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Hand lasted vs machine lasted - Page 6

post #76 of 294
I have to apologize to all...in post #67, I originally used the term "gimped" and "gimping" when I meant to say "gemmed" and "gemming." Two different things--gemming being the practice of substituting a canvas ridge for a leather holdfast and gimping being the "pinking" that is applied to the edge of some components such as toe caps and vamps , etc.. I don't know why I did that. Early morning and two days into a head cold, maybe. Sorry for the confusion.
post #77 of 294
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
Running a machine in a shoe factory may take a certain skill but it pales in comparison to the skill it takes to do the same job by hand...that's the reason the machine is there to begin with.

Just for argument's sake, I will disagree and give you an example

Pottery.

A pot or bowl made entirely by hand is often times easier to complete, and may be of less symmetrical quality, than the same piece thrown on a wheel (assume the pottery wheel is the machine in this case). I'd argue that throwing pots on the wheel is the more difficult skill to master compared to making the pot entirely by hand.

Sometimes, the machine can and is more difficult to operate, and may require more skill, not less.
post #78 of 294
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbris1 View Post
DFW is trying to convert us to boots. Cowboy boots.
Not so...after making boots for nearly 40 years, I am enjoying the challenge of making shoes and would, frankly, rather make shoes. That said, good shoemakers are almost always bootmakers as well...and vice versa. It's the same Trade and the same techniques, considerations, materials.
post #79 of 294
Quote:
Originally Posted by furo View Post
Just for argument's sake, I will disagree and give you an example Pottery. A pot or bowl made entirely by hand is often times easier to complete, and may be of less symmetrical quality, than the same piece thrown on a wheel (assume the pottery wheel is the machine in this case). Sometimes, the machine can and is more difficult to operate, and may require more skill, not less.
I beg your forgiveness...I do not mean to offend...but isn't this another case of not really reading the posts? I have said repeatedly...in this thread...that I have nothing against machines---they are just another tool. I also stipulated...in the very passage you quoted...a factory context. Finally, just for the sake of argument...I can tell you from long experience that even if a maker chooses to use a machine...such as a skiving machine or a pottery wheel...the results will be significantly better in terms of quality and aesthetics if the individual is already accomplished at the same task doing it by hand. And as for your last statement...I have never seen that, and I can't think of any instance where that might be true. Some machines are difficult to operate but far less difficult and requiring less skill than to do the same job by hand. That's the whole point of using machines in the global economy. To propose otherwise is to ignore Adam Smith....and reality.
post #80 of 294
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
And as your last statement...I have never seen that, I can't think of any instance where that might be true. Some machines are difficult to operate but far less difficult and requiring less skill than to do the same job by hand. that's the whole point of using machines in the global economy. To propose otherwise is to ignore Adam Smith....and reality.

You might not have ever seen it with respect to shoes, but that does not negate my statement.

The pottery wheel (which is a machine), I'd argue, is the more difficult skill to master compared to hand building a pot. While the pottery wheel allows a pot to be built faster than one by hand, hence its need, it requires a higher degree of skill compared to hand building.

If you don't believe me, please ask a skilled potter.
post #81 of 294
Quote:
Originally Posted by furo View Post
You might not have ever seen it with respect to shoes, but that does not negate my statement. The pottery wheel (which is a machine), I'd argue, is the more difficult skill to master compared to hand building a pot. While the pottery wheel allows a pot to be built faster than one by hand, hence its need, it requires a higher degree of skill compared to hand building. If you don't believe me, please ask a skilled potter.
Part of the problem...and I suspect it is operative here...is that too many people in this society confuse presentation with substance or quality. That's why $600.00 shoes that are not significantly different from $100.00 shoes are extolled so vociferously here. Why antique finishes are lauded. There are so many examples of hand coiled pots ...from the South West if nowhere else...that are superior in quality to much that is done on a potter's wheel that I have a hard time accepting your thesis...although I am not a potter nor do I claim special insights. My point is that just because a pot is more symmetrical and even doesn't make it better than the hand coiled pot...it only makes it "prettier." Pretty is a factor in quality but it is only one factor. And sometimes...as with the thread on Windsor Tie Knots...symmetrical is not the aesthetic be-all and end-all. It is only a glitter to beguile the uneducated eye.
post #82 of 294
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

My point is that just because a pot is more symmetrical and even doesn't make it better than the hand coiled pot...it only makes it "prettier." Pretty is a factor in quality but it is only one factor.

