All Replies on Are We A Part Of Dying Art?

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Are We A Part Of Dying Art?

by Maveric777
posted 08-17-2010 02:35 PM

48 replies so far

View lwllms's profile


555 posts in 3245 days

#1 posted 08-17-2010 03:16 PM

I won’t be doing this in 20 or 30 years. I’m 62 and cancer and a heart attack have put out the caution flag for me. I have been woodworking for more than 35 and never much worried about who else was doing it.

View Greedo's profile


473 posts in 2924 days

#2 posted 08-17-2010 03:17 PM

i can maybe reverse the question, are you growing your own food? does your fruit and vegetables come from your garden? do you bake your own bread, raise and slaughter your own animals? knit you clothes etc…
so many things wich not so long ago pretty much everybody did, but those arts or occupations didn’t die.
some people kept doing it and became prefessional, others do it for fun or neccesity.
if those or our woodworking art don’t transform and adapt then they die, if woodworking hadn’t become a moneymaking industry then it wouldn’t have evolved that much and most of the powertools and such we use today wouldn’t have been invented i guess.
it’sn not dying as long as there are trees ont his planet (or as long as they can genetically modify plants to grow into funiture themselves!)

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13600 posts in 3305 days

#3 posted 08-17-2010 03:36 PM

kick all the buckets you like
do all the new pastimes

sooner or later
these things get booring

and many turn to craft
and art

for the personal rewards !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Maveric777's profile


2693 posts in 3040 days

#4 posted 08-17-2010 03:58 PM

I guess where I was going with this is I don’t see many young people getting into woodworking. Maybe because it is not in schools like it was back in the day, or what not. I don’t see much interest in it around my regular crowd at least. Almost every other day I am being asked to build something for someone, but I have yet to have someone ask me “Will you show me how to do this”..... That is where I was going with this.

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View ChuckV's profile


3110 posts in 3491 days

#5 posted 08-17-2010 04:03 PM

Dan -

I believe that the craft of woodwroking is still alive and well. I have been fortunate to take some workshops at the North Bennet School in Boston. In each workshop, there have been a significant number of young people either just out of high school or only a few years beyond that. Also, when we take a tour through the parts of the school that house the full-time programs, I am amazed at the talent shown by the young students there. The school admits students two times a year, and there is always a waiting list.

So, the craft may not always be out in the open, but I feel that it is not dying.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View Maveric777's profile


2693 posts in 3040 days

#6 posted 08-17-2010 04:10 PM

Very cool Chuck…. A waiting list! Now that is awesome….

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View hairy's profile


2655 posts in 3496 days

#7 posted 08-17-2010 04:10 PM

I think people had the same questions 100 years ago. Machinery did things that were always done by hand, and that won’t change.

Some folks keep old skills alive and some have never changed from doing it the old way.

No doubt, it will be different.

-- My reality check bounced...

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10046 posts in 4016 days

#8 posted 08-17-2010 06:10 PM

Here I thought this thread was going to be about dying wood…

... like using TransTint … show polish… TransFast… or other dyes to artfully DYE wood…

... oh well… :) :)

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

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Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3250 days

#9 posted 08-17-2010 06:22 PM

As long as there are trees, there will be someone to create beauty from them.

While production techniques will always be changing, creativity will never go out of style. With the
internet now, people like never before are encouraged by others. I know my passion, ability and knowledge have grown stronger through the years. Learning methods and gaining knowledge will only grow the art. People will always need a relief from stress in life. What better way to do it than through woodworking.


View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 2890 days

#10 posted 08-17-2010 06:28 PM

I hired a girl the other day for our Construction company who had three years in Cabinetmaking. I told her this was an entry level position (basicly starting out as a laborer), and asked why would she get out of Cabinetmaking?

She said the trade is dying out, too many big companies pushing the little shops out of business.

Maybe that’s what she’s been told, but every small shop in our city that we do business with cannot keep up. They are looking for helpers, apprentices, installers, you name it.

I think it is still alive and well, depends where you look.

