If you want to gauge a woodcrafter’s skill, look at the joints. Joints tell you how the piece was constructed, how good the crafter was, and even what tools they used. Flickr pool member ghb624 posted a great example: this chest made with old-school dovetail joinery.
Someone took a long time building it, probably by hand. Despite varying sizes and small imperfections, each joint fits perfectly. I found myself studying each dovetail in succession just as its maker must have. Whether the fingers protruding from the back were a design element or the creator just screwed up, I respect the choice to finish it. It’s beautiful — I can’t believe someone threw this out.
Toolmonger’s Photo Pool [Flickr]