Are We A Part Of Dying Art?

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Forum topic by Maveric777 posted 08-17-2010 02:35 PM 4058 views 0 times favorited 48 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2694 posts in 3555 days

08-17-2010 02:35 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I know this may sound really weird being posted up on a massive woodworking web site, but I am curious to see if anyone else is having this feeling. I am still very new around the saw dust so this may be a new kid on the block syndrome, but I just can’t help but feel that this common passion we all share of woodworking is on a slow death roll. I’m not talking tomorrow, next year, or even 10 years …. I am wondering how many of us will there be 20 years from now…. or 30?

Some of the reasoning is I am constantly asked “Why are you doing this?”..... I always find this to be an odd question. The only answer I can ever come up with is “I has become a passion”. I also find the majority of the folks who seem to enjoy my work are more mature people (trying not to say older folks…lol) or fellow woodworkers who knows personaly what all is involved. Maybe I am just being a tad sour, maybe I am looking to far into this, but I can’t help but feel most folks don’t really appreciate the work we do. Am I weird for feeling this way?

Well, last Saturday my bride and I where talking about woodworking & quilting. About how both skills are on the decline (again maybe we both are looking to far into this) and how it really is a bummer that not near as many new blood is coming in to pass along these skills.

I know this is a tad long winded just to ask if anyone else is getting this drift. Also to hopefully hear some words of encouragement that I am wrong. I truly want to be….

P.S. I also made a request to my wife Saturday after discussing this. I know I’m a little to young to be talking about kicking the bucket or what not (only in my mid 30’s), but made one request about my tools. They are not to be sold. They are to either be donated to some sort of school or to a young person who has the desire to carry on the torch. If anything …... I want to help preserve my passion….

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

48 replies so far

View lwllms's profile


555 posts in 3760 days

#1 posted 08-17-2010 03:16 PM

I won’t be doing this in 20 or 30 years. I’m 62 and cancer and a heart attack have put out the caution flag for me. I have been woodworking for more than 35 and never much worried about who else was doing it.

View Greedo's profile


473 posts in 3438 days

#2 posted 08-17-2010 03:17 PM

i can maybe reverse the question, are you growing your own food? does your fruit and vegetables come from your garden? do you bake your own bread, raise and slaughter your own animals? knit you clothes etc…
so many things wich not so long ago pretty much everybody did, but those arts or occupations didn’t die.
some people kept doing it and became prefessional, others do it for fun or neccesity.
if those or our woodworking art don’t transform and adapt then they die, if woodworking hadn’t become a moneymaking industry then it wouldn’t have evolved that much and most of the powertools and such we use today wouldn’t have been invented i guess.
it’sn not dying as long as there are trees ont his planet (or as long as they can genetically modify plants to grow into funiture themselves!)

View patron's profile


13650 posts in 3819 days

#3 posted 08-17-2010 03:36 PM

kick all the buckets you like
do all the new pastimes

sooner or later
these things get booring

and many turn to craft
and art

for the personal rewards !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

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2694 posts in 3555 days

#4 posted 08-17-2010 03:58 PM

I guess where I was going with this is I don’t see many young people getting into woodworking. Maybe because it is not in schools like it was back in the day, or what not. I don’t see much interest in it around my regular crowd at least. Almost every other day I am being asked to build something for someone, but I have yet to have someone ask me “Will you show me how to do this”..... That is where I was going with this.

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View ChuckV's profile


3228 posts in 4005 days

#5 posted 08-17-2010 04:03 PM

Dan -

I believe that the craft of woodwroking is still alive and well. I have been fortunate to take some workshops at the North Bennet School in Boston. In each workshop, there have been a significant number of young people either just out of high school or only a few years beyond that. Also, when we take a tour through the parts of the school that house the full-time programs, I am amazed at the talent shown by the young students there. The school admits students two times a year, and there is always a waiting list.

So, the craft may not always be out in the open, but I feel that it is not dying.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View Maveric777's profile


2694 posts in 3555 days

#6 posted 08-17-2010 04:10 PM

Very cool Chuck…. A waiting list! Now that is awesome….

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View hairy's profile


2908 posts in 4010 days

#7 posted 08-17-2010 04:10 PM

I think people had the same questions 100 years ago. Machinery did things that were always done by hand, and that won’t change.