I didn’t want to bring this up again, but in this “instant – gratification” society, where everyone wants it all right now, it will deter some from taking the time to draw or study a plan, buy the rough lumber, machine it, cut the pieces to size, assemble and finish the project…

It isn’t for everyone!

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3234 days

#11 posted 08-17-2010 06:37 PM

I do not see this as a dying trend. I see many younger folks taking up the hobby. As long as people have imagination and the drive to create…woodworking will remain vibrant. Even with schools dropping industrial arts right and left there are still young folks that want to learn – I get friends asking all the time if I would show their kids some of the skills.

When my grandfather was teaching me some of his skills…he used to say that the younger generation is loosing interest and will not keep this art alive….but I think there are more now (based on tool sales) then there has ever been…..

As long as you see engineers making innovations in tools – check out the new Bosch slider – due out Oct 1, 1010 (Fine Woodworking site) will see more folks take up this hobby….and now more women are finding the passion for this hobby (which is a wonderful thing by the way). I think woodworking has many more miles left on the tread.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

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John Steffen

218 posts in 3019 days

#12 posted 08-17-2010 06:51 PM

I just think the entry age for woodworking is getting older for several reasons.

Kids don’t look for creative outlets these days. They don’t need it as a hobby as they have other things to keep them occupied (Internet/TV/Friends… probably in that order). In high school they are being trained to go on to college, and MOST of those kids won’t get into a vocation like woodworking, so they don’t worry about it.

I’m willing to bet that a very solid majority of the people here got into woodworking well after their life/career were established. If only because up until that point they were spending all of their energies getting to that point.

And finally woodworking is wtfexpensive. In the last 8 months I’ve wrapped up about $4,000 in tools and $500 in my workbench, and that’s just basic power tools. I have no hand tools (which are darn near as expensive) nowhere near enough clamps to do any real glue-ups, and I’ve bought zero hardwood (can’t believe some of the prices). I’m not sure where kids are supposed to get that kind of funding. Most of the money I spent came from a lot of overtime and selling my car.

No, I don’t think woodworking is dying. Quite the opposite… I think it’s making a comeback, just in a different capacity. The commercial side of it has, and will continue to die down (but never go away completely). I think as long as there are bored middle-aged men and women with a nack for building things, there will be plenty of new woodworkers.

-- Big John's Woodshed - Farmington, IL

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2693 posts in 3040 days

#13 posted 08-17-2010 06:53 PM

Good conversation everyone. Its good to hear positive encouraging feedback from everyone. I am tickled to hear things are still alive and kicking. Maybe I need to crawl out of the shop from time to time and look around….. lol

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

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2693 posts in 3040 days

#14 posted 08-17-2010 06:56 PM

John I think you may have just hit the nail on the head. Never once did I think of that factor….

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View rhett's profile


742 posts in 3631 days

#15 posted 08-17-2010 07:03 PM

All things that take a skill set are falling to the way side.

-- Doubt kills more dreams than failure.

View mark1945's profile


5 posts in 3126 days

#16 posted 08-17-2010 07:08 PM

I have to go along with John. I always did a small amount of woodworking but really never near to what I do now since I retired. Just never seemed to find time to really pursue any big projects. Thats all changed now.

-- Mark

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1283 posts in 3701 days

#17 posted 08-17-2010 07:14 PM

I have sold a few woodworking related tools over the past year. The age of the buyer varied greatly. Last weekend I sold a sander and bandsaw to a person who is in his twenties. He already has some tools and is constantly looking for more. I believe most crafts and professions have highs and lows. Wood is a renewable resource and very earthy in nature. Woodworking goes back many thousands of years and will continue.
I don not think it is an expensive hobby. Many people throw down 50,000 dollars and more for a travel trailer or motorhome and use it maybe 1 month a year. Investing 5,000 to 10,000 as a hobbyist or 50,000 to 100,000 to start a small shop is not that much money. Consider the number of years of enjoyment one can get from the investment. Also, the tools will retain some value if quality tools are purchased and maintained.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3079 days

