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Take foreign exchange apprentices?

 

Cool, it's like an Olympics for the mechanically inclined!

 

Put up your two fingers all you want...skills and the craft ARE dying, at least in the broad sense.  Shlepping sheet goods over to a CNC machine isn't exactly an apprenticeship...and that's 99% of production these days.  But good on ya for resisting that unstoppable trend and keeping the world a teeny bit more erudite and authentic.  Big ups for Haydon & Son!

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That's really cool. I wish I had a boss to send me off to exotic locales to grow my craft. 

 

For a while now, I've been contemplating if we're entering another 'arts and crafts' period. Perhaps not true "craftsmen" and women in the traditional sense, but we're seeing a huge resurgence in the hand made. be it woodworking, printmaking, handlettering, leatherworking, textiles, whatever, do a quick search on Instagram or check out a site like Etsy. People are getting back into handmade products. I'm sure most of this work could be relegated to the home crafting type vs true quality craftsmanship who's studied years to get where he/she is, but it's a start. don't you think? I'm totally green to this. I've got some home carpentry skills, but have always wanted to design and build furniture. I realize what may be trendy to some, could also be seen as I think Eric called it "lazy woodworking" (to paraphrase). Sure, the professional quality is not there for lots of these folks, but perhaps it's just a matter of time? 

 

My apologies for the hijack, just touched off on something that I've been thinking about for a while. I am curious what the pros here think about this new wave of up and comers and their craft.

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I wonder if it's a resurgence of the hand made, or if, like so many other things, because of the internet, we're so connected now that we have access to what other people are doing.  Were they doing it all along and we just didn't know?  Or are we really seeing a shift?  I'd say it's hard to know.

 

I also wonder how much of the perceived movement, if we accept that there is one, has to do with the whole holistic, green, hipster "I'm so cool because I do this" thing.  Everyone is an artist now, a philosopher, an organic gardener, a mysterious and interesting back-to-nature sage.  Maybe as a backlash to modern technology, I don't know.  But it occurs to me that there are a lot of posers out there who fancy themselves "craftsmen" and visionaries when really they're just trying to be trendy, and their hands are not doing the work of their hearts but of their brains...or maybe more accurately, their egos.

 

Yes, I'm a cynic.

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On a rare trip to the Job Center I wanted to put myself down as a 'Profesional Plonker' but got told that wasn't allowed - no sense of humour these civil servants.

 

If I'm ever back down your way again Graham I may take you up on your offer and spend a few days sweeping the floors :) Is your workshop zimmer frame friendly?

 

 

Philosopher - a person who is rationally or sensibly calm, especially under trying circumstances (courtesy of Dictionary.com). Well I guess I'd best scratch that one off the CV.
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I wonder if it's a resurgence of the hand made, or if, like so many other things, because of the internet, we're so connected now that we have access to what other people are doing.  Were they doing it all along and we just didn't know?  Or are we really seeing a shift?  I'd say it's hard to know.

 

I also wonder how much of the perceived movement, if we accept that there is one, has to do with the whole holistic, green, hipster "I'm so cool because I do this" thing.  Everyone is an artist now, a philosopher, an organic gardener, a mysterious and interesting back-to-nature sage.  Maybe as a backlash to modern technology, I don't know.  But it occurs to me that there are a lot of posers out there who fancy themselves "craftsmen" and visionaries when really they're just trying to be trendy, and their hands are not doing the work of their hearts but of their brains...or maybe more accurately, their egos.

 

Yes, I'm a cynic.

I hear you. All valid cynical points! (ya may look cool, but is any real work being done in those 'workboots'?). Are we just seeing it since it's so readily available? I'm not sure about that, but I know trends are traveling faster because of it. I feel like I saw the trend back to natural and handmade around '08-10. Economy was in the sh***er, everywhere you looked tech shiny bevel design was in your face, and people were/are tired of throwing crap away and buying a new one. I can't speak to all of it, but I do think there has been (at least here in the bay area) a shift back to buying quality and hoping it lasts. Granted, we're plenty deep in the holistic/green/organic everything around here, so maybe it's just perception. Anyways, I am noticing that there is a younger generation picking up dieing arts - like i said, pressman, woodworking, lettering/signpainting. Few are great, but at least there's some kudos to give for trying and improving. 

