Pro vs Hobbyist Furniture Makers

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Barry Burke writes:

Not always. A friend's base shop machine is a Powermatic 66...and it is aged. His most recent purchase was a 36" drum sander. Not available at Woodcraft, but not at all hard to find. He does have a 12" jointer no one carries...but that's due to age. I traded for an old cyclone DC from him, which another friend now has: that is still available if you spend $1500 or so for it.
He has a couple old DeWalt radial arm saws. A couple 5 HP shapers. Absolutely nothing esoteric.
Whoops. Forgot. His bandsaw is one his father built.
Everything else is commonly available.
Another outfit, Mike Maxwell's place, has some esoteric stuff, but that's a much larger scale furniture operation, where the Timesaver sander is worth its weight in dust. He still has a lot of standard stuff, including a Bridgewood cabinet saw that is very old. And, yup, he did buy much of it used. Primarily, that's because Mike has 3 phase and wants the features found in old tools...again, an old DeWalt RAS, much else.
But probably 50% of this stuff is still stocked at various places that sell gear to the hobbyists who wish to pay for it.
I also have to wonder how many pros use Lie-Nielsen (or any other) brand of hand planes. They're great tools, but I'm willing to bet Tom Lie-Nielsen's customer base lies within the ranks of the hobbyists.
Charlie Self "I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be." Thomas Jefferson
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On 17 Nov 2003 14:10:49 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) wrote:

Absolutely. Nothing is that hard to find, but sometimes the cost of moving it is a problem.
I've seen plenty of PM66's and Unisaws in pro shops. I was writing of big jointers, multiple bladed tablesaws, gang rippers, molders, etc... Stuff that's more or less carried by industrial equipment dealers, new and used. For some reason, a millwork shop was stuck in my mind at the time I wrote that. Any hobbyist could certainly purchase the same stuff, money is money! <G>
I do know some pros that use LN planes, but you're probably right about hobbyists owning most of them.
Barry
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Hmmm, why would a pro not use a LN plane? or would they not use a plane at all?
BRuce
B a r r y B u r k e J r . wrote:

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BRuce asks:

The latter. Some do, some don't, but unless you can convince a pro he's better off spending xxx bucks for an L-V, he's apt to buy a used whatever for x bucks and spend some time tuning it up, if he didn't do so 30 years ago. Or go for a Veritas at a similar quality level and lower price. For the most part, pros that I've met do not use planes. They set their work up so that it can be done without proud surfaces, so little such work is needed, if any.
That, of course, doesn't count the makers who do the whole thing, or most of it, by hand. And lots of pros do keep an apron plane handy for those rough spots or increasing the size of an overlay or a rabbet in just a short area.
Charlie Self "I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be." Thomas Jefferson
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thanks charlie, makes some sense I guess. bought my first one this week so that I could flush fit some birch banding. plywood was not quite the same thickness overall and the block plane made short work of it. Looked a lot better than sanding also. I am not a pro but will be paid for this piece.
BRuce
Charlie Self wrote:

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Depends. Semipro, but I had an order for 20 frames and a display system to do last week. Running a #4 up the pieces meant I didn't have to sand. Way ahead of the game in my book.
<BRuce> wrote in message

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On Mon, 17 Nov 2003 12:42:01 -0500, BRuce <BRuce> wrote:

Some do, some don't.
Many pros in many fields are already using a tool they're comfortable with, that they've massaged and tuned, and unlikely to spring for a new tool.
It's like musical instruments. If you've spent YEARS tuning a tool to your satisfaction, you may be unlikely to replace it. This can be true even if the replacement is superior in many ways.
Barry
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Pocket Hole assembly has been around a lot longer than most of you know and in the right place there is nothing Non Quality about them, I've been contemplating getting a Kreg jig for a long time now but have not that much use for it
Face nails and staples are a no no to me and anyone doing any quality work.

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Obviously nails and or staples that are exposed are a no no, but I would be glad to post a pic of a couple of end tables / night stands that I built last simmer. I would consider them of High Quality and I did use brads and pocket hole screws. I doubt you could find the brads. The brads were used to speed production and reduce clamp time. The customers were quite pleased.
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As well as hidden brads.
I think the distinction needs to be made between "traditional methods" and "modern methods" among both pros and hobbyists. Professionally built furniture in the "traditional method" is both available and sought after by _some_ customers. On the other hand, some "modern" inventions like the metal fastener, modern finishes, etc... were invented for a reason.
There is a letter to the editor in the latest edition of "Woodshop News" that addresses not only this topic, but the thinking of many amateurs on this NG as well. Furniture often needs to be durable and functional, modern technology helps today's pro deliver a product meeting the exact needs of the customer.
Barry
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message wrote:

