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New type of WW club

A few months ago I had an internet conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. In Googling the woodworking activities in the area, I came across a club, the North Carolina Woodworker, which is mostly an online woodworking organization. I flew in a day early and got together with three club members to learn more. Read Douglas Robinson’s explanation below to learn more about their unique club. It’s probably an excellent model for clubs of the future where monthly meetings aren’t the focal point.

North Carolina Woodworker, Inc. was originally started by Steve Coles as a way to provide woodworking-related information that was regionally specific, after failing to find anything useful like it on the national boards. In addition, Coles wanted to provide a photo-hosting site for other local woodworkers. The site was restricted to North Carolinians (and others in surrounding States) in order to keep the storage requirements to a minimum.

Almost immediately, under prompting from others, a set of advice forums was added and became the primary draw of the website. As a forum, some new rules were added that probably made the site very attractive to a lot of people.

First, to combat the elitism of many other WWing sites, North Carolina Woodworker considered any discipline that worked with wood to be “WOODWORKING”

Second and probably most important, was the intent to create an atmosphere that encouraged and only allowed civility in the public interactions between users. Since the earliest days of public computer networking, there persisted the idea that anyone was allowed to say anything about anybody. On some woodworking sites, one could see beginner’s being mocked, nasty verbal jousting about politics and religion, and a disregard of the diversity of the people that make up the woodworking community. To counter this at NCWW, a posting and moderation policy was created and enforced. This policy has grown with the needs of the site. A lot of what NCWW is today is attributable to Steve Coles and to a handful of others that set the tone of friendliness and helped behind the scenes creating key features of the website.

In October 2005 North Carolina Woodworker got involved in the Klingspor show. In the Winter of 2006, Steve told a few of the members that he knew personally that he was going to host a picnic in the Spring at his house. The number of people to be invited became so large that the picnic location was moved to a public picnic ground and an announcement was made inviting all users of the site to the picnic. This became the 1st Annual Spring Picnic which has been continued annually since.

At that picnic, Steve was presented with a mini-lathe and tools as a gift from the membership (now the Good Will Lathe). As a result of this gift Steve realized that North Carolina Woodworker was something more than a website, and had become a real community. Like the proverbial light bulb flashing on, Steve began to think of North Carolina Woodworker as a club, a club which had dues. Not monetary dues, but dues that are paid by your visits to the site.

By autumn of 2006, North Carolina Woodworker had the first calendar contest, and Klingspor invited North Carolina Woodworker to participate providing us a room where NCWW held a pen turning marathon for our troops. Next members organized wood hauls. The pony express service sprang up with no prompting as members helped each other bring tools, wood, etc., to each other.

In 2008 NCWW started having shop crawls, where the members got together and traveled to pre-designated host shops to see each other’s work and how they set up shop, literally. In 2008 NCWW drafted by-laws and inaugurated a Board of Directors. At the 2009 picnic Steve Coles stepped down from the running of North Carolina Woodworker, but remains and active participant. The Board of Directors is presently pursuing non-profit status and developing educational activities, such as a group clamp building project.

So North Carolina Woodworker is no longer just a website, North Carolina Woodworker is in fact and in spirit a very vibrant and active community. We invite you to visit our site.
Douglas Robinson [drobinsonster@gmail.com]

7 Responses to “New type of WW club”

  1. [...] 05:32 PM PresidentModerator Marlen Kemmet of Wood Magazine featured us in the following: http://www.woodmagazine.com/blogs/wo…pe-of-ww-club/ __________________ Doug Undergoing yet ANOTHER shop [...]

  2. Thanks for the great writeup! Those of us that are a part of this group definitely know what a think Steve started for us! It really is a lot more than what most woodworking forums are.

  3. I wish this article could express just how much of a community NCWW has become. Many friendships have been made, charities have benefitted, careers have been launched and families have grown closer through this group effort.

    I hope the atmosphere and culture grown here can become a model for web communities all over the world.

  4. What Steve started as a virtual woodworking reference tool has become a close knit family. We have more face to face contacts then most meet in person clubs.

  5. As a developing woodworker on NCWW, it is nice to be able to ask any question that may pop up and have true experts come back very quickly with an answer. I suppose that can be stated about a lot of sites. What I have not seen any other sites offer however is the bond that comes from being able to meet and greet the other members in person. It is one thing to have a process explained online. It is quite another to stop by for an afternoon and watch it in person. That is something only a regional site can offer.
    And the inspiration. I can not stress enough how much I enjoy seeing the products of true artist…. doing things with wood I can only dream of. If you ever need motivation to go make sawdust, that is it.

  6. I was eager to explor the North Carolina Woodworker club web site once I read your review. Unfortionately,their registration process is less than “user-frindly”.
    I meet the published Residency Requirements; I agreed to the Forum Rules and from there on,it wsa a “mystery” on how to susessfully complete the registration.
    The Image Verification is impossible to submit since it is best described as “cloudy”.
    The “quiz” WHERE DOES WOOD COME FROM is impossible for me to complete and I’m a college grad, a retired excecutive from a fortune 500 company, yet, I’m unable to “crack” their what appears to be a “secret code”.
    Please help me get past these registration “obsticals”.
    Thank you, Bob- Emerald Isle N.C

  7. Carefully re-read the registration form; I just recently registered and the wood question will catch you off guard if you do not carefully read the form.

    Hope this helps; NCWW is a great place!

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