Making is not a thing of the past. Indeed, we as human beings have an inherent need to craft things with our hands. For some people, that means that we have a need to create things out of wood.
We feel that there are plenty of others out there just like us. People who want to learn to become fine woodworkers, people who are looking for the space and tools they need to get started, and those who are not even sure where to start, but just know that they have a need that they must fulfill.
So, we came up with The Workshop.
It isn't a wholly novel concept, similar operations have sprung up around the country, catering to the need to create and build that so many of us are seeking. Some are focused on metal, some on Maker Bots, some on cars or motorcycles. For us, we are initially focused on making things with wood.
What makes our concept so likely to succeed is the critical mass that we have here in Fredericksburg, Virginia. We have thousands of woodworkers, and we have a vibrant arts and maker community - but we have no community woodshop.
So, we have decided to come together to create this new local business.
Each of us have different skills that we can bring to bear to ensure the success of our venture. We have business experience, and understand what is necessary for the success of a fledgling venture such as ours. We have many decades of woodworking experience amongst us. We also all have a commitment to giving people the opportunity to make things.
The concept is pretty simple: It is like a gym membership for woodworking.
We will have a membership based woodworking shop. People can pay a monthly membership fee to access the shop, sign up for classes to enhance their skills, and purchase basic shop consumables like high-end lumber, finishes, fasteners, sandpaper, etc...
Who We Are
Tim Eggers - With 18 years as a woodworker, Tim brings a lot of skill and experience to the 'table' (indeed, he makes fine unique tables). He has made a name for himself locally as a high-end maker of furniture and clocks. His works are functional art, using quality wood and a mix of traditional hand tools and modern machinery to craft unique and beautiful objects.
Tim is also one of the founders of the Fredericksburg Area Woodworker's Guild - an informal monthly gathering of 80 or so local and regional woodworkers looking to supplement their skills and meet other woodworkers.
Tim also brings his skills and knowledge in business as an insurance sales and service agent. His connections within both the local community and insurance business will be very helpful in ensuring the success of our venture.
David M. Keene - David has been woodworking intently for only a few years, but is very much immersed in the craft - also making unique live-edge items with both traditional hand tools and modern machinery. David has always considered himself a maker and creator. He loves to tinker: electronics, cars, computers, tools - and now wood. He is also a fine artist in oils, mostly of western themes and sporting dogs.
David brings his skill in technology and marketing to the table, as well as his passion for woodworking and business.
Bill Scheff - Bill has been making things with wood his entire life, and spent many years passing along the skills necessary to safely make things in a workshop to his middle-school students. Bill also has a passion for the finest quality lumber, and culls through vast amounts of domestic and exotic lumber to find only the very best.
Bill's knowledge and experience in instruction and lumber are incredibly valuable assets, and Bill will be making use of those skills by running The Workshop's lumber department and continuing to pass along his highly specialized skills as a fine woodworker.
Rance Rupp - Rance has been making things with power tools his entire life. His father influenced him from an early age, and since that time he has developed into a seasoned woodworker - and has spent more than 7 years passing his skills along to other woodworkers as a professional woodworking instructor. He has developed and honed courses to reinforce safety, and develop key woodworking skills for his students. The courses that he has taught and created are designed to ensure that his students develop their skills and knowledge while producing interesting and unique projects - and introducing them to interesting ideas and technology (such as Computer Aided Design for woodworkers, and CNC).
Rance is also one of the founders of The Fredericksburg Area Woodworker's Guild - and often gives presentations on specific skill mastery and tips for improving Guild Members' skill-set. His skills and experience as an instructor are important to ensuring that The Workshop will be able to offer a comprehensive syllabus of woodworking courses. ᐧ
...and many other talented woodworkers with decades of experience in both the business and art of working with wood, but also in instruction, lumber milling - and many other skills besides.
So, where does our business stand?
We've been acquiring the necessary equipment, lumber, and plans for some time now, and only recently have we also acquired a location.
We already have obtained some high-end woodworking equipment - Powermatic, Jet, and Bridgewood equipment - all that any serious woodworker would covet for their own shop.
Here is a partial listing of equipment that we already have acquired for use at The Workshop:
- SawStop 3HP Professional Cabinet Saw
- Powermatic 5HP Cabinet Saw (PM2000) w/ 50 inch fence
- Powermatic 15” Bandsaw PM-1500
- Powermatic 12” Jointer (Model 1285)
- Powermatic 8” Jointer 2HP
- Powermatic 15” Planer 3HP
- Powermatic Drill Press PM-2800B
- Powermatic Cabinet Belt/Disc Sander 31A
- Powermatic Dust Collector PM1900TX-CK3
- Powermatic Model 66 3HP Cabinet Saw w/ autofeeder
- Older Robland Combination machine
- Jet 3HP Cabinet Saw w/ 50 inch fence
- Jet 14-inch 1.5HP Bandsaw
- Jet Midi Lathe
- Bridgewood Shaper
- Bridgewood 8” Jointer
- Bridgewood 20" planer
- Delta full-size lathe
- Delta 15 inch Planer
- Delta Drill Press
- Delta Cabinet Belt/Disk Sander
- Delta 3HP 2-canister Dust Collector
- Delta 7HP Cyclone Dust Collector
- 4 x JDS 2000 Air Filtration Units
- Too many to list hand tools
We'll surely need more equipment, and we'll also need to tune and clean up some of the equipment that we already have.
Exotic & Domestic Hardwood Lumber
We also have an astonishing stock of hand-picked exotic and domestic lumber, including slabs and dimensional boards.
We also have leased a 12,000 square foot facility on the edge of Fredericksburg City, right off Route 3 (a major thoroughfare).
The space is clean, and in good repair, with no leaks or other issues, ample parking, and more power than we'll ever need. The building itself is located just off a major thoroughfare with high visibility signage, is zoned for industrial use, and has loading bay doors for facilitating easy loading and unloading of lumber or woodworking projects.
We are beginning our build now, and every dollar that you contribute will help us complete the project - and bring the ability to make things back to thousands of woodworkers and non-woodworkers alike.
Risks and challenges
The risks this venture faces are practical, financial and regulatory.
Safety is very important. We will require regular safety classes - but there is still the risk of injury when working with table saws and jointers. A serious injury could put us out of business. That said, we have taken extensive precautions with an in-depth safety course, safety contract, and a comprehensive liability and accident insurance policy.
We also face the risk of not being able to get enough members to join. Maintaining, staffing, equipping, and powering a shop is not cheap. Everything from keeping blades sharp to replacing HEPA filters will not be without expense - and we'll need enough of a membership base to sustain us from month to month. Mitigating this risk is revenue from both classes and lumber sales.
Finally, we face regulatory risks associated with running a shop of this sort. We have worked, and continue to work, closely with city officials to ensure that we are working within the proper building codes and zoning requirements, and the location that we have secured meets the requirements necessary, though we will be required to build fire-rated walls - which will increase our build-out costs. We have already received zoning approval and are now waiting for input from the City Building Inspector on our application.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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