I question those who say our quest is perfection in the areas of cuts and joints. Good knock down big box store furniture has perfect fitting butt joints dependent on fasteners, the surfaces are often so perfect they look artificial to those who know . . .
One of the important aspects is honesty/authenticity. This is something I also see regularly in the area of digital imaging compared to analog photography - if an photo I've taken is called into question there is a negative, if its a digital image you need to prove its not a fake, when programs can help simulate analog characteristics of lens and film.
The same can be said into the question of when is something crafted by a person vs. manufactured. This has occurred even with our other tools - dovetail jigs, inexpensive ones show they're artificial the expensive ones can be fudged. . .
Isn't one of the signs of a good craftsman is not in the absolute perfection of the spindles but in the fact that a person can't notice the difference. As an earlier commenter said yes if you don't have the skills it will look sterile - I worry how long until there's an app for that. Look how often our society shows in commercials and such shots of people faking something.
I hold out hope that we can weather the storm and ride it out through education, not letting the technology drive our art as that technology fills the pockets of those who don't care or are ignorant.
There is hope for honesty and authenticity just look at the re-emergence of vinyl.
Wow I find this flurry of opinions amazing, as always everyone is entitled to their's.
I look at the "purists" making comments and judging woodworkers by their methods in total disbelief.
If one believes this why are they here? Does their judgement apply to any of the contributing editors of this magazine - even those who are reknowned for furniture making?
As we are a community that I thought was about teaching a craft that few totally master - for don't we learn everyday? If a jig means that a person does an operation safely, what of it? If a person can't pursue a hobby that one loves because of infirmity why ban him if a jig makes it possible.
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