Is there such a thing as a community workshop where people come
together (much as we all do here but in reality) to share ideas and
get ideas on projects and then use a shared workshop to make them a
reality? Instead of everybody buying their own tools and equipment
and working in their own workshops, everything would be shared and
maintained by the group. Advice would be given and sought in a
friendly fashion and joking and ribbing would be free. In addition,
if demand existed, formal classroom courses could be given on specific
Just a thought .......
If you are near Greenville SC the Greenville Woodworkers Guild does just
what are writing about. They have a fully equipped shop for use of guild
members and they have frequesnt classess on use of the machines, various
fabrication techniques, finishing techniques etc.
Closest thing I have seen in San Francisco area is many co-op shops
where some person or group of persons has a site with equipment and
workspace and as a commercial venture leases out access and space.
"Some" sharing can happen if you get good people but you also have
prima donnas, aholes, incoherents, whack jobs, etc. all possibilities
Another similar is a community old folks center that has a woodshop.
They offer classes to anyone from the community, then once you have
been through a basic training course you can rent time in the shop
during specific hours. No commercial activity allowed.
You'll play h-e-double-hockey sticks finding a school w/ a woodshop w/
power tools these days... :(
And, if you do, it's even less unlikely there will access to it outside
an adult education class.
With liability today and the way the greens run the schools, I don't
think us tree killers have a chance.
I did however get my Powermatic table saw and shaper from a local
school that was shutting down their entire, very impressive, shop
We have that in NH, it's called "sharing" :-)
Seriously, we have our guild: http://www.gnhw.org/ We have meetings
throughout the year, with subgroups for given interests (turning, hand
tools, luthiers, etc), and most meetings include a demo or
instructional topic where members can share experiences and ask
questions. We have two publications that are also geared towards
sharing and collaboration, the "Old Saw" for meeting notes and the
"Journal" for how-to articles.
As for the shop space, well, we just share. For example, a friend and
I are building a set of desks together in my shop, last year I did
some turning at someone else's shop. My dad often shows up to use the
specialty tools I have that he doesn't. This sharing tends to "just
happen" if you have the social network, no organization is needed.
Heck, the guild's BIG (Beginners and Intermediate Group) subgroup does
a shared project over the course of the year, just what you're talking
Have you asked about insurance coverage under this arrangement?
I've read of one case where this type or arrangement ended up in a large
liability suit for a member as the semi-formal arrangement negated the
homeowner's liability policy w/o a rider to cover such activity.
Not to be a poopy-partier, but...things to be concerned about/take care
to cover these days, unfortunately. :(
The guild has insurance for guild meetings. As for shop space, hey,
if a friend wants to come over and use a few tools, that's between
them and me. The guild doesn't get involved per se, it's just that
everyone happens to know someone nearby who has a shop.
As long as it's one-on-one you're probably safe; more than that or on a
regular basis it can get dicey, unfortunately.
That's basically how the case I read of got started; they had a few guys
showing up at a member's shop once a month or so. In that case, there
were about a half-dozen present and the shop owner's wife had made
refreshments. That was the extent of the involvement as a club/guild
other than they had established a history of doing this at various
places over time.
When a member got fairly seriously hurt his (the injured party)
insurance came after his (the shop owner's) who refused coverage on the
basis of wasn't a covered use of the shop and the lawsuits stemmed from
that and it went downhill from there for the guy whose shop it was.
I think he finally beat the rap of liability/negligence but it wasn't
It's a scary world out there... :(
Well, you could try a prison job training program, but there's a downside to
the free shop time....
On a more serious note, there are lots of woodworking clubs out there:
: Is there such a thing as a community workshop where people come
: together (much as we all do here but in reality) to share ideas and
: get ideas on projects and then use a shared workshop to make them a
: reality? Instead of everybody buying their own tools and equipment
: and working in their own workshops, everything would be shared and
: maintained by the group. Advice would be given and sought in a
: friendly fashion and joking and ribbing would be free. In addition,
: if demand existed, formal classroom courses could be given on specific
: Just a thought .......
Depends on where you are.
Is there a TechShop in your area?
The best I can find, along with the list on their own web sites say
there are currently three location and they are in the process of
building about nine more. It appears they've been saying that since 2007.
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