#18 posted 08-17-2010 07:17 PM

I think for the 1. time we here in Denmark are ahead of you , sadly but true
maybee becourse we only have alot of pine some ash,marble, and oak
so now if you want to learn anything about woodworking the comerciel way
in one of the educationschoolsprogram for adult you be learned in a combination
teaching something between a carpenter and maschine worker
if you don´t want to go into a industri design school where you can if you are lucky
to have a teacher that say make something in wood
thats how it has been the last many years and if you want to learn it in your sparetime
luckely we have a great evening schoolprogram were you can learn what interrested you
from yoga to turning ,knifemaking and other trades
but no real woodworking education here anymore, I gess its becourse we don´t have
some of your lovely darker wood here in Skandinavia like mahogeny and walnut
if we want to go down to the locel woodsurplyer all what we can get is sheedgoods and lausy pine
and some pressuretreaded wood
even thow we can see that there is many many people who tinkle around and make things
with there hannds becourse they are tired of steal, plastic and the concept buy and trow away

my gess is we come back slowly to time were you can have such a job as woodworker
becourse people want qualitat when they buy things now

so look at the bright side we ain´t dead yet :—)


View ocwoodworker's profile


209 posts in 2968 days

#19 posted 08-17-2010 07:19 PM

I was about to post the same thing as John. I went to a local meeting of woodworking enthusiasts for the first time with my two oldest daughters and saw a lot of old time folks. It was then that it hit me. I am there (39 years old) only because I can afford too do this hobby now. Check out your own experience. Did you have a tough time deciding to buy a table saw or diapers? Priorities in life make the natural progression of passion secondary to the more immediate needs. I started getting into (seriously) woodworking at about 3 years ago. I think if you did a survey and asked “If you have a family, when did you get serious in woodworking?” It would be somewhere in the mid-30’s to early 40’s I bet.

-- I'd like to believe Murphy's Law haunts my woodshop, because if it's Karma it would mean I had something to do with it. - K.R.

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10880 posts in 3079 days

#20 posted 08-17-2010 08:03 PM

it has nothing to do with when you get serius about woodworking that is the big question
its when did you get the bite from the big wood/DIY bug in your life
if it hasn´t come across you when you was young I daubt it ever will
we simply have to have good schools with both education in books
and education in making thing with you hands and be creative with them its the only way forward
children is both the best and the worst resourse we have , you can nurse there brain or you can dump them
and say what do I care

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 2904 days

#21 posted 08-17-2010 09:22 PM

From a hobbyist point of view, John makes some good comments. The woodworking guild in my area consists mostly of retired guys with disposable income.
Off course, woodworking can be done without a large financial outlay. Hand tools! Guess that is just too slow and labor intensive for most. Blame it on the influence of our modern instant gratification, consumer driven society. That’s why the tool shops are smiling and coming up with more and more ridiculous gizmos!
I work wood for a living, so some thoughts from that side. The craft of woodworking as such is dying, yes. As is many other crafts. The task of making basic wooden things has been taken over by machines and sweatshops.
At the same time, craftsmanship is also dying and that is our savior. More and more people are beginning to recognize the lack of craftsmanship in consumer production goods.

Good craftsmanship is becoming contemporary art. People are starting to value the exclusivity of good craftsmanship and design and they are willing to pay for it.

I can go on and on, enough said.

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View AnnaEA's profile


86 posts in 2820 days

#22 posted 08-17-2010 09:37 PM

On the matter of hand tools— they aren’t as good an entry to woodworking as they could be.

  • they’re hard to learn to use from books or videos – one really needs a skilled mentor to teach skills much beyond the basics.
  • few other woodworkers use them, making finding a skilled mentor difficult.
  • high quality hand tools can be quite expensive – enough so to be daunting to an in-experienced woodworker who isn’t familiar with how hand tools should perform
  • cheap hand tools frequently perform like crap – enough so to be very discouraging to an in-experienced woodworker who isn’t familiar with how hand tools should perform..
  • hand tools are slow. A pretty big hurdle for the instant gratification generation.

Beyond the hand tool issue, I can identify for certain one major bar to young people finding wood working.

