Hand vs. Machine = Manual vs. Automatic
To me, it's all about control. It's like driving a car with a manual shift transmission vs. a car with an automatic tranny. While both will get you to the same location with relatively comparable results, it's a totally different experience getting there. An automatic will give you consistent results, shifting gears at the same specs every time, sometimes when you want though sometimes when you would prefer it differently. An automatic may shift faster (than most people with a clutch, yeah i'm sure there are some fast and furious that shift as fast) and give you repeatability. And while you have some control over the shift points mostly you have to accept what is predetermined. Where as a manual transmission gives you complete control. It may be a little more involved to drive and it's less likely that every shift will be the same everytime. But you have control when it comes to down shifting, taching up a gear longer than an automatic would, and putting it in neutral all at your own discretion. So in the end I don't think that any one way is better than the other, or gives a superior result. I just believe that doing things manually gives you more control of the final product, what it'll sound like, play like, even look like. So I guess really there is no right, or better way of building. And I'll take advantage of the benefits of an automatic when it makes sense (i.e. fret slotting). But I can't afford a gym so i'll stick to my old hand planes, spokeshaves, over priced rasps, shop made scrapers, and so on for the majority of the work. I know this is a highly discussed topic and yeah I have pages of opinions, ideas, preferences, and bad comparisons but I'll leave the rest for another time.