The Future of Woodworking


The future of woodworking is in the past. I'm just telling you what I know. I was the architectural designer for a union store fixture manufacturer in 1967. I saw the first bunk of particle board arrive. The men in the shop were outraged, and a rebellion nearly resulted in closing the shop. Plastic laminate only came in a few colors. The year before they were still sticking it down with wood glue and clamping it until it had dried. There were only a half-dozen bits for the router, made of brittle carbon steel; and they didn't put roller bearings on the bits until five years later. I was living on the threshold of technology. I've seen a lot of change. And as a manufacturer, I have been responsible for advocating the use of new methods and new materials, and not just to give the customers what they wanted. Even today, I advocate for new technology...but when the price of value-added products exceeds the cost of the real thing, I can see the writing on the wall. Value-added products are a bill of goods, and industry has become persuaded to accept materials and hardware that are untrue, even undesirable. Why would I want to pay $35 for a pair of drawer slides, when a two-dollar webframe will do? Why would I buy a sheet of plywood with a veneer so thin it cannot hide the substrate? And, why should I ruin my health working in a cloud of poly-resins when I can work real wood? Look at it from the bottom line. Two good men can produce $500,000 worth of product in a single year. With the cost of technology and the price of value-added materials, can they expect to clear twenty percent? But the same two men working with standard machines and a pile of sticks can produce $500,000 worth of boxes and clear up to fifty percent. I'm just telling you what I know. You never have to edge-band a piece of oak. Modern machines require modern materials, but the first principles of working wood-to cut, to shape, to fasten-are the same as they have always been... daclark
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I agree with you 1000% My two passions in life are woodworking and photography. Photography has been ruined by technology. The industry now wants you to buy buy buy to keep up. If you go to a photo club meeting its all about computers and programs not about photography I also see it coming to woodwork. Its becoming about the tools not the work. Look at the woodworking magazines they spend more time reviewing tools than writing about woodworking. Look at Lee valley's catalougue 20 different high priced items that do the same thing, when most of the time you can build a shop jig out of scrap to do the same.
I think we have ourselves to blame though. Most of us would rather have the shiny tools to show off than the homemade jigs. And as for the argument about the enviroment. I don't see how a sheet of toxic chemicals and sawdust is any better for the earth that cutting down a tree and sawing it into lumber Oh well that's just my opinion and I'm sure I'll get flamed for it See ya in the past
Peter daclark wrote:

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But the Great thing about technology and photography is all of the filma cameras and lenses I can now afford. People are virtually dumping all of their film cameras. You can buy great stuff for pennies on the dollar. Medium format cameras that I once drooled over but could not afford are now sitting right here at home and the chumps who dumped them are trying to get something decent from 6 megapixels.
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wrote:

If you find some cheap Leica cameras, do let me know.
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There are exceptions. :o) And the Canon clones are a cheaper - possibly better - alternative. There's also the Nikon range finders, though they can be as expensive as a Leica.
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daclark wrote:

I got burned on this. I saw a reddish blotch, and I assumed it was a stain/mark. I lightly sanded it and it got worse LOL.. Now, about once a year, I drive 2 hours to get my plywood, because everyone local here either has crap or has it way, way overpriced for hobbyists. ($130 for a sheet of 3/4 oak plywood).
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What does it cost for the gas on the two hour trip? You must be buying quite a bit of plywood to save the expense of going there and back.
I don't know what kind of plywood you're buying, but cabinet grade plywood up here in Canada can easily run over $200 a sheet.
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Hello, this essay was originally posted on a number of sites, and attracted quite a bit of comment. It became too much to track the comments and remember what had been said where, so I've relocate to a central location I have established a new group for the discussion of the craft trades; woodworking, metalworking, sculpture, glassworks, pottery, etcetera; and the topic of apprenticeship in the inherent occupations of man. If you would like to join this group of professionals, as well as novices, in the discussion of the craft trades...paste the link into your browser. The site will be moderated to keep the junk out. No off topic postings, no sales gimmicks, and no trashing the other guy's opinion... daclark
http://groups.google.com/group/senior-apprentice
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: Hello, this essay was originally posted on a number of sites, and : attracted quite a bit of comment.
And your post has been posted in many a thread here in rec.wwing. You might try a better news reader.
    -- Andy Barss
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Congratulations, you made it in to my kill file.
Puckdropper
--
Wise is the man who attempts to answer his question before asking it.

To email me directly, send a message to puckdropper (at) fastmail.fm
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