Wood isn’t very common in our lives anymore. Few people use wood heat, most floors are carpet over plywood subfloors, the majority of affordable new furniture is made of particle board, and the toys we grew up with are plastic and electronic.

-- Work hard, play hard, drink good beer.

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#23 posted 08-17-2010 09:44 PM

Not sure about a dying art…....... for me it’s THERAPY!

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 2904 days

#24 posted 08-17-2010 09:49 PM

AnnaEA, woodworking is NOT for those that want instant gratification. They won’t last!

Quality USED handtools can be found at VERY realistic prices.

There are no better teacher than DOING and PERSISTENCE. It is not that difficult. Skill can only come with practise.

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 2947 days

#25 posted 08-18-2010 02:44 AM

First off Dan age has no hold on longevity, just buried a 34 year old friend this last week. But am glad to hear your thinking about such matters and what should be done with your tools. Speaking of tools my daughter will inherit mine. As for the craft dying off I don’t for see this happening myself. But as john has stated young people have many other things to think about and do that take up a lot of their time. I have quite a few young people (trying not to say kids LOL) that know me that want to come in the shop with me because I have the toys. Yes its true that mature people are more settled in and have the time to invest in a pretty much stationary hobby. In fact my neighbor came by to ask how to do something as she is just getting into woodworking. She just got a scroll saw and is starting out with small craft items. I think the longer your at the game you will find that there are more people around you that are as well. In fact there are a lot of things that I am now finding the time to do myself now that I’m older. As you stated your new to getting around the saw dust yourself, and so will others when the desire comes to them. Heck I still am trying to get use to todays technology myself and if I don’t understand something or need to learn something I ask a young person as they know all about this stuff today.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3249 days

#26 posted 08-18-2010 05:26 AM

This is a great thread and as I read the 27 post before me I realized there is really two sides to this question. Is this a dying Art? As a hobby, I don’t think it will every die. No matter the age, when someone discovers the joy of woodworking, they can pursue it at any level they want, whether it’s with limited financial recourses, limited space or tools and with any level of experience, virtually anywhere in the world. We prove that here on Lumber Jocks!
But as a professional woodworker, over the past 25 years, I’ve seen us become more of a disposable society. With a trend more on technology, from electronics, automobiles and everything we use in our life everyday, I see the focus is more on what’s new, not will it last for years. I personally feel I’m a dying breed as a true craftsman. Over the years, I’ve had a lot of young woodworkers come to me and tell me they want to do what I’m doing. (designing and building quality furniture and fine cabinetry). They want to be a professional woodworker…....a true craftsman….......focused on quality and service. After a year or two, about 90% of them (if still in business) has changed their focus more on how fast and how “cheap” they can build it. Another words, most become more interested in seeing how much money they can make and the quality and craftsmanship is not their top priority.
I still have a good business and my passion for woodworking is stronger today then ever and I’ve been able to build a strong customer base over the years…........To find the new customer that’s more interested in true quality, then just price, is a little harder today then it was 20 – 25 years ago. Thank God for the referrals I get from my customers. I’ve held true to my passion for quality craftsmanship and looking at the level of work presented here on LJ’s from other full time woodworkers, they have too…..........So, are we a dying breed?

-- John @

View LeeinEdmonton's profile


254 posts in 3545 days

#27 posted 08-18-2010 06:44 AM

I turned 79 last month & have not built anything large for the home for several years. About 10 years ago I saw this coming & that’s when I started building wooden toys in order to retain the skills that I have. Lo & behold this was a lucky choice because I found that I enjoyed making them. Nothing large & heavy involved with toys & best of all very little waste. I donate the toys for innercity kids at Christmas hence nothing is cluttering up the house. Kinda sliding sideways on this thread I have noticed that young couples move into a house & have no clue on how to repair anything which will be an expensive situation if they don’t knuckle in & learn or the house will suffer & become shabby with age.


-- Lee

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John Steffen

218 posts in 3019 days

#28 posted 08-18-2010 01:18 PM

Lee: Kinda sliding sideways on this thread I have noticed that young couples move into a house & have no clue on how to repair anything which will be an expensive situation if they don’t knuckle in & learn or the house will suffer & become shabby with age.

