The General Lack of Sophistication

“There is a wonderful similarity between the traditional work of Korea and Japan and much of the early Cotswold School. The directness and honesty of construction and approach, with nothing contrived; the general lack of sophistication; the sheer joy and spontaneity that comes through into the finished work itself, which I believe is a direct result of contact with the materials at all stages with hand tools and hand skills. I now know what Edward Barnsley feared, and with some justification.”

— Alan Peters on the 1955 electrification of the Barnsley workshop. From “Cabinetmaking: The Professional Approach” (Linden)

About Chris Schwarz

Publisher of woodworking books and DVDs specializing in hand tool techniques.
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3 Responses to The General Lack of Sophistication

  1. David Pickett says:

    Barnsley did install some machinery, mainly on the insistence of his foreman Bert Upton, who had been on aircraft production in Bristol during the war years and learned the benefits machines could bring.

    Looking at the work the Barnsley workshop produced post mechanisation (and still produces today), I think Barnsley and Upton found a pretty good compromise. In their case, the machines removed much of the slog of material preparation; they did not, and have never since, dictated design or constuction method.

  2. Sean says:

    sophistication
    is hardly necessary
    to create good work

  3. mikeandike says:

    Wait…is this red neck furniture? I believe a certain mustachioed comedian defined a red neck as someone with a “glorious lack of sophistication.” Or am I missing something here????

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