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Forum topic by ezgnann posted 12-18-2014 08:23 PM 1105 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ezgnann

30 posts in 2083 days


12-18-2014 08:23 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question tip resource

It is dangerous to ask people their opinion but here goes -

What is your take on the membership type shops, where you pay a monthly subscription to use the shop? Where I live ( NW Louisiana) I keep running into other woodworkers but none of us are connected . There is not a place or group for us to learn, grow, share, kick rocks, or commiserate. I am wondering about the pros and cons of membership shops.

Good idea or no?

How much would you pay for membership?

What would you look for in a shared shop?

Should it expand outside of woodworking (Metal work, pottery, etc)

What equipment would you want available?

What would make this your dream shop, one that you would want to join, even if (like me) you have a small shop of your own)

Thanks in advance.

Eric Gnann
stillwellwoodwoorks@gmail.com

-- Woodworking is cheaper than psychotherapy and better for me than whiskey


17 replies so far

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

7472 posts in 1467 days


#1 posted 12-18-2014 08:50 PM

I dont think I’d personally join a shared shop. Several reasons being…

1. I think more than 2 or 3 guys working independently in a shop would be too distracting. Because it’s not like a job, (working in a shop). In a work environment you work (and stay) at your own machine because that’s what the boss pays you to do. In a shared shop I think folks would be more prone to wander around and see what the others are doing, and just “Chat”.

2. As much as I dont really mind constructive criticism, I dont think I’d like it if someone watched me work and started down that “You’re doing it wrong” road. And lets face it, there’s PLENTY of folks that have no problems imposing THEIR WAY of doing things on others.

3. I think the BIGGEST issue would always be “What if someone gets hurt?” Who would “Own” the shop? Who would be responsible? Because no matter WHAT folks agree to orally as far as things like “I’d never sue if I got hurt in your shop”.... as soon as they lost an eye or an arm, they WILL sue so that someone ELSE pays the bills.

4. Which brings to mind …. Just how would you go about getting INSURANCE on a “hobby shop”? Would insurance companies even consider coverage on something like that?

There’s probably more things I could list, but I’ll let the others chime in too.

Basic bottom line is … I really LIKE working alone in my shop. (I like to say it’s my “Quiet time with God” even though it’s seldom quiet when I’m in there.)

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

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lateralus819

2236 posts in 1349 days


#2 posted 12-18-2014 08:53 PM

Joe i think you missed the point entirely. Hes asking if you’d pay to use tools for your hobby, in a shop shared with like minded woodworkers looking to learn and make friends.

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pintodeluxe

4852 posts in 2273 days


#3 posted 12-18-2014 09:07 PM

I would join a community shop for a month or two if I didn’t have any equipment. I think using some equipment first-hand would be an advantage when it came time to buy your own.
It would have to be close to home in a convenient location to get much use though.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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a1Jim

115201 posts in 3037 days


#4 posted 12-18-2014 09:25 PM

You might take a look around the net and see how other similar places do things with shared shops.I think those kind of operations susscess may differ according to their location and rules they have.

Here’s one in Portland

http://www.adxportland.com/

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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sepeck

314 posts in 1601 days


#5 posted 12-18-2014 09:52 PM

http://www.popularwoodworking.com/woodworking-blogs/chris-schwarz-blog/kansas-city-woodworkers-guild-wow
^^ Might want to call these guys and talk to them. See what has worked and what hasn’t. The deal with organizations like these is they need some dedicated folks who are willing to do the behind the scenes organization and work. You could also consider forming a woodworking group like http://sacramentoareawoodworkers.com/

This would require less investment of money, etc and could also serve as a foundation to see if there is sufficient interest in the community to support a shared workspace.

Other community groups and such are broader but backed by such organizations as Hacker Labs that do Maker Spaces

The liability issues, disagreements, those are all solvable issues since they have occurred time and again throughout human history. This isn’t a ‘new thing’ so plenty of people out there have done it and most are willing to share how.

