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Woodworking Clubs #1: LumberJocks Info About Woodowrking Clubs

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Blog entry by jdmaher posted 527 days ago 1721 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Occasionally, I see a forums posting here on LumberJocks that asks about local woodworking clubs. Responses are always supportive of the idea of joining such a group, though often lack specific information that relates to the locale of the original poster. Magazine articles, interviews and books about woodworking – especially for beginners – are similarly enthusiastic about Woodworking Clubs.

Coming Out of the Cave

But I get the impression that most of us learn and practice our craft in virtual solitude. I know that I do. I sometimes get an urge to get out there and meet other woodworkers, but I almost never actually DO anything about it. Yes, I’ve gone to the Woodworking Show, and met a few club members there. And I’ve attended a few other events (e.g., Lie-Nielsen) and the presentations of visiting experts; usually at Woodcraft, but occasionally hosted by a local club. While these events are always interesting, I haven’t developed any woodworking friendships as a result.

I freely admit that I’m NOT a very social critter, so it probably is mostly just me. But when I attend these gatherings, I see almost everyone else behaving exactly as I do. Watching; maybe very reluctantly asking a question; and almost never actually speaking to the guys who we’re (literally) rubbing shoulders with.

I don’t feel quite so reluctant to interact with other woodworkers here on LumberJocks. I’ll actually ask and answer questions on the Forums. I’ve even started a Blog series or two. I get great feedback, information and input from this minimal interaction.

My Daddy done told me (long, long ago): ”You get out of it what you put into it.” How much more could I get out woodworking if I actually got involved in woodworking clubs?

What’s Out There?

So, last month I decided to look in to clubs. Google is your friend, usually. With a bit of searching, I found quite a few references to woodworking clubs in Illinois. Often with at least basic websites. Sometimes with contact information. I sent off a few e-mails, and didn’t receive a single response within a week.

My first inclination was to give up, but a couple of these groups were ones very local that I’ve met before. So I got a little more serious about the effort. I made a list of all the Illinois clubs I’d found, and set out to actually make contact with each.

Sometimes, a little research at the club website yielded more contact info; either another e-mail address or a phone number, or both. So, I reached out again, with e-mails or phone calls. And I got a few answers. But I also got disconnected phone numbers and search results that indicated that quite a few of the clubs I was trying to reach were no longer active.

By this time, I’d also searched LumberJocks and encountered several member requests for a place to post Woodworking Clubs information here on our site. I’d also encountered several other websites that listed whole nationwide collections of Woodworking Clubs information. Unfortunately, these lists were some of the sources I’d researched to develop the Illinois list; and I was finding that information unreliable.

It occurred to me that what’s really needed is a validated list of Woodworking Clubs. That is, someone has to responsibly maintain the list.

A Proposal

That’s when I decided to propose that a LumberJocks member volunteer to maintain such a list – just for his/her own state.

I’ll take Illinois, develop the list, and maintain it annually. I’ll just post a Blog series about Illinois Woodworking Clubs. I’ll revalidate each November/December and provide an updated list each January. Maybe I’ll even post Blog entries about each club I get familiar with.

If we get 50 LJs to volunteer, we could cover the USA. International members could figure out what works for their locations.

I’m NOT suggesting that the LumberJocks website undertake this responsibility; that’s not practical. And responsibility is the keyword here. Outdated and incorrect information won’t do anybody any good. Bad info almost turned me off to pursuing woodworking clubs, but I believe that would have been a mistake.

Unconfirmed information is misleading data; what we need is reliable information.

Gotcha

Another of my character traits (beside shyness), is stubbornness. That’s turned out to be a GOOD thing in this pursuit. I’ve had to be a bit of pest to collect information on Illinois Woodworking Clubs. Apparently, not all woodworkers regularly check their e-mail.

And I’ve encountered a glitch.

When I did finally make contact, and propose to the club that I post their contact information on LumberJocks, several of them balked. Mind you, I don’t want to post any personal information. In fact, I’ll usually just repeat minimal info that’s already available on the club website. However, it did seem polite to ask.

That may have been a mistake. Perhaps it would have been better to ask forgiveness – after the fact, than ask permission before. Several of the clubs I contacted wish to achieve a group consensus before having their club contact information posted. Since I asked the question, I’ll abide by their decision (or lack thereof).

A few of the largest and most active Illinois Woodworking Clubs have NOT explicitly agreed to be listed. I actually suspect that some just haven’t gotten around to sending me a note or giving me a call. That’s really too bad, but I’ll leave it up to them. Maybe next year.

What to Do

I’ve posted my Illinois Woodworking Clubs Blog series, and we’ll see how that develops. I encourage LJs in other states to do the same and maintain such a blog for their local clubs.

But I’d also like some feedback on the general idea of posting this information here on LumberJocks. And comments about Woodworking Clubs in general: experiences (good and bad); usefulness of membership; how to best take advantage of the resource; alternatives; whatever else.

