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What makes a craftsman

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I was thinking the other day, after someone called me a craftsman after seeing some of my work, what makes a craftsman? I do not consider myself a craftsman, I definitely do work that shows fine craftsmanship. I think of a craftsman as someone who can do the entire process, from design to finishing. I can take something that already has a deign and reproduce or modify it, but to sit down and design a piece scratch, not me.

I am curious as to what others think makes a craftsman.

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I would say that an individual that can take an idea from a pencil sketch to completed piece is a "Master Craftsman".. Those guys are few and far between.

One who has spent years developing their technique, has developed a "style" that is recognizable, can produce "craftsman quality" pieces with dependability: I think those thinsg are the hallmark of a "Craftsman"..

DF

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My opinion?

Craftsmanship is more attitude than it is ability. The heart of the maker determines the quality of their work and the skills they seek to develop. If you're determined to learn as much as you can about this art and craft, put your skills to the test designing and making things that challenge your abilities, and always always strive for the highest quality work you could possible produce that that moment, then I would call you a craftsman.

True craftsmanship is a path and not an arrival.

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I absolutely agree with both the above. Remember Skill cannot be taught. Method and technique can. Skill only comes if you have some abilities and are prepared to practice endlessly. For some rare souls they appear born with skills and are able to produce excellent results quite quickly, others can practice all their lives and never quite make it. No one will ever live long enough to have it all. Though I have met two people in my life who are almost there. John Makepeace being one of them, and my long dead tutor who would give him a very close race indeed.

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My opinion?

Craftsmanship is more attitude than it is ability. The heart of the maker determines the quality of their work and the skills they seek to develop. If you're determined to learn as much as you can about this art and craft, put your skills to the test designing and making things that challenge your abilities, and always always strive for the highest quality work you could possible produce that that moment, then I would call you a craftsman.

True craftsmanship is a path and not an arrival.

Adam,

I understand it is your opinion and I agree with part of it, Craftsman ship is about attitude, usually some kind of perfection and the melding of artistic design with simple functionality. A Craftsman delivers, he does what he yearns for, he fabricates what he sees in his minds eye. Chances are he will see imperfection in his work, but by all others who judge, it is beautiful, perfect.

Yearning to be able to do something is one thing and actually being able to do it well is something else It is the doing that makes the Craftsman, You have to achieve your goal. That is my opinion.

Dave

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I was thinking the other day, after someone called me a craftsman after seeing some of my work, what makes a craftsman? I do not consider myself a craftsman, I definitely do work that shows fine craftsmanship. I think of a craftsman as someone who can do the entire process, from design to finishing. I can take something that already has a deign and reproduce or modify it, but to sit down and design a piece scratch, not me.

I am curious as to what others think makes a craftsman.

I would say you are a craftsman. I think what you speak of is a Master craftsman. I always thought it funny that in academia you get degrees for knowing more and more about less and less . But in the trades you have to know lots and lots about everything connected to your trade to be a master. And we are blue collar.

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I think the two terms are separate. That's why some are Designer Craftsman, some Craftsman, and then Master Craftsman. Those that design AND build would be the former, anyone can be a craftsman, and the latter would be a moniker earned by achieving a level of skill that is recognized by other professionals in the field. In the past, you'd start out as an apprentice craftsman until the master you study under deemed you worthy of the title craftsman, then would come the work of achieving master craftsman status. I would say I'm solidly in the apprentice category still, but hope to one day be considered a master by my peers.

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Honestly, I think too many woodworkers are more than willing to hold themselves back in 'false humility' and try to equate themselves as part of an old system of work that no longer exists. I was trained by a master. I call him that because he had 50+ years in the craft before I met him. He indeed had acquired a terrific amount of skill and he was a craftsman from the inside out. His teacher was the same way. Maybe you've heard of Tage Frid? Unquestionably one of the most respected woodworkers of the 20th century. Frid came out of the old Euro apprenticeship system...and hated it!

