I'd Like Others Opinions, Handcrafted Vs Machinery , Where Does The Line Stop?

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Forum topic by Blackie_ posted 10-30-2013 10:58 AM 2888 views 0 times favorited 87 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4883 posts in 3020 days

10-30-2013 10:58 AM

I’d like others opinions and outlook on this subject, Is it OK to claim your creations as handcrafted even though you used power tools and machinery to make it with? At what point does it become manufactured or mass produced?

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

87 replies so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30441 posts in 2846 days

#1 posted 10-30-2013 11:23 AM

A lot of it will always come down to personal opinion. To me mass production usually means lack of imagination. Tools are tools. It’s the person using them that makes the difference for me.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View bondogaposis's profile


5540 posts in 2859 days

#2 posted 10-30-2013 11:47 AM

If you make it at home in your shop it is handcrafted, if it is made in a factory it is not.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Tedstor's profile


1678 posts in 3140 days

#3 posted 10-30-2013 11:58 AM

Bondo said it. ^^

View Joe Weaver's profile

Joe Weaver

519 posts in 4194 days

#4 posted 10-30-2013 12:02 PM

what bondo said

-- Joe, Ga

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 3020 days

#5 posted 10-30-2013 12:08 PM

Good Points, Monte I can also add passion, skill and creativity would be other good examples.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View firefighterontheside's profile


20575 posts in 2364 days

#6 posted 10-30-2013 12:14 PM

I definitely consider what I build in my shop to be handcrafted and I use all the usual power tools.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View rhett's profile


743 posts in 4175 days

#7 posted 10-30-2013 12:19 PM

Once robots are involved or multiple people combine to make or assemble runs of a same item, it becomes manufactured.

If a profile is made with a router and not a moulding plane, is it handmade, what if you use a shaper? What if a woodcarver rents a space in an industrial park, is he manufacturing carvings now? Power feeder for safety; does that make something less “handcrafted” because you work smart, to avoid the possibility of loosing your hands?

Handmade is using your hands to make an item. The rest is splitting hairs, JMHO

-- Doubt kills more dreams than failure.

View jerrells's profile


918 posts in 3392 days

#8 posted 10-30-2013 12:24 PM

If one uses hand power tools in your shop I consider it hand made and that does include a table saw and bench mounted router. I draw the line at CNC equipment which is becoming popular. Mass production is fine as long as you are the mass and (as stated) not a group of people. I, also, have a real problem with purchasing something, like a birdhouse, at a craft store and painting and decorating it and call that hand made. This is my two cents worth.

-- Just learning the craft my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ practiced.

View Oldtool's profile


2788 posts in 2698 days

#9 posted 10-30-2013 12:31 PM

Very interesting topic, which I too have wondered about this many times. In my humble opinion, it goes like this:

Handcrafted means that each build (final product) is made by one – or maybe more, not decided on this yet – craftsmen, one build at a time. By that I’m saying “handcrafted” items are not produced in quantity by men and/or machines where each one is exactly the same as all others in every dimension, shape, finish, or appearance. Examples: components of cabinets all run through the saw rapidly one after another to the exact same size, or a stamping of components where every one comes from the same die with the exact same shape (and defects in shape sometimes), or all components are painted – stained – textured – etc one after another without regard to eye appeal. Now for appearance: these mass produced components are them assembled by man or machine without any regard for proper fit, regardless of how they fit together or look in final appearance.

Handcrafted however, consists of items assembled from components each made with either motorized or non-motorized tools, then assembled with precision, fitting each to the other, tweaking – sanding – planing – scraping – reshaping for proper fit, so the final product becomes one (master)piece. LOL. It is the attention to detail, the fitting of the components into the final assembly, that make a build handcrafted.

Anyway, that’s my opinion, right or wrong.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Loco's profile


210 posts in 2257 days

#10 posted 10-30-2013 12:43 PM

First you must select a tree.

-- What day is it ? No matter. Ummmm What month is it ? No moron. I paid for a 2 x 6. That means Two inches by six inches. I want the rest of my wood.

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2869 days

#11 posted 10-30-2013 12:44 PM

Why is this important?

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View Tedstor's profile


1678 posts in 3140 days

#12 posted 10-30-2013 12:51 PM

Describing what “handcrafted” means might be difficult…......but we all know it when we see it.

Does the use of an electric mixer or gas range disqualify a cake from the term “homemade”?

View BENTWOOD's profile


401 posts in 2290 days

#13 posted 10-30-2013 12:55 PM

Made and prepared by hand frokm start to finish with use of hand tools (manual or electric) rather than by machine and/or software.


View RogerBean's profile


1605 posts in 3461 days

#14 posted 10-30-2013 01:02 PM

I suspect there is no definition that will stand up to much scrutiny. The maker gets to call his work whatever he wants, and the customer is equally free to disagree. Even the “factory” argument doesn’t work either, as many high end makers have a “custom shop” staffed with highly skilled craftsmen who can (and often do) make one of anything. The good news is that we all get to make our own call. :-)

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 3020 days

#15 posted 10-30-2013 01:27 PM

Clint Greg posted a topic in the forums “Woodworkers and Artists against mass production” that this derived from, and thus raised this question in me, does it have to be important?

Thanks all for the great comments.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

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