Founder, Gareth Neal Contemporary Furniture (http://garethneal.co.uk)
‘The pencil will always be the most important tool
It’s critical that hand skills are not lost as we enter a digital revolution. There are still elements within making that can only be achieved with traditional methods, but, in many ways, no objects are made by hand alone—there is always a tool involved. The difference is often the relationship between the tool still being in the craftsman’s hand and under his control.
Craft versus technology
The digital manufacturer does put certain techniques on the rare-species list, but I see it more as an enabler that provides opportunity and new possibilities.
Certain techniques in woodwork are laborious, noisy, dusty and, to be honest, not very nice. A CNC can enable the craftsman and save him pain and sweat. It offers opportunities for greater decoration, repetition, pattern and complexity and a change in the potential of aesthetics in design and making and a healthier way of life.
CAD can resolve so many problems prior to making something—it can provide you with information on weights and stresses, creating greater opportunity to improve the design and understand it in more detail and provide the craftsman with the ability to waste less material and make more efficiently.
The pencil will always be the most important tool and the second is the sketchbook, with the computer coming in third.
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