That’s exactly what got me into woodworking.

-- Big John's Woodshed - Farmington, IL

View Maveric777's profile


2693 posts in 3040 days

#29 posted 08-18-2010 02:25 PM

This thread has turned out to be quite a good discussion. I know it personaly makes me feel better knowing that even though things may be different… It is still alive and well. I know in my 34 short years one thing I have grown to accept is “Things Change”. Maybe it was knowing that fact that gave me the little uneasy feeling. Or the fact I know no one closer than 45 minutes away that woodworks (a fellow Lumber Jock). Or even the fact no one sharpens blades here in my town any more. I just kept seeing the little things that made me wonder and yes worry a tad about this subject.

I can say with most confidence that if it where not for my adopted Dad leaving me his small collection of woodworking tools I probably would not be here posting projects on Lumber Jocks. I am also at a point in my life where it does not come down to a choice of having to buy diapers, pay the electric bill, etc…. over snagging that sweet router. I feel extremely lucky to be where I am, and be able to do what I love.

It is a bummer though that schools do not really offer shop classes any more. I know that was what planted the seed for me personaly all those years ago. I grew up “Extremely” poor and without a Father figure around most my childhood. That was my only experience up to mid teen years to even be around this kind of stuff. I cant help but wonder how many young people out there today who may be in the same situation I was years ago. I can’t help but wonder how many talented young people we have out there who may go their entire life not knowing what they could do if given the right path….. Hmmmm?

And about the quality. That is a very good subject as well. I know when I build something I always think of what my adopted Dad told me over…. and over… and over… again. “Do the best you can do at everything you do, and you will never have any regrets”. Maybe that is the root to me being accused of being OCD or overly anal with things I partake in. Although my work is not up to the perfection bar we see here on the site day in and day out, I can honestly say what I build will be the best I could do at that time. I am a firm believer in quality over quantity, and by the looks of a lot of work here on Lumber Jocks I can see that I am not alone.

Good discussion….

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

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David Craig

2137 posts in 3072 days

#30 posted 08-18-2010 02:57 PM

Necessity is the mother of invention. I believe one has to keep in mind how woodworking, metal working, quilting, arts and crafts, etc. got started in the first place. Someone needed a place to sleep, a way to stay warm, a container for their clothes, a place to sit, etc. After functionality, there was the need to work on design and to make these objects appealing. Many people like to be “idea” people. They like the exercising of the imagination not necessarily the physical work involved in making the idea a reality. I believe we go through a natural ebb and flow. As woodworking decreased, so did the options available to the consumer and quantity of people able to customize. The necessity inspires the labor, the labor inspires the interest to be creative.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

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4423 posts in 3706 days

#31 posted 08-19-2010 03:08 AM

The downturn is partly the IKEA versions of working and instant gratification society. This drives the questions especially from those who are not woodworkers, that don’t understand why we spend time the way we do.

THe other part is in school. THere are many examples where shops were replaced with computer labs. I was lucky and in the 80’s we had both! But also shop was required of everyone. It was a rotation in industrial arts, one quarter was electric – we made small devices, and etched our own copper circuit boards, but also residential wiring was done, how to wire a 3-way switch. Then there was one quarter (9 weeks) on machinery we made metal dustpans and the like, one quarter was Home Economics – included cooking and how to balance a check-book and even fill out a 1040EZ. final quarter was woodworking.
Now there were also specific courses more in depth in any of these, but everyone got a taste of working with their hands.
Now those classes are moved to ‘technical centers’ where the “Bad” students spend half a day learning construction trades while the good kids continued “College Prep”

You have the typical hoidy toidies who say it is a good program for “Those kind of kids” but not theirs.
I got my PhD in Chemistry at Penn State, and part of my graduate work was making experimental setups using a metal lathe and milling machine. Also am able to do repairs to our home.

THe goal we need to have is that working with our hands and actually making something tangible is a good skill, and not just something for the “Dumb Kids”, whether you will be a brain surgeon or dig ditches, and all opportunities between.

