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True Craftsman

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"Well, Mr. Ryan, profit or not, no man bails water out of privies built by Bill McDonagh."

A character who is not only a skilled artisan, but also known for their complete zero tolerance policy towards cutting corners- they will not, under any circumstance, make a bad boot, a shoddy sword or anything that is not made to the best of their ability. Their work is their pride and joy, and they take great delight in making things that are meant to last from father to son, and maybe beyond.


Put simply, this trope is about when a craftsman takes great pride in his top-quality work, seeking to make things of unrivaled quality and detail, even at the expense of potential profit made from outputting worse products with short life cycles.

Subtrope of Consummate Professional.


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    Anime and Manga 

  • Gunsmith Cats: Rally goes out of her way to ensure that one of her customized guns is used in a murder. This is, however, on the reputation damage of it being used. However, Rally mentions that she makes sure everything is top notch when it comes to her work, so if she can't do a thing (in the manga she mentions the inner work on a barrel) she sends it to a specialist.
  • Parodied in One Piece. The way of Zoro, Usopp, Sanji and Franky is cut off by a destroyed bridge. They take a moment trying to figure out how they are going to get to the other side. Then the three notice Franky (the shipwright of the crew) has managed to built a new bridge, and not only some shoddy emergency bridge, but a sturdy one with railings and all.
    Franky: Wait just another 30 seconds, I'm not quite satisfied with this finish...
    Zoro, Sanji and Usopp: He made a bridge!!!
    Franky: With this much rubble around, there was plenty of wood to use as material.
    Usopp: But isn't it a bit much in an emergency to put in such detail.
    Franky: Are you saying that I should skip crucial parts of the construction!!?

    Comic Books 
  • Red Sonja: The Art of Blood and Fire has the chef Gribaldi, who cannot stop himself from rendering foraged camp food into gourmet meals.

  • Kate in A Knight's Tale, who makes lighter and stronger armour than any other smith.
  • High and Low: Gondo has worked at the National Shoe Company from age 16, and takes great pride in the quality of their products. So when the Corrupt Corporate Executive trio at the beginning of the film entices him to make lousy shoes that are cheaper to make and would bring the company a lot of money, Gondo refuses, stating that he would not make a bad shoe.
  • In Jabberwocky, Dennis' father is outright pissed at the travelling salesman for even suggesting about making barrels that are only good for one trip.
  • Busotti, the creator of The Red Violin, is an Italian master who creates instruments that last for centuries. He wants them to be played and loved—he destroys an apprentice's violin in the opening scene because he says it is only good to be a collection piece.
  • Lazar from The Man with the Golden Gun takes immense pride in producing finely balanced weapons that meet the specific needs of each customer.
    Lazar: Here, you will find only craftsmanship and quality. Mass-production — your Walther PPK, for instance — I leave to others.
    Bond: What about ammunition?
    Lazar: Designed to individual requirements, whatever they may be.

