I guess I need to admit that my woodworking background is long enough to have preconceptions. I work hard at staying current with trends and technology, but it’s still hard to fight years of experience. Ironically fifteen years ago the woodworking trend was towards hand tools that, because of my commercial woodworking experience, wasn’t all that familiar. But that’s been a fun process as well, touching base with the basics of a rewarding pastime.
I will also fess up to being (skeptical isn’t the right word…) cautious about the use of CNC (computer numerical control) in woodworking. There’s certainly a place for the technology in large production operations making multiple similar items. A great time saver that adds increased accuracy. But does in belong in my shop? It brings up thoughts of my youth with open-air booths set up along the streets of Gatlinburg, TN with routers screaming to create engraved welcome signs for folk’s homes. For a few dollars more they’ll add a grizzly bear or your favorite fish to the design.
Happily, I was able to spend some time with some passionate woodworkers at the Axiom Tool Group who have turned that passion to technology, and they also turned my preconceptions to enthusiasm. Sure, you can use CNC to create signs (some very cool signs made from simple barn wood and inlaid with inexpensive hardboard, pictured below), but you can also create unique and complicated pieces from wood and brass to build a recreation of a 1939 speedboat (pictured above)!
And then there’s the really cool factor, 3D carving! How about scanning someone’s head, then grafting that scan onto a foosball player to make an entire foosball team of recognizable players. Very cool! Oh, and you can create some amazingly accurate clocks as well.
Okay, so maybe this newfangled stuff is pretty cool and might have a place in my shop. Scratch the “maybe”, I want one! Follow along starting in December as we take you through a tour of all that’s possible with Axiom’s line of CNC products in our next video series.
– David Thiel