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#19092 - 04/11/09 07:11 AM Re: Will the CNC replace hand made frames ? [Re: Dave Shepard]
bmike Offline

Registered: 01/09/08
Posts: 918
Loc: Burlington, VT
Originally Posted By: Dave Shepard
I am not sure that I follow you. Good because it sent me on my own more traditional path?

it proved that the machine will not take over the world, and for those who oppose this technology, your step can be seen as a good one in the struggle against the oppressive nature of the mechanization of timber framing. your choice is certainly not a sabot thrown into the red clamps of the hundegger - but it proves that there is enough room in building structures for all comers...

sort of my point in general in another reply in this thread.
Mike Beganyi Design and Consulting, LLC.

#19096 - 04/11/09 12:19 PM Re: Will the CNC replace hand made frames ? [Re: bmike]
cedar Offline

Registered: 12/24/08
Posts: 49
I worked in the forest industry here in BC Canada. When it was computerized and modernized in the mid-1980's. It created more jobs than replacing them at the time. Modernization left holes in the industry for specialization. So when I saw the hundegger guys pitching to the public at the trade show their superiority over the hand cut framers. I wondered if the same thing would happen again. Modernization and computerization leaving gaps in the industry for specializtion. Machines will never replace the brains and skills of Craftsman. Good marketing by small shops will always draw clients to them.

#19098 - 04/11/09 01:17 PM Re: Will the CNC replace hand made frames ? [Re: cedar]
TIMBEAL Online   content

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 1871
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: cedar
Machines will never replace the brains and skills of Craftsman.

I believe it will in the long run, in the mean time, it will put a big dent in it. So for now I am going to continue to sharpen all of my tools.


#19105 - 04/11/09 09:28 PM Re: Will the CNC replace hand made frames ? [Re: ]
TIMBEAL Online   content

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 1871
Loc: Maine
Derek, that has just about left me speechless. Who would have thought. Worse case example, or a second chance. I get to live in a nature preserve. A return to Eden, or earlier, back to hunter gatherers. Maybe we get a second chance, and are once more tested by the forbidden fruit, agriculture. Would we take a bite the second time? Maybe we are just repeating cycles.

What are tinfoil hats used for?


#19115 - 04/12/09 01:11 AM Re: Will the CNC replace hand made frames ? [Re: cedar]
cedar Offline

Registered: 12/24/08
Posts: 49
I like the luddite definition too!!!! My wife and I can live in a wilderness reserve with other luddites. At least we know that we will be in good company. I will only bring my hand tools for timber framing. Hell I will bring draft horses. So we can build as our forefathers did.
While the cyborgs watch and feel sorry for us.

#19301 - 04/18/09 02:40 PM Re: Will the CNC replace hand made frames ? [Re: cedar]
Thane O'Dell Offline


Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 233
Loc: Ontario Canada
There are those that don't care how or where it was made...and then there is us.
A business man will buy a machine.
A Timber Framer, joiner, housewright or what ever...will sharpen his axe.
There we always be machines...who cares.

Life is short so put your heart into something that will last a long time.

#20385 - 06/16/09 11:18 PM Re: Will the CNC replace hand made frames ? [Re: Thane O'Dell]
Timber Goddess Offline

Registered: 12/04/05
Posts: 574
Loc: Golden, B.C.
My gosh.
I don't know what to say...where to start!

Well, it's been almost 2 months since a post was made here, so I suppose I have time to make a few comments on this topic here and there wink

I'll start with this:
Many of you know parts of my story - I started the trade hand cutting, and when the machine rolled into the shop I ran it for a few years. I watched changes happen, people leaving, new people coming. Even i left - the machine got boring, I wanted a challenge. I went back to hand cutting. I ran out of work, went back to school, got a diploma, and now I'm back with the original company.

During this time the economy has gone from mind-blowing surreal-ness to utter crap, but there's still the same amount of work as when I started, and the same amount of workers at the shop. It's true that many of the timber framers left the company when the K2 came, but they have all started their own businesses, and are doing very well in this area of the world. I am good friends with them all (about a dozen, at least) and they all have work.

And this is attributed to the company that I now work for again. It created not competition, or loss of work for anyone, but great timber framers. I'm so happy for them! And between the shop, the mill, on site, the design department and administration, there's a lot of jobs at our company.

The K2 changed things for sure, but if it hadn't have come along there would not be as many jobs, and not as many timber framing businesses.

There is still a lot of skill involved in the shop and in running the machine(you gotta know wood!) That's a topic for another day.

So, yeah... seen it, been's ok here.


#20403 - 06/18/09 02:43 PM Re: Will the CNC replace hand made frames ? [Re: Timber Goddess]
mo Offline

Registered: 11/04/06
Posts: 850
Loc: Charleston, SC
Where is the person who designed and built the first cnc prototype? He is not here to defend himself! I'll bet it was Oppenheimer himself!