I’ll be anxious to hear what LJs have to say.

-- Jim Maher, Illinois



14 comments so far

View kajunkraft's profile

kajunkraft

93 posts in 813 days


#1 posted 527 days ago

Thank you for this post. I live in the south Louisiana (Baton Rouge) area and have been unable to find a woodworking club. There is one person that is trying to get one organized and we are very interested in some ideas in how to organize, what kind of format to use, etc., etc., etc. I’ll assume that your current list is “currently active” and send inquiries to them. If anything happens here I would be glad to be the “central point of communications” for Louisiana and post to Lumberjocks, if that becomes an acceptable concept. Sharing knowledge on a forum such as Lumberjocks is great; face-to-face in an actual shop is probably even better? Thanks again for opening this subject!

View WoodenFrog's profile

WoodenFrog

2737 posts in 1516 days


#2 posted 527 days ago

Thank you Jim!! I think it is a very neat Idea! I live in a small town (Sabina, Ohio) and would love to connect to some Woodworkers near me! I think I’ll do my own little search and see if I can come up with anything.
Thanks Again, Robert!

-- Robert B. Sabina, Ohio..... http://www.etsy.com/shop/WoodenfrogWoodenProd

View rhybeka's profile

rhybeka

259 posts in 1724 days


#3 posted 527 days ago

I think it’s a great idea, Jim! I honestly hadn’t even thought about looking for a woodworking club here in Cbus – I know there’s at least a few LJ’ers in the area :) it would be nice to get together with a group of people to do skill building and swap ideas when possible!

-- aspiring jill of all trades

View ksSlim's profile

ksSlim

956 posts in 1493 days


#4 posted 527 days ago

JD,
I live in Kansas, to my knowledge there are only two clubs available to Kansans.
Sunflowerwoodworkers.org in Wichita

and kcwoodworkersguild.org just on the Missouri side of Kansas City.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View jdmaher's profile

jdmaher

277 posts in 1182 days


#5 posted 526 days ago

kajunkraft,

Good luck in Louisiana!

Yes, all the Illinois groups listed are currently active. Do be patient about return e-mails; apparently, not all woodworkers check their e-mail regularly.

Let us know!

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

View jdmaher's profile

jdmaher

277 posts in 1182 days


#6 posted 526 days ago

ksSlim,

A quick Google search found a couple more in Kansas, but I don’t know if they are still active.

Kansas City Woodturners; Lenexa; http://www.kcwoodturners.org/
South Kansas Woodturners; Wichita; chipturner@southwind.net

Maybe you should post a Blog series about Kansas Woodworking Clubs?

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

View NormG's profile

NormG

3999 posts in 1607 days


#7 posted 526 days ago

That is a very interesting and worthy idea. I am a little shocked that a club would not want to be know for what they do, but I also understand. I will have to give this some thought

-- Norman

View kajunkraft's profile

kajunkraft

93 posts in 813 days


#8 posted 526 days ago

Wow. Already rec’d. replies from Windy City Woodturners, Grundy Woodworkers Club and Hickory Hills Woodworking Club. Very helpful.

Guess a big part of our interest is what participation do they get? It doesn’t look like so much so far.

I find that woodworking is a rather solitary endeavor and think it would be great to get together from time to time with other woodworkers. But the questions are: how, where, how often, formal obligations, dues, etc. So it is really great to read how others are accomplishing this.

Your opening of this subject has been a real help for us. Thanks!

View Rick M.'s profile (online now)

Rick M.

3788 posts in 983 days


#9 posted 526 days ago

http://www.woodworkingshop.com/clubs/

Fairly extensive list.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3631 posts in 1970 days


#10 posted 526 days ago

View rf58's profile

rf58

57 posts in 1813 days


#11 posted 523 days ago

theWOODCRAFTERS UNLIMITED CLUB IN PRICETON illinois.
OUR MEETINGS ARE THE THIRD THURSDAY OF THE MONTH
FOR INFORMATION EMAIL rf58@yahoo.com

-- rf58, Illinois

View JesseTutt's profile

JesseTutt

796 posts in 713 days


#12 posted 523 days ago

If you have a local woodworking store (Woodcraft or Rockler) they may know of clubs.

Around Saint Louis, Missouri, USA we have:

WoodWorkers Guild- I visited twice in the last ten years, both times I was ignored so I don’t visit them anymore.
Wood Turners of St. Louis
Show-Me Wood Turners

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View Kathryn's profile

Kathryn

1 post in 338 days


#13 posted 338 days ago

Hi KajunKraft,
I’m in Baton Rouge and looking for woodworking clubs. Will you pass on any info you find? I’d really appreciate it!

-- Kathryn, Baton Rouge, LA

View kajunkraft's profile

kajunkraft

93 posts in 813 days


#14 posted 337 days ago

Kathryn,
I tried to send you a PM but don’t think it went through? Check out www.brwoodworkers.com.

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