Neat idea from Australia!

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Forum topic by fredf posted 04-28-2012 10:34 PM 1841 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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495 posts in 4132 days

04-28-2012 10:34 PM

Topic tags/keywords: resource video australian mens shed group

I just ran across this. It seems like an idea whose time is right to move to the US. It would be a great way to share shop space and share skills, as well as the other social benefits. Of course the lawyers might have a field day . . .

AMSA Website

-- Fred, Springfield, Ma

13 replies so far

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3490 days

#1 posted 04-28-2012 10:48 PM

In the early 70’s, I was working with several ex-sailors and we decided that a facility patterned like the Navy Hobby Shops would be a great idea. We planned on having a woodshop, auto shop, machine shop, etc. We would sell memberships to pay for everything.

There was quite a bit of interest among our coworkers, friends, neighbors, etc but then some spoil sport talked to a lawyer and found out that the potential liability was astronomical. Talk about a deal breaker!! We dropped that idea like a bad habit.

I’ve heard that there are memberhip shops these days – some of them in retirement communities. Hopefully, somebody figured out how to side step the liability issues.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

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8565 posts in 3036 days

#2 posted 04-28-2012 10:57 PM

lots of possiallitys here needs to done here .

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

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182 posts in 2659 days

#3 posted 04-28-2012 11:06 PM

I have some friends down under, Kent and Kate and the one thing Kate always joked about was the fact that EVERY Australian man had to have a ‘shed’ in his backyard. I agree this would be an awesome thing to have here, there has to be a way to minimize the associated liabilities. We really need to revise our legal system so suing someone isn’t such a lucrative venture (I know, even I’M laughing at the idea!)

View bruc101's profile


1343 posts in 3964 days

#4 posted 04-28-2012 11:24 PM

That was an informative video and thanks for sharing it.

One of the biggest problems with our legal system is to much political b/s and scratch each other on the back politicians.
Anyone can sue anyone for anything. It’s a way of life now here in the US.

-- Bruce Free Plans

View Bluepine38's profile


3386 posts in 3507 days

#5 posted 04-29-2012 03:08 PM

There are a few guys here that get together every now and then and help each other out with projects
and enjoy the companionship, but the large dollar amount invested in the shops that could be lost through
theft and the liability that could be incurred by letting people use the tools does limit the possibility of
opening the shops to a large number of people. I feel comfortable and great letting sons, grandsons and
great grandsons use my shop under my supervision, but would be very nervous about letting someone I
did not know well use my tools, not just because of the legal liability, but the guilt if they did injure
themselves when I was busy with another project.

-- As ever, Gus-the 80 yr young apprentice carpenter

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4427 days

#6 posted 04-29-2012 03:38 PM

I thought the video was a parody at first. In that we have to have support associations now for what men have been reflexively doing with each other for centuries. Lol

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View PurpLev's profile


8551 posts in 4070 days

#7 posted 04-29-2012 05:17 PM

great looking program, I’m sure it can be put to use in the US somehow, just needs some folks that can drive it through – even with all the political and sue-trigger-happy mentality…

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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5572 posts in 3665 days

#8 posted 04-29-2012 05:25 PM

Similar ideas have been around as long as I can remember; have come and gone, usually due to interest. There was a machine shop in NYC that would rent out time on their machines. It was a great idea, since metalworking machines are so expensive. It lasted a few years, but finally disappeared. Similar woodworking shops and auto repair shops came and went.
The biggest obstacle of course is liability. 50+ years ago; if you cut your finger in someone else’s shop, you put a bandaid on it and continued. Today is different; A lawyer will come around to see you on behalf of his client with the cut finger.
The other is maintenance. Who maintains the tools, cleans up, maintains consummables, like glue, fasteners, saw blades, etc? This would require a full time paid custodian. Fees would have to be assessed to members to cover expenses, insurance, etc. Public schools used to have large, fully equipped shops, but they were expensive to maintain and have pretty much disappeared from our schools. The community woodworking system would be run the same as the school shop, but with different hours of operation.
I think it’s a great idea, but I don’t think it would work well here; maybe in a small community like a retirement community. One other thing is; most people would prefer to be alone in their shop; not surrounded by others with their own ideas. I know that’s the way I feel. I don’t like people watching me make mistakes and my safety is also a concern. My tools are very personal. I don’t like others using them. It’s the same as someone driving your car.

View Tootles's profile


808 posts in 2923 days

#9 posted 04-30-2012 09:42 AM

These workshops are springing up in various guises in Australia. I know of one that is run by Rotary and another that is part of a Community Centre that is run by our local municipality. They are all run by volunteers. The Rotary workshop also seems to have sessions where toys and other items are made to be sold in an attempt to raise funds for other Rotary projects.

The funny thing about the one at the Municipal Community Centre is that it was very popular right from the very beginning – even before they had any tools in the workshop! It does seem that it is as much about social interaction as much as actually making and doing things.

From my perspective, they are places I can go to use tools that I do not have access to at home. Okay, that’s a little less important since I started teaching, but even then there are some tools that I don’t have at school either.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View morseman's profile


2 posts in 2641 days

#10 posted 04-30-2012 10:15 AM

There is a lot of interest in this in New Zealand , in fact thee is an interesting maghazine call the Shed puiblishjed every 2 months with all sorts of interesting articles on the projects of various people I had an article published last year on a lifter I built for my mobility scooter that fits on the draw bar of the car . Its driven by a 12v windscreen wiper motor .
Activity is great for old age Morseman

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179 posts in 3834 days

#11 posted 04-30-2012 12:39 PM

Just opened in Philadelphia

From the website:
What is Philadelphia Woodworks?
A state-of-the-art, professional grade woodshop for your use and enjoyment
Full access to the shop for our members 6 days a week (Tues-Sun), nights and weekends
Membership available to novices, expert craftsman & hobbyists alike
Staffed by expert woodworkers for teaching, guidance and safety
The ideal shop to have fun and build the projects of your dreams
If you know how to build – come build; if you want to learn – we’ll teach you!

View Richard's profile


400 posts in 3113 days

#12 posted 04-30-2012 02:08 PM

We have something similar in Minnesota, North Country Woodshop

I wish it wasn’t an hour away from me.

-- "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

View fredf's profile


495 posts in 4132 days

#13 posted 04-30-2012 06:37 PM

Wow! It looks like there is a lot of interest in something like this. When I saw it the social side of it was what caught my attention the most. I know that when I was laid off and then retired, my social life dropped to near zero. For me that aspect of these centers is the most appealing. The availability of tools is nice but the social support could be a life saver for many people.

In the video I also noticed younger guys that come to learn skills from the older ones as well. It does sound like a WIN – WIN situation for all, IF you could figure a way around the crazy legal system in the US. Tools by their very nature are sharp and somewhat dangerous. Accidents WILL happen. On the other hand the social benefits sound really great!

-- Fred, Springfield, Ma

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