I think it’s very funny that folks reject the notion of ripping by hand saying it’s impractical and instead offer the only slightly less arcane table saw as the “modern” approach. The table saws folks buy today are essentially newly made reproductions of tools from the 1930′s. As such, they aren’t entirely different from a Wenzloff Kenyon rip saw, or a LN bench plane.
I’ve heard more than a few moans (some of them emanating from my own lips) about the decline of woodshop classes in American High Schools. When those classes were set-up, the tools in them were the state of the art. But things have changed since then and we period woodworkers need to keep up. Future woodworkers may well be better trained in the computer labs which have doubtlessly replaced the old industrial arts classes.
CNC Router with 4′x8′ vacuum table
State of the art woodshops today are employing CNC (computer numerically controlled) pin routers to cut wood (or wood by-products) and utilize vacuum holding fixtures and autoclave like devices for veneer (which is typically the only solid wood they see). They glue wood with glues that harden only in the presence of radio waves. I’ve seen a few woodshops like this in person and they appear more like modern machine shops than wood shops I identify with. Our shops, even those equipped with power tools, seem as quaint as Colonial Williamsburg’s Anthony Hay Cabinetshop by comparison.
So with all due respect, let’s cut the bull about modern woodworking versus period woodworking. We’re all period woodworkers.