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Technology and the Human Hand: Are We Losing Touch? - Part 3

31. July 2018 09:05

By: Scott Grove, Furniture Designer: ScottGrove.com

My question is, if I cut a perfect dovetail by hand, then is using a machine instead okay? Am I still a fine craftsman? Possibly more important questions are: Is machine-quality better than handmade quality? Do our patrons care? Does the public appreciate handmade work? Are they losing touch with real craftsmanship? What is more valuable (and/or satisfying)? A perfectly hand cut mortise joint or a perfectly machined one? A symmetrically hand-carved texture or a similar one created by a machine?

More than ever it seems to me that true craftsmen are responsible for educating our clients on how pieces are made. But how much hands-on is handmade anyhow? I can have a machine spit out all my parts and I simply glue them together with some hand sanding and a little futzing, say 10% handwork. Is it still handmade? 

Obviously there are more questions than clear answers here. But one thing is for sure: Technology is here to stay and will keep advancing, helping us to become faster and more accurate, work more quickly and more cost effectively. The technological craftsman is a reality and our trade is splintering in two.

The dilemma is: How to use technology without losing touch with our craftsmanship? Or is that just cheating?  Be a part of the conversation at the IWF Conference on Wednesday, August 22nd from 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM.

For a 9 minute TedX talk overview of this discussion, please visit https://imaginegrove.com/

Scott Grove, ScottGrove.com ImagineGrove.com

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