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Blog entry by rsladdwoodworks posted 06-14-2011 11:12 PM 1062 reads 0 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have been watching all this on CNC and to me it nice but is taking from the craftsman that can do by hand . it not hand crafted like some call there work so you can work a computer but it is not like hand crafted .when it is done with steel are they a welder or a machine no they are a computer programmer not a wood carver .

-- Robert Laddusaw and no I am not smarter then a fifth grader ( and no I canot spell so if it is a problem don't read it ))



20 comments so far

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1440 days


#1 posted 06-15-2011 12:13 AM

Whoa, my friend, you’re probably going to get attacked on this one. With that, I’ll join you by saying I tend to agree with you. I would just probably never say it out loud:) If I saw something I wanted on CNC, I’d probably be willing to pay 100x as much for it hand carved. However, I think most CNC operators understand this. Many of them carve, I bet. Good luck with this one;)

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

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1285 posts in 1745 days


#2 posted 06-15-2011 02:30 AM

Machining, turning, hand work, carving, riving, and other types of working are just mechanisms for forming a shaped object from raw stock. When we design things, we are working with a palette of techniques that we use. Depending on what we are trying to achieve, we use what will work for we are trying to make. If I am just going for aesthetics, I might use my wood lathe. If I am making parts to fit precisely, I am going for my gear head lathe.

If you are doing it for fun like I am, you can afford to spend as much time as you like to make something. If you are doing it to support yourself, you have to match both how much time you can spend on something with how much the buyer can pay. If you can speed up the process or offload part of the work to machines or low skilled labor, you can make things that people can afford. Not many people can afford a $6000 chair. Not many people can support themselves on $0.20/hr. You have to meet in the middle.

The whole “artistic craftsman” whiling away his day making things that he enjoys and people are willing to pay for to support his dreams is a fiction that was made up by Morris and the rest during the arts and crafts movement. A rare few have the gift of salesmanship to pull it off with woodworking but I can count just about all of them without taking off my shoes.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

View rance's profile

rance

4147 posts in 1908 days


#3 posted 06-15-2011 03:11 AM

Well, no, using a cnc is not hand-crafted, nor is hand-work usually time efficient, but they both have their place. But cnc CAN be used for ‘woodworking’ (ie. working with wood). :) Some folks are building their own cnc, that DOES take craftsmanship. I’m building mine because it combines three of my favorite interests(woodworking, programming, and electronics). If I build a wooden widget with my cnc, I’ll not pass it off as hand-made. How many of those fancy little wooden hand-cut dovetail markers do you suppose have been made using cnc though?

I use power tools too(most of the time in fact). Does that make me less of a craftsman? I say not. Believe it or not, even using power tools, we have to compensate for inaccuracies and such just like the hand-tool fanatics(like Bertha). I’m not gonna say I’m any better than he is or more pure of a woodworker. No matter which method(hand tools, power tools, cnc) is used, you still can’t just cut in any direction without understanding a little about the grain of the wood.

FWIW, I also teach hand-cut dovetails, and thoroughly enjoy it. :)

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View DLCW's profile

DLCW

530 posts in 1402 days


#4 posted 06-15-2011 03:46 AM

Robert,

Unless you are independently wealthy and have money you HAVE to spend, I wouldn’t recommend a CNC as a hobby machine. It is a huge investment. I’ve had mine for 3 years now and it has revolutionized the way I can bid and get projects where before, using “hand crafted” techniques, I was always under bid.

I got the CNC for three business reasons:

1). Reduce the time to do a job (save money for customer and increase my profit potential)
2.) Increase the quality and quantity of cabinetry projects I can do
3.) Significantly reduce material waste (see 1 above)

Everything I’ve done with the CNC since I got it, I did before using other power tools and hand tools. It is a production tool meant for a commercial shop where time is money.

As a hobby machine, it can make a lot of things faster and easier. But it doesn’t make you and more or less a craftsman. It is a power tool just like the table saw, jointer and router. They all have their purposes. Hard core hand tool people could say the same thing about anyone using power tools. Using power tools, it is not “hand crafted”. It’s all a matter of perspective.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - http://www.dlwoodworks.com - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View sras's profile

sras

3938 posts in 1877 days


#5 posted 06-15-2011 03:53 AM

Just because you have a CNC does not mean you can do woodworking. A sense of scale and proportion do not come with a computer. Understanding wood and movement with changes in the weather does not come in a computer. Understanding of grain driection, color and shape are not included either. Tearout, splits and checking issues are not solved with a CNC. A CNC will allow work to be done quickly – if the right thing is being done.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1440 days


#6 posted 06-15-2011 03:58 AM

All my friends that own CNCs like to MAKE tools for cutting wood. For what that’s worth:)

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

View Jim Jakosh's profile (online now)

Jim Jakosh

12335 posts in 1853 days


#7 posted 06-15-2011 05:10 AM

CNC work is just that- computer controlled machining. It is not hand crated woodworking but it is repeatable to a very close degree and some times some wood stuff- like gears- work much better if they are produced that way. It is a process the compliments or enhances woodworking in some areas. Now building a CNC machine ( as I have seen many of our Lumberjocks do) is impressive. There is a lot more than woodworking involved in putting it all together include Scrounging to get the parts at the best price. My hat goes off to the guys that built their own. I’m not smart enough to attempt that but I did make a duplicator for woodworking.
CNC enhances woodworking but it is different than hand crafting just like cutting dovetails with a fixture is not like the old hand cutting process but it is appreciated as a good woodworking process by those who build furniture. Use the best process you can afford, I say.

