Disturbing news

A wood paste extruder? OK, now I’m worried about the possible extinction of woodworkers.

CNC technology never worried me too much. 3D printing did not concern me much either because the medium is plastic, not wood. But now, the latest hot news is the wood paste extruder, a contraption that piggy backs onto your 3D printer and allows you to use wood paste to print objects.

Of course these objects lack any of the attributes of real wood like pores and grain lines and so forth. But in the most technical sense, they are made of wood and, I am certain, it will only be a matter of time before someone figures out how to print objects that do have these attributes as well as color variations, knots, cracks and other features that will help fool the viewer into thinking that they are actually looking at wood.

I can even see the day when we will actually be able to program these printers to emulate various woods. When someone asks if they can get their pepper grinder in cocobolo instead of tulipwood, we will simply say, “sure,” and reprogram the printer.

This is going to save a lot of trees and create a lot of work for programmers. But I’m not so sure about us actual woodworkers.



  • Jim legrand says:

    If you are talking about commodity items, then woodworking in the traditional sense has been dead, or nearly so, for many decades – think low end kitchen cabinets. If you are talking about complex custom items or actual art pieces then 3d printing will never replace the woodworker/artist. That said, it may turn out that a 3d printer will become just another tool in your tool box. And, as with using any tool, the quality and beauty of the piece created will be the result of the artist not the tool.

  • Your comments are 100% correct, David. Most probably, woodworkers will have to evolve
    into designers and marketers only.

  • David, There will always be a place for traditional woodworking skills. This is just another new technology to be assimilated into our businesses. I am quite sure that much the same was said when electric routers made the general use of a wall full of molding planes obsolete.

    I will be presenting a seminar on 3D Printing at IWF in August. I invite you to attend and see what the fuss is all about!


  • Chuck R says:

    As long as there are people who appreciate fine woodworking, we are safe.
    The operative words there are, “As long as” …

  • Tony says:

    The good news is most of us old-timers will be dead before this comes about…..hopefully future generations will appreciate actual hand-work. In fact, the advent of the computer generated mass produced, even customized faux wood will put us into an elite group of craftsmen and craftswomen!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. For more information, please see our Terms of Use.