-- -Steven Peck, http://www.blkmtn.org

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Richard

1898 posts in 2150 days


#6 posted 12-18-2014 10:15 PM

There are some Corp. run shared work shops out there already with TechShop http://www.techshop.ws/ being the first that comes to my mind as there are 2 or 3 in the SF Bay Area where it started and also The Sawdust Shop in Santa Clara Ca. http://www.sawdustshop.com/ .

Techshop has many different types of equipment available woodworking , metal working , textile , electronics etc. and The Sawdust Shop is only woodworking. The Rates can get a bit high for somepeople but if you have no access to any other shop it could be worth it. Techshop requires you take classes on the equipment before you can use it and you Pay for the classes , I don’t know about the Sawdust Shop as far as what it takes to use the equipment. Also with both of them you can buy a Month , 6 Month or Yearly membership with unlimited time to use the equipment but The Sawdust Shop will also let you buy just the time you need by the hour.
Since it caters to so many other types of work TechShop has a smaller range of woodworking equipment than the Sawdust Shop has , also the range of hand tools available is much better at The Sawdust Shop than TechShop most likely for the same reason.

I am sure there are many other versions of these 2 Corp. run shops as well as many Local Woodworking Clubs like some of the ones listed in the other posts here. If you had enough local intrest you could contact some of the other Clubs and I am sure they would be more than glad to talk with you about what it took for them to get setup and the Pitfalls to look out for.

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Rob

704 posts in 2531 days


#7 posted 12-18-2014 10:21 PM

I tried working at two community shops and didn’t like it. One was poorly-equipped and poorly-organized, while the other was a nice little shop but was inconvenient to use and difficult for me to be productive in as a beginner.

The first one I tried was the local MakerSpace. They actually had fewer tools than me, and usually there would be maybe one guy soldering something for a project he was working on while everyone else just hung out talking about Bitcoin or whatever the topic of the day was. I was hoping for something else, like people who were constantly working on projects who could help me with my own projects. I was also hoping for a wide range of tools. Apparently at some point in the past there was a guy who was willing to donate his tools for the group’s use, on the condition that the group would get liability insurance. But because the group was run by committee and the dues weren’t even covering rent (let alone any luxuries such as insurance), that guy left the ‘space. There were also other political issues, such as the fact that one guy insisted that all decisions be unanimous, and as far as I could tell any organizational/planning meetings happened outside of the group meetings and were limited to 4 or 5 guys. In any case, nobody else seemed remotely interested in woodworking.

The second community shop I tried was the “Workspace” which is run by the local university. It was a very nice small shop, with a table saw, benchtop planer, 4” jointer, miter saw, workbench with vise, drill press, scroll saw, dust collection, probably some clamps (I don’t remember), probably a corded drill (I know there were drill bits), and maybe a few gauges and basic hand tools like screwdrivers and pliers (I don’t remember any planes or chisels). I wish I had known about it when I was a student, but as someone who doesn’t normally spend time on campus it just wasn’t very convenient. I had to load up the car, park in the ramp (for which I had to pay), then carry my stuff from the ramp to the side of the building (outside the ramp), down 2 flights of stairs, and across a large room before I got to the shop. It took me 3 or 4 trips. Then a couple hours later I had to do everything in reverse. I only did it a couple times before I decided to just bite the bullet and buy my own tools. They do offer classes but aside from the mandatory safety class, it’s only one project per semester and I wasn’t interested in the project that semester.

The biggest issue was that I’m not experienced enough to be able to go into a shop and work on something from start to finish. I always have to spend a considerable amount of time figuring things out as I go.

