Think I want a branding iron. Is "HAND CRAFTED" considered 100% hand tools?

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Forum topic by toddbeaulieu posted 12-08-2015 01:50 PM 1024 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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779 posts in 2425 days

12-08-2015 01:50 PM

I see a lot of “hand crafted by” irons and it makes me think 100% hand tools. No router table, no table saw, jointer, planer, etc.

Am I reading too much into that?

Not really sure what I want to get, but I’ve made enough furniture now that I feel like I should be stamping them.

28 replies so far

View Tennessee's profile


2410 posts in 1935 days

#1 posted 12-08-2015 01:57 PM


But I must admit, my branding iron says:
“Handcrafted” by Tsunami Guitars, NOT “Handmade”. Most of us are not violin makers hand sanding a bow into the face of a violin, tapping it often to see if it meets the tonal needs.

Most of us are talking about table saws, routers, etc. and if by hand, pushing high end hand planes with electric sharpening systems behind them.

The thing about irons, you have to convey a way for people to recognize your name, and be able to contact you if they want something. All in two or three words. I have a fair amount of people who see my branded items, and just google Tsunami Guitars and they can get a phone number, my website, and a gmail address.

Just sold five items in the last week that way.

-- Paul, Tennessee,

View bigblockyeti's profile


3573 posts in 1141 days

#2 posted 12-08-2015 01:59 PM

Power tools can be used in the production of something “hand crafted” as you still have to manipulate the tools with your hands. Using a CNC machine would by most people’s opinion not qualify as hand crafted. If the iron was created with an EDM, that wouldn’t be hand crafted, but someone carving away soft metal then hardening it to retain the what was left to create a burned image would. Though most of this is highly subjective the use of computer controlled machines for production is almost always going to disqualify something as hand crafted.

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Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3520 days

#3 posted 12-08-2015 02:03 PM

I am sure that at your level of production, claiming your projects are hand crafted is accurate and not misleading the public in any way. Don’t sweat it!.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

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779 posts in 2425 days

#4 posted 12-08-2015 02:41 PM

Honestly, this is more of a “finishing touch” than anything at this point. I can’t even envision getting work through a stamp at this point. Almost all of my work has been gifts for family. It just seems like I should be “signing” them somehow. It would be fun to have a custom brand, I think.

View ste6168's profile


250 posts in 592 days

#5 posted 12-08-2015 02:47 PM

I feel like this conversation comes up in slightly different variations about once per week. My thoughts echo what has been said. As soon as you bring CNC into the mix, it is no longer hand crafted. Sure, there is still much skill, albeit a slightly different skill, involved creating the drawings and tool-paths, but IMO that is not handcrafted. Using power tools to create something, by hand, is perfectly acceptable.

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Rick M.

7703 posts in 1801 days

#6 posted 12-08-2015 03:15 PM

Time for this topic again? Ok, doesn’t matter what hand crafted means to anyone else, only what it means to you. To me it is the difference of the machine working for you vs you working for the machine.


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779 posts in 2425 days

#7 posted 12-08-2015 03:19 PM

Sorry for posting a dupe message all. I usually search first, but it didn’t occur to me that this was a common topic.

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Fred Hargis

3844 posts in 1914 days

#8 posted 12-08-2015 03:22 PM

I once saw an article where Lonnie Bird laid out some dovetails on a chest, then proceeded to clear out most of the waste freehand with a router. He cleaned everything up with some chisels and put the chest together, declaring it had “hand cut” dovetails. I think hand crafted can mean anything you want unless the piece came from an automated factory.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View JayT's profile


4680 posts in 1632 days

#9 posted 12-08-2015 03:27 PM

If you are building things one at a time and touching every piece all the way through, it would be hand crafted. Even if you are batching to speed up production, but still touch each and every piece at each step, it’s a hand crafted product.

I would not use that term on assembly line production where there is a lot of automation. Examples would be CNC machined parts, autofeeders, dedicated machines for each step, etc.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

View JoeinGa's profile


7370 posts in 1428 days

#10 posted 12-08-2015 03:45 PM

If you are building things one at a time and touching every piece all the way through, it would be hand crafted. Even if you are batching to speed up production, but still touch each and every piece at each step, it s a hand crafted product.

- JayT

Ding Ding Ding ! Thanks Jay. you just saved me a lot of typing. THIS is also my idea of “hand crafted”

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View daddywoofdawg's profile


1006 posts in 996 days

#11 posted 12-08-2015 05:52 PM

Factory isn’t hand crafted,cnc isn’t,using tools power or hand is handcrafted.if two items are exactly alike probably not handcrafted, unless it’s a jig.

View pintodeluxe's profile


4825 posts in 2234 days

#12 posted 12-08-2015 06:08 PM

Are you careful with every detail in your projects? Do some steps involve hand sanding or hand tools? Are some of your projects your own design? Of course you can label your creations hand crafted, because they are.
Remember Stickley used power mortisers, and some of those old pieces are the envy of collectors.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View oldnovice's profile


5651 posts in 2789 days

#13 posted 12-08-2015 06:16 PM

To get around all of the terminology:

”designed and built by □□□□□□”!

”crafted by □□□□□”!, or ”created by □□□□□□”!

”from the workshop of □□□□□□□”!, or ”from the dungeon of □□□□□”!

”custom crafted by □□□□□□”!

”thrown together by □□□□□□□□”!

Or the old Minolta tag line ”from the mind of □□□□□”!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View JAAune's profile


1614 posts in 1738 days

#14 posted 12-08-2015 06:17 PM

Hand-crafted is a pretty meaningless term by now since it’s been used for marketing hype for decades. Few consumers can comprehend the difference nor do they know the pros and cons of hand-crafted vs manufactured.

Truth is, manufactured items are typically much higher quality than hand-crafted items at the same price point. Everyone has seen the handmade stuff at craft stores that was obviously slapped together by a blind, third-world wage-slave. Hand-crafted items are best used to fill niche markets or provide a level of customization where the demand is too small to support an industry.

So go ahead and buy the brand. Everybody that reads it will ascribe a different meaning to it and you’ll be somewhere in the ballpark.

-- See my work at and

View toddbeaulieu's profile


779 posts in 2425 days

#15 posted 12-08-2015 06:21 PM

Ha ha. I think it would HILARIOUS to use the Thrown Together By …

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