Man built a machine
The machine is complex.
Complexity requires skill.
The man must be skilled.

Without skilled man, there is no machine.

Craftsman of a different sort?

I'm not worried, I work in 64ths. smile

P.S. when you combine all the expenses of compatible software and the machine against the mind of a craftsman with paper and (more simple and less expensive)tools. hmmmmm.
you can depreciate paper, pencils, and circular saws a lot quicker. Jack be nimble, Jack be quick.

Edited by mo (06/18/09 02:52 PM)

#24190 - 08/18/10 08:22 AM Re: Will the CNC replace hand made frames ?
Paul Freeman Offline


Registered: 02/24/99
Posts: 135
Loc: Lyndeborough, NH
We built a "machine" in the '80's. It has a saw, router, and gang drill. We use "hand" power tools and slicks to clean up the mortices, square up the rounded pockets, and finely tune the shoulders to the specific beam that sits there.

I've long maintained that we've found a good balance between machine and man. The machine does the heavy lifting and hogging, the craftsman make the final cuts. The owner sees a thing of beauty that otherwise he couldn't afford. Our frames are not "furniture grade", but neither are our clients. But you know what, the client's that had stick frame budgets but buy our frames and fill the gap with their own sweat and toil are so much more appreciative than the "second homeless" that are looking for a turnkey showpiece on their lakefront property.

I think it's an honorable thing to blend technology and craftsmanship in a way that offers responsible construction that supports sustainability and energy efficiency to those that otherwise might not have afforded it.

We were the first to build a timber cutting machine, first to incorporatate CNC in timber framing (and panel cutting as well)we built the first tenoner. I'm pretty sure we are the oldest timber framing company in the country. Granted we describe ourselves as Post & Beam, but in the 60's there was no distinction between the two. Things change - definitions, companies, industry, customers and economies - but that's not a bad thing, diversity is the result, and THAT is a GOOD thing.


#32700 - 11/30/14 03:09 PM Re: Will the CNC replace hand made frames ? [Re: cedar]
BTF Offline

Registered: 06/26/09
Posts: 19
Loc: Calgary, Ab. CDN
I revisit the automation posts from time to time. Sometimes wishing for less industry and more handcrafting. I really enjoy my chain mortisers, large skill saws, chain saws,and routers though. Using technology is a matter of balance of many factors. There is room for all, but few people can make a living being a luddite.
When I first got into carpentry in the early eighties, I hand nailed one house together and immediately bought pneumatic nailers and staplers, etc. does that mean I don't use my hammer any more? Hardly, but to build houses with a handsaw and a hammer is not going to put much bread on the table. It's our modern age, and thank God for it.
The large CNC companies have made a huge investment in timber framing. It has awakened the public's interest in many cases to the craft. There is no better way to cut a timber frame on a 4000 sq ft house, working in tandem with guys that can hand cut changes/ additions.
What I and my crew offer is generally more than any specialized company can. We don't always get to "do it all" from survey to furniture, but as formally educated Journeyman Carpenters with well rounded experience, we can. The construction industry(as with all industries)generally pigeon holes carpenters into specific categories. (ie. the framer does not do any finishing or cabinetry). It usually takes decades (and a desire for life-long learning) to become proficient in all these areas, let alone expert.
Over the decades, municipalities have taken a way a lot of the structural carpenter's responsibility with trusses etc. Even regular stick frame walls are prefabbed sometimes in a factory.
Prefabbing walls off site is a step backwards in efficiency, but it is often promoted by salesmen.
The real challenge for the TFG and Carpenter certification in general is relevancy. I have had my Red Seal Journeyman Carpenter qualification since 1989. a four year classroom and on site education, yet it has no value outside of an industrial/union setting. Most of us could use the diploma/certificate in the porta potty when the tp is all gone. I overheard two technology teachers talking at a tool store recently. Very few carpentry students complete the course. they just go off and work and never come back. they get stuck at 2nd level apprentice forever.
Elevating the title of Carpenter from "flunkie with a hammer" to "professional tradesman" would benefit builders, home buyers/owners, and municipalities alike.
This post touches on many subjects here. Growing the TFG, making it's apprenticeship program as well as the general carpentry apprenticeship programs relevant in the (residential mostly)construction industry, depends on the support of Municipal,State/Provincial Governments,it won't happen otherwise.
There is no will on the part of any Government I know of to support such a vision. The suits have taken over and have tried for decades to turn Carpenters into simple labourers. I think this is at the heart of any negative feelings toward CNC companies whether it is in the timber industry or elsewhere. No
craftsman wants to work on what feels like an assembly line, that's why we don't work in the auto industry.
The good news is that as hard as suits try to erode the carpenter's role, an intelligent highly skilled Carpenter will always find a place, because they will never be fully replaceable. The bad news is that automation can truncate skill development if it is not managed well.
Damn suits and bankers smile

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