In order for the shared workshop to be a success, I think at least the following criteria all must be true:

  1. Very good administrative/organizational oversight
  2. Convenient location
  3. Designated loading zone OR very close parking
  4. Easy to haul stuff in and out
  5. Regularly-scheduled hands-on classes
  6. Designated social area separate from the work area
  7. Lockers available for rent (either included with monthly membership or for a modest fee)
  8. Wide assortment of tools—everything someone would want in their own home shop
  9. Multiples of some commonly-needed tools
  10. Pay-by-the-day option in addition to monthly membership
  11. Membership fees must be high enough that the shop can sustain itself and build up a small buffer, but low enough that members don’t mind continuing to pay even if they don’t go as often as they’d like (similar to a gym membership)
In addition, I think the following would really help:
  1. Lots of work space
  2. Readily-accessible reference materials
  3. Maybe a showcase of projects produced by members
  4. Someone on staff at all times, readily available for consultation/assistance

After I tried the Makerspace I joined the local woodworking club which doesn’t have a club-operated shared workshop but I think if it did have one it would be successful. The club does have two subgroups that are more hands-on: one for cabinetry and furniture making, and another for turning. Both subgroups meet at someone’s home shop once a month and have demonstrations or work as a group on projects at each meeting.

-- Ask an expert or be the expert - http://woodworking.stackexchange.com

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paxorion

1100 posts in 1505 days


#8 posted 12-19-2014 02:59 PM

Makerspaces are a gamble since the focus isn’t just on woodworking. In a lot of cases, woodworking is a smaller subset of what is done at a makerspace. My go-to shared workshop is a member operated makerspace and I am one of the member proponents for their woodworking activities. In my case, the equipment can be there, but logistically, it isn’t necessarily well setup for dedicated fine woodworking. You’re bound to run into problems where folks think a cut is a cut, and you may find melted plastic on an expensive woodworking blade or a Timberwolf saw blade dulled by cuts on carbon fiber (true stories). This place works for me because of proximity to home, very reasonable cost and access for me as a member.

My guild shop is not as well equipped as the Makerspace, but it does have everything a hobbyist like myself would need. It is however far from my home for me, and has inconvenient hours in relation to my 9 – 5ish job.

I think the most compelling workshop space in my area is one run by a Woodcraft franchise, who is very well equipped and has the setup for folks to operate a small furniture business out of. I probably would go there if it were closer to me.

-- paxorion

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MrsN

975 posts in 2986 days


#9 posted 12-19-2014 03:24 PM

There is one sort of near me. http://americanworkshop.com/
My scrolling club used their space for a toy cutting day last year. It was a nice place.

I have a very small craft focused home shop, so there is no room for nice big tools. A shop like that is a nice consideration.

-- ----- www.KNWoodworking.com ----- --

View timbertailor's profile

timbertailor

1591 posts in 884 days


#10 posted 12-19-2014 04:02 PM

I have offered to mentor anyone who is interested many times before. I have a well equipped shop.

No takers.

I have no interest in sharing space on a regular basis but a gathering on a regular basis would be cool.

Politics and the general lack of consideration by the majority makes for a short lived relationship.

-- Brad, Texas, https://www.youtube.com/user/tonkatoytruck/feed

View sawdust703's profile

sawdust703

270 posts in 880 days


#11 posted 12-20-2014 05:16 AM

I would agree with timber. Having built my own shop full of tools from the very beginning, as many have, & take very good good care of what I have, I have offered to help folks with their various projects, & have asked them to my shop to offer to help them repair furniture, etc. But the first response is ALWAYS “I don’t have time!” The next top response is “I can’t AFFORD IT!” Out here in NW Kansas, community shops are unheard of. I think one would be beneficial here for several reasons, but in an agriculture community of about 3000, It would be impossible to make it work, much less to get the equipment bought. We’ve got cabinet builders here, several carpenters, some that think they are, others are the real deal. As also mentioned, I’m too much of a loner for something like that to work for me. I like me better’n anybody else I know, & I enjoy my time in the shop with my dogs & my equipment. Not sayin’ that I’m any better than the rest of you here, but, I have my way of doin’ things. Some may not meet the approval of a professional woodworker, some will, but at the same time, I don’t much care for folks breathin’ down my neck when I’m workin, either. Another BIG reason I wouldn’t want anything to do with such a shop, is because of the lack of respect for other folks. Face it folks, some of us were fortunate enough to have been raised old school, & taught to respect our elders, think before ya open your mouth, & respect other folks’ property. Now days, They ain’t much of that here abouts!! My apologies for the ramble, just my two pennies worth.

