Using a Table SawDo I have to be a Pro to join the guild?

Nope! Our group is made up of all kinds of woodworkers, even some members who aren’t specifically woodworkers, though they do something related to wood (tool sharpening, retail power tool sales, hardwood sales, hardware, etc.)

Some of our members — young and young-at-heart, are hobby woodworkers, or folks who have come to the craft late in life, say … after they have retired from a desk job. Other members have been earning a living crafting fine furniture or custom cabinetry, for many years, most for a lifetime. Some work with wood for relaxation and fun, others do it for all those reasons and to make a living. Some of us are self-taught. Others have apprenticed with older craftsmen, learned from a relativ or taken courses in college.

Our mix of inexperienced or beginning woodcrafters, associated business owners, and seasoned professional furniture makers, keeps the Guild meetings fun, interesting and challenging. We like to share our questions, wonderings, musings and knowledge freely amongst our members. It really is a great group.

Tom Dolans ToolsWhat if I’m just a hobby woodworker?

First of all, there is no “just” about woodworking. Hobbiest, Enthusiast, Professional, Carpenter, Woodturner, Furniture-Maker, Student or Person-Interested-In-Knowing-More … everyone is welcome.

We invite anyone to join the Helena Woodworkers’ Guild — if you have an interest in woodworking and in increasing your skills, whether you have a lifetime of experience or are just getting starting in a woodworking hobby, we would like to have you as a member of our Guild.

If you are a seasoned woodworker, consider joining to share your knowledge with younger or more inexperienced woodworkers. There’s really something to the idea of passing on your knowledge to younger generations.

If you are new to woodworking, or even just thinking about (or wishing about) getting into woodworking, we have many members who are willing to share stories and tips with you.

Rather than competing with each other for what some might perceive as a finite (aka scarce) market for our services, we prefer to build local demand for fine, custom, handcrafted furniture, cabinetry and art objects of wood, through cooperation with each other, education of the general public about the benefits of fine woodworking, and promotion of the craft of custom woodworking, in general.

If you feel the same, please give us a look: attend one of our meetings as our guest and after you’ve enjoyed the comraderie and fun, consider joining the Guild.

Gary Duval at Art of Wood ExhibitCan I submit a piece to the annual exhibit?

 All members of the Helena Woodworkers’ Guild may submit one or more pieces to our annual exhibit, usually held in late fall in Helena, Montana. The exhibit is a great way to get the word out about your work. We encourage you to present your best and newest work for the exhibit, though this is not required.

There is a fee for each piece submitted. This fee covers most costs of mounting the exhibit. We ask that you give us the details and a digital photo of each piece submitted, including title, materials and price (NFS works are accepted, but we encourage you to put prices even on “sold” pieces, in case a viewer wants to commission a similar piece from you.)

Part of the exhibit promotion is printing a postcard invitation to the show. All members with a piece in the show may have a handful of the invitations which you can mail to your own family, friends and customers. We encourage all of the guild members to help us distribute these postcards prior to the exhibit, not only to get the word out about the exhibit but also to promote the Guild, in general.  We will also have these postcards (with our website listing) available at the gallery during the exhibit. All members will receive an email when the postcards are ready to be picked up.

Please check our blog for announcements about this year’s Art of Wood Exhibit.

guild members at meetingTell me about your meetings

We take turns hosting monthly meetings at our shops or homes. Occasionally a meeting will be at the Vo-tech shop or at Helena Hardwoods. Sometimes the member hosting the meeting is in charge of the “program” that night. Programs vary from discussing a bamboo kitchen, to historic preservation techniques, dovetail methods, introductions to new and unusual shop tools, kiln-dried lumber, how to work with exotic hardwoods, wood turning, etc. Topics are limited only by our collective imaginations.

Guild members who host a meeting usually provide something for a casual dinner such as brats, grilled chicken, a pot of soup or chili. Other members bring side dishes and beverages. We have time at the beginning of each meeting to chow down, catch up socially, and get to know new members. After our “meal” we get down to whatever business is at hand, the educational portion then planning for future meetings, exhibits, etc.

As a group we strive to give back to our community by offering our time, expertise and donated tools or handcrafted woodworking to local non-profits, museums, school, etc. We welcome all members ideas for how we can better serve our community as woodworkers, hobbyists and business owners.

Please join us if you are a woodworker, have a related interest or business, or just think you’d like to see what sort of folks woodworkers are! Check the Guild Calendar on our meetings page for dates times and locations.

If you would like to join us, or just check us out, call one of our officers (list at bottom of this page) or email helenawoodworkers@gmail.com for more information about our meetings and membership.

Scraps of WoodWhat else does the Guild do? 

We give back to our community in various ways. Most of our members do this on their own, with groups such as churches, community organizations, charities, schools, or Habitat for Humanity.

One of our goals as a Guild is to do community service projects together. One year most of our guild members donated services, furniture or woodworking tools to the new Exploration Works Children’s Museum in The Great Northern Town Center. Another year some of our members participated as a team at the Missoula Re-Store Fundraising event.  We are always open to ideas from our members, as well as other Helena folks, on ways we can serve our community. If you would like to suggest a project we might become involved in, please contact one of our members, or email us helenawoodworkers@gmail.com

Our Guild also mounts an annual handcrafted woodworking exhibit in late fall. This takes place during the Downtown Helena Fall ArtWalk, with a fun and elegant reception on the evening of the ArtWalk. Any guild member is welcome to submit pieces to the show.

