New York Times article review on applying technology to Craftsmanship


I found this article last week in the New York Times August 28th Edition. The article was title , “Packing Technology into the Timeless Barrel” (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/28/business/packing-technology-into-the-timeless-barrel.html?_r=0). The article discussed how barrel making has not essentially changed for the past several hundred years, much like violin making. However the industry and competitive forces have changed, and companies are applying technology to optimize the barrel making process. The end result is higher-quality barrels tailor made for specific uses. Over the past year-plus I have been applying CNC technology to the beginning phases of the violin making process. The CNC machine can accurately replicate the beginning rough-out processes for the violin body and neck. The machine cannot do the intimate and labor-intensive plate tuning, fitting, finishing and varnishing; that must be done by hand. A CNC machine is a way to compete with cheaper labor, but only where technology is applied appropriate. Let there be no misunderstanding, a quality violin has to be done by hand for the majority of the work. Violins are made from wood, a natural material, the source material varies by nature and the violin maker must account for these variances. The New York Times article mentioned this raw material variance aspect related to barrel making as well. The New York Times article closed with this Quote, “Skilled Craftsmen still build a barrel by hand. …You can't just computerize it…you can use automation but in the end every barrel is going to be a little different”.. Likewise with the violin, we can use computerized technology and advanced acoustical analysis. But, in the end each violin will ultimately be crafted by hand and will be a unique violin representative of the individual maker’s skill. #violinmaker #violin #cnc #jacksonville #brunswick#savannah #saintaugustine #NorthFlorida #Florida #Georgia

A photo posted by William Howery (@howeryviolins) on


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