 

Personally, I've been digging the reclaimed lumber look. But, I've seen so many walls covered in the stuff I can puke. I just chuckle to myself thinking this right now, is what wood paneling must have been like. SO cool and must have at the time, and so gross down the road. Trends come and go. sure. But hopefully not all is lost in the crafts. 

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After thinking about it a little more, I guess I shouldn't be so cynical about it no matter the motivation...if people are creating with their hands, it's a good thing.  Who cares about why, I suppose.  If someone enjoys the simple doing of something more power to him (her).  So take this as a moderation of my previous comments...though I still believe them to be true. :)

 

I think part of the reason the whole reclaimed/rustic thing turns me off is, spending much of my free time up at the lumberyard, I'd have to say about one out of five people who come in are non-woodworkers looking for barnwood or the like to panel a wall or to make a table top, which they'll place atop rickety legs of black iron pipe.  And they haven't the slightest idea how to build anything.  Wood movement?  What the hell does that mean?  I'll just screw this to that and that to this and it should be fine, right?

 

I have a natural inclination to reject trends, and this one is no exception.  Besides, it looks stupid if you ask me. :D

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Personally, I've been digging the reclaimed lumber look. But, I've seen so many walls covered in the stuff I can puke. I just chuckle to myself thinking this right now, is what wood paneling must have been like. SO cool and must have at the time, and so gross down the road. Trends come and go. sure. But hopefully not all is lost in the crafts. 

 

In the last year I've been into 4 different fairly swanky places that used completely rough lumber to cover entire walls. I guess the Band-sawn look is in. It's not that I dislike it, but I do feel like it's cheap and lazy.

 

I said something to my wife about it a few weeks ago and she said she really likes it.

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Just to be clear I'm not paying for the trip, I'm just letting him have the time out. And all I think about this is that this is a modern thing happening now that celebrates young peoples skills, nothing more than that. As for what skills he will learn, not much woodworking rather more life lessons such as travel, interaction and life experience and a killer entry on the CV

 

Dave, can't sweep the floors these days, vac only with fine filters and yes we are pro zimmer  :)

 

On the upswing of ethuisast lead woodworking I'm all for it in whatever way you want to do it. If it's quick and simple Ana White style or the finest furniture it matters not to me. Some of the BS that gets bolted on to that is all a bit silly but it's just marketing s5it that's part of promoting yourself. For me it's as simple as "that looks cool I want to make that" with "these tools look fun I'll use these".

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I wonder if it's a resurgence of the hand made, or if, like so many other things, because of the internet, we're so connected now that we have access to what other people are doing.  Were they doing it all along and we just didn't know?  Or are we really seeing a shift?  I'd say it's hard to know.

 

I also wonder how much of the perceived movement, if we accept that there is one, has to do with the whole holistic, green, hipster "I'm so cool because I do this" thing.  Everyone is an artist now, a philosopher, an organic gardener, a mysterious and interesting back-to-nature sage.  Maybe as a backlash to modern technology, I don't know.  But it occurs to me that there are a lot of posers out there who fancy themselves "craftsmen" and visionaries when really they're just trying to be trendy, and their hands are not doing the work of their hearts but of their brains...or maybe more accurately, their egos.

 

Yes, I'm a cynic.

 

There's a definite movement back to purchasing actual products made by actual people. I go out of my way to vote with my wallet and I want to support local businesses, true craftsmen, and ethical businesses. It's especially prevalent in my demographic (early 30s professional). Buying "real" things is more expensive but there is a growing community of folks that feel it's worth it.

 

It's been 3+ years since I stepped into a Walmart and at least 2 since I've been inside a Target. They are stores full of junk that seem as though they were designed to bilk Americans out of money to increase the trade deficit, destroy small business, and dilute the job pool with completely menial positions. I go even further with food... having a 30 second conversation at a weekly market with the people who are actually producing your food will change the way you eat.

