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Forum topic by SCOTSMAN posted 06-15-2009 05:47 PM 2479 views 0 times favorited 52 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5849 posts in 3585 days

06-15-2009 05:47 PM

Why does it appear that the majority of jocks here are white where are all the black woodworkers?They would be made very welcome I am sure but this site as well as others seem to be predominently white.I really have wondered about this for a while.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

52 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4218 days

#1 posted 06-15-2009 06:14 PM

Good question, Alistair. I’m sure there is no simple answer though. I guess the first thing that comes to mind is that woodworking is just not as popular a hobby within that group. Same reason you don’t see a lot of black hockey players, I suppose.

You could also argue the socio-economic angle. Woodworking is pretty much a middle-class hobby, and the black middle class has traditionally been a fairly small group (although growing).

Another angle you could look at is to say that maybe there are a lot of black woodworkers out there who just don’t happen to be into home computing. Hence, they never hit the radar in woodworking websites.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View ellen35's profile


2738 posts in 3432 days

#2 posted 06-15-2009 06:31 PM

Or…those avatars are deceiving. Not everyone wants their “mug” on the site. I think many use the stock avatar…we don’t know for sure. I guess I never thought about what color people are…I am impressed that we have people from so many countries and cultures on this site. Thanks for making us all think a bit Alistar.

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View Don Newton's profile

Don Newton

716 posts in 3618 days

#3 posted 06-15-2009 06:48 PM

I can add some insight regaring the profession of Architectural Millworking. Working in the field for 35 years, I can count the number of “cabinetmakers” I’ve worked with that were African-American on one hand. We have even had EEOC people question us about it and our reply is always that we have none apply that we can hire. Why is that? I wish I knew.

-- Don, Pittsburgh

View Napaman's profile


5526 posts in 4077 days

#4 posted 06-15-2009 06:53 PM

I dont think asking questions is ever a bad thing…especially when mature people address them. It’s an interesting question based on deep sociological roots. I think we could change the “group” in the question from African American to any other “group” within our society and the question still works.

I don’t know what the answer is however with a continued decrease in vocational education I fear that the diversity that does exist will only get worse. If industrial arts are not considered important and valued in our society then the only wood workers will be those that learn from their families—-and if the pool of woodworkers is already lacking in diversity (if accepting the basis of the question) then the future generations of woodworkers will stay the same.

Again…this does not answer your question…but maybe brings up another question: What are we as woodworkers—-a growing site (with which may bring some power) going to do about increasing Industrial Arts in our schools and to future generations?

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3561 days

#5 posted 06-15-2009 06:59 PM

My theory (FWIW) is that woodworking as we know it had its origins in Europe vs other continents. And, it is passed from generation to generation (as from to father to son/daughter).

Therefore, as time goes on we should see more people of color in woodworking and on this site.

-- Joe

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3526 days

#6 posted 06-15-2009 07:12 PM

Scotsman, I hadn’t noticed the skin tones of the posters but I have noticed some really nice wood grain they posted.

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3744 days

#7 posted 06-15-2009 07:24 PM

Alistair, I would tend to agree with Charlie, but AT Williams is one of the jocks, is black and he’s a very talented and creative craftsman. Hopefully, in time, there will be people of all ethnic backgrounds getting interested in woodworking, and posting their work. Usually folks with different backgrounds have a creativity in designing, that most of us don’t think of.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3585 days

#8 posted 06-15-2009 09:02 PM

I live in Dunoon Argyll here on the holy loch.We had a large American military naval submarine base here for over thirty years nigh forty . Anyway Then I owned a hotel and quite a few apartments at that time which I rented out to service men both black white etc etc .I made friends with a lot of Black people and found them to be very wonderful people who commanded quite a few high ranking ( in some cases) posts on the ship.I went to their church and was fascinated by their enthusiasm in and during the service.I sorely miss many of those wonderful young men and women both black and white ,who are probably retired by now .I wish I could meet them again,as I love the American people having visited the states many many times for vacation purposes.Please accept I mean no harm by this post from the heart.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Bill Davis's profile

Bill Davis

226 posts in 3924 days

#9 posted 06-15-2009 09:19 PM

And where are the women and children and Iranians and chinese and eskimos.

View Don K.'s profile

Don K.

1075 posts in 3326 days

#10 posted 06-15-2009 09:21 PM

I am not sure how many are members on LumberJocks…..but you would be surprised at how many we do have. I never really thought of it before…but there are several. As some one else said….not everyone adds their pictures to their avatars.

-- Don S.E. OK

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3585 days

#11 posted 06-15-2009 09:21 PM

A very Good question ,where indeed? Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View JonJ's profile


163 posts in 3840 days

#12 posted 06-15-2009 09:47 PM

Again…this does not answer your question…but maybe brings up another question: What are we as woodworkers—-a growing site (with which may bring some power) going to do about increasing Industrial Arts in our schools and to future generations?

Not to hijack the thread, but I too have been wondering about this. I visit with my high school shop teacher now and then (from twenty something years ago) and he tells me after he retires next year, the woodshop will probably get the axe. He says there is not enough of a demand for woodworkers, as well as the liability issues. He had a student to lose a finger in a jointer a few years ago, and I think the school is still dealing with it. I wonder about forming a “Jr Jocks” program? I know I try to get my kids in the shop whenever practical and safe. The range in age from 2 to 10- and are happy as pigs in slop when you give them wood scraps and glue!

-- Jon

View Michael Clark's profile

Michael Clark

28 posts in 3324 days

#13 posted 06-15-2009 09:48 PM

I think it is more due to ignorance. It is a big internet out there. It never occurred to me until about a year ago to look for woodworking communities. And didn’t find this page until a few months ago. Even pages with plans and tips don’t mention Lumberjocks.


There are wood workers all over the world.

There were these absolutely amazing guys in Equatorial guinea that would run into the woods in the morning and come out with a tree worth of boards that were just as flat and straight as you could want.

I’ve also seen some very scary stuff, with very beautiful stuff. Mostly carvings, but It is impressive to see what a motivated African can do.

One guy built a bicycle based generator. He did welding and ran some smaller power tools off of it. His buddy would pedal like a madman to get the voltage and current up.

-- Sometimes... At night... My router tells me to do things to wood. Bad Things.

View Elaine's profile


113 posts in 3623 days

#14 posted 06-15-2009 11:56 PM

Living in what once was billed as the “furniture capital of the world” before High Point won the furniture mart…I can attest to the fact that there are numerous individuals of color who know how to work with wood and work it well. Perhaps LJs is just one of those communities where it really doesn’t matter size, shape, color, orientation, gender unless it is in the plantae classification. I also recall some wonderful furniture and carvings coming out of Africa as well as some famous woodworkers in these United States History – look up Jefferson. I believe there is a man who is a traditional woodworker recreating pieces from Thomas Day in the eastern part of NC.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3585 days

#15 posted 06-16-2009 12:06 AM

I should say I ask the question not so much about this website although partly I would like a specific answer I know I will be happier with opinions.I ask for myself as one who is really ignorant about the demographics and politics generally re this question.Culturaly and spiritually I cannot understand what is going on.I can say quite definitely there despite owning hundreds of books and woodworking magazines very few black contributers to any of these books and magazines or indeed on other websiitesI frequent in engineering the same question arises. I feel sure there must be millions of woodworkers ,engineers, metal workers, artists, etc ,etc ,etc ,who are black but why aren’t they more prolific on websites books and magazines etc etc etc etc ? I ask as said because I don’t understand this genuinely and not to cause mischief.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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