We want to dedicate a post to old crafts and artisans. Most jobs were executed manually, which required great skill, experience and a lot of effort. Today we want to remember some centuries old crafts.
Old crafts: a living testimony
If you look in any history book, you may see the degree of specialization of each work. There seems to be a name and a professional for every task, whether in the weaving, wood or iron trades. The truth is that, as today, many people exercised various professions at once, with more or less expertise.
A woodworker worked the wood, but he could also dedicate himself to the joinery, as well as the harvesting of wood. In winter, the leftovers could sell them as firewood or in summer help in the field. Where the guilds did not monopolize the activity, the craftsmen could develop a more plural activity.
To give us an idea, today we can find a simile on Internet. The online world has allowed the formation of new professions: social media, seo, digital marketing, web programmer, blogger, intagramer … It is true that some can dedicate to it full time, but in most cases a single person developed all these tasks in a single position.
On the other hand, some old professions have survived to the present day thanks to the commitment and dedication of the new generations. Ceramic workshops or new forges are small, of highly competitive production. They are a living testimony of this past, but updated to the demands of the market. In many cases, they have managed to maintain a high degree of quality while keeping costs acceptable and oriented to real demand.
Professions that you may not know
The work of wood is one of the oldest … and diverse. From the felling of the tree to the production of the details of a piece of furniture, a piece of wood could go through up to 6 different craft professions.
The lumberjack was the one who initiated the process. He was a professional in the use of the ax and dedicated to the logging and cleaning of logs. The trunks were driven downstream from the mountains, led by a rafter to the nearest village. There a mule driver, a timber-hauling carrier, was probably waiting for him. He divided and cut the log for planks and boards. Finally, the woodworker bought the best pieces.
After letting them dry the wood for a while, the woodworker began to shape the furniture. If the client had ordered some ornamentation, the cabinetmaker was the one who finished the work.
Other craft professions related to the wood was the one of cooper (constructor of barrels), caulkerer (sealer of meetings of a ship), woodcutter or albarquer. The latter was an office specialized in the manufacture of albarcas, a wood shoe typical of Cantabria.
In the field of metals, the history of trades was no less: miners, ironmen, blacksmiths, smiths, smelters, coalmen, tinsmiths or sharpeners. Each of them represents an important part in the productive engagement of a past society. The emergence of new techniques, more efficient and economic, has made it possible to optimize and simplify many of these processes. Thanks to the new crafts and professionals of the handmade it has been possible to preserve this heritage beyond the libraries. The knowledge and know-how accumulated over generations continues alive thanks to them.