Ned Ludd

Who was Ned Ludd and what did he have to do with woodworking? Hope you don’t mind history. I love history, when I can find it. So much history is revisionism it makes it a difficult subject if you’re poking around in the wrong area.

The Luddites. If you’ve used the links you know the backstory. For those who didn’t, Ned Ludd was the name of a fellow the Luddites used to lead their short lived charge against labor practices. As with everything else you have to sort through the politics to find anything approaching the truth. Good luck with that. Fortunately, we don’t need to concern ourselves with the details. It’s enough to know there were people who were losing their jobs because machinery was taking the place of hand made items. Production meant lower prices, more product and less need for craftsmen. The Luddites took a shot at holding back the inevitable.

I’m not a Luddite, which means, I’m not against machines. As you may know, if you’ve read the About page, I started out with electrically powered tools. If I ever walk again I plan on using many of them when the need arises. The dirty little secret about many hand tool woodworkers is they use table saws, band saws, electric jointers and planers. I’ve even seen one use a cordless drill/driver. They usually keep them in a different area and use them only to prepare rough stock to something more manageable. I admire their flexibility and practicality. After all, this should be about doing what you enjoy, not selling some ideology. Some people enjoy planing, but not planing a sixteen foot long board flat on six sides. Makes sense to me. Some folks like to cut dovetails, mortises and tenons by hand, but don’t enjoy ripping six sixteen foot boards with a hand saw to prepare them to be joined to make a slab.

Money isn’t the aim of my woodworking. I did it for BK when I started and now I do it because I need or want something and for the pleasure of using my hands to make something useful for myself or someone else. Usually for myself because I will appreciate it. I like the process, but also enjoy knowing I did something the way it was done before we had all the short cuts. Short cuts have become very popular, but there are some areas of life that are damaged or hindered by short cuts. Meditation springs to mind. An hour’s meditation is rarely improved by reducing it to fifteen minutes. Of course, some people have no desire to meditate or do hand tool woodworking. That’s fine with me. I want them to enjoy whatever they like, as long as it doesn’t hurt someone else.




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