"Craftsmanship is defined simply as workmanship using any kind of technique or apparatus, in which the quality of the result is not predetermined, but depends on the judgment, dexterity and care which the maker exercises as he works. The essential idea is that the quality of the result is continually at risk during the process of making; and so I shall call this kind of workmanship [the workmanship of risk]: an uncouth phrase, but at least descriptive."3
Craft is a time-honored tradition. It takes patience to craft a piece of furniture. Craft is the human skill involved in making, but recognition should never be the motivation. Motivation should be inwardly focused, having to do with passion and the satisfaction generated by craftwork... >
Technology is a discourse between techno (making) and logos (thinking about the making). The art and science of fabrication guides how something is made. Regardless of the scale or scope of the project, the thesis reflects upon the correlations between the process of making and the completed furniture design. Within the process of furniture fabrication there is a vast body of empirical and scientific knowledge that links art with science, craft with theory, and workmanship of risk (craft) with workmanship of certainty (machine production). Design is never independent of technology. Design is often shaped by technology rather than the other way around.
Architect Frank O... >
With the advent of the computer and computer-aided design (CAD) devices, computer programs fueled the development of computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) and the use of CNC devices. These devices were initially expensive machines used for mass-produced items such as cars and planes, but recently they have begun to emerge in smaller and mid-sized craft shops throughout the world. CAD/CAM technologies have become firmly established and will likely become the means to design and fabricate a greater percentage of furniture in the future.
During the 1980s, furniture companies began to invest in technology to achieve complicated cutting operations in a rapid, precise, and repetitive manner... >
Woodshops utilize a variety of power tools, which include table saws, jointers, planers, power sanders, and power drills (Figures 8.52 and 8.53). With the advent of power drills and drill presses, the traditional brace and bit all but disappeared. Electric power drills are powerful and easy to use. One should also investigate the battery-operated hand tools that are available.
When drilling through wood, the outgoing bore tends to create an outward explosion in the surface of the wood. This occurs in both flat and rounded surfaces, including large dowels. A tight, uniform backing applied to the wood being drilled will prevent this from
Figure 8.52 Woodshop with power tools, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. Photography courtesy of Gulen Qevik.
Turning and carving are specialized crafts that require a variety of chisels and gouges, which are usually beveled on both sides in order to work the wood at a variety of angles. Of all the fabrication processes used to work with lumber, carving has the closest link with craft (workmanship of risk) due to the human skill required. Like any cutting tools, chisels and gouges need to be kept sharp and maintained.
Sharp chisels are important tools in any workshop. Four types of chisels are needed for creating neat, accurate joints, removing waste, paring wood, and making mortises. A firmer chisel has a strong rectangular blade and comes in a range from У2- to 2-inch (1.27-cm to 5-cm) widths. In general, it is used for rough chiseling tasks... >
In the early nineteenth century, under the pressure of the social, political, scientific, and technical revolutions of the age, a transformation occurred in woodworking shops that made it possible for furniture to be produced in limited quantities and in accordance with artisan traditions in keeping with local styles and tastes. Following the disappearance of the guilds and the rise of a liberal mercantile economy, production woodworking machines emerged for turning, planing, sawing, and milling. In addition, machines were able to produce standard pitched screws, nuts, and drill bits for the first time.
By the mid-1800s, the premier furniture in the made-by-machine category was the steam-bent beech wood Model No. 14 chair produced by the Austrian company GebrQder Thonet... >
A clean dent can be repaired in wood furniture. Lightly sand in the direction of the grain to remove the finish in and around the dent. Apply a few drops of water to the dent. If necessary, place a moist cloth over the dent and apply a hot iron. In most cases, the moisture will draw the grain back flush to the original surface and minimize the need for filling. This process can be repeated as necessary, but generally the process is effective only up to three attempts.
All wood furniture acquires a patina and will become scratched over time. There are many ways to address scratches. Use a good grade of wax without silicones or hydrocarbons and steel wool as needed. Mix paste wax into a fine steel wool and rub firmly in the direction of the grain... >
Delivery and installation is an important phase of the work. It requires care in securing and transporting the work and systematic installation at the site. The expense and time required for this phase can be substantial, so the delivery and installation needs to be carefully planned and incorporated in the cost of fabricating the furniture (Figure 8.51).
Figure 8.51 Installing furniture. Photography by Jim Postell, 1999.
Finishing a piece of furniture is the most important phase of the fabrication process and takes a significant amount of time to complete. It requires judgment, craft, and human skill to determine how much color and/or finish to apply and to decide when the finishing process is complete. Final finishes needs to be carefully considered at the outset of any project because they can significantly affect cost and can influence the choice and quality of materials selected to fabricate the furniture.
There are many ways to finish wooden furniture. All finishes will darken wood by one to two shades. Water-based finishes such as polyacrylic finishes will retain the truest natural colors of light-color woods such as maple or birch sapwood... >
In the process of making, shaping, and finishing furniture, it is important to have a working knowledge of abrasives, especially when working with complex and compound form (Figure 8.49).
Abrasives are used to cut, etch, grind, sand, and texture material. Abrasives affect the finish quality of a material’s surface and its visual appeal. In working with wood, the function of abrasives and sanding papers is to cut away the wood fibers by the rasping action of various tools and materials.
Following is an outline of techniques to consider when using abrasives and sanding papers.
■ When sanding wood for a lacquer finish, always sand (or scrape) in the direction of the wood grain. Never sand across the grain.
■ In general, start with 80-grit, follow with 120-grit, and sand for finish with 150-... >