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Sarit's profile

Sarit

494 posts in 1887 days


#8 posted 06-15-2011 01:07 PM

How do you all feel about a carver who carves by hand and then uses CNC to probe and duplicate his/her work?

View rance's profile

rance

4147 posts in 1908 days


#9 posted 06-15-2011 01:29 PM

@Sarit – The first one is hand carved, the rest are CNC’d. Nothing wrong with it. Just don’t try to pass off the cnc as hand carved.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View William's profile

William

9270 posts in 1590 days


#10 posted 06-15-2011 02:51 PM

I have butt heads with this CNC debate on several occasions. I’ve shown my work in a few shows where probably more than half the folks that stop and talk to me want to know what type or brand of CNC I use, or did I build my own. Sometimes even after telling them I don’t own a CNC, they are still asking questions about programming and such. If and when I finally get through their heads that it is cut on a scroll saw (I have to prove it, more on that in a bit), one typical response is, “No way, noone is crazy enough to put that much time into cutting something like that without a CNC.”
Now how do I prove it? When I first got into scroll work, I used to take the time to carefully try to make each piece of a project perfect. I carefully sanding and used needle files to make sure there weren’t imperfections. When you scroll certain woods, it leaves what I call “fuzzies” on the back side of the cutting. That’s those tiny bits of wood splinters that stick out. It looks like tiny tearout along the edges of the cut. Nowadays, I leave just enough fuzzies that I can point them out. The CNC work I have seen does not leave this flaw. So this flaw also serves as a way to show people that yes, I am crazy enough to “put that much time into cutting something like that without a CNC”.
I have no problem with people using a CNC. My problem is, as I have found out, there are certain people out there who do work that looks far superior to anything I could cut on my scroll saw, then they lie to people and claim it’s hand cut. While the CNC is a marvel at reproducing parts, just because someone used their hands to program the computer, does not make a part hand cut. To me, hand cut means you either used your hands to work the saw, or used your hands to move the wood, to cut the piece.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1440 days


#11 posted 06-15-2011 03:24 PM

The reason you put so much time and effort into the build? Because you want the piece to reflect all the time and effort!;) It’s an integral component of the art of a hancrafted piece (in my brain, at least).

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

View RJones's profile

RJones

310 posts in 2903 days


#12 posted 06-15-2011 03:47 PM

A great thread to say the least! Having owned and operated my cnc to run my business over the last two years I would agree with a little bit of what most are saying. I think Williams post help me understand what the real debate seems to be and that is people who use a cnc to create a project and pass it off as being done by “hand”.

Other quotes that seem spot on…
“If you are doing it for fun like I am, you can afford to spend as much time as you like to make something. If you are doing it to support yourself, you have to match both how much time you can spend on something with how much the buyer can pay. If you can speed up the process or offload part of the work to machines or low skilled labor, you can make things that people can afford. Not many people can afford a $6000 chair. Not many people can support themselves on $0.20/hr. You have to meet in the middle.” Couldn’t have said this better.

“Understanding of grain driection, color and shape are not included either. Tearout, splits and checking issues are not solved with a CNC.”

“1). Reduce the time to do a job (save money for customer and increase my profit potential)
2.) Increase the quality and quantity of cabinetry projects I can do
3.) Significantly reduce material waste (see 1 above)”

One problem I see ( thought so myself ) is that running a cnc looked so easy so most think there is no skill involved. Design, program, and cut right??? I can say out of any tool in my shop the CNC has had the biggest and longest learning curve of any tool ever! At some point CNC machines will become the new tablesaw. I would love to have the time to do more by hand however…

The great thing is that there are hobbyist who can carry on the craft whether it’s carving or turning most who do this for a living are getting ready to retire or have retired:( It’s unfortunate but in today’s world there’s virtually no market for craftsmen with these skills. It’s no different on the other side of the fence. Ten years ago when I started drafting I knew of only one “hand drafter”....

-- http://rjoneswoodworks.com/

View rsladdwoodworks's profile

rsladdwoodworks

311 posts in 1916 days


#13 posted 06-15-2011 04:40 PM

It is ok to use a cnc but Just call it that and some of you do but there iare some trying to past it off as hand done when it not

-- Robert Laddusaw and no I am not smarter then a fifth grader ( and no I canot spell so if it is a problem don't read it ))

View Rustic's profile

Rustic

3156 posts in 2344 days


#14 posted 06-15-2011 05:12 PM

whether CNC’d or hand carved it,to me, is still woodworking. You still have to design it and then figure out how to produce it. Like Jim Jakosh has stated it is a little more reliable for repeatability and production runs. But in my eyes it is still woodworking.

-- www.carvingandturningsbyrick.com, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View DLCW's profile

DLCW

530 posts in 1402 days


#15 posted 06-15-2011 08:22 PM

I’ve done a few fireplace mantles with large carvings and a couple of tables with large carvings. I used to CNC for both. On the tables I still had another 6 to 8 hours of hand carving to cleanup the CNC work and perform undercutting to get a more 3D look to the carving. On the mantles I have 4 to 6 hours of hand carving to achieve this look as well.

When people ask me, I tell them most of the work was done with a CNC and some was done by hand. I also tell them that if it had been done entirely by hand only Bill Gates could afford it. Having the CNC do a lot of the work makes it more affordable for many more people. This makes my market bigger and enables some people to get something really personalized without having to mortgage their house.

It is a win-win for everyone. I’ve never had a customer say I want you to hand carve everything and have the price be 500% more. They like the idea of affordability and getting it quicker.

Like other people have said – a CNC is just another power tool in the shop. It takes time to learn to use it to get the best results (A.K.A. – align the blades on a jointer or planer, sharpen a plane iron, etc.) from the tool.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - http://www.dlwoodworks.com - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

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