  • The Belgariad: The Blacksmith Durnik is like this. In his Establishing Character Moment, he's doing precise finishing work on a minor piece that no one will see; he explains that if he didn't do his best on the piece, he'd remember it every time he saw the customer.
  • Peter Straub's Koko: The carpenter Conor is working for is such a craftsman, and Conor is learning a lot about house-building. But then the carpenter is obligated to hire on a worthless in-law and Conor has to be let go just in time for him to join the main plotline. Toward the end of the book, the in-law is divorced from the family and Conor is rehired.
  • The bricklayer Nicola in Momo. When the Grey Men have taken over, he and his co-workers have to work faster, building a new floor in a week - but he admits it's crappy work which may last a few years at best, is frustrated and often gets drunk.
  • The Spiritsmith in The Balanced Sword by Ryk E. Spoor. He has forged the weapons and armour of most of the gods, and studied his trade for thousands of years, and very much cares about how it is used.
  • This is almost always a trait of the Order Masters of the Saga of Recluce, beginning with Lerris in the first book, The Magic of Recluce. He's so determinedly perfect in his carpentry that everyone around him is in awe watching him work. And it gets him in trouble when he imbues some of his creations with order... and they're intended for use by masters of chaos.
  • Invoked in Belisarius Series. It is several times said that the title character is a Consummate Professional who wants to be a blacksmith and makes war with a smith's professional pride.
  • Discworld:
    • In Going Postal, many of the original clacks engineers were this, and left when the Grand Trunk began taking their maintenance time away so that they could profit more from constant running. Bill Pony is one of the few left, and he has a lot of thoughts about how the people he used to employ wouldn't do shoddy work no matter what you paid them and actually knew what was going on in the clacks system. And it's a major plot point that they were not just Doing It for the Art: The new management's insistence on Cutting Corners is ultimately costing them more money than they're saving, because repairing an equipment failure creates far more downtime than a scheduled maintenance period.
    • In Soul Music, the guitar maker is slowly reduced to a subversion of this after inherently musically-inept people keep buying his guitars after seeing Buddy rock out, ordering his apprentice to haul his old practice guitars out of storage to sell them, eventually just selling metal wire stretched over wood, giggling madly.
    • In Raising Steam, the young engineer Dick Simnel treats everything related to his locomotive design with utmost seriousness, not least to avoid ending up a cloud of superheated red mist like his father. His singleminded focus is infectious, however, and he inspires Ankh-Morpork's first generation of Rail Enthusiasts.
  • In The Princess Bride, Domingo Montoya has the highest standards for himself and the swords he makes. He could be wealthy and renowned, but he doesn't want to make swords that will only be trophies for stupid elites. He is ecstatic at the prospect of making a sword for a six-fingered man - but changes his mind when the six-fingered man sees only a product to buy, not a masterpiece. Domingo leaves his final sword to his son, Inigo.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In an episode of Mad About You, Paul buys some hand-dipped chocolate-covered strawberries for Jamie. Well, he tries to do this, anyway – the shopkeeper is such a perfectionist that if he dips a strawberry and it doesn't come out perfectly, he hurls it at the wall during a Foreign-Language Tirade.
  • Henry Crabbe, the protagonist of Pie in the Sky, is this when it comes to his restaurant. He resists pressure to save time or money at the expense of quality, and is always saddened (and occasionally horrified) when he encounters another restaurant that doesn't have the same standards.
  • Ron Swanson of Parks and Recreation is a seriously dedicated woodworker (as is Nick Offerman, the guy playing Swanson).
  • Kamen Rider Gaim gives us Pierre Oren Alfonso; he may be a Bunny-Ears Lawyer and a Jerkass (refusing to hire Kouta because he's an Aquarius), but the man is one of the best pâtissier in the world. He doesn't cut corners, puts his passion into his work, and values his customers' satisfaction above all elsenote .


    Video Games 
  • Downplayed by Garret Almstead, one of the blacksmiths in Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura. He'll go out of his way to make sure any goods he works on are of the highest quality because he doesn't want his name associated with shoddy work, but he's unwilling to compromise his profits. This leads to him being accused of being a swindler when the innkeeper hires him to repair an antique strongbox; he repairs it thoroughly, but decides that the extra work he put into the repairs justifies him charging way more than his initial estimate.
  • In BioShock 1, Bill McDonagh mentions in an audio log that this trope is what earned him Andrew Ryan's respect (and position as his general contractor). While working as a plumber hired to install Ryan's bathroom plumbing, McDonagh used brass fittings on the pipes instead of the cheaper tin ones that Ryan had ordered and paid off the difference out of pocket, leading up to the page quote.

    Western Animation 
  • The toy repairer in Toy Story 2, who tells an impatient Al that "You can't rush art."
  • Rarity in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic seems to put her all into her fashions, sometimes to the point of exhaustion when keeping up with her friends requests in "Suited for Success".
  • Spongebob Squarepants prides himself in making Krabby Patties by hand with the utmost of care. This is highlighted in the few episodes where someone tries to mass-produce Patties ("Neptune's Spatula", "Selling Out") and they end up tasting awful.


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