“Craftsmanship is Risk” Sticker Now Available!

The new sticker just arrived in the mail yesterday. This 4.25” x 2.75” sticker features the same Roman woodworker that is on our new t-shirt (which is still being shipped for free through this Friday, by the way). The sticker is $3 in our store. It seems to be an item folks like throwing into the cart with DVDs or mags that they order. If you’re not looking to order anything else, we’ll still take orders for just a sticker.

 But what does “Craftsmanship is Risk” mean, exactly?

 It’s not news that the term “workmanship of risk” has made David Pye famous in woodworking circles. The term was coined by Pye in the mid 20th century to describe workmanship that depends on the skill of the maker rather than complex jigs which ensure “perfection”. This is seen mostly clearly in tools like hatchets, chisels, and even to some degree hand planes.

This concept has been passed around woodworking circles for years but what is less known is that Pye developed the term as a definition for the word “craftsmanship”. On page 20 of his Nature and Art of Workmanship, he writes,

“If I must ascribe 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. The essential idea is that the quality of the result is continually at risk during the process of making; and so I shall call this kind of workmanship ‘The Workmanship of Risk’: an uncouth phrase, but at least descriptive.”

We think seeing the essence of craft bound up with the “riskiness” of working with unregulated tools is a dead on. There is a lot of skillful workmanship in the world but the one that we at M&T particularly want to celebrate is the one called “craftsmanship”.

This sticker is for those who want to celebrate handcraft and know we are part of a rich tradition of woodworking passed down from our ancestors. This woodworker symbolizes our journey to relearn how to work with our hands by the sweat of our brow.

You can order your sticker here.


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