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Is this the Golden Age of woodworking?

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Evergreen

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Hello everyone

I was first bitten by the woodworking bug when I was a lad growing up in the 1950s. At that time, information was scarce (it usually meant any book by Charles H Hayward), tools were of decidedly patchy quality and we all lived in holes at the side of the road. Absolutely true.

But my interest never faded and woodworking has been both a relaxation and a practical benefit to me down the long arches of the years. And then, just recently, I discovered woodworking on the Internet. What a revelation! So much knowledge, expertise and experience – all available at the click of a mouse! Sumptuous pictures big enough to see what’s going on! And I’ve been impressed by the way that some tool manufacturers monitor and participate in the forums.

Just as important, though, the Internet enables a woodworking community to be created for those of us who share an interest which, by its very nature, is something you do solo. Exploring woodworking forums and especially this one, has been, well, inspirational (hope that doesn’t sound too creepy).

When you add to these electronic wonders an ever-growing range of tools built to higher standards than I would ever have believed affordable, I hope you can see why I believe we’re in a golden age of woodworking.

I’ve never posted before. Hope I haven’t mucked it up. I struggle a bit with the IT.
 

DaveL

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Hi Evergreen,

Welcome to the forum. :D
Thats a good post, not "mucked up" at all.
If you have been reading here you know what we have been up to, any chance of telling us what you have been making in that hole at the side of the road. :shock: I suppose you could have been converting it to a cardboard box, we dreamed of having a cardboard box. :whistle:

As to IT, I work with the stuff, don't stop me struggling. #-o
 

ikd

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Hello Evergreen

Good first post. I think your right this is the 'beginning' of the golen age of woodworking.
 

JFC

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Hi Evergreen , Good first post i say :D Did people really live in holes at the side of the road :?: :lol:
 

Majorlarf

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Evergreen":22i0bxb8 said:
and we all lived in holes at the side of the road.
Wasn't that Ta' Mac who lived there? or perhaps as its a wood working forum it is Ash felt (Asphalt) :lol: I Know Taxi for Majorlarf :wink:

A good first post I am also quite new here & have been made most welcome by the forum members & enjoy seeing there works of art
 

Gill

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Hi Evergreen

Welcome to the forum. That's a very thoughtful first post.

There seems to be a feeling that tools aren't manufactured to the same high quality as in yesteryear (chisels, perhaps, being an example) and perhaps the quality of timber isn't what it used to be. Nor do we seem to have the same universally high standards of craftsmanship as we did in the days when apprenticeships were more common. It's easy to see where standards have slipped.

Yet the slippage hasn't been universal; tool manufacturers such as Lee Valley and Lie Nielsen are expanding their ranges of quality tools, and the availability of machines to hobbyists at affordable prices has never been greater. Nor has the decline in the availability of high quality timber led to a decline in the quality of the finished product; woodworkers of yore perhaps would have been delighted to have used panels of veneered MDF. There have also been some fabulous new technologies, such as routing and biscuit jointing which have become commonly available. All of these new developments have been fostered through new forms of communication such as the internet and television which show aspirant woodworkers what can be acheived.

On the whole I would agree that we are in a golden age of woodworking. It's nice to start 2006 with such an encouraging thought.

Gill
 
A

Anonymous

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Welcome to the forum evergreen, I think you're right and this is helped by the satellite tv programs such as new yankee workshop, smith and sweetman etc.
 

luthier49

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Welcome aboard evergreen. I have four books by Charles H Hayward which I`ve owned for twenty years. They are -: "Cabinet Making For Beginners", "Antique Furniture Repairs", "Woodwork Joints" and "Practical Veneering". They are not very big books but they are crammed full of knowledge. I learnt a lot from these four books alone. Oh, I have five books from him, just found another one, "Staining And Polishing". :lol:
 

ByronBlack

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Welcome to the forum, i'm sure you'll get as much enjoyment and information out of it as I have.

On to your point about being a golden age of woodworking, looking at it from an outsiders point of view, I would say its not. Mainly due to the lack of craftmanship being promoted, instead we see more and more powertools/jigs that are advertisied to make things easier and quicker which quite often they don't, or if they do - at the expense of real craftmanship and quality.

Looking back, I think the golden age of woodworking was a time when things were done with a real purpose and innovation wasn't just about automating everything, I can't put a finger on an exact date to justify my argument, but when you see the stuff created by the shakers and the arts & crafts movement, it seems more 'golden' than a lot of the stuff you see today - espeically with programs like NYW and most of the other rubbish that passes for 'woodworking' programs these days. Even most of the magazines that you see are full of very unimaginitive and unoriginal articles and pieces.

The more I get into woodworking, the more galootish I get, so this probably adds a large bias to my argument 8)
 

Chris Knight

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Welcome to the forum Evergreen.

I suspect that for many people the golden age was always in some other time. In the late 1800's "good" oak and elm was in decline according to contemporary accounts (blame the industrial revolution) so for them a time in the past might have been golden. Or looking forward, I bet cabinet makers would have loved to have the availability of MDF as a wonderful substrate for veneering, or bendy ply for forming curves that were impossible or hugely expensive in natural wood.
 

Scott

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Hi Evergreen

Welcome to the forum

Cheers
 

dedee

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Evergreen, as for woodworking and the internet I would not be where I am today without it

Andy
 

Evergreen

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Hello everyone

Very many thanks indeed for all the messages of welcome.

For the last 8-9 months, I’ve been flat out doing up the house with a view to selling and moving in 2006. A curse on all those TV property make-over programmes! This has meant endless redecoration and lots of down-to-earth DIY and carpentry like replacing all the upstairs doors, remodelling part of the kitchen and laying a couple of laminate floors. But now I’ve got a hankering to work with hardwoods again and so my next creative project is a small cabinet for storing my wife’s sewing silks. I’ve acquired a plan of a cabinet which has very shallow drawers intended for small tools and I’ll adapt this.

I think I’m what you call a Neanderthal? I have a “modest” tool collection (i.e. at least twice as many as I can reasonably justify) but only two power tools – a pair of elderly B&D drills. I’ve tried the basic power tools over the years but almost by instinct, I come back to doing everything by hand. Sure, it limits what I can do, it’s slower and hard work at times but it’s quiet and I enjoy the processes.

I would like to post pictures of my workshop (so small it makes the galley kitchen of a holiday jet look like the Albert Hall) but I need to replace my camera first. At the moment, setting off the pan of magnesium powder to create the flash while I’m round behind the camera with my head under the dark cloth is a bit of a fire hazard…….

Regards.
 
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Anonymous

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ByronBlack":32n454sq said:
- at the expense of real craftmanship and quality.

- espeically with programs like NYW and most of the other rubbish that passes for 'woodworking' programs these days.
Byron, surprised you think that NYW etc. is detrimental to woodworking. A poll of members will surprise you when you find that many (most?) started out playing wioth wood as a direct result of watching such programs.

NYW does concentrate on powertools, however, I am sure that Chippendale et al would have killed for the kind of tools we use today (router etc.). People use what is available and contemporary.

Although NYW was influential in my taking up this WW hobby, after a few years I started to use hand tools more and more and now almost exclusively use hand tools on projects apart for the thicknessing and ripping to size. I haven't used my DT jig much for the past 2 years as almost all are cut by hand. That is not to say that i would consider myself a galoot since i do not own nor use any tools older than 10 years or so

So, I say that these programs only help develop the field and encourage interest which will eventually lead to hand cut dovetails and a move to more traditional techniques etc.
 

Adam

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Welcome to the forum.

Adam
 

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