Hand Tools

Subject:
A Riff on Derek's ideas
Response To:
Easy question ()

Todd Stock
On hand work: don't expect the vast majority to notice, and intentionally leaving a bunch of tool tracks and other 'artifacts of the handmade process' seems like a a rationale for doing less than your best work or dull tools unless you are working in a vernacular style that calls for that sort of approach.

To expand on Derek's notion of who we aim to please with our work, I'll posit three groups exist for consideration: the sleepers, the woken, and the makers.

The vast majority of those that see our work will fall into the first category, and not because they are insensitive or crude or refuse to wash their hands before dinner, but because sleepers simply lack the interest in or - in some cases - the knowledge to move beyond the symbolic content of an object. While sleepers may have a significant degree of interaction with an object, that interaction is on the level of 'My feet hurt...I need to sit down...I see a chair which signals that it is reasonably comfortable...that feels better...ohhh...cute blond." Sleepers are evidence of the accuracy of G.K. Chesterton's observation that, "“There are no uninteresting things, only uninterested people.”

The woken have sufficient interest to move beyond the symbolic content of a thing, and possess a level of knowledge that permits an appreciation for the attributes of that object. The woken will have a deeper level of interaction with the objects we craft - they move past the initial signaling (e.g., I am a chair) to see some of the design and construction language, but may still substitute symbols (e.g., dovetail = handmade) for more accurate assessments as to the nature of a thing.

Makers often know too much and - we fear - enjoy too little. A single botched design or construction element can destroy our appreciation of a piece, despite how we might respond when asked for our opinion of the work As both creators of things and knowledgable critics, we are the inveterate checkers of angles, arrises, flats, and joinery, and cannot help but judge things done well or done otherwise.

To build on Derek's ideas, if we are pros, we build for the woken - other makers are competition or sources for technique, rather than our primary focus. If we are amateurs, we build primarily for other makers, with a few of the woken in the mix to ensure we can get a sandwich made once in a while.

I'll use two examples to further illustrate:

- While Derek's kitchen project - no matter how well designed and executed - might elicit little in the way of a response from sleepers ("Did you guys do your kitchen? Cool), the woken of his inner circle have a keen appreciation for his work ("Wow, Derek...this is so modern and clean! "), but I suspect the reason for threads on both WC and SMC is the importance that Derek places on the assessment of his work by other makers, and especially the group that recognizes the level of craftsmanship necessary to pull this off using his preferences in materials, tools, and techniques. It's not that Derek does not value the praise received from his friends and family - I am certain he does - but the interaction and critique of other makers of his efforts appears to be a major source of creative energy and inspiration in his pursuit of craft.

- I'm an amateur as far as cabinetmaking goes, as it's the hobby part of my woodworking, but as a pro luthier, my focus is on the woken...or at least the tiny percentage of them that will pop for $5K and up for an instrument. While I participate on various instrument building fora, I seldom seek feedback or critique where I have an established, proven model...new builds and gallery shots are posted on sites that reach the woken...posting them to instrument hobby sites are not cost or time-effective. And as an additional data point, the most recent effort that I am aware of to create a 'pro only' luthier's site crashed and burned within a few months.

Messages In This Thread

What makes the "handtool" look?
What is the objective
Re: I don't really know
If you can't design then copy
Re: That is a line...
Re: If you can't design then copy
Re: What makes the "handtool" look?
Re: What makes the "handtool" look?
Re: What makes the "handtool" look?
Re: What makes the "handtool" look?
Edit: incomplete thought.
Chamfers on rails and styles
comment
This is a line of thought often
Where is Adam Cherubini ?
Re: Where is Adam Cherubini ?
Adam's goal, as expressed to me
Re: Where is Adam Cherubini ?
Re: comment
Re: comment *PIC*
Re: comment
Re: comment
Disagree
Re: comment
Re: comment
Re: comment
printing..
Re: comment
I'm back to what is the objective
Re: I'm back to what is the objective
Re: I'm back to what is the objective
Re: I'm back to what is the objective
Re: I'm wondering ...
Re: I'm back to what is the objective
Re: comment on comment *PIC*
Not what I see *PIC*
Re: comment on comment *PIC*
Re: comment
Re: comment
Re: comment (touchy feely alert)
ditto for turning
Re: Tempted
Re: Tempted
Re: What makes the "handtool" look?
Re: What makes the "handtool" look?
Easy question
Wrong question
Re: Wrong question
Re: Wrong question
A Riff on Derek's ideas
Re: we do it for ourselves
Re: we do it for ourselves - Nietzsche nailed it
Thanks Todd. *NM*
Re: What makes the "handtool" look?
Amish
Saw handles
Re: Saw handles
Easy... the eye of the beholder
You guys are way too negative
Perhaps...
Re: Perhaps...
Re: What makes the "handtool" look? Mistakes?
Re: What makes the "handtool" look?
Thanks gentleman
Caring WRT Handwork
Re: Caring WRT Handwork
Re: Caring WRT Handwork
Where was "why bother"?
What doesn't result in a hand tool look *PIC*
Re: What doesn't result in a hand tool look
Re: What doesn't result in a hand tool look
Re: What doesn't result in a hand tool look
Affectation Vs. Artifact
Virtue?
Re: Virtue?
Re: Virtue?
Re: Virtue?
Re: Virtue?
Re: Virtue?
Re: Affectation Vs. Artifact
You said it well *NM*
Sorry, didn't read your post very well
David Pye's thoughts
Re: David Pye's thoughts
Further thoughts
Re: Further thoughts
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