Many folks have questions about my toys and how I make then. A frequent question is, “Are these toys handmade?” It is a simple query that requires a complicated answer. Sure they are handmade, my two hands. But, always a but, I use a variety of tools.
I use a variety of tools in my hands. Many have sharp edges to cut wood fibers and they range from Gouges to Sandpaper.
At this point its still my hands and a few edges sharper than my fingernails. Yet to make a living at my work I bring in a variety of machines that push the sharp steel cutting edges for me. Often the wood is in my hands but the machines bring speed and non-fatiguing power into play.
I made this inflatable drum sanding machine to push thousands of tiny sharp crystals against the wood in my hands to smooth the rough edges. I use various sanding sleeves in a sequence of decreasing crystal size to achieve the silky smooth wood surface that’s a joy to touch.
You can see that I use my hands a great deal. So the toys are handmade. Yet I use many hand tools in my toy making so the toys are made with hands and tools. Additionally, I use several machines in the workshop proving the toys are hand, tool and machine made. Some of my woodworking friends even have computer guided machines and most toys at toy stores are made in huge automatic factories, often untouched by human hands. So, what do you think? Are my toys handmade?
Please leave your comment below. John
Workmanship of the better sort is called, in an honorific way, craftsmanship. Nobody, however, is prepared to say where craftsmanship ends and ordinary manufacture begins. It is a word to start an argument with.
David Pye – The Nature and Art of Workmanship
I’ve never believed that a really good craftsman is intended for a tremendous public. A museum can show a thing or two to countless people, but the craftsman lives in a condition where the size of his public is almost in inverse proportion to the quality of his work…finally, this craftsman is the one who does the work himself, and gives people something very personal; not very much of it, but very personal and therefore not accessible to everyone.
James Krenov – A Cabinetmaker’s Notebook