In formulating the RWC we have attempted to leave the exact details undefined until we could reach a somewhat democratic consensus with the founding members when the campaign is formally launched. This purposeful lack of definition has led to people coming to erroneous conclusions about what the RWC is all about. This is unfortunate, so let’s try to define this more clearly for people interested in the future of RWC.
We feel that most realms of woodworking today, which also includes craft instruction and education, are heavily influenced by manufacturers and salespeople. These people give out mostly partial or total misinformation to gain sales and have no real interest in real woodworking in the way many of us are. Think of this from the perspective of new woodworkers with no guidance from knowledgeable artisans who more than likely know exactly what really works and works well.
Where do you go first?
At woodworking shows you are bombarded with contradictory and misleading information on what you need to buy. If you want to make a box for your girlfriend’s birthday do you really have to buy a £200 jig, a router and bits to cut something as simple as dovetails?
Magazines in my opinion often devalue our craft in many different ways. Most of the mainstream woodworking magazines are over one third advertising. Most of the advertising is for goods that I would have difficulty finding a use for in a real woodworking environment.
The biggest online woodworking forum is owned by an advertising company. This then directly affects the way it operates.
The people who are held up as gurus of woodworking usually descend to backing one tool manufacturer or another or manufacture tools themselves. They are not unbiased. Can they really be relied on for full information?
This then begs the question; Just where do people go to learn?
Most of us as woodworkers, amateur or professional, are not trying to mass manufacture anything, are we? The owner of a factory mass making wooden goods will never even read these words because their interests are so totally different to ours. We simply want real woodworking in the garage or the shed or wherever we can work the stuff.
It is unrealistic to think that the relatively few of us who do woodworking could provide beautiful handmade furniture for everyone we know. That is the place of IKEA and such. We are not trying to compete with IKEA. Who said we were and therefore why are we acting like we are?
This is not about handtools vs machines.
This is not about solid wood vs man-made boards.
It is about what is truly economic, quick, safe and rewarding.
We recently showed how to make a lovely dovetailed box from mahogany and poplar cutting each of the dovetailed corners by hand and set the hinges with chisels and home made gauges. It took around 45 minutes to complete. The box will last for at least 100 years.
That is economy!
That is quick!
That is safe!
That is rewarding!
We are not trying to compete with IKEA. IKEA cannot compete with us.
We would like to see a strong community of woodworkers who are willing to share honest and real experience in a number of mediums outside of the reach of those who tout one tool over another because they can gain from it.
That is what we call real woodworking.