Many trades and crafts have techniques rooted in centuries of precedence. For example, I’ve known boatbuilders who, while depending upon computer systems to draw and print out plans, still like the feel and physicality of an old-fashioned half-hull model in their hands.
The set of gouges racked in my carving shop is not an anachronism. Their tool steel and tempering are improvements over the Roman models, but the lineage is apparent.
But some tools don’t have old origins, and woodworkers use them daily. For example, the bandsaw was probably invented in the 1830s and, by the 1870s, was a regular feature in workshops worldwide. It’s found today in all but a few boatbuilders’ shops and is part of the tool kit of the traditional boatbuilder. Its invention was propitious for the building of the clipper ships, and an early ships saw ( a large bandsaw for cutting timbers for frames) was in use by the mid-1840s in Daniel Mackay’s shipyard. So it was adopted in a traditional trade because of its undeniable utility. It might have been a bit asinine not to use it.
I go back and forth on the concept of what is traditional partly because of its interest to me as an anthropologist and partly because of my trade as a nautical carver. At some point, everything was a new-fangled gadget, in the words of a mentor of mine. And although we don’t note it, many of those gimmicks and gadgets fail to catch on – take a look at some of the supposedly modern wonders issued patents but which failed to either work well enough or fulfilled a purpose for which there was little need.
The ones that do catch on fulfill some fundamental need, and while they make room for innovation, they are often used to create the strictly traditional as well.
Let’s cogitate on this while using the new chatbots and AI tools.