Is Craftsmanship Dead?

by Janet Blake, FastenMaster Communications Manager

Since we launched our Pride In Craftsmanship video series, I’ve thought a lot about what the word “craftsmanship” means to me, our professional contractor community and the customers they service. What is the definition of craftsmanship and does it still have meaning in what can be described as today’s “disposable world?”

The word “craftsmanship” evolved from the arts & crafts movement of the late 1800’s. This movement came about as a reaction to the industrial revolution that was viewed as the loss of hand skills in favor of mass production. It emphasized handwork and encouraged simplicity of form in architecture as well as many other arts.

David Pye, author of The Nature and Art of Workmanship wrote: If I must ascribe a meaning to the word craftsmanship, I shall say as a first approximation that it means simply workmanship using any kind of technique or apparatus, in which the quality of the result is not predetermined, but depends on the judgment, dexterity and care which the maker exercises as he works.

My father was an electrical engineer by trade but a woodworker at heart. He could build almost anything, from a well-crafted coffee table, to the design and construction of a log home. His greatest legacy was the grandfather clocks he handcrafted for his six children. Modeled after an inherited antique Scottish grandfather clock, he painstakingly cut, carved, turned and finished six cherry wood cabinets that feature arched molding, delicate swan necks and turned pillars. These clocks, crafted by his hands will be cherished for generations to come. For me, that is craftsmanship.

I assert that when done well, residential building construction is also a true example of craftsmanship. Yes, building technology and tools have evolved but skilled hands are still needed to create strong, unique and aesthetically pleasing structures. Craftsmanship in building also incorporates the use of creativity and improvisation. How many times have you had to construct a code-compliant structural element that just won’t work without a little “outside of the box” thinking?

So, how do you define craftsmanship? Here are some responses from our PROStar community:

My passion for turning raw materials into functional things of beauty.

~ Dan Ogrodowski, Handy Dan’s

How we look to build structures to last generations. This isn't about quick fixes. When building, we  use the finest materials and the best methods; it is the only way, really.

~ Eric DiGiulio

The amount of detail and thinking outside the box that goes into our projects. Customers can tell we love what we do.

~ Dan Terrill, Brew City Builders Custom Decks and Porches

We do everything over the top.  We have no callbacks because we do it right the first time and take pride in what we have built.

~ Dan Hickman, Dan Hickman Construction

Experience, integrity and innovative design.

~ Max Phillips, MPI

My dedication to taking care of the details that matter for the overall look of the project, in addition to the underlying details that will help their structure last for many years.

~ David Loeffler, Remodeling by David Michael

Exceeding the minimum code.

~ Carlton Bruen, Bruen Design Build

Using the right tools for the job, taking the time to get all of the small details right the first time. Code is only a passing grade. I shoot for an "A" on all of my projects.

~ Kevin Stricker, Taowood Carpentry & Remodeling

My mantra is a refusal to compromise quality for the sake of economy.

~ Gary Daley, America’s Deck Builder

After reading these responses, it became clear to us that our PROStars takes great pride in their work. We felt that we needed to share your stories through video to not only recognize your skill but to also give you the opportunity to talk about what craftsmanship means to you.

What do you think? Does the word “craftsmanship” still have meaning in today’s world?  Do you consider yourself to be a craftsman? Do customer’s hire you based upon your high level of craftsmanship?

We will continue to film more Pride In Craftsmanship videos. All of them can be viewed on our Pro Spotlight page. 

If you are interested in participating, please visit this link to be considered.

February 23, 2015 by Janet Blake (comments: 0)

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