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Five members posing next to a canoe

NEW Woodworkers Guild Celebrates 40th Annual Show

Written by Janelle Fisher

City Page Publisher

For the past 40 years, the Northeastern Wisconsin Woodworkers Union has built a community of local woodworkers, providing education, fellowship, resources and a love of the craft.

Now numbering over 100 members, woodworkers find their way into the guild in a variety of ways.

For some members of the guild, such as Randall Hendrick and Jim Michaels, it was the current members who were interested in joining.

“I retired 15 years ago and started woodworking a year after I retired,” Hendrix said. “Then a few years later, one of the people I worked with was in a guild and he asked me to come over a few times and I really enjoyed what I saw. It was really fun to talk to other people with similar ideas and interests.”

“We were asked to come to the rally, but that was it,” said guild member Stan Fisher. “I participated, but I like seeing what other people are doing and how they’re doing it. I’ve gathered a lot of ideas.”

“For me, it was exposure to other areas of woodworking,” said guild member Gerald Jensen. “I said, ‘I’m in the wood turning business, but I’d like to learn about other things.’ I was able to gain some insight into all kinds of areas related to woodworking. I may never do something like that, but I’d love to know more about them. , and the guild provides that.”

However, exposure to new ideas and techniques is not the only thing that attracts members to the guild. The group also provides resources to help members with projects they are already working on.

wooden works

“I retired, bought a wood lathe and toiled away for a while,” said Guild member Pete Schuh. “The person at the woodworking warehouse said, “The woodworking guild has a library where you can watch videos on things like wood lathes.” So I joined the guild.”

The Guild is open to woodworkers of all levels of experience, from beginners to professionals.

“I never did any woodworking until I started thinking about retiring,” Jensen said. “Then it occurred to me that I might have something to do after I retired. I took my first woodworking class when I was about 58 years old, and shortly after that I discovered a lathe, and I’ve been using it ever since. Masu.”

For the other members, woodworking was something they had just started doing in the past, but they have recently taken up woodworking more seriously.

“I made cradles and play boxes and things like that, but I never really got into it at work,” Hendrix said. “I had always wanted to own a store of some kind someday, so I built one before I retired, and about a year after I joined the company, [retirement]That’s when I bought all my equipment and went from there. ”

Some members recall their love of woodworking during middle school.

“It was an eighth-grade craft,” Michels said. “After that, I became busy with raising children, so after I retired, I built a shop and returned to woodworking and basket weaving.”

“It all started when I was a freshman in high school,” Fisher said. “We used all the machinery that was there…I built my first canoe before that, I think I was in seventh grade, and we built canoes out of plywood and other materials, you know. It was pretty tipsy, but we used it. By the time I had my grandchildren, I really got into woodworking and was able to make all sorts of things for them, including rocking chairs, rocking horses, and cradles. .”

Members of the NEW Woodworkers Guild make a wide variety of things from wood, from baskets and bowls to toys and decorations to projects as large as bookshelves and boats.

Each year, members have the opportunity to display their work at the Guild’s annual Art Show and Sale, which this year will be held at Denmark High School on November 11th and 12th.

wooden works

The purpose of the show is to give guild members the opportunity to share their work with the community and possibly sell something, but also to talk to people about their work and see what others have made. It’s worth it just to see if there are any.

“It’s the interaction with the people who come to the show,” Jensen said. “It’s always fun to talk to them and find out what they’re interested in.”

Hendrix echoed that sentiment, saying, “That’s the best thing about this show — just talking to people.”

“You might spend five hours talking and not sell much, but you’ll spend five hours talking about how you did it and why you tried it,” Schuh said. “That’s the fun part.”

“What I love most is seeing what other people have created,” Michels said. “Everyone has different talents and different skills. Great talent and skill and what you can do with a piece of wood.”

“The talent that some people have, even in another life, I would never be able to accomplish something like that,” Fisher said. “But talking to people is what I like most.”

Jensen said the best advice for people interested in woodworking is to start early.

“What really helped me was that I wish I had taken a shop class or something when I was in high school,” Jensen said. “One of the things that’s really sad right now is the number of schools that have discontinued their shop and craft programs. We need people who can work with their hands and develop the discipline that woodworking requires. We need to bring this issue back.”

“It takes a lot of time to fine-tune your skills,” Hendrix said. “I think people should start woodworking as soon as possible.”

wooden works

Michaels said being surrounded by people involved in woodworking, such as joining a woodworking guild, can also be very helpful for new woodworkers getting started.

“It’s hard to learn on your own,” Michels says. “You can read books and watch videos, but surround yourself with good people and experienced people. The advice they give you is worth a ton of your time.”

What’s the best way to get started? Attend a woodworking association show.

“Just go to the show,” Shue said. “Look at what you like. As you walk by, you might see a sculpture. You might see a scroll saw. You might see a wood lathe. Wait for something to catch your eye and say, ‘Oh yeah. , I’d like to try that.” Start there and you can always expand as you go out, but you have to be interested in something to get started. ”

Once you’re interested in a project, the final hurdle is actually getting started.

“I have a friend who is a doctor, and he’s amazed at the boats I build,” Fisher said. “He’s never made anything out of wood in his life and he wants to start…but he’s afraid to start…that’s the problem with most people. Sometimes you’re afraid of making mistakes, but that’s how you learn.”

Joining the Woodworkers Guild connects you with people with similar experience as woodworkers and provides a wealth of resources for starting new projects and troubleshooting mistakes when they occur, so you can get started. anxiety will be reduced.

Being surrounded by other woodworkers gives members the opportunity to learn different ways to approach the same project.

“I like being in a guild because I can look at something someone else has created and imagine in my head what I would do with it,” Fisher said.

“If we all made the same thing, there would be six different ways to make it,” Schuh said. “If you add your own little touches, you can learn from everyone you talk to.”

Guild members not only gain experience, but also build connections with each other.

“I’ve built relationships with other woodworkers,” Jensen said. “We meet regularly at each other’s stores to talk about what we’re working on and projects, and to exchange ideas.” [each other] It’s a good way to learn a little bit. ”

“I like talking to people and asking them questions,” Hendrix said. “I got three quarters of my job and various items.” [I make] Because people have taught me how to do it, whether it’s a cutting board or a bandsaw box…it’s all from members of the guild that I’ve talked to who do similar things. ”

Working on a new project requires some learning and is bound to make mistakes, but being part of a guild allows members to learn from each other and minimize those mistakes. It means there is an opportunity to suppress it.

“I think everyone who does woodworking makes mistakes,” Michels says. “The thing about guilds is that you can listen to people and listen to what they have to say… You can listen to people, talk to people, learn and limit your mistakes. You can still make money. You make it, but you bounce back from it and learn how to make less money.”

For more information about the Woodworkers Guild, the annual show, or how to get involved, please visit: newwg.org.





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