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Beau Hannam Ukuleles
03-06-2016, 07:56 AM
An important passage from From Christopher Schwartz's The Anarchist's Tool Chest

This is an excellent book of woodworking, tool selection and the last section is making a tool chest- it is more (much more) for furniture makers, but his philosophy (ie- don't fall into the modern mentality/trap of buying cheap crap with the view to throw it away in 2-5 years) , history and humor permeate the entire book.
www.lostartpress.com


88968 88969

Sven
03-06-2016, 10:04 AM
Yea, that is indeed a very good read. I read far to many books on woodworking and spend a lot of time making plans, then I waste all available time making ukes.

Inksplosive AL
03-06-2016, 10:27 AM
As a tattoo artist from where I sit consumerism is killing the craftsmen as much or more than any cooperation. Why pay a trained experienced craftsmen when it can be had cheaper. The even if it isn't perfect its good enough because I saved some money mentality is sad. People just do not understand how they cheapen themselves through this behavior.

Thank you for sharing.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
03-06-2016, 10:55 AM
The undercurrent of this book is that, as individuals (and therefore as a society), we need to buy great tools that will last generations to minimise
the post WW2 marketing cycle of
1-Buy,
2-Use for a few years,
3-Repeat.

This is how Walmart functions.

He understands that it is difficult to do this in the face of such cheap items (ie- Ikea furniture, plastic things etc) but that as craftsmen and craftswomen decline so does alot of things:
America had
140,000 registered cabinetmakers and bench carpenters in 1999
2014 had 88,170
http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes517011.htm

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
03-06-2016, 11:04 AM
also interesting is this 88970

http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes499063.htm

Pete Howlett
03-06-2016, 11:08 AM
My travelling fellowship which I take up in the fall is supported by Heritage Crafts organisation here in the UK. We have many 'sole' craftsmen left here in the UK but the cool thing is we are trying to turn this slowly around. What needs to happen is the embracing of new technologies and putting them alongside the old. A good example is hand cut dovetail drawers on a cabinet that is veneered mdf with solid lippings. Much of the cabinet work is executed with power/powered tools. However, the tactile parts of the piece are done by hand. The cabinet is stable because it has a veneered carcass - this can be rare and exotic woods, impossible to find in the forest or timber yard... As interesting as philosophies are, we are where we are and rather than rail against it, we have to find a way of embracing it. No way would I hand cut tenons ever again for a dining suit of 8 chairs. A machine is the obvious choice. What I would do is finish the surface with a finely tuned plane and oil finish them... but we are talking furniture. With ukes, sand paper is your friend :)

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
03-06-2016, 11:44 AM
As interesting as philosophies are, we are where we are and rather than rail against it, we have to find a way of embracing it. No way would I hand cut tenons ever again for a dining suit of 8 chairs. A machine is the obvious choice. What I would do is finish the surface with a finely tuned plane and oil finish them... but we are talking furniture. With ukes, sand paper is your friend :)

Yep- While ive never done a dove tail for furniture, no way id do it by hand when a router and jig is there!- so your correct- the past is the past but a medium has to be found. He wasn't talking so much about the full time professional, but the home hobbyist as losing those basic hand skills and fix it rather then buy a new one mentality that our grand fathers had, including quality tools.

I was surprised to find that in this book when he talked about making a cork backed sand paper block, he commented that alot of 'hand tool nazis' looked down on the use of sand paper!- that was news to me- He also points out that people fall in love with the sharpening of the tool rather then using it.

sequoia
03-06-2016, 06:08 PM
I come from a small New England town called Thomaston where the principle industry since the 18th century was the production of wooden clocks. The world famous Seth Thomas clock. The clocks used wooden gears and were produced by individual craftsman in a factory setting. Not terribly efficient, but they were good clocks and kept phenomenally good time because of the skill of those Yankee craftsman. The beginning of the end was after the American Civil War when the idea of interchangeable parts used in making rifles was invented. It was more efficient and rifles (and clocks) could be produced cheaper and faster. Eventually, the name "Seth Thomas" was sold to a Japanese company and predictably the quality fell and became so bad the name stood more for cheap crap than for quality. So it goes.

However, Yankee craftsmanship is in my blood and I see a definite resurgence of the appreciation of hand built things. People are rejecting mass produced crap and embracing the idea of the unique craft produced item. But it will never have the market it once did and that is just economic reality. The craft resurgence is happily expanding, but it will never be economically viable and will remain a small niche market. Sad, but that is way it goes.

cml
03-07-2016, 08:22 AM
I think people all over are losing a lot of skills that should be preserved, and it's not just in wood working. Metal work, wood work, cultivation, sewing, carpenting - you name it. Most people today, in western countries I might add, are so used of buying stuff ready made that they havent got a clue on how to do most anything that requires this type of know how. I think this is especially true with younger generations (with some exceptions of course).

My old grandfather, he lives for fixing things, and a day doesnt go by when he's not working on this or that in the house or at our family country house. Last summer our pump pressure tank at the country house broke down and it so happened that I was visiting him at the time, together we jury-rigged a solution from scrap in the cellar beneath the house. It was great, but I realise not many people today could do it, things like that are dying out and most people would have either bought new parts or called in help.

Being 28 years old, many of my friends are helpless when it comes to practical stuff. I think the kids of today are going to be even worse. Right now I am on parental leave and am taking care of my baby daughter. She loves it when she sees me fixing stuff at our house and is fascinated by the tools (all kept out of her reach for now of course). I am not a master craftsman like some of you here in the lounge, but I dabble in this and that and my sincere hope is that I'll be able to transfer some of my knowldege (like my grandfather did to me) and interest to her so she can fix stuff herself, and when the day comes and she's moved out she doesnt need to call her old dad for every little thing that needs repairing etc!