Kreg Owners' Community

Someone commented the other day that they thought, "individuals coming into woodworking will be fewer and fewer." He said the young are not that much interested and schools are placing a lesser importance on woodworking or tech side...where does this put the dealer of woodworking related product?

I disagreed with him...the mere population of "baby boomers," who enjoy woodworking even to the point of starting their own business is ever growing. Also, the young (who amaze me with their intelligence), may want to do something on there own...like start a business instead of going to college. Having a woodworking background could enable a person to do that.

I personally think the general woodworking industry will grow and the end-user population will continue to get bigger...from people retiring and from the young who want to start a business.

My question: What do you think?

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Sean said:
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.

Sean
I can't tell how much the young today are really different from when I was young. It seems that youth is not the best woodworking time because there are so many other things to draw our attention - today it happens to be heavily driven by technology.

I do know as I've aged, I've gained the patience and learning needed to do okay with woodworking. And, as I've grown in life (family, home, kids, ...) the need AND opportunity for building things from wood grows, too.

This doesn't excuse the sad decline in schools. Returning to it later in life is easier than picking it up from scratch.

For anyone interested, there's a very interesting book about what skilled work brings to people called "Shop Class as Soul Craft". Written by a metal guy (sorry about that) who owns a motorcycle repair shop and is philosophy professor at a university. There are some times you may want to skip sections. But, throughout the book there are excellent insights into why we humanly need things like woodworking.

Woodworking (like other physical crafts) fills a human need and that makes me optimistic. As we are more and more surrounded by technology, I think our need for an outlet like woodworking increases - not decreases. But, does our willingness to pick up the craft increase? Don't know that.
Good catch gdatomic, on the book Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work. Interesting read, particularly the comments from readers like this one: “...Both his life and his book are a rebuke to the assumptions which govern modern ideas about work, economics, self-worth, and happiness...” and; “...Does a country really need every high school student to strive to attend college? Crawford makes the case that for many this will not only be a waste of time and money, but will ultimately land them in careers in which they have trouble seeing the value of what they do...” I could go on and on but you get the point. Again, good catch.
If you’ll notice, this post started almost a year ago. Many have expressed different views and concerns about ‘the future of woodworking.’ I predict a trend toward renewed emphasis of woodworking, and other ‘hand’ skills. The rewards are too numerous to elaborate on my own. Maybe you can offer your personal attraction, interest, passion...of this activity? (Garry M Graves, Thread Originator)
Excellent question. The "Shop Class" book helped me articulate some...

I love the challenge of "the project". From start to finish it's challenging. First, following the idea until it coalesces. Followed by the planning - to try to sort out how to realistically turn that idea into something I'm reasonably happy with. Then, the reality - building. The satisfaction when things work. The humbling reality when it doesn't. And finally, the finished result.

And I love having something of quality that I can say "I built that". So much work today leads places where there is no definitive result. That physical piece stays around & I can enjoy it, enjoy the value it brings others, and remember the work to build it.

My surprise has been how hard (and rewarding) it is to think in 3D - to spatially work out the reality of building. And, my surprise that my hand craft skills aren't so bad.

Should note that I like to create my own plans. So for me, making the plans is part of what I enjoy. my wife chuckles at the weeks I'll spend drawing and re-drawing as I discover new allowances to be added or conflict between design and build-ability.

Back to "Shop Class" philosophy, sometimes I think our society misses the humility that I think we learn when we make things. And without hand skills, we lack the more quiet confidence that comes from knowing you can build something practical.

Garry Graves said:
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
I consider myself a bit of a "young-gun" in the woodworking world, although I am now closer to 40 than I am 30. Although wood shop was offered at my high school, I had no interest at the time. My grandfather was a carpenter, and I putzed around a little with my dad, who was handy, but certainly not a skilled woodworker, and never had the proper tools for what he needed to do. I didn't get into woodworking until about 4 years ago when I bought my first home, and finally had a garage and a little bit of money to get some decent tools.

I have had the opportunity to tour a fully automated cabinet factory. All of the materials were exactly the same as any "old school" carpenter would use, but all of the tools were part of a computerized assembly line, and the end result was beautiful, quality, expensive (and perfectly square) cabinets. The only human skill invovled was measuring the customer's kitchen, and creating a computer animated design of the new kitchen. Those are certainly valuable skills, but certianly not the same skill of my grandfather with his hand saws and shaping planes.

In my opinion, there will always be a niche for the truly skilled craftsman. But it is going to be a small one, and only the most creative and talented will be able to make a living at it. The bullk of the market will be covered by the automated machines. I also think that there will always be a large industry for the amature wood worker, like me. To me, wood working appeals to a certain personality, which is a pretty common personality in my opinion, and even though there are not as many jobs for the craftsman, it is always going to be there as a hobby for a lot of people.
I can speak for the younger generation. Even though I am not young anymore at the age of thirty. I do love to work with wood i like the challenge of the experience. My biggest down fall is i never once took a wood shop class in school, didnt have a father or grandfather to teach me any of the basics, and up to age 28 i never even touched a piece of wood and did not know what sandpaper was. If you would have given me a saw, I would porb. had to ask you how to turn it on. In my opinion the younger generation of adults are more interested in their XBOX and flat screen TV's. Most are interested in sports and other brain washing stuff that comes on the cancer screen which we call a TV. With me I head out to the garage and grab a piece of wood and see what i can to with it, even thought most of the time I destroy it, I have made a couple of nice things i am very proud of. For a business I would love to do something in wood like cabinetry, or mabye something else. I just do not have money to even get started with a business nor will i ever. being just a truck driver. Over all I do not think the art of woodworking will ever be lost, there is always someone that loves to work with there hands and make beautiful things, I do not care how many years pass. It just seems like to me society just grows lazy with time.

Jeff
Amen

Don Grubish said:
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

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