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Woodworkers Guild of America - Value ??

19666 Views 13 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  FBtool
I am wondering if any other Lumberjocks members have experience with or advice about Wood Workers Guild of America, regarding its value to us who like to work with our hands, by viewing or purchasing their videos? My initial experience as one of their new members, leaves me scratching my head.

I bought a membership with high expectations for great coaching and tutorials. HOWEVER, I did not expect to get BOMBARDED with daily solicitations, through email, trying to get me to "up the ante" by subscribing to the next level. They dangle a "higher in the air carrot" by teasing with all sorts of video topics to view, BUT, you have to have a "Premium" membership to view them. OK, granted… I'm alright with their business model once I realized that is how they play their "game" (after all, aren't we all in the business of making money, to support our families and our desires?).

However, in their defense, let me say that their knowledge, skill sets, and instruction seem to be of value, so nothing against what they can deliver, to expand your capabilities. I expected to join, as a mid level DIY'er to refer to, on occasion, for helpful tips. But 90% of their videos are Premium only or above subscriptions to be able to view. OK. I got that…that's their business model.

Subsequent to joining on a promotional first year basic plan, I went to their website to see what I could discover for improvement, and found that most of the basics are just that…basics. If you use any power tools for woodworking for longer than a year, then you already know or can figure out most of this stuff on your own. So I was disappointed in the "free offerings". But then I discovered after joining, that their offer of several free downloads for joining, were totally useless because they were indicated to be ".mov" file extension videos, which should open automatically, if you are on a PC with Microsoft. I downloaded my first of four selections which took several hours (I have a robust PC and very fast internet pipeline). AND the file size was 1.6 gig. Do the math. If you have a typical PC that is 2-3 years or newer, you likely have a 500 gig to 1 terabyte hard drive. It would not take long for their downloads to choke your system.

Now here is where things seemed to go "south". After I downloaded the first of my 4 free offerings, My WIndows 8.1 PC could not open or read the file, due to "unknown file extension…would you like to search the internet for a program that can open your file?....heck no. Really??? Not a ".mov" file at all.

So, after a couple weeks of daily emails from them, trying to entice me to the next level of membership, I am getting to the point that I could care less if I ever viewed another "tip" from them. I will happily keep trucking on with "Wood Magazine's" daily emails, because they offer something of value without holding their hand out. I unsubscribed from WWGOA several days ago and am curious to see how long they keep bombarding me. I contemplated upgrading my membership when I first joined on the promotional level, but thought I would wait and see how much value it might bring, through my first year, before renewal comes up.

Any advice from you all, regarding your experiences and if I should stick it out for better things to come??
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Did the same, unsubscribed quickly, have found that there's lots of free content on YouTube, and sometimes consider becoming a subscriber to the Woodwhisper's guild but have not yet seen a project that is on my gotta make list. I think the best learning comes from practice to tell the truth, making mistakes can be a good help. I've also spent some time with Youtube tutorials for Sketchup, and that has been time well spent, because now I draw a project in SU first and make the first set of mistakes digitally. I don't get super nuts with it, like drawing the joinery etc, and the project never really finishes to the exact measurements of the drawing but I get from the beginning to the end of a project much quicker and haven't needed a board stretcher lately.
I don't subscribe to anything that has an "automatic" renewal.
Thanks Bill and ChefHDAN. Normally do not do auto-renew, except for the fact that I naively "fell for" their promise when ordering the subscription, that you may cancel at any time, no questions asked, and cancel auto renew easily. Sadly, there is nowhere on their site that you can cancel auto renew. They force you to contact them personally, and then you get a nebulous response from an email address that does not seem to be connected to them in any way. Sigh, guess I have to wait and see what happens. I saw an interesting comment in a Google search for complaints about their business practices in consistently charging cards after confirming the cancellation of auto-renew. One respondent said to always use PayPal when ordering anything subscription related because PayPal is aggressive in penalizing merchants/retailers, if they show a pattern. And PayPal will block any unauthorized charges, given proof of your communication to cancel. Good advice.

Of all the sites which I have visited, I find Wood Magazine's free content to be exceptional, especially all the tips and tricks for better and/or safer practices in the shop with extremely clear illustrations along with narrative. Besides the wealth of info on YouTube, if either of you have run across any other sites, which are as good as Wood Magazine, I would love to hear about them. Currently in the process of a whole house remodel, having recently stepped back into the shop after several years of not doing much. Re-honing my skills with a number of new power tools and love to educate myself further. Success is built on fairness and trust. Thanks a bunch for taking the time to read my complaint about this unscrupulous deceiver.
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Check out this thread in Lumberjocks

Lots of good folks recommended in the thread, it's difficult to tell you what will fit you as some of them talk alot, and some just show how they're working, two of my favorites are Kyle Toth and I********************ani Furniture oh and for some pure furniture porn, Doucette & Wolfe , I may never have that guys skills, but we all need to have goals…

Have a good one, had many good years in Lawrence when I was much younger
Keep in mind, most of those guys with a high degree of skill, went to woodworking schools. So it depends on your goal. If you just want to be a high level woodworker, you need to study under high level woodworkers. If you want to be a weekend woodworker, the internet is a great place to start although I prefer books and videos by professional craftsmen.
Check out this thread in Lumberjocks

Lots of good folks recommended in the thread, it s difficult to tell you what will fit you as some of them talk alot, and some just show how they re working, two of my favorites are Kyle Toth and I********************ani Furniture oh and for some pure furniture porn, Doucette & Wolfe , I may never have that guys skills, but we all need to have goals…

Have a good one, had many good years in Lawrence when I was much younger

- ChefHDAN
Thanks ChefHDAN. I will check those out. Interesting comment about being in Lawrence Kansas. Although I am from Wichita, from 1980 to 1986, I was the founder/owner/operator of a nightclub called Gammons at 23rd and Ousdahl. Many fond memories and experiences. Became friends of Coach Larry Brown, who came into my establishment after his first home game win, as new coach, and from that point forward, he came in after every home game for the entire time that he coached KU Basketball. Rock Chalk.
Thanks Rick_M. I don't have aspirations for high level woodworking (i.e. building furniture etc), but get great satisfaction from stepping into unknown waters, to challenge myself. I have purchased several Taunton's books on wood related subjects and find them to be excellent for my purposes, which mainly relate to tackling anything within my home remodeling aspirations. I agree that YouTube is a good catalyst, if one is willing to sort through the wannabe's to get to the real doers. And I will check out your blog. Appreciate your comments.
I too joined WWGOA and was disappointed. I did find the Alabama Woodworkers Guild (which you have to pay for) and they have meetings at their shop with many classes (pay a fee) and some free workshops that are taught by members. Maybe there is a Kansas WWG near you. Just a thought…
Thanks Sondra, I will check that out.
Not bashing the presenter. He's good - no argument. Otherwise, the site is absolutely worthless. Quickly stopped the auto renewal. Like you stated, if you've held a power tool for any time at all, and still have all ten fingers (or not) you can figure it all out. Nothing but offers to get you to buy something or upgrade to a higher level of worthless. Lesson learned.
I must say WWGOA sends me a cheap deal to renew every year and George Vondriska is an exceptionally knowledgeable and highly skilled woodworker and also an excellent teacher. I re sign up for whatever special rate $10-15.00) "Gold" membership each year and email them to not auto renew me. So far in 3-4 years they have never auto renewed me.
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