Japanese hand sawI recently found this video about about traditional Japanese Carpentry, and specifically about Miya Shojii, a store in New York that has been making handcrafted furniture since 1947.

True craftsmanship is harder to find every year. I suspect that the majority of Americans don’t own a single item made by hand. That’s a sad state of affairs. I guess it couldn’t be any other way, it takes time and skill to make something beautiful by hand. The best craftsmen spend decades mastering their craft. Naturally, their work is going to be expensive. Whether you can afford pieces like this or not, it’s good to know that these skills haven’t yet become mere historical footnotes.

Perhaps in the robot future, craftsmanship will see a resurgence. While I’m sure that some scientist will figure out an algorithm to duplicate any type of Japanese joinery that’s ever been used. The process of selecting the wood, and understanding why one piece of cherry will work better than a similar piece for a particular client, much less the creative process of seeing a piece of furniture in a slab of wood, well, I think it will be a while before robots master that skill.