I attend Marc Adams’ School every summer, and the classes were always packed with Engineers and Doctors. All the engineers have said that they enjoy the “Tangible” nature of woodworking, versus the day job they have banging away at a computer.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

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#32 posted 08-19-2010 03:22 AM

I am a shop teacher and my district just spent nearly $1millionin 2006 to remodel our shop building. My enrollment has gone up! We used to have about 200 kids in shop 3 years ago, we now have almost 300. That is 10% of our school.

Places like harbor freight and grizzly are making woodworking more affordable to the common folk. Shows like DIY and HGTV are giving people hope that they can do the same. Although I personally agree that either of my last statements are the best answer, it does give people inspiration and desire.

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5705 posts in 3196 days

#33 posted 08-19-2010 04:02 AM

I started woodworking in my teens, which was far longer ago than I care to admit to, but came back to it a couple of years ago because, well I finally could afford to pursue what I loved so long ago. (Got rid of a nasty ex wife, sure makes life better in a LOT of ways…), anyway I digress, I have nephews and nieces that would never operate a saw if you forced them to… But then again, if you look at almost every other house in my neighborhood, you will hear the sound of power saws on any given day, even Christmas morning!

I think the younger set is at a disadvantage though, they are no longer learning the skills in school, and paying contractors, or having to keep buying Ikea junk furniture every few years is going to add up REALLY fast…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

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4 posts in 2802 days

#34 posted 08-19-2010 04:32 AM

Circ. 1959 B & D Mahogany Power Tool Chest

Not to be rude or off the track, but I’m going nuts. Has anyone ever seen one of these? Thank you!!!

View AndyMarc's profile


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#35 posted 08-19-2010 04:32 AM

View LeeinEdmonton's profile


254 posts in 3545 days

#36 posted 08-20-2010 01:52 AM

In most cities in Canada woodworking shop courses at schools were discontinued because the school systems
could no longer afford the cost of the liability insurance. Many woodworkers got some sweet deals when the schools sold off their woodworking tools & machines. Insurance companies are still playing havoc because now technical schools are also under insurance costs duress.


-- Lee

View pashley's profile


1043 posts in 3681 days

#37 posted 08-20-2010 04:54 AM

I’m guessing there are a lot of young boys out there that would love to try their hand at simple woodworking; problem is, it’s a bit dangerous, as we all know. Yet, a seasoned woodjock could teach the kid some things, and maybe do the more dangerous cutting aspects…what boy doesn’t love power tools?

Also, I think some people will look at a project, let’s say a Grandfather clock, and think they could never learn how to be good enough to build something like that. In reality, it’s 3 boxes on top of each other. They need to realize that skill sets need to be built up over time; and each project will only enlarge your skill set.

Personally, I would much rather be in the shop, then do what I usually must do – sit in front of a computer. Making something tangible with my hands that will last a hell of a lot longer than some stupid website is more gratifying by far. With computer work, you can become so frustrated not being able to “see” what is causing a problem. In woodworking, it’s obvious, and you can get to work fixing the problem, rather than trying to discover it.

I hope it’s not a dying art, but I think it is, in a sense. You don’t have the craftsman around you had say, 50 years ago. People can go out and just by some junk for way less. Woodworking has taught me the beauty and value of something done by the human hand, guided by the human mind, that a soulless machine could never have created. I look at some of my stuff and say, “Not bad, kid.” Then I’ll look at some junk from China and say…”What the hell is this?!” I’m real snooty about quality now I guess.


-- Have a blessed day!

