A lot of the problems people are having with the basic/major divide in crafting comes from lowballing the difficulty of the sample major projects. Those projects are a lot more elaborate and time-consuming than they may appear at first glance to the modern reader!
When it comes to forging battle-ready arms and armor, players are getting hung up on “battle-ready” and missing the “forging” part. A sword isn’t just a bar of metal that pops out of the mine in a perfect sword shape, which you merely have to put an edge on. Not only does a sword or other metal weapon need to be painstakingly hammered into the right shape for proper balance, it also needs to be heat-treated to handle impact stresses from parries and from striking armor and bone, which would otherwise eventually cause it to shatter. Forging a battle-ready sword takes weeks. Meanwhile, a club—the go-to example in crafting discussions—is easily as simple to make as any of the sample basic projects in the book.
Meanwhile, a banquet for a prince’s table or a god’s festival isn’t a fancy meal for one. Such a banquet may serve hundreds or even thousands of people at once, requiring complex logistics and dozens of assistants. They can also last for several days, with a constant inflow of raw materials to be constantly transformed into foodstuffs.
And as for sculpting a statue? It took Michelangelo over a year to sculpt the Pietà, while his larger-than-life David took over two years. Even modern sculptors equipped with power tools require months to go from creating a preliminary model and selecting an appropriate stone block to final polishing and treatment. A simpler statue is no doubt quicker, and supernatural sculpting talent speeds things up immeasurably, but the process remains orders of magnitude slower than, say, cooking a meal.
If you’re not sure whether a project is basic or major? It’s almost certainly basic.