What Frid and my teacher, did differently was to break away from the old ideas and develop woodworkers - craftsman, artists from the inside out. If you're going to get anywhere in the craft you have to decide to do it and have the desire and passion to take you there.

See, here's my point. We can ramble on for years about titles, positions, and terms, but none of that gets you anywhere. Internal desire breeds external actions. If you desire to fulfill your passion for woodworking then those desires will cause action to hone your skills, learn new techniques constantly and acquire tools that force you to master them as you go. You, in essence, walk the craftsman's path. That's why I call my site The Woodworker's Journey. There is no end for any of us. Only the lifelong pursuit of our passion for woodworking.

Let others call you craftsman. Let others give you titles and terms. Let others judge where you are in your skills. You just keep your head down to your bench and never stop planing.

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Craftsman: [krafts-muhn, krahfts-] –noun, plural - a person who practices or is highly skilled in a craft; artisan.

I think if you are skilled at something then you are a craftsman. I think the term carries an element of skill with your hands. For example, if you came up with a beautiful, original carving design on a CAD system and fed it into a CNC machine to do the carving, then I would consider you a artist or designer but not a craftsman. I think that's why many custom furniture makers refer to themselves as designer and craftsman - the "designer" referring to originality and artistry and the "craftsman" referring to being able to actually make the furniture. Just my view of it.

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Adam,

I understand it is your opinion and I agree with part of it, Craftsman ship is about attitude, usually some kind of perfection and the melding of artistic design with simple functionality. A Craftsman delivers, he does what he yearns for, he fabricates what he sees in his minds eye. Chances are he will see imperfection in his work, but by all others who judge, it is beautiful, perfect.

Yearning to be able to do something is one thing and actually being able to do it well is something else It is the doing that makes the Craftsman, You have to achieve your goal. That is my opinion.

Dave

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Adam,

I understand it is your opinion and I agree with part of it, Craftsman ship is about attitude, usually some kind of perfection and the melding of artistic design with simple functionality. A Craftsman delivers, he does what he yearns for, he fabricates what he sees in his minds eye. Chances are he will see imperfection in his work, but by all others who judge, it is beautiful, perfect.

Yearning to be able to do something is one thing and actually being able to do it well is something else It is the doing that makes the Craftsman, You have to achieve your goal. That is my opinion.

Dave

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I will find a million things wrong before I find something right. So because of that I have almost no mistakes on the second project my only mistake is not doing a mock up out of scrap people say I do amazing work for my age 17years old and I'm the head student in welding and woodworking shop so I am good but not even close to a craftsmen. I have a test for any one who is willing, clamp a 4*4 into a bench vise and draw a perfectly square line every 1 inch for 2-3 feet you will go from bad to ok to almost perfect but you must remember let the saw do the work ( Learned this from my mentor it works)

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Attention to detail where a piece ...

1. Looks good

2. Functions well

3. Has durability

I tell my customers, that they will have the best of my skills I have TODAY. Tomorrow I will be better and this is as good of a job as I can do at this moment.

I sweat bullets each time because my pride will not allow me to provide a poor execution. I will make mistakes.

Craftsman can design, build, execute.

A craftsman should be able to adapt, fix mistakes, change plans if the circumstances force him/her to take a different route on the spot.

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A traditional definition is that craft refers to any kind of knowledge that is ordered toward production of something. So, cooking, farming, cobbling, fixing computers, building a website - these would be crafts. This means we have to understand things - like the wood we work - only to the extent that this is needed for the production. We need to know the way the wood expands or cuts or dulls the tool, but we don't need to know its genome (something that might interest a botanist who wants to know wood in a very different way).

But that means craft is a a type of thinking that really emphasizes knowing different ways of accomplishing the same thing (how to cut this dovetail in this piece of wood) and making judgments about which is best in these circumstances given that it might be approached in many different ways.

What makes a good craftsmen, then, is someone who can make many types of boxes well in many different ways using many different tools and many different materials. A poor craftsman can only make one type of box in only one way.

Apologies to Aristotle...

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