The Woodworker’s Gym is a 4,800 sq. ft. membership-based facility in Brookfield, Wisconsin, near Milwaukee filled with an extensive array of professional-grade woodworking machinery and equipment. Founded by engineer and woodworker Dan Meissner, the gym allows woodworkers in the area to share machinery, take woodworking classes, and build a community. The gym offers various membership options.
"Within a 25-minute drive, there are over 23,000 to 25,000 people who identify as woodworkers," Meissner told the Journal Sentinel.
The shop contains a substantial collection of the latest woodworking equipment including drill presses, bandsaws, drum sanders, hand and table routers, planers, jointers, panel saws, finish and brad nailers, spindle and disc sanders, and more.
The gym also features a training studio where several classes are offered: a couple’s cutting board class, a custom hardwood cutting board class, and a mandatory safety certification class. New members must take the safety class before they are allowed to use the equipment. Check out a detailed layout below.
Three different membership options are offered: pay $200 a month and cancel whenever desired, pay $375 for three months at a time, or pay $1,500 for a whole year. A fee is also charged for the mandatory safety class. Those looking to construct a detailed custom piece also have an option of hiring a private trainer at the rate of $70/hour.
Meissner was partly inspired by his experience taking tech-school woodworking classes at Waukesha County Technical College, and at Madison College's woodworking and cabinetry program, where he found value in being able to talk shop with other people.
"When you're in your garage working by yourself, you're by yourself," he said. "Sometimes people like that. But you're also limited in the ideas, you're limited in the 'Hey, how do I do this?' There's no one next to you."
Meissner told the Journal Sentinel that he modeledthe Woodworkers Gym after the operation set up by Michael Vogel, a banker who opened a similar membership workshop in Philadelphia five years ago. Vogel launched Philadelphia Woodworks in March 2012, and now has 125 active monthly members and about as many pay-as-you-go customers.