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I see "Hand Crafted" associated with just about everything made of wood, leather, crafts, textiles, and much more these days. I am wondering what others opinion of what "hand crafted" means. Webster defines hand crafted as built by hand rather than machine.

If one were to build boxes with hand sawn dovetail joints but use an electric sander prior to finishing?

What if someone cut bird houses by hand yet used a pneumatic staple gun to assemble them?

I can easily understand that if someone builds something using only hand tools it can be called hand crafted.

Lets say someone uses power tools to build it. Can it still be considered hand crafted? If so, where does it end?

What if one were to build something and then proceed to mass produce it...by means of better machines or jigs that incorporate repeatability and/or increased speed?

Do the products made by machines like a cnc shark or laser cutters that are gradually becoming more affordable to the hobbyist still count as hand crafted?

Just something I have been pondering as of late and am interested in hearing opinions. Open for discussion/debate.
 

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Old School
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I think the words and the product involved are a perception. To some, there is also "hand made" as a way of describing something. I get the image of some third world tribal guy sitting on the ground carving away with a rustic knife or cutting tool that he made with his hands.

It's more of a semantics question. Those words infer the talent and artisan of an individual. The big picture might be the raw materials go in one side of a machine, and a product comes out the other end, versus, being handled and manipulated to its final stages with hand tools.

I doubt woodworking projects could be made by ONLY hands. To me that would be a PITA, and pretty rough on fingers. So, in actuality, the item might be more correctly called "hand made with some tools". Then the distinction might have to be made by saying "hand made with hand and power tools".






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To me it means something that is not made on an assembly line or in an assembly line fashion, and done so by perhaps a single person.

Something someone creates that he has a personal connection with.
 

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I recently finished this coffee table....i consider it hand crafted even though it utilized many power tools to make.

For me the line was did I control the tool?

If I Utilized a cnc to cut the coffee table from a solid block of wood....I'd say not handcrafted. But as the skill involved to be precise was manifested through my hands..I deem it to be handcrafted.


Plus my wood brand says handcrafted by Ryan so it must be true.
 

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+1 on the Noek group. If it comes off an assembly line, it ain't handcrafted. Even if it was done the same way as one person would make an item, but was made by five guys in shop each making a specific portion of the wood project then assembled, I don't consider that handcrafted. If one person did each of the parts then assemble, and finished the project, he is invested in that project from start to finish, then I consider that handcrafted regardless of what machine he used. Some guy sitting at a computer controlling a machine who never touches the project even if he was there from start to finish, is definitely not handcrafted. You have to have an investment in the project, you have to touch it and work it with your hands, or feet if you have no hands...I'd pay more for a block of wood worked by some guy with his feet, then the best Ikea crap that they have ever produced. Because you know if that guy had no hands and still made something using his feet, he is INVESTED in that project.
 

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I see "Hand Crafted" associated with just about everything made of wood, leather, crafts, textiles, and much more these days. I am wondering what others opinion of what "hand crafted" means. Webster defines hand crafted as built by hand rather than machine.

If one were to build boxes with hand sawn dovetail joints but use an electric sander prior to finishing?

What if someone cut bird houses by hand yet used a pneumatic staple gun to assemble them?

I can easily understand that if someone builds something using only hand tools it can be called hand crafted.

Lets say someone uses power tools to build it. Can it still be considered hand crafted? If so, where does it end?

What if one were to build something and then proceed to mass produce it...by means of better machines or jigs that incorporate repeatability and/or increased speed?

Do the products made by machines like a cnc shark or laser cutters that are gradually becoming more affordable to the hobbyist still count as hand crafted?

Just something I have been pondering as of late and am interested in hearing opinions. Open for discussion/debate.
if it were to be put togother using glue, nail's , screws, how are these applyed ? i guess almost completly ass. by hand ? kind of pickie ? I can easily understand that if someone builds something using only hand tools it can be called hand crafted. hand crafted using my hand , maybe that is what it mean's ??
 

