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What makes a master

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  • What makes a master

    Scrolling is a craft for all levels of expertice.
    It covers everything from cutting simple shapes like circles apples and animals, to multidemensional intricate fretwork. Each aspect of scrolling has its own specific requirements. The fitting of intarsia and segmentation, the grain selection of the wood you are going to cut, based of the project you are making, the blade selection, speed of saw, the list is alsmost endless.

    I would list the types of scrollers as
    • Novice
    • Amateur
    • Professional
    • Master

    I know I put myself under the Amateur heading because I love the work and I am always looking to learn more. I would like to see what other people think about the professional and Master categories.
    Is a person a Master when they complete a project like the "Dome Clock" or is it the accumulation of all the knowledge they need to undertake any scrolling task?

    Inquiring minds want to know!
    "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
    Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21

  • #2
    I'm not so sure I like those categories, Carl. When you start labelling people like that, you can create resentment as elitism creeps in. Also, people tend to remain within their comfort zones and don't develop their skills. Perhaps it would be better to have 'novice', 'experienced' and 'old enough to know better' instead .

    If you must stick me in a pigeon hole, at least label it 'bizarre'. I was going to suggest labelling it 'off the wall', but the whole idea of pigeon holes is that they should be stuck firmly on the wall, shouldn't they?

    There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is readily adopted.
    (Schopenhauer, Die Kunst Recht zu Behalten)


    • #3
      I suppose the difference between a professional and a master is that a person could be a master and not be a professional. I always looked upon a professional as someone who earns a living at what he/she does, ie, their profession. I know many professionals who are not masters of their craft. I think that to be a master one must be able to perform every aspect of their craft with excellence. Like Gill, I hesitate to label folks as to where they reside on the learning curve. We all started out beginners and we learn something new virtually every time we sit down at the saw. If I were to be labeled I suppose "pretty good cutter" would fit. Not a great cutter....but not bad!!
      If it don't fit, don't force it....get a bigger hammer!!


      • #4
        I agree with Neal. To me, a "professional" is a person who does something as a profession, and no, a lot of them are not "masters". I really hate to label myself. I am past being a beginner, but I still consider myself an amatuer for a variety of reasons. I recently complerted a "Workshop Clock" from a kit and pattern out of the Wildwoods Design catalogue. Everyone raves about it, but guess what. I can pick out a large number of errors and misfits because I studied the pattern. Not hardly the work of a "master". That said, I am proud of how it turned out. It will be entered in the woodworking competition at our local "County Fair" next month, so we will see how it stacks up. I had a great time building this project, so everything else is just icing on the cake.


        • #5
          An OT Reply

          To err is human, however:

          When an apprentice makes a mistake, he/she is taken to task by everyone, and made to feel like unskilled Klutz.

          A journeyman makes mistakes, but has learned the hard lessons on how to overcome, fix, repair, or hide his mistakes so no one need know.

          But a master craftsman, from his lofty position will, on occasions, engage in "experimentation and explorations" on the limitations of the craft arts in order to further the guild's over all knowledge.

          So about your categories: IMHO it is all about knowing, or having dealt with, the many problems and errors that occur, and knowing how to overcome them.


          {All together now, sing along: We shall Overcome some day-y-y.....}


          • #6
            Phil.... Gotta agree with most of what you say....However, as far as the experimentation goes I've scrolled and scrapped enough firewood to fuel hades trying to do something a little different or improve upon accepted procedure. Ain't gotter done and I still ain't a master!!! Still love cuttin' and my time at the saw belongs entirely to me!! I think I've solved most of the worlds big problems while just sawing and thinking. Just don't know how to get our world leaders to start scrolling....LOL.
            If it don't fit, don't force it....get a bigger hammer!!


            • #7
              Pigeon holes

              After seeing all the answers in print I have to admit I don't like being pigeonholed.

              I am an amateur, I love the craft, and that is what amateur means.
              I like the way Phil puts it....wise man that Phil....

              The only reason I even brought this up is because I come from a family of Stone masons. My grandfather was a Master stone mason and I recall a lesson he taught me when I was very young.
              We sat on the front lawn one day with a small pile of river rock. He would pick up the rock and say to me "See the grain?" I could see nothing but a round rock. He would swing his hammer and split the rock in two.
              He would pass the next rock to me and say "Your turn".

              I learned two things that day. neither of which was how to see the grain.
              I learned that the force exerted on the rock comes through the rock and bruises the hand.
              I learned if you want the job done correctly , hand it over to a master.
              I know that to become a master stone mason is a lifetime of work.
              His cousin apprenticed and retired on the same job site building the Liverpool Cathedral.
              I love scrolling, I dedicate a lot of my free time to it. I wish there were some masters out there that would share thier knowledge to the eager amateurs out there and I hope the amateurs have what it takes to spread their knowledge on to the novices.
              Oh and I hope the pigeon holes get bigger cuz it is getting crowded in here
              CAЯL HIRD-RUTTEЯ
              "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
              Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21


              • #8
                Who among us could be known as a master?

                Let's see.....perhaps the late great Patrick Spielman or John A. Nelson or just maybe our own Milke Moorlach? As for myself I am most assuredly a novice wanting to learn more and more. Thanks to his forum I am learning more.


                My saw is a DeWalt788 Measure twice; cut once; count fingers after cut


                • #9
                  I have to agree it is just a label. You give an example as doing the dome clock makes you a master. I think if you asked anyone who has done a dome clock will tell you it is not that big of a challenge. Clocks and projects of that size are merely just bigger pieces. The cuts are the same in any aspect of scrolling whether you are scrolling a small desk clock or a dome clock. So never use that as a guide. Norm Abrams is called a master carpenter and he will tell you he does not like the term. He says he is learning everyday also like everyone else who is a woodworker just that he has experienced more of it. You are a fool if you think you know everything there is about any trade or in fact about any aspect of life. That is why doctors say they are practicing because things are constantly changing. The art of scrolling you learn the basics and then you hone your skills on doing the basics. Now you incorporate your method of doing things and finding easier ways of doing things. They may not be easier for someone else but you have honed your skills. So to call someone a professional or a master in the sense you want to use it is wrong. I think the word would be journeyman or journeyperson to be politically correct. A person who has seen that, done that, but still keeps an open mind. I consider myself a journeyman.
                  John T.


                  • #10
                    What defines a master?

                    No one seems to want to say it,so I will and mind you this is my idea:yes the dome clock is a masters work. It will take the patience of Job, to do the thousands of blade piercing cuts and still remain sane. It may not include grain reading,scale visualizing,but its a foregone conclusion,saw must be goo,blade must be good,AND the stick- to-ive-nes (word?) has to be lthere. PW


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