View LeeinEdmonton's profile


254 posts in 3545 days

#38 posted 08-20-2010 06:09 AM

I agree Pashley. My dad apprenticed for 5 years to be a carpenter in the days when building a house the carpenters did everything from digging the basement with a team of horses dragging a scoop with handles called a skip. They mixed and poured the cement footings. Built the forms of shiplap & 2×4’s & poured the basement walls. Salvaged the forms & even the nails. The shiplap was laid diagonally to form the subfloor & the 2×4’s became studs. They cut the rafters & installed them. Sheeted the roof with shiplap & laid the cedar shingles. About the only things they didn’t do was the plumbing & the wiring. They did lathe the walls & made them ready for the plasterers. Tar papered the exterior walls, attached the chickenwire, making the walls ready for the plasterers to apply the scratch coat & finish coats of stucco. They built the cupboards & did all the finishwork. Those guys were true tradesmen. Many of the houses built in the very early 1900’s are still standing as a result. You can look at some houses today & at a mere 20 years of age & they are dumps, with most being fire traps due to the materials in use. Chipboard … extremely fire hazardous covered with a plastic wrap then vinyl siding …. good grief. Asphalt shingles which burn like h*. No wonder barbeques burn down houses besides turning hamburgers into hockey pucks. Where’s the nearest uninhabited cave so I can move in ? LOL

-- Lee

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36 posts in 732 days

#39 posted 05-16-2016 04:30 PM

I like the conversation. I’m 19 and have been into woodworking for the past few years. It started with building stages for bands and plays, then has morphed into turning pens and bowls on a lathe, cabinets and trunks, and now keepsake boxes, cutting boards, etc. I cannot find anybody around my age that has any interest in pursuing a hobby. It’s pretty sad to see. I don’t see how you can get through life without a go to hobby/hobbies to be thinking about at the office or sitting through a lecture. 95% of people I know around my age all live a superficial life on social media and through their phone screen.

On a positive note, I’m beginning to get my soon-to-be brother in law hooked on woodworking. He’s beginning to see how a hobby is what gets you through life. Having something to look forward to, learn, and grow a skill at is what puts your life in balance. All I think about at the office is what project or thing I’m gonna try next is. I cannot imagine what it’d be like if I had nothing to look forward to or think about all day! That’s where depression would fall in.

I just drove from GA to OH just to go to Keim Lumber…. I highly recommend a trip there!

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5587 posts in 2175 days

#40 posted 05-16-2016 04:54 PM

It’s true, and a shame, that many schools are eliminating woodworking, among other things. I think this is part of the perception that woodworking is in decline, because many people don’t get introduced to it at an early age. What hasn’t changed, however in the innate human need to create and build. Some people try to fill this with electronics, but in the end, the happiest ones have found a creative outlet that requires actual physical skill. This has led to the “maker” movement in many cities.

Some of the biggest tech companies on the planet have recognized this human need and now offer it as a fringe benefit to employees. How many people know that Facebook installed a woodworking shop at their headquarters a few years ago? Or that Google has workshops, as well.

If we, as woodworkers, can take the opportunity to show others the hobby and what it brings, who knows how many others would join in.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

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1009 posts in 2075 days

#41 posted 05-16-2016 05:16 PM

I just wanted to address the myth that my generation is obsessed with instant gratification. That is a much older problem. There once was a time when a handsaw was all you needed to cut wood but with the introduction of power saws, instant gratification. Same concept with gas mowers, refrigerators, all of the tech of the 1950s. If you pay attention you’ll see that this generation is more concerned with the process. The hand tool revival is strongest among younger woodworkers. A local old timer asked me what I was building when I bought some lumber the other day. I said a dovetailed box. He asked if I had my router and jig and bits and I said no, just a handsaw and some chisels. He looked at me as if I’d grown a third arm. Remember that every generation complains about the one that comes after it but we’re all still here.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany

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4423 posts in 3706 days

#42 posted 05-17-2016 12:47 PM

- JADobson I would say…True – - except for the Refrigerator part…. storing food properly, and using electricity instead of an Ice Box, was more about Reliability (when you leave for a few days and didn’t get your ice delivered) and mess. Not so much speed.

Every generation used the BEST and fastest tools available at the time. If the Victorians had tablesaws and routers, they would look at someone ripping the sides of a chippendale highboy with a hand saw as if they had a third arm also.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

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1009 posts in 2075 days

#43 posted 05-17-2016 02:19 PM

Every generation used the BEST and fastest tools available at the time. If the Victorians had tablesaws and routers, they would look at someone ripping the sides of a chippendale highboy with a hand saw as if they had a third arm also.