And of course, our meetings aren’t just the usual meetings! We always have an educational “program” on a topic that we hope is useful to all of our members, hobby woodworkers or professionals. Topics are limited only by our imaginations, so we encourage all of our members to contribute ideas.

Stool by Tim CarneyI would like to find a woodworker in my area

If you are looking for a custom cabinetmaker, finish carpenter, woodturner or maker of handcrafted furniture, you have come to the right place. Any of our members who do woodworking for a living would be delighted to help you and if your project is not a good fit with a particular member of the Guild, they will gladly refer you to someone else who makes the style of woodworking project you are looking for.

We also have members who are not woodworkers at all — who have businesses related to woodworking, such as tool sharpening, hand tool sales, hardwood sales and other related retail.

Look through our professional members’ profile pages for photos of their woodworking, as well as for phone numbers, addresses, emails and weblinks to individual woodworker’s businesses.

Please be our guest at our annual “Art of Wood” exhibit of woodworking by our members. This exhibit usually takes place in October or November, during the Downtown Helena Fall ArtWalk. Watch our blog and Facebook page and the local newspapers for information about dates and locations of our exhibits. We would love to have you join us for our opening receptions during these shows!

wood shop clampsCan you guys help me find a specific tool or material?

We can try. If you have a question about a woodworking tool, or specific material used in woodworking, try doing a Google search first. Then, if you still have questions, please email us and we will do our best to point your question in the direction of one or two Guild members who’d know about that sort of thing.

We have Guild members with a wide range of skills and knowledge who would be glad to help you answer your questions. We also have members who are really just starting out — something we value, since it keeps the old-timers fresh and helps beginners gain more confidence.

If you are interested in learning more about woodworking, consider joining our Guild, or a group of woodworkers in your home town. Vocational-Tech schools, community colleges and woodworking/furniture schools are also excellent venues for learning the craft of woodworking.

ShopI am a Helena woodworker. How can I get a link on your website? 

If you join the Helena Woodworkers’ Guild, you will automatically get a listing in our membership directory.

For an additional fee, your membership listing will link to a profile page that has a gallery of your woodworking plus contact information and links so people can see more of your work (business website, Facebook page, photo site, etc.) In order to have a gallery on your profile page, you must provide digital photos to our webmaster. If you need help with your photos, just ask (email helenawoodworkers@gmail.com) and we can work something out.  We also have an faq (below) about photographing your work.

If you do not have your own webpage already, we know an experienced web designer who can make you a great webpage for your business for a reasonable fee. Even if you pursue woodworking solely as a hobby, you might want to have a web page to show off your work to family and friends.

Stacked LumberI am a woodworker outside of Helena, or have a woodworking-related business. How can I get a link on your site or put an article on your blog?

If you have some information or a website you think our Guild members would be interested in, please email us and we might post it on our website. We have a “Links” page where we link to other woodworking blogs, woodworking schools, workshops, sites that have information about wood properties, etc.  We will take a look at your site and decide if it fits our requirements for inclusion on our Links page. We do not link to spammy sites!

We are considering whether to accept ads or not. Please send us your information and when/if we do start including ads on our site, we will be in touch.

FAQ FoodDo you serve food at your meetings?

Yep! Usually we do. Good stuff, too! Guild members who host a meeting usually provide something for a casual dinner such as brats, grilled chicken, a pot of soup or chili. Other members attend the meeting bringing snacks, side dishes and beverages. We have time at the beginning of each meeting to chow down, catch up socially, and get to know new members. After our “meal” we get down to whatever business is at hand, usually an educational portion and often planning for future meetings, our exhibits, etc.

Our annual Art of Wood Exhibit during the Fall Art Walk is renowned for having the best food in town that night. We have hundreds if not thousands of visitors coming through the exhibit in one night. The guild provides beverages and all members are invited to participate (even if you don’t have a piece in the show) by bringing a platter of appetizers or sweets to the event.  It’s all appreciated!

GuildSawBladesI would like to use a photo I found on your site. May I do that? 

All photos you see on our website are ©Copyrighted by the photographer, unless otherwise noted (we sometimes use photos from events or other organizations when we post a blog post about them — and we try to get permission to use their photos, too!)

All rights to the photos are reserved by our photographers. If you want to use a photo you found on our website, or in a gallery of our members’ works linked to this site, please be courteous and ask permission. You can do that by emailing the woodworker (if it’s on a profile page, for instance) or email the webmaster. helenawoodworkersguild@gmail.com.

No matter what, if you do get permission to use one of our photos, always — always — link back to the original photo ON our website. Thank you for your courtesy.

Guild-dave ashley and chris yavahI would like to “share” a blog post, a profile page or a photo of a piece of awesome woodwork that I found on your site. May I do that? 

Yes, we would love it if you would share and share and share … our only request is that you link to the original post or photo as you found it on our blog, and give credit in the caption so other people know whose work they are seeing when it’s on another site such as Pinterest or Facebook. Please let us know if you do share, by leaving a comment. We just like that. It makes us all a happier big global family, eh?

GuildBlueDenimWho runs the guild, anyway? I’d like to get involved more than just coming to meetings.

The guild has a leadership team consisting of a president, treasurer and secretary. Below is a list of our current officers as of January 2014. We hold elections every couple of years and guild members take on leadership roles that way.

  • President – Anna Baker 406.461-5594
  • Secretary – Bill Pratt 406.458-7036
  • Treasurer – Bill Daigle 406.697-8924

We also have several committees you can choose to serve on: Workshops, Annual Exhibit, Website and Programming. Call any of the officers, or email the webmaster at helenawoodworkersguild@gmail.com, if you are interested in serving on a committee. We would love it if you did!