/cutting/manipulating wood? Not a chance.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View Newage Neanderthal's profile

Newage Neanderthal

190 posts in 1148 days


#17 posted 1140 days ago

I realize the confusion here is because of how I wrote the post, I left the original post there but added an edit side bar.

-- www.newageneanderthal.blogspot.com . @NANeanderthal on twitter

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BobG

172 posts in 1559 days


#18 posted 1140 days ago

I spent all my working life as a tool setter-upper and did a damn good job of it! I once built a housing for a steam turbine that would challenge anyones thought process. Tool setter-upper! I have built roll top desks that sold for $2400.00, again tool setter-upper. Hand work or machine work. I don’t think it matters which method you use, as long as you get satisfaction from the end result and can be proud of it!

Tool Setter-Upper?

-- BobG, Lowell, Arkansas--------My goal in life is to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am! Make more saw dust!!

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ScottN

259 posts in 1278 days


#19 posted 1140 days ago

I get what your saying as far as the setting up and working with tools. I just think what your saying is pointless, Its just a part of woodworking. And 95% of the time setting up tools sounds a bit much, I’m guessing maybe 20% if that.

-- New Auburn,WI

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ChuckV

2377 posts in 2125 days


#20 posted 1140 days ago

Before there were power tools, a professional woodworker used the labor of apprentices to do many of the tasks that can now be done by machine. You could say that they were “apprentice managers”.

I am not a professional, but I use a power jointer and a power planer. These machines allow me to quickly get from rough lumber to the parts of a project that I enjoy more, parts where I often use hand tools. The difference is that my machines do not complain about living in my unheated shop.

-- “That it will never come again / Is what makes life so sweet. ” ― Emily Dickinson

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Newage Neanderthal

190 posts in 1148 days


#21 posted 1140 days ago

If those old guys had apprentices breaking down and milling the lumber and cutting joints, and there job was to finese the joints to a tight fit and assembly. Then yes, I would call the “apprentice managers”

-- www.newageneanderthal.blogspot.com . @NANeanderthal on twitter

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miles125

2179 posts in 2604 days


#22 posted 1140 days ago

People who trumpet the exclusive use of hand tools are just the people who’ve lost touch with how our ancestors lived more harmoniously in the natural world without fingers and opposable thumbs. :)

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

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jusfine

2280 posts in 1524 days


#23 posted 1139 days ago

As a former apprentice manager and now basicly a `pointer`, I first had to learn each job to be able to correctly instruct an apprentice and monitor their work, wish they could have done more prep for me…

Although still in the the construction field, but now mostly HR and Management, my personal woodworking has become more fun and interesting again, and I have been using more hand tools to experiment with, but still find the setup and accurate machining of lumber both ways very satisfying.

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

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Cato

641 posts in 1910 days


#24 posted 1138 days ago

I enjoy both as part of the experience.

I used to own a print shop and enjoyed both the extreme accuracy and work that carefully set up and maintained machinery could produce.

Same with woodworking. If you get nice tools they can be adjusted to produce accurate work. I love that I can mill and joint, cut and rout etc. wood that is flat and square.

Now I can produce satisfactory results and be relatively satisfied with my efforts. Not so before.

I had really crappy tools and not many of the essential ones you need for some finer wworking until the last year and half.

Since then I have acquired and learned to use these power and some hand tools that really have raised the bar for me. I still am basically a DIY guy and most definitely a hobbyist, but it is now fun with better tools than the ones i started out with.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13337 posts in 2271 days


#25 posted 1138 days ago

I use both hand and power tools, but power tools more.

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

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terry603

319 posts in 1511 days


#26 posted 1138 days ago

i am far away from most skills other peoples have on here. but,at the same time,i can do more with my tools than most anyone i know. if a friend tried to use the same tools,he will not get the same result.

it is not the instrument that make the music

-- may not always be right,but,never in doubt.

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MrWoodworker

65 posts in 1193 days


#27 posted 1137 days ago

I find the original post to be a very amusing observation. It doesn’t matter if you use hand or power tools to accomplish your end results, the fact is you are using machines to do what the human body can’t effectively do otherwise. In the end, regardless of how you did it, you have “worked” the wood into a different form. How you get there is different strokes for different folks.

-- http://nationalwoodworking.com

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Bertha

12951 posts in 1291 days


#28 posted 1137 days ago

I hate setting up tools. I even hate tweaking handplanes. My work certainly suffers from this fact. I also enjoy looking at tools, thinking about tools, touching tools as much as I love actually using the tools. I don’t know what that says about me, but it is what it is.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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GaryK

10262 posts in 2586 days


#29 posted 1137 days ago

If you are a woodworker you use tools. From an axe to cut down the tree to the brush you use to finish it.

It’s how you use your tools, not whether you use them or not.

