Joining local woodworking guild

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Forum topic by ajcollins posted 03-19-2013 10:32 AM 1241 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 1918 days

03-19-2013 10:32 AM

I am thinking about joining my local state woodworking guild. Any thoughts, comments, or experiences about joining a local guild would be much appreciated.

-- Andrew, New Hampshire

10 replies so far

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2384 days

#1 posted 03-19-2013 12:21 PM

From the couple I’ve looked at, it seems that they’re usually run by a coterie of old farts who started the club, which convenes monthly to hear the current guru demonstrate how to cut dovetails or sharpen a plane blade. And the club will have an annual project to make bird houses for the local nature center. A waste of time, IMO.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View Peteyb's profile


131 posts in 2578 days

#2 posted 03-19-2013 05:38 PM

I would have to say the opposite of Clint. It is worth the while. I pay $50 for a year to join and get monthly meetings, and other sessions that you may have to pay extra for. But the biggest reason that I joined is they have their own shop. The shop is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday so you can get a lot of work done and is really nice when you don’t have that equipment to use at your own shop.

View Lumber2Sawdust's profile


139 posts in 2888 days

#3 posted 03-19-2013 06:44 PM

I think you are both right :)

I joined a local club a little over a year ago. I have been to less than half of the monthly meetings – summer time is especially hard.

Through the club, a local pro woodworker put on a class for building a Maloof-style chair. It wasn’t cheap, but I took the class. I learned a ton, had fun, met some new friends, and built a great chair in the process.

The club does the “building birdhouse” type of stuff. It goes for a good cause, and if you like making sawdust, it is a good excuse to do so. Our club also builds kitchen cabinets for a local charity that has shelter houses for abused women. Volunteers work with a local cabinet business (who is also a club member) so you get to build a kitchen under the guidance of a pro and you are contributing to a great cause. I hope to be able to participate in that project this year. Something like that is easily worth the price of membership, just for what you learn from it.

Our club also gets discounts at Woodcraft, hardwood suppliers, etc. For my $30 membership, it is worth it for the savings I get and what I learn even though I’m not a regular participant in the meetings.

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3308 days

#4 posted 03-20-2013 02:24 PM


It really depends on the club or Guild, the members,(especially the ones that run it) and what you’re expecting from it. I’ve joined a number of clubs over the years and have had some really great experiences, but also had a few like Clint mentioned.

They are definitely worth checking out. You can usually go to the first meeting free before deciding whether to join or not and that should pretty much tell you what the club is all about. If all they talk about is fund raisers or donating crafts or you have a “know it all” that runs the meeting, it may not be what you’re looking for.

I joined a woodturners club one time and it was amazing how much they helped me. Everyone shared ideas, everyone helped and nobody acted like they were better then the others. They always had great demonstrations, you could ask a millions questions or just sit, watch and listen.

I moved to Delaware this past year and I’m getting ready to go to my first woodworkers club meeting this week. I’m looking forward to it and hope it will be one of the good ones.

Good luck with yours! Hope you enjoy

-- John @

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3767 days

#5 posted 03-20-2013 11:03 PM

I belonged to a guild when I lived in Maine. One of the best benefits was the 10% discount members got from one of the New Hampshire Lumber yards. I think it was in Kingston.
Our guild also was able to get large booths at most of the home and furnishing shows in the area at a reduced cost.
We did teach basic and advanced woodworking classes (Hand tools) but most of the members had been in the craft a long time.
There were members from all aspects of the woodworking trades, so it was interesting to get together with them each month to drink some coffee and chew the fat.

View schnauzerdude's profile


1 post in 1916 days

#6 posted 03-20-2013 11:42 PM

I just joined the local chapter of Reno Woodchucks and I am very pleased with it. I used to work at a local woodworking store here and the owner kept putting the wood chucks down so I waited a year after my first meeting of the club, I find it very useful and yes there are some of the elder members who kinda run it, but I have learned so much in just two months and met so many new woody friends lol. go for it with an open mind , you might just have the best time !!!

-- jerry in reno

View robdem's profile


380 posts in 2629 days

#7 posted 03-21-2013 12:01 AM

AJ I belong to a club on Long Island have over 200 members . Glad I joined last year have made a bunch of friends members are all willing to help each other with any problems. If I was you go to meeting see if you like what you here .

View RogerInColorado's profile


321 posts in 1977 days

#8 posted 03-21-2013 03:51 AM

I did a search on woodworking guilds a few months ago. In the process I looked at the newsletter for the Guild of New Hampshire woodworkers. It is a truly impressive document, the latest runs 25 pages. I encourage everyone to take a look at it. Based only on the newsletter, this is definitely not just a bunch of old farts sitting around learning how to cut dovetails. The field trip this month is a visit to the North Bennett Street School in Boston. If I lived anywhere in New Hampshire, I’d join just for that tour. I’m sure there are some struggling ones out there, but I’m equally sure that what you get out of it depends on what you put into it. I just joined the one in Colorado. It’s a 60 mile each way drive for me to attend meetings, but I can assure you that I have yet to say that the meeting wasn’t worth the drive.

View ajcollins's profile


2 posts in 1918 days

#9 posted 03-21-2013 11:13 PM

Roger, I have read the newsletter and that is one of the main reasons why i was thinking of joining. The guild seems to have many opportunities.
Thanks everyone for the input I appreciate the constructive criticism.

-- Andrew, New Hampshire

View SamuraiSaw's profile


515 posts in 1987 days

#10 posted 03-22-2013 12:13 AM

”From the couple I’ve looked at, it seems that they’re usually run by a coterie of old farts who started the club, which convenes monthly to hear the current guru demonstrate how to cut dovetails or sharpen a plane blade. And the club will have an annual project to make bird houses for the local nature center. A waste of time, IMO.”

Clint, given you pontifications I’d say you’re talking about yourself.

I think they are great, and it is one of those situations where you get back what you put in. I’m a member of one and I enjoy the fact there is every skill level imaginable in the group, and every kind of style.

And I like the annual project builds. It’s called being a part of your community, not a cantankerous pain in the a$$.

Just my humble opinion…............

-- Artisan Woodworks of Texas....

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