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Thoughts on the where woodworking is going

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Technology equals money. On both ends. For most hobbyists, the front end is paramount. For me it's money AND the intellectual acuity to make use of the tool. I'm a bit short of both. 

A friend showed me a beautiful Aztec calendar he carved with a CNC. It fit in the palm of his hand. He turns them out by the hundreds along with personalized pistol grips that are also gorgeous. He uses a big laser, as well. He has over 20K in machines. Not including the few woodworking machines he needs to prepare stock. He has customers all over the world. He says he recouped his machine costs in his first year of business. I've seen some of what he does to program to carve a pair of pistol grips. They get carved and lasered. I consider that an art. 

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Probably should have clarified the topic betting in that original post. But I like more open ended discussion like this.  Business is business, so the need for quick fast and repeatable is a given. Unless your selling handmade furniture that’s never have a machince touch it.  That is your what demographic your product is that, but that’s a horse of a different color.  You’ve entered into a specialty market that I can’t imagine makes a lot but enough more then enough to live on. But I’m not sure really, would have to ask around to see if that is profitable or not. As for tradition I’ve always been fascinated by watching old traditional blacksmithing reminds me of planing when you get in that repetitive motion and your mind kind of just empty’s.  Wait I have nothing up there anyway.  On another off topic One of these days I’m going to start a bible study that is based on traditional woodworking techniques from biblical era Jerusalem. (Not sure I’m saying that correctly) But first i need to learn what I’m doing  

Edited by Mijohnson1984
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Ok the clarification just served to confuse me. As to pro or hobbyist some on both sides. Look at Follansbee , Underhill , and Schwarz for hand tools even tho Chris does use powersaws. The whole thing is what you want to do, how you want the final product to look and how much time you have to get there.


Example Our sponsor Easy Wood Tools makes some fine tools but I can get a better finish with Hunter carbides. Carbide is nice but learn to sharpen and the pleasure of turning comes to the front and after all we say is that not the reason we do this.  Even finer finish with gouges and some wood scrapers , especially negative rake. And then all of these depend on the type of turning I am doing from Bowls (gouges & Scrapers) to hollowforms (use all of the above).


Again the quick may leave you with more sanding to do and who wants to do that?


Repeatable in precision is a question mark. No matter how close the cutting tolerances wood moves and wood from different parts of the tree move differently.  So those two boxes that were cut exactly the same and fitted together the same may measure differently in a month and really what does it matter.


To repeat myself pleasure in working with wood is why I have all those tools and shop.


Oh and speaking of pleasure. Notice the paragraphs in this post. That is what makes reading a pleasure and if more of y'all will do that your post will be much more readable and for some understandable , not to name any names.

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I believe that a creative person, with time and money to do their hobby, craft, skill, will not use any of the computer driven devices. They like the "old way"  However when I create things on my lathe, I use a device to control speed, a solid state light control, a digital caliper, etc. I happily accept things that make my skills better, not things that replace my skills. As for CNC, they serve a purpose and it isn't a simple device. If you read instructions and do it right you can set up some great projects.............and the machine will do the rest. I'm OK with that, but I'll not have one.

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Lol I’m sorry @GeraldI hadn’t clarified the original post. I was just making a statement that I should have done that in the first place. 


As for your l confusion that is my fault between my bad grammar and my tendency to hop subjects when I’m typing. It can be rather difficult to follow at times. Normally I have the better half proof read but she’s at work.  So I’ll try to explain what I meant.

When it comes down to the business side of any craft you have to find the quickest and most cost effective way to complete orders. Preference is a secondary concern.  Unless your business model is centered around a unique product or process. But that isn’t really the point. Or at least it wasn’t my original goal of the post. 

The original posts was a open ended question because I tend to enjoy conversations that bring up other conversations or in these case bring up something I hadn’t even though about it. It honestly didn’t occur to me to think about the business side woodworking. 


Now to address your reply you bring up our sponsors easy tools. Your right they make an amazing product one I plan on buying when I can. They have there place in the tool rack and they are designed to work differently then traditional HSS. Hence the learning curve everyone talks about. But increasingly you see people that want to exclude traditional methods in favor or more modern approaches.  I was just curious about what people though is an appropriate middle ground between traditional woodworking methods and more modern methods. 


Your completely correct in the statement that the quick may lead to more sanding. I restored a butcher block and learned it the hard (twice). 


As for the precision. A tool is only as smart as it’s operator. Or at least I’ve been told that by more then one seasoned hand in the oil field. So basically no matter how precise the machine if the operator is less then precise you’ll have mistakes. And since that machine was built by people who are less then precise It will have its share of problems. But, are they more capable of repeatable work. That is very much a yes free hand draw 50 lines and no two lines will be the same. Program the machine to do it and you’ll end up with two or more that are a far sight closer then hand drawn. 


But when it comes to wood your correct it moves and shifts. Expands and contracts what it measures today it might not measure the same tomorrow. Or in a hour sometimes. 


I dont think anyone here does this just because. everyone here does it for the love of the craft or the peace it brings them. If I somehow implied otherwise I’m sorry that was never the point. The point was just to get people thinking about how they go about there work flow. And to chat about differences in style/approach. 

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