Sorry, but I'm not talking about what's "prettier" or necessarily "better" which are highly subjective terms.

My thesis is a matter of skill. Your contention is that the machine is always something that requires less skill than something made by hand, and I'm arguing that's not always the case.

Again, if you don't believe me, ask any skilled potter about it. I have.
post #83 of 294
I see furo went to the Mafoofan School of Debate.

DWFII, I see where you are coming from. Would love to discuss offline IRL if you are ever around.
post #84 of 294
Quote:
Originally Posted by furo View Post
Sorry, but I'm not talking about what's "prettier" or necessarily "better" which are highly subjective terms. My thesis is a matter of skill. Your contention is that the machine is always something that requires less skill than something made by hand, and I'm arguing that's not always the case. Again, if you don't believe me, ask any skilled potter about it. I have.
Pardon me but this strikes me as counter-productive... You want me to accept second-hand testimony about an issue that you have not defined in any terms except symmetry (what is quality when it comes to pottery? and this is probably not the thread to do that in) but you will not accept first-hand testimony, accompanied by detailed and exhaustive explanations as to what quality is in shoes and why it applies or doesn't, from me...??!!
post #85 of 294
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
Pardon me but this strikes me as counter-productive...

You want me to accept second-hand testimony about an issue that you have not defined in any terms except symmetry (what is quality when it comes to pottery? and this is probably not the thread to do that in) but you will not accept first-hand testimony, accompanied by detailed and exhaustive explanations as to what quality is in shoes and why it applies or doesn't, from me...??!!

Let's revisit your original statement to clear this up:

Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII
Running a machine in a shoe factory may take a certain skill but it pales in comparison to the skill it takes to do the same job by hand...that's the reason the machine is there to begin with.

I'm giving you an example of where this contention does not always hold true. As with any argument on the internet, you're free to fact check and do whatever you want with respect to first hand, second hand, tertiary, what ever, when it comes to testimony.

But my point is the same:

It is not necessarily true that the "same job by hand" requires more skill than the same job by machine.

The pottery wheel is an example. And notice that even in your own statement above you are ignoring quality because we are talking about identical end products. Quality becomes moot when comparing identical objects. Which is fine. Hence my contention.
post #86 of 294
DWFII, are you familiar with the story of Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby?
post #87 of 294
Quote:
Originally Posted by RJman View Post
DWFII, are you familiar with the story of Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby?
Grew up with it...point taken.
post #88 of 294
RJman, are you familiar with the story of the Seagull and the Kite?
post #89 of 294
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
Running a machine in a shoe factory may take a certain skill but it pales in comparison to the skill it takes to do the same job by hand...that's the reason the machine is there to begin with. It doesn't require years of experience and training, it simplifies and dumbs down a job and in doing so speeds up the procedure, and the machine itself doesn't join unions or protest ill treatment or expect a pension when it is replaced or retired.
Machines aren't necessarily used to dumb down or simplify an operation, nor are they necessarily used to replace manual labour, sometimes, they are used because it is impossible for a human to do it. I could give many examples, one is a simple fly press and at the opposite extreme would be silicon chip manufacture
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
It stands to reason, if you think it through...if your great grandfather paid $100.00 for a top shelf shoe in 1920, for you to pay the same amount today necessitates a diminution of quality.
Do you think so? I'm not so sure myself. Lets look at an extreme. Say we replaced a modern combat soldiers boots which are mass produced using modern techniques, for a pair made using 19th century artisanal methods. Which do you think would perform better? You could develop this argument to encompass many more items that are discussed in this forum. For example a watch. A modern day $100 watch is far superior from a purely functional perspective than a $100 watch from c1900. I could give many more examples. There is a tendency for people to romanticise about hand crafted, artisanal products. Not that there's anything wrong with that
post #90 of 294
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
Not so...after making boots for nearly 40 years, I am enjoying the challenge of making shoes and would, frankly, rather make shoes.

That said, good shoemakers are almost always bootmakers as well...and vice versa. It's the same Trade and the same techniques, considerations, materials.

Are you sure the considerations for making a western cowboy boot are the same as for a mens dress shoe ? Sure they are both made of leather but are quite different products.
I have read that in times gone by in the top ranks of bespoke work, makers would specialize in a certain type of footwear such as riding boots or ladies court shoes and not make all types of work.
Can a maker switch from making boots to shoes with ease ?
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