Even a beaver uses his teeth as tools.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Dan's profile

Dan

3543 posts in 1478 days


#30 posted 1137 days ago

I don’t know if I completely understand your post but I think I get it.

Before I started using hand tools I relied on my power tools to do all of my work. I didn’t have what you would call top quality power tools either so I was always having to set them up and make adjustments. I really didn’t work the wood as you said I spent my time working the machines.

I then started taking a big interest in hand tools and it was at that time I really started working the wood. I had no idea how to read wood grain until I started using hand planes.

I still use my power tools on a regular basis but I no longer take any time to make sure they are set up “dead on”. I basically make a rough cut with my power saws then I use my planes and shooting board to get them dead on. I get much more feel for working with the wood when its with hand tools.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1291 days


#31 posted 1137 days ago

Just put my name after Dan’s in the above post. I feel precisely the same way. I would have given up on woodworking, I’m sure of it, if I didn’t discover handplanes. Now, is a handplane more “pure” than a PM2000? I’m not sure I can answer that even to myself, much less to another. I simply enjoy using hand tools to build my crappy projects. I’ve got a brand new vintage band saw that I haven’t adjusted one iota. It’s just not something that really appeals to me.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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Al Killian

85 posts in 1223 days


#32 posted 1137 days ago

In my shop we spend alot of time setting up machine. Then again it is a production shop, so sometimes that is the way it goes. I do not get into breaking out a mic to set up most machines. Only the molder gets a mic used on it. I also dont beleive that you ned a shop fll of quality tools to do the work. They just make it easier.

-- Owner of custom millwork shop

View Newage Neanderthal's profile

Newage Neanderthal

190 posts in 1148 days


#33 posted 1133 days ago

Vonhagen,
I’ve looked through your projects and seen that you do great work (love the saw by the way). But and honest question, not baiting, what level of preciision are you going to that can be done on a homedepot Ridgid machine? Ripping a board to the thou. isn’t hard if you are expercined at setting up machines (granted working matel working machines at the day job for the past 10 years helps) I’m just wondering what level is it before those machines are “needed” not just making easier.

-- www.newageneanderthal.blogspot.com . @NANeanderthal on twitter

View venicewoodworker's profile

venicewoodworker

100 posts in 1227 days


#34 posted 1133 days ago

OK, so here is my take. Having grown up in the Carpentry trade, I used to believe that power tools were the way to go. After graduating college, and back in the building trades, I was sold on power tools. Now that I am at the age of 40, suddenly, time really doesn’t mean that much to me. At this point, I appreciate the craftsman versus the tool. I have a buddy who build cabinets for Viking Yachts. His cabinet shop is impressive, but they cut everything with a CNC machine. Talk about taking the skill out of the trade. I really believe that this HOBBY is about where you are at your skill level. When I was a beginner, I needed immediate gratification, so power tools were what I used to keep me interested in the hobby. Now that I know better, I produce much better quality with whatever tool I have at my disposal. If I have a crappy day at work, I will sharpen my planes and chisels for 2 to 3 hours. If I want to get something done in a weekend, I will fire up the unisaw and the router and make short work of it. Bottom line is no one is better than the other, we are all just at different skill levels and at different spots in life. Just get into the shop and make sawdust or shavings…...and if you can do it with someone from a younger generation, cherish that time and remember when you tried to make that first birdhouse, smile and help the young one to enjoy the hobby as we do.

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venicewoodworker

100 posts in 1227 days


#35 posted 1133 days ago

BTW i am from the school of thought that the tool does not make the craftsman, but at times it is the best friend.

View Paul Sellers's profile

Paul Sellers

277 posts in 1168 days


#36 posted 1132 days ago

Just thought I’d jump in at the deep end and risk the shrapnel.
I think it’s true that most people, woodworkers and none woodworkers, see the hand tool versus machine as an evolutionary process whereby, for the main part, hand tools were abandoned because, well, they just didn’t work that well really. The advocates of machine-only woodworking never master real skill but machines. Of course it isn’t true that we have evolved better woodworkers or better woodworking. We just dumbed it down. Now finding the balance is critical. Machines are workhorses of modern day woodworking and have been for the past century at least, but no matter how you slice that wood, if you use a dovetail bit and router fully guided by any type of jigged up guide, you did not make that dovetail. It takes longer to set up the equipment than to cut the dovetail by hand. Here is a hand-cut hounds-tooth dovetail from the teeth of a 50c flea-market dovetail saw and a couple of $3 chisels from Aldi, no kidding.

Now am I saying we should all dig six-foot deep pit and slab 2’ dia oaks into boards? Not at all. Find the balance.

