Crafting with CNC machinery

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Nestled in the forest near the Silver Coast in Portugal lies the De La Espada factory, a facility that values the independence of master craftspeople, and embraces both the traditions and innovations of woodworking.

High tech machinery and handwork are used for different operations according to which provides greater value.

CNC machinery can provide a precision not possible with the human hand, while only a skilled craftsperson can decide how to work each unique cut of wood for maximum strength, or which planks look most beautiful together.

CNC (Computerized Numerical Control) machines contain multiple tools such as cutters, drills and a circular saw. The machines are programmed to craft product components to a high level of precision. CNC machinery is used for increased efficiency and consistency of workmanship in repeat operations. This machinery distills the knowledge of the carpenters, product development, and technical teams into one place.

CAD (Computer Aided Design) drawings created by our product development team link to the CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing). The technicians at our factory decide the tools, operations, and sequencing needed for optimal results and programme the CAM accordingly.

Even after the CNC is programmed, which can take as long as building a complete piece by hand, the watchful eye of a skilled craftsperson/technician ensures that each unique piece of timber is machined in a way that maximises its structural integrity.

Most De La Espada products are a jigsaw of parts, each worked individually, then together. It would be far simpler, faster and more economical to use fewer parts, fewer operations, but this would create a very different product, lacking the depth, detail and integrity. The parts are defined to achieve the most beautiful cuts of timber, the finest shapes, the strongest long grain to long grain bonds.

Many components require first assembly, a run through the CNC, second assembly, sanding, then final assembly where it is married with the other components before being sanded again and finished.