-- Sawdust703

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paxorion

1100 posts in 1505 days


#12 posted 12-20-2014 08:31 PM



I have offered to mentor anyone who is interested many times before. I have a well equipped shop.

No takers.

I have no interest in sharing space on a regular basis but a gathering on a regular basis would be cool.

Politics and the general lack of consideration by the majority makes for a short lived relationship.

- timbertailor

Wish I lived close to you. I don’t get enough shop time as is with 2 young kids. Several guild members have shown me the ropes on the basics and after that, I’ve been self-taught. I would love to get more pointers.

-- paxorion

View bigblockyeti's profile

bigblockyeti

3665 posts in 1180 days


#13 posted 12-20-2014 09:37 PM

Good idea or no? – My gut tells me no because of equipment damage, liability, unsafe work practices and as already mentioned to many distractions.

How much would you pay for membership? – Depends on what was in the shop and how far away it was; If it was 20 miles away and only had a few low quality machines then not very much. If it was a couple miles away and full of perfectly restored old Oliver, Powermatic, Northfield and the like equipment, then much more

What would you look for in a shared shop? – Machines that I would like to have access to but could never justify buying, like a 52” wide belt sander or 36” planer.

Should it expand outside of woodworking (Metal work, pottery, etc) – Not unless it was large enough to separate each area, I don’t want someone welding 5’ from me while I’m sanding.

What equipment would you want available? – Big stuff; Sliding tablesaw, wide belt sander, huge planer, maybe a CNC router.

What would make this your dream shop, one that you would want to join, even if (like me) you have a small shop of your own) – If it was a teaching and learning environment where specific workshops could be put on by members with specific skill to share within designated time so as to not detract from work time.

Thanks in advance.

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daddywoofdawg

1010 posts in 1035 days


#14 posted 12-21-2014 12:52 AM

I would like a shop that had the stuff I couldn’t afford like big block said.things that I could go down there and use, then go back to my own shop to assemble,finish (although a spray room with hvap sprayer could be a feature in the rental shop)CNC would be a definitely I would join item.
You should also inc. the place for lawsuit reasons.

View Bryson's profile

Bryson

11 posts in 1057 days


#15 posted 12-21-2014 01:12 AM



I would agree with timber. Having built my own shop full of tools from the very beginning, as many have, & take very good good care of what I have, I have offered to help folks with their various projects, & have asked them to my shop to offer to help them repair furniture, etc. But the first response is ALWAYS “I don t have time!” The next top response is “I can t AFFORD IT!” Out here in NW Kansas, community shops are unheard of. I think one would be beneficial here for several reasons, but in an agriculture community of about 3000, It would be impossible to make it work, much less to get the equipment bought. We ve got cabinet builders here, several carpenters, some that think they are, others are the real deal. As also mentioned, I m too much of a loner for something like that to work for me. I like me better n anybody else I know, & I enjoy my time in the shop with my dogs & my equipment. Not sayin that I m any better than the rest of you here, but, I have my way of doin things. Some may not meet the approval of a professional woodworker, some will, but at the same time, I don t much care for folks breathin down my neck when I m workin, either. Another BIG reason I wouldn t want anything to do with such a shop, is because of the lack of respect for other folks. Face it folks, some of us were fortunate enough to have been raised old school, & taught to respect our elders, think before ya open your mouth, & respect other folks property. Now days, They ain t much of that here abouts!! My apologies for the ramble, just my two pennies worth.

- sawdust703

Wish I live closer sawdust as I would definitely take you up on that offer. I think the drive from Manhattan might be a tad to far.

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