-- Paul Sellers, UK http://paulsellers.com/paul-sellers-blog

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Paul Sellers

277 posts in 1168 days


#37 posted 1132 days ago

At what point did a machine become a tool? Surely the tool is the extension of a man’s hand, eye, muscle, his manipulation, thought. I cannot imagine your CNC producing the single cut of the inside of a carved leaf or flower with a single stoke, no matter how you slice it.

I think that it’s true, machines have their place, but they can never substitute for true skill.

I carved these medallions three years ago for a mansion in San Antonio. Had a blast! Wouldn’t have felt right to feed the machine with choice work and offer it as handmade.

What am I saying? Find the balance and remember; The difference between a professional and amateur is the amateur does it because he loves it and he would still do it even if he didn’t get paid.

-- Paul Sellers, UK http://paulsellers.com/paul-sellers-blog

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Paul Sellers

277 posts in 1168 days


#38 posted 1132 days ago

I see the differences in the above posts hinge primarily on whether you are a woodworker or a mill worker/operator. Two distinctly different spheres altogether. This is comparing apples to oranges and not apples to apples. It’s impossible to compare these two areas. On monday I mill wood to size. I’m a machinist. On Tuesday I make dovetailed drawers by hand for the cabinet, I’m a woodworker. I’m working wood, connecting to its fibers, the tools transmit to me, I listen to the tools in the wood and on the wood, I feel the grain through the plane as I skim of another thou. My nostrils fill with the essence of the aroma , not the dust swirling from the bandsaw, but the friction from the sole on the longleaf pine or the mesquite and the rosewood.
If you say come on and live in the real world of woodworking I might respond with this: I have worked wood with hand tools and earned my living from the same for almost 47 years and picked up my first plane 50 years ago. Yep, done it almost every day since then. Boasting? Not really, just grateful. Grateful because I’ve loved living every one of the years I worked wood and grateful because every digit is still with me and without much more than a chisel nick.

A visitor asked me once, “What’s the main difference between a power saw and a hand saw?” He was implying one to be faster and more accurate and evolutionarily more advanced and therefor to be embraced by all. I responded quietly, “Well, it’s been my experience that when I slip with the hand saw I always stop before I reach the bone.”

It’s all about balance!

-- Paul Sellers, UK http://paulsellers.com/paul-sellers-blog

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rsdowdy

105 posts in 1794 days


#39 posted 1132 days ago

I don’t think any of us mill workers have a problem with the woodworkers. Most the time when we watch on in silence, it is not because we think that we are better than the old outdated ways, but that we are in awe of the simple and complex beauty of woodworking.

Royal

View RaymondAbel's profile

RaymondAbel

30 posts in 1132 days


#40 posted 1126 days ago

Woodworking is my Hobby.
I must admid that I like to “fine tune” my tool to the limite.

Exemple:
- It took me 3 evenings (I work during days) to set my Incra 52” fence until it is perfect.
- My DeWalt 718 does perfect 90°
- I am now able to cut paper thin layer of wook with my band saw.

BUT after the tools are perfectly set. Then I have fun to use them because I do not have to double check if the cut is were it it suppose to be.

Ray

-- "Ceci est un hobby, c'est pas supposé "faire de sens".

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bubinga

861 posts in 1266 days


#41 posted 1126 days ago

In working wood, You must be a craftsman, not just a woodworker.
Which includes many,many skills, from start , to finish. And ,There Is Always More Than One Way To Do It
The more skills, I acquire ,the better !
I enjoy most aspects of, working wood,except “SANDING” . I love, all my tools !
Here is a question. How many if you love sanding ?
Am I, A sanderer,or a woodworkerer ? :)

-- E J ------- Always Keep a Firm Grip on Your Tool

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Uncle_Salty

182 posts in 1671 days


#42 posted 1126 days ago

Interesting ideas presented. Lots of parallels to draw analogies from. In football, if a player only plays defense, and knows little about all the checkdowns and reads that the quarterback makes, does that make him any less of a football player? Probably not. Is the head coach any more or less important than the trainer or the equipment manager? Once again, probably not.

Woodworking is a system: from standing tree to whatever goes into your living room, kitchen, bedroom, etc. There are lots of different ways to accomplish any given task. Therefore, in my mind, there are varying phases, degrees, and levels of woodworking. No doubt that hand cut dovetails would be my choice for pure craftsmanship, but when I pull out my router and dovetail jig, I am completing roughly the same process in a more timely manner. I am not saying that these machine cut dovetails are better or worse; simply faster.

I don’t pretend to be a master craftsman in any regard, but I do design, build and finish some interesting pieces. Sometimes I use others’ canned plans. Sometimes, it is all on my own. Sometimes I merge plans and my own ideas and develop projects.

I think my view is that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. It doesn’t matter how long the step is, who is taking that step, or what devices are used to get to the end of the journey. It is all important, subjective, and relative to the situation at hand.

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