|Forum topic by MrRon||posted 04-22-2014 07:16 PM||1105 views||0 times favorited||13 replies|
04-22-2014 07:16 PM
When we see a fine piece of antique furniture, we picture someone who has served an apprenticeship for many years under the watchful eye of a master cabinetmaker, carefully planning a piece of wood, holding it up to the light from a candle and planning more. He repeats this until it is as near perfect as he can get it. The master will examine it and give or deny his approval.
Today, the use of hand tools has mostly given way to machines. Can we then say craftsmanship no longer exists, or can we accept the use of machines as part of today’s craftsmanship? Can a woodworker be a craftsman using power tools?
This brings up another point; are hand tools considered obsolete in the wake of machines that can do what our descendants, of hundreds of years ago did? I’m not knocking the use of hand tools or trying to minimize their use. Machines can now replace all but a few hand tools. I wonder what hand tools would be considered indispensable in today’s power tool world.
There are some hand tools that I would consider totally obsolete in that I would never use it because there are better ways available today. One tool that immediately comes to mind is the “Yankee spiral screwdriver”. I had one many years ago that I had inherited. I could never drive a screw with it without the bit slipping off the head of the screw and leaving a gouge in the wood. An ordinary screwdriver works better and the cordless impact drivers even better. Off course the use of Phillips or square drive screws has made this job much more efficient. Can you think of any other tool that you would relegate to the museum as an historical tool, and no longer of any practical use? Other tools I would consider obsolete or almost so, not because they don’t work well, but because there is a better way is the hand saw, plane and hand drill. I have all the afore mentioned tools and have used them in the past, but as newer and better tools came along, these were abandoned in favor of the newer tools. Because the new tools worked as good, or better than the old ones, there was no reason for me to go back to them. I still appreciate them as the fine quality tools they are, but are part of my past, not my present.
I am not a craftsman by any stretch of the imagination. I see many examples of craftsmanship on this LJ forum, admire it and wish I could do the same, but I know that will never be. I’m not a total klutz, but woodworking is not one of my strong points. I build train models. That is my hobby. I combine metalworking and woodworking to produce large scale models (1-1/2”=1’-0). They look ok, but are far from “museum” quality. If there was a craftsman scale, I would put myself at a 3 out of 10.