 

There are also a ton of people who are trying to capitalize on this and are either doing it the wrong way because of a lack of knowledge, or because they lack the will to do it the right way.

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Okay, I know this is going to land me in hot water with some, but here goes anyway.  At the Woodworking Show in Atlanta this year, I was disturbed that the attendance at the Legacy CNC demos were huge, but we had less than 30 people at Marc Adams' seminars.  Now, I'm a self-avowed geek.  I love technology.  I have all the toys, read books and magazines galore on my iPad, etc.  And I think the Legacy equipment is cool as hell from that perspective.  But I think there is a huge difference between working with wood and woodworking.  I know the argument, "well, whoever programs the computer has to know something about woodworking" but I don't completely agree.  It's very possible to buy the programs and equipment, stick some wood in the hopper and mass produce wooden widgets.  I see it all the time at festivals and fairs.  

 

There's a line in a Don Henley song, Sunset Grill, that says, "These days a man makes you something, and you never see his face."  I guess as I get older, I mourn the lack of personal relationship that is inherent with technology.  I fight it by trying to buy, as much as possible, parts and products from local companies where I have a face to face relationship with the owners.  Yes, it costs me more, but it's my little personal rebellion so I don't mind.  I'm afraid we have come to worship "cheap" so much that we are losing our feel for quality - and damaging our economy at the same time.  

 

On the other hand, I guess as long as folks like us exist, the craft will not die.  It may be smaller in scope, but I believe that the "evolution" will make folks like Eric and GS and Mel and Freddie, the rest of this community, and maybe someday me, less of an anachronism.  In the meantime, bring the grandkids into the shop and watch their eyes light up.  If I can get my grandsons and granddaughters working with their hands, eventually their hearts will follow.

 

GS, it's awesome that you invest in your apprentice that way!  A great lesson for all of us.

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We have a winner! Eric must be an old rocker like me. It was a great album. One of my favorite lines from any rock song is from that album, in "Boys of Summer." "Out on the road today I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac..." Great turn of a phrase.

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I personally prefer I Can't Stand Still to Building the Perfect Beast...just barely.  But I kind of see them as a pair...bookended albums so to speak, much like Revolver and Rubber Soul or After the Gold Rush and Harvest.

 

Okay, sorry Graham for the total derailment...back on track. :)

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I think part of the reason the whole reclaimed/rustic thing turns me off is, spending much of my free time up at the lumberyard, I'd have to say about one out of five people who come in are non-woodworkers looking for barnwood or the like to panel a wall or to make a table top, which they'll place atop rickety legs of black iron pipe.  And they haven't the slightest idea how to build anything.  Wood movement?  What the hell does that mean?  I'll just screw this to that and that to this and it should be fine, right?

 

I have a natural inclination to reject trends, and this one is no exception.  Besides, it looks stupid if you ask me. :D

 

I don't mind reclaimed/rustic thing when it is real.   Relagating 50% of your lumber to the scrap bin because it has "defects" such as sap wood, mineral streaks, knots, or the colors don't match perfectly is, to me, just a waste of our scarce resources.  Tastefully incorporating those elements is actually more difficult than building something that is uniform in color and grain.  Likewise, if you have a solid oak beam from an old barn, burning it is a sin.  Now building a table out of rough sawn lumber and calling the saw marks "patina" is something completely different.  The real artists know the difference, but there are plenty of posers who are just chasing the trend.

 

Norm was busy using sunk cypress logs and reclaimed pine for at least 10 seasons of NYW (I swear, if he built one more pine piece I was going to throw my remote through the TV) :), so it is not really a new trend.  It is just something the trend hoppers have globbed on to.

 

But all that aside, I will say that hand craft items are more likely to be timeless.  Take a look at the FWW vault of project plans, you will see table, stools, and chairs designed in 1988 that would still look great today.  That is the ultimate in being green - building something that people will actually want to use 20 or 30 years from now.

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