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STL 58: Is Woodworking an Art

comments (4) May 2nd, 2014 in blogs

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Are furnituremakers artists, or are some of us deluding ourselves? You be the judge. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

Are furnituremakers "artists," or are some of us deluding ourselves? You be the judge.

Shop Talk Live 58: Woodworking's an Art-No it's Not

This week on Shop Talk Live, we duke it out over whether or not furniture-making can be considered a true form of art, and tackle your woodworking questions.

Plus, a listener takes us to task for poo-pooing shapers in a previous episode, and the guys discuss their All Time Favorite Tools of All Time...for this Week. All this and more on an all new Shop Talk Live.



Every two weeks, a team of Fine Woodworking staffers answer questions from readers on Shop Talk Live, Fine Woodworking's biweekly podcast. Send your woodworking questions to for consideration in the regular broadcast!


Also on iTunes Click on the link at left to listen to the podcast, or catch it in iTunes. Remember, our continued existence relies upon listener support. So if you enjoy the show, be sure to leave us a five-star rating and maybe even a nice comment on our iTunes page. And don't forget to send in your woodworking questions to



Mike Pekovich
Executive art director

Matt Kenney
Senior editor

Ed Pirnik
Senior web producer



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Comments (4)

MPekovich MPekovich writes: Hi Ralph, The fact that your chisels haven't chipped could be due to a number of factors, from the wood you work with, the bevel angle of the chisels, the quality of the tempering, to the way you work with your chisels. You can pare and chop with Japanese chisels all day long, but you really don't want to pry with them. If you teach, then I'm guessing you know how to handle a chisel! The brands you mention are really good examples of high-quality, moderately priced tools, and it sounds like you've had good luck with them so far.
Posted: 6:56 am on May 4th

dzj dzj writes: Is fine furniture a form of art?

Some pieces are, I guess.
Art is a dodgy label and should be used sparingly.
Just because someone is a good artisan, doesn't mean their work automatically qualifies as art.
I'm not sure what Plato's take on this might be. As I remember, he didn't think much of poets, but he did respect craftsmen.

Posted: 12:50 am on May 4th

Ralph Kolva Ralph Kolva writes: I've had students with new japanese chisels have this issue with brittle metal at the tips but with my Matsamura, Fujihiro, and Masashige chisels I've never had the tip chip off. Do these blacksmiths remove that brittle steel or have I just been fortunate that I haven't experienced it?

Posted: 10:31 am on May 3rd

cahudson42 cahudson42 writes: Hi Mike, Thanks for the informative info on your Japanese chisels. Particularly useful - that initially to expect poor edge durability, until you get it ground down a bit.

I remember some old Knots posts complaining about 'poor quality Japanese chisels' that never had the initial edge durability question answered... Now it is.. Thanks again!

Now I'll be trying one or two..

Posted: 12:26 am on May 3rd

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Fine Woodworking magzine's biweekly podcast, Shop Talk Live, allows editors, authors, and special guests to answer your woodworking questions and connect with the online woodworking community.