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Old 7th January 2005, 11:40 PM   #23
tom hyle
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Houston, TX, USA
Posts: 1,254
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Decoration and polish can often become the main part of the work on fancy stuff, even when it is of good basic structural quality too. I remember making fine custom furniture and doors, and the picking, lamminating, cutting and assembling could be like 1/4 of our time; the rest was polishing and finishing, and I'm not saying it's without value, but it doesn't make a table or door any stronger, nor a sword. Now, I'll climb off my low horse for a minute. Polish is a using value with swords, as smooth surfaces a less friction generating, and less liable to rust, but in practical everyday reality, a super-polish is more of an aesthetic thing. On the other hand, other forms of finishing, like etches, can have the real value of showing the user the inner nature of a sword. Also, of course, a valid/quality-oriented price differential can occur around the matter of materials; notably the steel/iron dichotomy, but even this can vary greatly with the ability of the workers, and (if no one's noticed) I haven't noticed human society being particularly effective in living up to its pretensions of meritocracy; the famous pricey craftsman may not be any more talented or skillful or in tune than the fiery new-comer, or the crazed hermit-artist, indeed, often with fame and financial success an artisan feels driven to "farm-out" and streamline his processes, in order to keep up with demand, with a concomitant tendency to lose some of the spirit and care......Quality is a complex issue; some aspects of it must be paid for in one way or another (for instance, quality steel can so,etimes be salvaged, bought for the labor, etc. rather than for money), but to me it has nothing to do with decoration and the trappings of wealth and status.
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