Some folks keep old skills alive and some have never changed from doing it the old way.

No doubt, it will be different.

-- Genghis Khan and his brother Don, couldn't keep on keeping on...

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10690 posts in 4530 days

#8 posted 08-17-2010 06:10 PM

Here I thought this thread was going to be about dying wood…

... like using TransTint … show polish… TransFast… or other dyes to artfully DYE wood…

... oh well… :) :)

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3764 days

#9 posted 08-17-2010 06:22 PM

As long as there are trees, there will be someone to create beauty from them.

While production techniques will always be changing, creativity will never go out of style. With the
internet now, people like never before are encouraged by others. I know my passion, ability and knowledge have grown stronger through the years. Learning methods and gaining knowledge will only grow the art. People will always need a relief from stress in life. What better way to do it than through woodworking.


View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 3404 days

#10 posted 08-17-2010 06:28 PM

I hired a girl the other day for our Construction company who had three years in Cabinetmaking. I told her this was an entry level position (basicly starting out as a laborer), and asked why would she get out of Cabinetmaking?

She said the trade is dying out, too many big companies pushing the little shops out of business.

Maybe that’s what she’s been told, but every small shop in our city that we do business with cannot keep up. They are looking for helpers, apprentices, installers, you name it.

I think it is still alive and well, depends where you look.

I didn’t want to bring this up again, but in this “instant – gratification” society, where everyone wants it all right now, it will deter some from taking the time to draw or study a plan, buy the rough lumber, machine it, cut the pieces to size, assemble and finish the project…

It isn’t for everyone!

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3748 days

#11 posted 08-17-2010 06:37 PM

I do not see this as a dying trend. I see many younger folks taking up the hobby. As long as people have imagination and the drive to create…woodworking will remain vibrant. Even with schools dropping industrial arts right and left there are still young folks that want to learn – I get friends asking all the time if I would show their kids some of the skills.

When my grandfather was teaching me some of his skills…he used to say that the younger generation is loosing interest and will not keep this art alive….but I think there are more now (based on tool sales) then there has ever been…..

As long as you see engineers making innovations in tools – check out the new Bosch slider – due out Oct 1, 1010 (Fine Woodworking site) will see more folks take up this hobby….and now more women are finding the passion for this hobby (which is a wonderful thing by the way). I think woodworking has many more miles left on the tread.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View John Steffen's profile

John Steffen

218 posts in 3533 days

#12 posted 08-17-2010 06:51 PM

I just think the entry age for woodworking is getting older for several reasons.

Kids don’t look for creative outlets these days. They don’t need it as a hobby as they have other things to keep them occupied (Internet/TV/Friends… probably in that order). In high school they are being trained to go on to college, and MOST of those kids won’t get into a vocation like woodworking, so they don’t worry about it.

I’m willing to bet that a very solid majority of the people here got into woodworking well after their life/career were established. If only because up until that point they were spending all of their energies getting to that point.

And finally woodworking is wtfexpensive. In the last 8 months I’ve wrapped up about $4,000 in tools and $500 in my workbench, and that’s just basic power tools. I have no hand tools (which are darn near as expensive) nowhere near enough clamps to do any real glue-ups, and I’ve bought zero hardwood (can’t believe some of the prices). I’m not sure where kids are supposed to get that kind of funding. Most of the money I spent came from a lot of overtime and selling my car.

No, I don’t think woodworking is dying. Quite the opposite… I think it’s making a comeback, just in a different capacity. The commercial side of it has, and will continue to die down (but never go away completely). I think as long as there are bored middle-aged men and women with a nack for building things, there will be plenty of new woodworkers.

-- Big John's Woodshed - Farmington, IL

View Maveric777's profile


2694 posts in 3555 days

#13 posted 08-17-2010 06:53 PM

Good conversation everyone. Its good to hear positive encouraging feedback from everyone. I am tickled to hear things are still alive and kicking. Maybe I need to crawl out of the shop from time to time and look around….. lol

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

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2694 posts in 3555 days

#14 posted 08-17-2010 06:56 PM

John I think you may have just hit the nail on the head. Never once did I think of that factor….

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View rhett's profile


743 posts in 4145 days

#15 posted 08-17-2010 07:03 PM

All things that take a skill set are falling to the way side.

-- Doubt kills more dreams than failure.

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