Hand Tools Archive

Re: "Notable Woodworkers"
Response To:
Re: 20th century ()

david weaver
I think the bar for "notable woodworkers" has dropped a lot, and that's a shame.

I get that a lot of people want to cut their skills short and still make certain things, but it becomes limiting at some point.

(not talking about the guy who goes into his garage and has one set of home depot chisels and uses them rarely but likes to make stuff out of plywood, etc, that person isn't ever going to cross our paths, anyway - they'll be watching John Heisz videos or stumpy nubs or whatever).

I am not notable at all, I'll admit - I aspire to finish my working life with enough left in the tank to do some notable work later (my spouse is not wired for me doing that while I'm still working), but when I have arguments with "notable woodworkers" like one we had on the UK forum a couple of months ago, where it was asserted that you can't plane an edge or surface without making it convex, and the "notable woodworkers" assert that is the case...well, I'm just baffled. At the same time, it was asserted that squaring and flattening an edge can't be done at the same time, and the context involved a table saw (and not removing the squareness that you started with). I had to make a video (twice) of taking a layer of thickness off of a board edge without affecting its flatness to make my point - it's kind of ridiculous. We are apparently devoid of what Warren describes as "craftsman's subtlety".

I have no idea why we even read about most of the modern "notable woodworkers" if we're doing hand work in the first place. The procedures that some described to true an edge or face, to sharpen, etc, all of that make the work so cumbersome that I wouldn't have the patience to do it. Much of it was written about in the past with better context than the present, but even more promising is just to go to the shop and do something without making it a 14 step process that must be followed (with the need for additional tools). Lay something out, mark it, and be willing to invest in getting better at it so that you can do it fluidly. The tastefulness of the work will show both in large and small details down the road. Fussy work either looks robotic, or there is evidence of slow things (fussy small strokes with tools, etc,) left behind.

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