I'm about to embark on my first real project, which is a "traditional Shaker lap desk." My goal is mostly to practice some WW techniques and hopefully have something to show for it, even if it ain't 'perfect.' Anyway, last night I was looking through the plans to get an idea of the joinery I'll need to do: the sides are dovetailed (as is the single drawer), the top has breadboard ends, etc.; but I couldn't tell from the diagram how the bottom is attached (it's flush with the sides). As I read through the brief instructions it says the bottom is "held in place by brads." I was surprised to say the least. I thought "isn't there a more appropriate technique?" Why go to the trouble of dovetails and doweled breadboard ends only to nail the bottom in place? Actually, now that I think about it, the bottom will not support any internal force since the drawer is directly above it, so it's probably structurally sound, but it still seems sort of shoddy compared to the rest of the construction. Am I looking at this the wrong way?
Cheers, Mike
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Yep ... The Shaker's had hammers, therefore you can safely assume that they had nails/brads and used them. Turn over just about any antique I've ever seen and you will find fasteners of some type ... nothing sinful about it, IMO.
Of course there are nazi's in every art form, from music to furniture making. I remember the first time I brought an electric bass to a Bluegrass festival as part of the headline act ... you'd thunk the end of the world was at hand with all the grumbling in the crowd from the Bluegrass "purists".
Just do your art from the heart and to hell with those stiff necks who insist there is only one way to do something.
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www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 9/21/03
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Spoken like a true musician!
Barry
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On Mon, 17 Nov 2003 22:54:14 GMT, B a r r y B u r k e J r .

"Love wooddorking and do as you will."
(Freely taken from Augustine - The Confessions)
Regards, Tom Thomas J. Watson-Cabinetmaker Gulph Mills, Pennsylvania http://users.snip.net/~tjwatson
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On Mon, 17 Nov 2003 22:56:53 +0000, Tom Watson wrote:

I wonder if I can get Mrs. McGee to cross-stitch me a copy of this for the car hole^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H shop?
Nicely done, Tom.
"[W]ho but thou could be the workmaster of such wonders?" -Augustine, Confessions, 9.6.14
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True, but they might have reserved their hammers only for carpentry work. But that wasn't really my point. I have no aversion to nails/brads and such, as long as that's the best technique to use. By "best" I mean the technique that is the best compromise between quality and ease of implementation.

I live in the land of shiny-and-new-is-better (aka SoCal) so my exposure to antiques is limited. But, of the antiques I've seen, the parts that were nailed together are usually the parts that are loose 100 years later. That's based on limited exposure so I don't mean it to sound like it's a rule of thumb, especially since you can fit all that I know about antiques in a thimble.

I think a similar thing happened to Bob Dylan so you're in pretty good company.

Good advice; but some of those stiff necks know a heck of a lot more than me about crafting things from wood so I'll keep listening but will not take anything as being written in stone.
Cheers, Mike
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I find that to be a rather ridiculous notion. This idea of "quality work" can only be done the way they did it 150 years ago. If pneumatic nailers and pocket hole systems were available 150 years ago, the antiques that everyone holds in such high regard would have them. The reason they were not used at the time is due to (lack of) availability and expense. Things can be made well or made badly. Either can be done with modern or ancient techniques. Somebody on here (wish I could remember who) once stated that things weren't necessarily made better 150 years ago, it just seems that way because the only ones that have survived long enough for you to see were well made. The lousy ones (of which there were many) fell apart long before they could ever achieve antique status.

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CW writes:

True. Same holds for old houses. The dumps, the shacks, the hovels have all collapsed, while the beautifully built Victorians and others have survived to be revamped and modernized to survive for another 100+ years. I've lived in houses built in the 1830 that were not as well made as the barns built the same year or the year before...but those barns were built for often life-giving protection for property that was precious to the farmer. His comfort, his family's comfort, came second, so the house went up with whatever wood and nails were handy, while the barn was built with mortise and tenons and pegged joints.
Hell, both sets of my grandparents lived on farms that were built like that.
Charlie Self "I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be." Thomas Jefferson
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"CW"You are absolutely correct, I for the life of me cannot believe that someone in the year 160o made a better peice of furniture than because he had to use a moulding plane and threw a bit in a router and did the same thing in a few seconds. I do agree that he had more muscle in his forearms than I.
I do admire what these craftmen did without the sophiticated machinery and tools that we now have. I have many many books on old antique furniture that go way way back.

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The use of those fasteners does not affect the quality, longevity, and or appearance if done correctly. A majority of the time only the builder knows.

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