"It's a poor workman who blames . . ."

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"It's a poor workman who blames his own tools."
How many times have we heard THAT old chestnut? The broad implication is that talent and ability should be able to overcome sub-standard tools. Last night I realized for the first time that the expression was coined a LONG time before power tools even existed.
I now believe that a good workman is fully entitled to blame his tools whenever he gets a shitty result. Makes me feel better, anyway.
FoggyTown "Cut to shape . . . pound to fit."
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The workman used to make a lot of his own tools. Now does it ring better?

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Well, not necessarily sub-standard tools. There is and always has been a point beyond which talent and skill could not prevail over pure junk. It's really more of a case where acceptable tools get tagged as sub-standard because of a lack of skill, talent, or patience.

Yup, but it's as applicable today as it was back then. A lot of what we demand in a tool today, especially as we get more into our hobbies, sidelines, or whatever, really does not have that much to do with turning out a good product. Not to harp on a point, but the laser is a good example. It's rapidly gaining acceptance and soon will achieve the level of must-have. It really offers nothing to the woodworker in terms of quality product, but even now you're beginning to hear that it contributes to quality work. At some point a bad cut will be blamed on a miter saw that didn't have a laser. Shame.

Despite everything else that could be said about it, this is absolutely true.
--

-Mike-
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news:5EHqd.3287

Don't fall for the hype.
-j
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The workman chooses his tools, or makes his tools, or at least chooses the employer who furnishes his tools. Thus in the end, the workman is responsible for his tools.
-- ******** Bill Pounds http://www.billpounds.com

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Just this morning I let loose a steady stream of vulgarity while trying to do a simple thing like making a notch in a push stick with a hand saw. I finally gave up and nibbled it away on the table saw.
I almost always get lousy results when trying to use hand saws. But I get great results when I take the time to make sure my power tools are precisely adjusted and aligned. Takes most of the "human factor" right out of the job. Now I find I can use my creativity on the design of the piece rather than on the mundane task of hand tool technique.
But hell yes I blame the tools. It couldn't possibly be me, could it?

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You should have run out and bought a bandsaw for that!
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ROTFLMAO!

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I had the same problem last week. Then I got the right handsaw from the rack, and the task went beautifully.
'Giving up', and 'using a tool with which you could accomplish the task', are not the same thing. I have some tools which I have not mastered as yet. Ok, make that many tools. But I haven't given up as of yet.
Patriarch
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That's cause there's too many people believing that the latest and greatest power tool will make them better at what they do. If you buy a shitty power tool and it breaks or does a poor job, that reflects on your skills. Why couldn't you put the power tool down and do it right. Power tools only make the job go faster not better.
If you don't believe that then you've obviously never seen a Chippendale or Queen Anne...

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I have (my grandmother owned a set Hepplewhite chairs) and I still disagree. Power tools can do a job better by providing consistency, for one thing. Also by providing the average wrecker with confidence. (This NG would be pretty damned small if there were no power tools.) I'd like to see what Norm could come up with using nothing but manual tools. I doubt very much it would be as impressive as what he does on his show.
FoggyTown "Cut to shape . . . pound to fit."
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The Woodright Shop on Line 1...
--

-Mike-
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On Tue, 30 Nov 2004 04:20:14 GMT, "johnny rotten"

I'll agree that a power tool can ruin a good board faster, but disagree that a power tool can't sometimes do a better job with less operator skill.
Examples:
A jointer can put a straight edge and a flat face on a board with much less skill than hand planes.
A table saw can accurately cut with much less skill than hand saws and plow planes.
A thickness planer is a hell of a lot easier to use than hand planes to accurately plane a stack of lumber to the same thickness, with parallel faces.
All tools, powered or not, require SOME basic knowledge. Power tools will not only ruin wood faster, but they will seriously maim the operator, if a minimum level of skill isn't present. Most hand tools require serious forethought to actually amputate a limb. A power tool can amputate before the user knows something is wrong.
Poor power tools and dull hand tools introduce variables that can make them impossible to use accurately, not matter what the skill level of the user.
Barry
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On Tue, 30 Nov 2004 11:45:34 GMT, Ba r r y

Power tools can definitely do a better job with less operator skill on a lot of things.
It's like almost anything else. A master can outperform the power tool on everything but time, but for the average woodworker, the power tool can give better results in many areas.
Essentially, the trend is to transfer the skill from the human into the tool That's been going on for a couple of hundred years now.
--RC

Sleep? Isn't that a totally inadequate substitute for caffine?
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I don't agree with that. It's just a different set of skills.
Someone with a poorly set up table saw can't cut wood any more accurately than someone with poor technique using a hand saw. The skill is in setting up the machine for accuracy...then having the skill to operate it for best results.
(snip)

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On Tue, 30 Nov 2004 23:02:07 GMT, "Chuck Hoffman"

It's a lot easier to cut a reasonably straight line on a poorly set up table saw than it is for a person with poor technique to cut an equally straight line with a hand saw. Having done both, I know.
The same for nearly any other power tool.

We're not talking best results here -- unless we're talking about the master with the hand tools -- we're talking about what it takes to produce average quality work. Producing results comparable to average quality outpt from a power tool usually takes a lot more skill with hand tools.
--RC

Sleep? Isn't that a totally inadequate substitute for caffine?
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rcook writes:

It's been going on since the first caveman learned to sharpen a stone before hitting his enemy or prey.
Charlie Self "Giving every man a vote has no more made men wise and free than Christianity has made them good." H. L. Mencken
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NO! The machine is incapable of doing the job without the human, whereas the human is capable of doing the job without the machine.
The machine is about repetition. It produces the same result, given the same input. It can do no other.

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Where can I get one of those machines?
-j
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Unless you're running windows, you're sitting at one.

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