The Woodworkers Club of Rockville, Md., has experienced a recent membership increase, prompting its owners to open a new facility and create several educational offerings through its Center for Creative Woodworking.
The studio, located just outside of Washington, D.C., is open year-round and serves as a membership studio for hobbyist woodworkers and as a classroom for aspiring professionals.
“The Woodworkers Club is essentially a gym for woodworkers. We’re here to provide them with the expertise and the equipment for them to make whatever projects they see fit, from a cutting board all the way up to a chest of drawers or a restoration piece,” says educational director Matt Nauman.
The club hosts more than 100 members and up to 800 students per year.
Nauman explains that the business goes back to the early 1990s and was one of the first to embrace the community shop concept. It has since offered franchise opportunities and consulting services to other co-op shops throughout the country.
“It originally merged with Woodcraft in the late ’80s, early ’90s. Most who attempted to run the franchise were unsuccessful because they saw it as more of a business aspect, wanting to make tons of money. But it isn’t about that. Most of our income comes from the retail end of things,” he says.
The business changed ownership in 2011 and is moving from its current 3,200-sq.-ft. space to an 11,000-sq.-ft. facility.
Nauman says a visiting artist program has been a big draw, giving members access to instruction from nationally respected professional woodworkers. This year’s scheduled artists include Mary May, Mark Sfirri, Christopher Schwarz, Gregory Paolini and Michael Puryear.
“This program shows that we are dedicated and that we have an understanding there are people out there much more ahead of the curve than any of us or anybody locally might be. And it really just shows that we’re trying to make a prestigious program. I think it’s difficult to do, of course, but by bringing in that caliber and showcasing it, they’re coming to this area. [Members] don’t have to travel and spend thousands of dollars to see these individuals elsewhere.”
Contact: The Woodworkers Club, 4950 Wyaconda Road, Rockville, MD 20852. Tel: 301-984-9033. www.woodworkersclub.com
This article originally appeared in the March 2013 issue.