Woodworking as a hobby -- is it dying out?
#11
  
Our woodworking club has had a gradual decline in membership.  A lot of the older members have died or gotten out of the business, so to speak, due to health or moving to retirement homes.

Are GenX, GenY, Millenials, whatever to call the post-baby-boomer generations not getting into woodworking so much any more?   The club tends to be old white guys in flannel shirts and we're wondering what to do to boost our membership and interest.  

I did a workshop at a local high school's "science club" a couple of years ago.   The advisor said they could do robotics, lasers and integrated circuits, but not sure they could measure and cut a board.   This turned out to be true as I had them make a 5 piece and one dowel tool tote glued and nailed together.  One kid, on his way out said it was perfect -- his iPad fit in there just right.  My Jr. High "shop class" sparked my interest that rekindled after high school, college, and finally out on my own with wife in an apartment with walkway and basement storage where I did some work with saw, square, drill, plane and hammer.   It grew from there.
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#12
  Re: Woodworking as a hobby -- is it dying out? by bhh (Our woodworking club...)
The answer to your question is yes. It's a dying hobby.

It's suffering from the age of digital toys, gaming, smart phones, and the lack of attention span among the younger generation, who seem to require constant visual stimulation to maintain interest in anything. Woodworking requires attention to detail, tactile skills, and - in many cases - a substantial investment in tools that take up space in a workshop. Even if you paid zero for your tools, you still need to acquire the wood, glue, screws, finishes, and the like, which are not inexpensive.

P.S. The reference to the younger generation is not meant to apply to all of them. Many do have the discipline and skills. It's a generalization.
Still Learning,

Allan Hill
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#13
  Re: Woodworking as a hobby -- is it dying out? by bhh (Our woodworking club...)
as shop classes die out in public schools, the corresponding interest with the people that have had little to no exposure is dying out.

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away. - Philip K. Dick

Mark

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#14
  Re: Woodworking as a hobby -- is it dying out? by bhh (Our woodworking club...)
Actually, at work I deal with a lot of young people, mid 20s, early 30's, in the tech world. They are fascinated when I mention I make furniture, and there is a strong pull for them to actually accomplish something tangible, other than coding or creating spreadsheets or powerpoints as they do at work. The issue for most of them is space. They don't have houses or garages, many work in their apartments in urban environments, but the desire is there and they are accumulating knowledge bit by bit. They make small stuff, cell phone charging holders, cutting boards, small boxes. They are constantly looking for "makers spaces" where there are tools to use. They are also into youtube and instagram very heavily. I also ship a lot of handtools to young people in places like Seattle, Silicon Valley, Boston, Chicago, NYC, DC, LA, etc. So I think the seeds are planted, we'll see what grows.
Credo Elvem ipsum etiam vivere
Non impediti ratione cogitationis
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#15
  Re: RE: Woodworking as a hobby -- is it dying out? by Admiral (Actually, at work I ...)
(12-02-2019, 06:42 PM)Admiral Wrote: Actually, at work I deal with a lot of young people, mid 20s, early 30's, in the tech world.  They are fascinated when I mention I make furniture, and there is a strong pull for them to actually accomplish something tangible, other than coding or creating spreadsheets or powerpoints as they do at work.  The issue for most of them is space.  They don't have houses or garages, many work in their apartments in urban environments, but the desire is there and they are accumulating knowledge bit by bit.  They make small stuff, cell phone charging holders, cutting boards, small boxes.  They are constantly looking for "makers spaces" where there are tools to use. They are also into youtube and instagram very heavily.  I also ship a lot of handtools to young people in places like Seattle, Silicon Valley, Boston, Chicago, NYC, DC, LA, etc.  So I think the seeds are planted, we'll see what grows.

Still an interest, space to build stuff is kinda limited for most.
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#16
  Re: Woodworking as a hobby -- is it dying out? by bhh (Our woodworking club...)
yes, still an interest, I find that when people find out I make stuff, for the most part they're interested in me making something for them.  not so interested in doing themselves, though often they say something like "I wish I could do that".

but different people, different levels of interest.

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away. - Philip K. Dick

Mark

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#17
  Re: Woodworking as a hobby -- is it dying out? by bhh (Our woodworking club...)
I think WW is at a turning point similar to when power cords came into the shop. This time, it’s CNC, etc., which seem ordinary to the youngsters, but are alien creatures to me. Hand tools and ordinary power tools will survive, but they will fall out of the mainstream. This is happening in sewing, too, with the computer-controlled machines that thread themselves and wipe their own butts.

The desire to create will survive.
Carolyn

Trip Blog for Twelve Countries:   [url=http://www.woodworkingtraveler.wordpress.com[/url]

"It's good to know, but it's better to understand."  Auze Jackson
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#18
  Re: Woodworking as a hobby -- is it dying out? by bhh (Our woodworking club...)
I think things come and go in cycles.

I'm waiting (some say hoping?) for the pendulum to swing back away from the intrusive technology that permeates everything these days.  I firmly believe that the pendulum will swing back.

Seems I remember reading that the arts and crafts movement in the early 1900's was a reaction to perceived over-industrialization and to put human elements back into everyday life.

I have recently discovered that three people in my immediate work place have woodworking hobbies going to various extents.  All are younger than I am; one is half my age.  We've discussed why we do it.  None of us hold any illusion that we're saving money.  I held out that I use my shop as my retreat from the over-politicized evening news.  Yeah, I guess it's my "safe-space."  

I hesitate to judge the health of this hobby/pastime/obsession based on club memberships.  I, for one, will likely never join a club.  I can't seem to join something without being tagged to organize it.  I've done that before; I'm done with that.  I'm content to be a "woodworker at large."
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#19
  Re: Woodworking as a hobby -- is it dying out? by bhh (Our woodworking club...)
I'm with Admiral; the desire to create is there, perhaps even stronger than it was for the last few generations. It just manifests differently.
Math is tough. Let's go shopping!
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#20
  Re: Woodworking as a hobby -- is it dying out? by bhh (Our woodworking club...)
makerspaces are mostly doing pretty well, and most of them have woodworking tools.  I thought about joining a makerspace in Pittsburgh, but it's too far to drive
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