Whether woodworkers will face a double-dip downturn, or uneven growth, we’ll leave to the economic pundits. With consumer confidence and housing sales up one moment and contracting another, we’re better off taking the long view in planning woodworking business strategies.

For starters, let’s agree that the custom woodworking business is not going away. Unlike buggy whips and telegrams, there is nothing that will supplant furnishings and cabinetry. Running with a gut analysis, we’re on the verge of a potentially golden age where hand-crafted anything rules over mass produced. From beer and burgers, to clothes and car toys, preferences for customized and individualized is a broadly accepted social value. It’s a trend that has been unfolding for a decade. Even in tech media — Facebook pages, music play lists, avatars in massive multi-player online games (I use my teenage son for research here) — everyone wants it unique, and to be theirs alone.

Leading a Manufacturing Revival
In a craft business, we are engaged in life-long learning. From the internal silence that frequently envelops woodworkers focused on their craft, comes a continuous mindfulness of the work at hand. Even amid a noisy shop floor, the engagement with the tools of the trade provides for mental rigor naturally compatible with a continuous improvement of the process of fine woodworking.

Now we have an amazingly rich selection of new tools, technologies and supplies ready for rapid adoption. These elements are the keys to a successful future for your business.

In our role as industry analysts and reporters, we are finding a flood of news of developments that will make this a better industry. In our day jobs here at Custom Woodworking Business, we too must adopt many new tools to communicate with you. It is making us better at our work: we find more information, track down more story leads, and synthesize news and trends on a much broader scale and more quickly than we could in years past.

CWB can also deliver information to you in new formats — rapidly deployed online news channels, rich-media with sound and video to show as well as tell. And we can see, from our online utilities, which themes and story lines are of strongest interest to you.

What we have discovered from your reading patterns is a deep interest in new technologies, and especially in wood products and manufacturing processes that produce better quality more quickly. So you’ll find increased emphases on these themes in print and online.
But what we report to you are only initial alerts of significant new capabilities ready to be put to work. To bring it home, to put it to work in your business, will require education and training. That’s a lot of work.

For a company like us, that got its launch gathering and disseminating information about the woodworking industry way back in 1896, adopting new media tools has been almost like a career change! Well, many of us entered the wood industries through a career change. Maybe we can take comfort by reaching back in the rich annals of woodworking. There we find the earliest documented woodworking career change: Noah. Genesis tells us he moved from farming to boat building.

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