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View Andrew1605's profile

Woodworking Co-op

by Andrew1605
posted 1726 days ago


16 replies so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14548 posts in 2259 days


#1 posted 1726 days ago

co-op to buy tools or a shop to use them?

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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Andrew1605

15 posts in 1774 days


#2 posted 1726 days ago

I’m thinking an actual shop. I read an article not long ago about a group in Boston. They have a shop and several members who share the shop space. Every member is his own boss but the jobs,( whether it be a kitchen or furniture piece or architectural), are billed to the customer through the shop as a whole. The individuals are payed through the shop as contractors on a 1099. If a job is big enough , they help one another out to complete the project, making payment arrangements on a case by case basis.
Apparently, there is a core group of guys who take turns every quarter as co-op business mgr. and when a bench or shop space is free, they bring in another member periodically by a vote of the existing members. Whatever tools you bring into the co-op, you leave with when (if) you leave the group. This particular co-op has been going now since the early nineties, I believe. So far, it seems to work, although I’m sure it has it’s issues.
Anyone else familiar with anything resembling this?

-- Its not Rocket Surgery!

View cabinetmaster's profile

cabinetmaster

10874 posts in 2141 days


#3 posted 1726 days ago

Sounds like a great idea. I’ll follow this post and see what develops. Where are you located? Interesting concept.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

111999 posts in 2160 days


#4 posted 1726 days ago

I know Portland Oregon has a building with many artisans that share space in one building But I don’t remember it’s name.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View huff's profile

huff

2767 posts in 1868 days


#5 posted 1726 days ago

Sounds like being married to a half dozen women at the same time. I’m sure there are some advantages, but also see where it would be tough to please them all. I’ve heard of co-op’s before, but not quite like that. Usually they share a large space. (You can rent a 15,000sq.ft. building a lot cheaper per sq. ft. then you can a 2,000 Sq. ft. space}. Each woodworker has his own alloted space and then shares some of the common space, and each woodworker has his own cliente’s. If the project is large enough, he may get help from some of the others, but mostly each is independent. They share the rent and overhead and will share the cost of someof the large stationary tools. (Example: A small shop may not be able to afford a 24” planer, or a large molding machine, but the co-op can go in together and purchase a large machine and it’s used by all. They all share in the purchase and they share in the maintance. Some co-ops will have a common office space with a receptionist taking care of all the incoming calls etc. There’s a lot more to it then that, but I’ve heard it’s worked in a number of areas. That’s one you better have a strong business plan before you venture into. Good luck and keep us posted.

-- John @ http://www.thehuffordfurnituregroup.com

View Paul G's profile

Paul G

5 posts in 1731 days


#6 posted 1724 days ago

I don’t know specifically about woodworking co-ops, but you might want to see if there’s something like TechShop in your area. The focus is more broad than just woodworking—it includes things like electronics and even software development.

A place called i3 just opened in my area, and I’ve been meaning to check it out. Members pay a $100 monthly fee for 24-hour access to the space and tools. I believe i3 itself is a non-profit, and most of the members are amateur hobbyists.

Here’s a list of similar facilities.

View mild's profile

mild

2 posts in 1457 days


#7 posted 1457 days ago

hey Andrew—don’t know if you are still looking into this, I just stumbled on your post. I’ve been a member of two coops, that had similar organization. For us, the coops were ways to sharing the expense of being a small business, machinery being so expensive, space also being at a premium. Neither was a business coop, but I suspect that’s what most people imagine, but shared space, machinery, experience, and often coffee. Definitely how I prefer to work, but people in this area seem very attached to having their “own”. Good luck.

View Wood_smith's profile

Wood_smith

251 posts in 1608 days


#8 posted 1452 days ago

hmmm, being married to five women at the same time… interesting thought….