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Ikea stuff isn't hand crafted, thomasville stuff is. The difference? It's the 1-2 guys cutting, assembling, sanding, staining, and doing the entire project using their own hands and skills, not the machine that laser etches and precuts each piece.

I make mallets. I hand carve the handles, normally taking 3-4 hours each. The head is normally cherry and birch mixed with mahogany. I consider this hand crafted even though I use the table saw to make the head.
 

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I think that machines can be used, as long as hands control the machine. A router moved by hands produces an item that is handcrafted, but that same router in a CNC does not.

Personally I don't have a problem with products from an assembly line being labeled as "handcrafted" if each part of the process was human controlled. I often make things in an assembly line fashion, I just have to do every step myself.

Hunter
 

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What does hand-crafted mean? About 1.5 times the base price. It's a marketing term these days, and doesn't really mean anything.

My hard and fast dividing line is automation. If the assembly line is automated -- humans are only involved to press a button or move something from one part of the assembly line to another -- it's not hand crafted. Really, most assembly lines don't lead to "hand crafted" goods. But... say you've got an old-fashioned furniture shop. One guy makes spindles, one guy makes slats, another guy makes seats and assembles the chair, and the last guy in line puts the finish on. That's hand crafted, in my opinion, as long as they're actually bringing skill to the process. If you can train someone with no experience to do the job in one shift, it's not hand crafted.
 

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People bringing their skills to the process/project. The dividing line is automation.

Very useful key points and I agree. Elegant statements.

I cut the kitchen spoon and fork blanks from birch planks with the table saw.
All the rounding and shaping is my hand-work. About 90 minutes from start of the hand work to the branded item coming out of my 350F oven with the olive oil baked finish. I call them "hand carved." I could split the blanks by hand as well. For a "one-off", OK, but I'm shooting for 100 items.

The artisans of the Pacific Northwest Native peoples were and are quite capable of doing the entire project by hand. I found a 30 minute film (1960's?) of Mungo Martin dropping a western red cedar, splitting a plank, planing, then making a kerf-bent box about 16 x 24 x 16". Water-tight bottom.
That must be the original definition of "hand-crafted!" Ladles, feast dishes and the iconic totem poles, mortuary poles and story poles.
 

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Think of it like this.

A Chevy is not hand crafted, but a Rolls is. The difference is that you can buy a thousand identical chevys. No two Rollses are ever alike.

That pressed board crap that Walmart and 90% of the other stores call furniture is not hand crafted. However the entertainment center that I built from quality materials and designed as a one of a kind item is because I personally cut each piece and assembled the unit without having a factory making thousands of identical pieces using robotic machinery.
 

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A Chevy is not hand crafted, but a Rolls is. The difference is that you can buy a thousand identical chevys. No two Rollses are ever alike
you haven't bought a chevy lately have you.....most of them aren't the same either....a part falls off here....a part falls off there....:laughing::laughing::laughing:
 

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I agree with those saying automation is the dividing line. I use machines and hand tools in my shop. I consider everything I make to be hand crafted.

Mike Darr
 

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People bringing their skills to the process/project. The dividing line is automation.

Very useful key points and I agree. Elegant statements.

QUOTE]

But I think also that there needs to be a chance of error and frustration in the mix. Automation makes errors go away. Working by hand, gives us the possibility to screw up, and then fix, what we make. And that is only done with a hands on.... hand made approach.
 

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Since it means whatever anyone wants it to mean, like most labels it is a shortcut on careful thinking, and like shortcuts on shop safety, has a fair bit of risk for the unwary.
 

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Pure hand crafted is when you go into the woods bare naked and start from there. Anything else doesn't count.
I love it!!!! The original thread is a great one. This will be debated forever and the definition will change as technology advancements happen. I could argue that anything made by any other means than your bare hands in not hand crafted. Then I could argue that something made on a CNC router is still hand crafted because I produced the program that ran the machine for that particular part
 

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A little off topic, but I just heard this quote, liked it and it has the word hands in it.

He who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.
~St. Francis of Assisi
 
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