Okay, I’m all for the industrial revolution and the invention of new amazing technologies (like running water and all that) but all this speeding up of manual processes with machinery has come with a terrible cost. The real art of work now done by machines has fallen by the wayside, with skills fostered over the generations becoming redundant within decades.
This is an issue that has resonated deeply with me personally, as I come from a long line of proud lumberjacks. My father, his father, and his father were proud men who took immense pride in what they did. But the reality of the situation is that there really just isn’t the same demand for premium, hand-chopped wood as there once was. Almost all the wood stables in Tamworth, the area we live in, are taken from tree farms that solely use mechanised wood chopping methods. Most of the tree farm owners don’t even realise they’re essentially displacing skilled labourers. Of course, that’s always going to be a consequence of replacing craftsmen with machinery, but it’s crucial that some part of the craft linger on.
As remarkably as it may seem to some, there is still a certain amount of demand for lumberjack work. Just yesterday a job came through for me to source some wood for several commercial sheds in Tamworth. Of course, a lot of the work I’m managing to get at the moment is of that sort: people asking me to source good quality wood rather than chop it myself. I understand that the changing of the craft is a necessity, but I feel that I can’t exactly market myself as a lumberjack if I hardly ever actually hack away at a tree. Perhaps that’s just the natural evolution of things. If people are concerned with having high quality, sustainable wood in their buildings, that’s always a field I could potentially move into. We shall see.