- DrDirt

While mostly true, I don’t think that impacts my statement that this generation cannot be blamed for instant gratification, a much older issue. I say mostly because of people like this:

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany

View BB1's profile


1118 posts in 812 days

#44 posted 05-17-2016 02:54 PM

Well…I’m a mid-40s female who has come to woodworking as a great hobby within the past year or so. Learning from LJ plus WoodSmith dvds and many great folks on YouTube. Weekends typically include at least some time in the shop. Love making gifts for friends and family…and building items that solve a problem around the house (e.g., seat/shoe storage in our mudroom). Like the challenge of figuring out how to go from idea to completion – even if frustrated at times with my errors. Happy to say my niece is in a woodworking shop class at her high school and I look forward to seeing all her projects when we visit this summer.

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533 posts in 1509 days

#45 posted 05-17-2016 04:00 PM

I don’t know if it’s dying or not but as a guy in my mid 30’s I have a hard time finding other guys my age that enjoy the hobby. I’ve attended a couple local club meetings but I’m normally the youngest guy in the crowd by at least 20 years. I stopped going to the stuff because I get a lot of “why are you here” looks.

-- Trust me I'm an engineer.

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4423 posts in 3706 days

#46 posted 05-17-2016 08:38 PM

It seems to be something that gets a seed planted while we are young (why shop class is important)... but then having a family gets in the way a bit, but once the kids are functioning as teens, and we stop having to drive to dance, soccer, baseball, band, football, Scouting etc… we come back to it. (that is why so many older folks in the clubs… they have TIME)

Maybe we miss a bit, as we do a lot of fixing around the house, using the school hand skills.. then once our teenagers quit breaking things, we start thinking about actually Making nice things.

One of our big customers is the Borg, and they see the impact of getting rid of shop classes, as it impacts their business, as you get folks buying their first house, that have never replaced a light switch… or hung a door, or fixed a door that sticks in the summer.
That is why they have those weekend classes, to teach Tile, Painting, and those hand skills that don’t get taught anymore. They took it upon themselves to start training their customers to use the products they sell.

Agree a lot with what JayT had to say about the creative outlet.

I try to go to Marc Adams every year, and the school is attended by tons of white collar folks, engineers and doctors, who have a lot of screen time in their work, that then use woodworking as an outlet to do tacktile “tangible work” that they can hold, and point at… which our professions lack..

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View Woodknack's profile


11479 posts in 2344 days

#47 posted 05-18-2016 03:06 AM

Instant gratification has nothing to do with it. Woodworkers of a certain age were taught to do everything with power tools. When I was taking shop class in the 80’s we had a very well equipped shop full of power tools. Four years of woodworking classes and I never once saw or used a hand plane, a hand saw, nor most other hand tools. Norm came on television and taught a generation how to woodwork with power tools. When I wanted to learn hand tools I had to read books. Hand tool skills were being lost. Thankfully, folks like Roy Underhill, Christopher Schartz, and many others kept them alive. And back then there weren’t any good hand tools other than antiques. Now you have many companies making quality hand tools but 30 years ago, pickings were slim. Hell, even 20 years there weren’t many companies making quality hand tools.

-- Rick M,

View OSU55's profile


1630 posts in 1953 days

#48 posted 05-18-2016 12:01 PM

Short answer – no, but I don’t think it is really growing either. WW has fairly well stabilized, both from a professional and hobbyist perspective. Power tools , automation, and outsourcing have run their course through the professional ranks. Don’t see a lot of change – there will continue to be niche markets. IF gov’t makes some changes to make it more equitable to mfr in the US, then some of those jobs could return and change things.

As a hobby, it’s been an older person’s thing since I was in high school (70’s), due to the time and $ required. I don’t recall anyone I went to school with being into woodworking. While many schools used to have ww classes, not many continued with it as life got in the way. Obviously there is a sizeable market or we would not see the breadth of equipment available, but it’s fairly stable. I think it will continue to be fairly stable – there will continue to be those folks who like to do and build and create, regardless of computers, robots, cellphones, and whatever new thing that comes along to try to take our time and $. It’s kinds like old cars and equipment – there’s always an interest.

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