Something interesting to ponder. China may soon have an upside down pyramid problem. With the one child policy and improvements in standard of living, one working Chinese adult will be supporting two parents and four elderly grandparents. They may be too busy trying to serve their internal needs to export low-cost stuff to us anymore!
I think there are two recent innovations that will save woodworking in America - the SawStop and the Kreg Tool. I have been trying to make custom shelves and cabinets at home - things that you cannot buy - and have worked through all kinds of techniques. What I like about Kreg is what I think a lot of younger people will like - speed, efficiency, repeatability. I will post pics of the shelves I built recently. Just a few hours on something that would have taken days with glue and biscuits.
My one suggestion is that Kreg needs more in Spanish. I am not Latino, but I think you have a big market there, esp since the tools are at just the right price point.
Maybe you can offer your personal attraction, interest, passion...of this activity? (Garry M Graves, Thread Originator)
I'm a firm believer that if there's a will, there's a way.
When I grew up, my dad was/is a woodworker. He's been building stuff well before I was ever born. Growing up, though, he never really had the patience to teach his 2 daughters and 5 sons how to be great woodworkers. Instead, he was quick to yell, quick to send us away, and quick to tell us how we were screwing up. I don't hate my father for doing that, but that experience didn't make me want to enter a woodshop either.
I did have woodshop class in 6, 7, and 8th grade. It was required. We made silly little things like tic, tac, toe boards, candle holder wall hangings, and a desktop organizer. I did the bare minimum in order to pass the class. In high school it wasn't a requirement, so I didn't go through wood shop. Art was more my deal so I became a graphic designer, and now an art director. If anything, I'd rather get out of art entirely and become a published author pumping out political thriller novels.
I'm now soon to be 40 years old at the end of May. When I turned 39, I watched an infomercial on this contraption called the Kreg Jig. I saw how easy it was to join two pieces of wood together and be strong enough that an overweight person could stand on and the wood wouldn't break. It used simple power tools like a circular saw and a hand drill. I thought, "holy crap, that looks easy. I could do that!" I ordered one.
When it arrived in the mail, I thought, "holy crap, Don, you're either going to go through with this, or you're a sucker for impulse shopping on TV." I decided I was going to try and use this Kreg Jig thingy. I soon saw how my first DVD shelf was coming about. Within about a week, I was done and putting DVDs into the shelf and admiring how I made my very first project all by myself. I didn't ask my dad for help, and I didn't ask my brothers for help. I wanted to do this all by myself and I did it.
I've gone on to build cradles, a hall tree, a work station, podium, rocking horse, a pontoon deck, hope chests, and even the stand my laptop is sitting on as I write this. All this happened within one year's time, and ALL BY MYSELF. What little I remembered from middle school shop class and even less from my dad's grumblings barely helped. It was almost entirely done by using the Kreg Jig and figuring it out on my own.
Again, if there is a will, there is a way.
I could have easily surrendered to my fears and gave my Kreg Jig off to someone who could have used it, but no. I was determined to cross that barrier and I did it on my own willpower. Many of my friends have said I should go into business for myself. Well, as lovely as that dream may sound, I'm happy keeping this as my hobby. What I found out is that if you sell something to a stranger, they pick apart your work hoping to drive down your cost. If you give it away as a gift to someone deserving of your time, they will treasure it always and remember your incredible generosity.
My entire point of my post is that no schooling was required of me, no years of teaching from my relatives was needed. If you really want to become a woodworker, all you have to do is apply yourself, use safety at all times when working with power tools, and learn from your mistakes. If you make crap, who cares? Throw it on the bonfire and try again. Eventually you will be like Liam and turn out fine stuff (and this kid is only 8! I'm 40!!)
Also, as a side note, one guy was talking about how everyone gets jobs being computer savvy. I think it's cool if someone retains the old ways in this day and age. There will always be a calling for craftspeople. People will always pay more and respect more the fine craftsmanship of furniture, frames, cabinetry, etc. The world, from my point of view, is getting sick of particle board crap from box stores or simple-designed stuff from say, IKEA. What they will treasure is handcrafted works of art that we create.
I don't consider myself as pumping out basic stuff anymore. I create keepsakes, family heirlooms, and works of art. That's why I add woodburning to my stuff. I make original pieces that are never duplicated. Others do that very same thing. The Kreg Jig makes it possible. That's my mantra when I'm in my garage. Kreg Jig is forbidden to go out of business. But, since their stuff is always good quality and easy to use, I don't see a closed sign on their door anytime soon. Not in my lifetime anyway.
So, did I answer the initial question or did I just ramble on? lol