Re: Charcoal Prints

From: Richard Sullivan ^lt;>
Date: 03/07/04-03:14:33 PM Z
Message-id: <>

I have done some amount of fine woodworking. I am no expert however. I
won't disagree that hand cut joints are superior. But I would say it is for
the reason that they are not as precise as machine cut ones. True, working
with a hand router and a Leigh dovetail may not be a precise as a mallet a
hand chisel job though I find it hard to believe that anyone by hand could
come as precise as using a jig, but just maybe. There are fancy machines
that are precise to the 10,000th of an inch and that is hard to beat.
Perhaps cutting square holes with those fancy mortise bits is still not as
precise and cutting one by hand with a chisel. I doubt anyone could make a
chair arm with a spoke shave as precise as could be done with a
computerized lathe-mill. Last fall when Melody and I were in Ireland one
could immediately tell the handmade Aran sweaters from the ones made on
knitting machines. The hand knitted ones were lumpy and had a certain
character the ones made on the knitting machines didn't have. A good
machine made one went for about $100.00 the hand knitted ones for about
$400.00. The hand knitted ones are good buy as I was told the hand knitted
ones took about 10x as long to make as the ones made on knittings machines.
My mother got a knitting machine back in the 50's and we had more sweaters
than anyone could imagine. She was ripping them out like one every day or two.

It is precisely for the fact that the handmade is not as precise as the
machine made and the fact that the imperfections generated in the handmade
product seem not to be as onerous as those generated by machine. In fact it
is the subtle differences in the arms of a handmade rocker that project it
beauty. When your inkjet printer goes on the fritz, even for one moment,
the errors are usually glaring.

BTW are you the same Pam Niedermyer that I knew at CamerVision back in the
80's. I recall seeing a studio showing of someone's work with a similar
name years ago. In an area south of LA? memory is the first to go.


>I don't disagree with your point at all; but with this particular issue I
>disagree strongly. I have to assume you don't make fine furniture. In
>fact, hand-cut dovetails are still superior to those cut with a router
>jig, as is most joinery, such as mortise and tenon vs the dowels used in
>machine made furniture. The wood used in hand-made furniture is also
>allowed to show, vs covering the grain with fillers and the like intended
>to disguise the wood used. I won't belabor this point; but it's more than
>just a "hand-made" label that matters. I think the same applies to
>photography, the control the artist has over materials matters in the end
>Richard Sullivan wrote:
>>...When I point out that much of that fine furniture has dovetails that
>>are cut by hand and could be cut finer and better by a dovetail jig, and
>>that a dimensional drawing could be made and the finest handmade rocker
>>could be turned out in minutes on a CMC wood mill-lathe, and in fact Gone
>>With the Wind style staircases, once the product of a year's worth of
>>work by a whole crew of craftsmen is now turned out in a day by computer
>>driven machines. Why then does the handmade furniture piece command such
>>high prices. Because it reflects and revels in the idea of craft. hand
>>craft! ...
Received on Sun Mar 7 15:34:45 2004

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