At a woodworking show in the mid 80's, I was able to watch a master Japanese joiner make a complex splice.
He was working with 4" square stock, laid out one half of the joint and passed it around for the audience to examine. Meanwhile, he laid out the other half of the joint.
While the audience looked at the second half, he cut the first. At no time did he have both pieces on the bench. But when he finished and causally knocked the two halves together, they fit perfectly!
Every now and then, I recall this experience and ponder the way our approach to woodworking has changed in the last century. Our artisan woodworkers were once every bit as skilled as this Japanese joiner. The furniture that was produced in America prior to the turn of the century (the last one, not this one) was world class and as fine as any ever produced.
I wonder how long it would take for us to regain those skills.