-- Lloyd Kerry; creator of the Kerry-All Pouch, http://www.kerrywoodworking.com

View woof's profile

woof

2 posts in 1368 days


#9 posted 1162 days ago

Hi Andrew. I have some information on Co-op shops. The ones I have heard of typically there is a main person who owns all the machinery, pays the building lease, utilities, etc., and may or may not provide the actual benches. There would be a fee, usually per month you pay to this person for the bench space and use of machines. How consumables ( Blades, sharpening, maintenance etc) are handled would be specific to each shop. This is how all the woodworking co-op shops I am aware of are handled. Sharing of income or any business mingling does not occur except on a case by case basis out of necessity. These shops are very common these days, at least here on the west coast, Machines and building costs being what they are. Good luck, you will find something. SW

-- Steve Wolfe

View Mike_in_Columbus's profile

Mike_in_Columbus

5 posts in 1586 days


#10 posted 1162 days ago

In Columbus Ohio we have a guy who kind of has that idea. I am linking the website below. He does a pretty good job with the tools and leaving you alone to get done what you want to do

http://www.buildmoreworkshop.com/Buildmore_Workshop_Home.html

-- Look Ma still got all 10 fingers

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sarahss

254 posts in 1233 days


#11 posted 1162 days ago

I wonder how high the liability insurance is? Gotta be crazy expensive.

View poopiekat's profile

poopiekat

3525 posts in 2318 days


#12 posted 1162 days ago

There was a nicely equipped 10,000 sf shop here in an industrial park. They had dream machines that generally sat idle. They did do woodworking seminars occaisionally. You could sign up and have free run of the shop, for $18.00/hr. But if you used their wide-belt sander, the price was $36/hr. I think rent eventually forced them to close, but I felt they did not aggressively market themselves.
I’d personally prefer a situation where a bunch of woodworkers could rent personal space for our own workshops, with a common area providing access to a few machines, jointer, planer, DC and TS available to all tenants. Though, yeah, insurance would be a nightmare….

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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TechRedneck

735 posts in 1440 days


#13 posted 1160 days ago

You may want to check out the West Virginia Wood Technology Center in Elkins, WV. Here is a link to their site:

http://www.wvwoodtech.com/index.php?section=12

It was started by the county development authority years ago with the help of a federal grant to assist the secondary wood products industry. The industrial tools are available for a nominal fee for use as overflow or to test a piece of equipment they may be interested in.

In addition to the shop there are around 26 local amateur and professional woodworkers who have their own equipment in the same shop. For a monthy fee of ( I think $30) or so, any member can use the entire shop. They meet monthly, have safety training and guest speakers on various topics.

I was a member for a couple years but since I live 30 minutes away I started building home my shop. The guys and girls there were a great help to me and I still enjoy stopping by and talking shop with them.

As a woodworker, I guess I am lucky to live in an area with lots of mills, cabinet mills, flooring mills and molding mills. I worked at the Wood Tech Center for a while and actually had keys to the place! Give Matt a call and he can answer your questions or send me a private email if you want more information.

-- Mike.... West Virginia. "Man is a tool using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.". T Carlyle

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ronhowes

3 posts in 980 days


#14 posted 679 days ago

I realize this is an old thread- I hope some are still reading it. This is an idea I have toyed with for some time as well. My idea was to find a group of maybe only 10 like minded woodworkers to combine their resources and build a great shop together. The rationale is the same- 10 people can afford much better equipment that 1. And it would be nice to have friends around for advice, assistance, etc. Each person could have their own bench and nook for their personal hand tools. Also, it would get all my tools out of my garage! Any ideas?

View BigDoug's profile

BigDoug

1 post in 636 days


#15 posted 636 days ago

So.. lots of people with a good idea (including me). Has anyone come up with the business plan? Marketing plan? Financial forecasts?

View Bagtown's profile

Bagtown

1699 posts in 2313 days


#16 posted 636 days ago

I used to belong to a carpentry co-op.
It’s still going strong. In the winter when things get slow, some of the guys go on unemployment insurance. The original core group were experienced carpenters that had worked for themselves for years. They were all used to being the boss, but in a co-op the hierarchy is flat, meaning nobody is anyone else’s boss. As such when we had meetings everyone had to learn to listen and compromise. We had one guy who was the business manager and he handled the day to day business dealings. He was payed the same hourly rate as the other members. The nice thing for some of the guys that had been working for themselves for years, was that the business manager now took care of paperwork, invoicing, etc. leaving them free to do carpeOn a job site there was one guy in charge of that job and everyone else had to respect that. It’s not for everyone, and it took a while to work out the kinks, but they are still going strong.
Here’s a link to their website.

-- Mike - In Fort McMurray Alberta

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