Philadelphia, PA. Philadelphia Woodworks Members Workshop (philadelphiawoodworks.com), a “collaborative for woodworkers” developed by first-time entrepreneur Michael Vogel, opened its doors on March 1, 2012. Located in Manayunk with convenient off-street parking, Philadelphia Woodworks is a community workshop where woodworkers of all levels finally have easy and affordable access to professional-grade tools, expert training, on-site lumber, storage facilities and a woodworkers supply store. Members craft their membership to their needs, availability and skill level. The Grand Opening of the facility, which also includes an art and furniture gallery, will be on Sunday, April 22, 2012 starting at 2pm, at which point Philadelphia Woodworks’ Founding Membership program (and membership discounts) closes.
The 8,000 sq. ft. members shop boasts over $100,000 in tools and equipment; the lumber yard and woodworkers supply store is fully stocked with both domestic and exotic hardwoods as well as a full range of project supplies. The lumber yard also features an exclusive collection of one-of-a-kind reclaimed and salvaged materials from Provenance Mill Works.
Membership options range from unlimited access during open business hours (6 days per week) to pay-per-use access. For Michael and his team, the safety of members and those around them is paramount. Members, once safety certified on each tool, have full access to cabinet tablesaws, planers, jointers, bandsaws, drill presses, miter saws, lathes, power sanders, router tables, hand tools, woodworking library and hands-on samples of fine joinery, all maintained daily by Philadelphia Woodworks staff.
As an undergraduate architecture student, Michael developed a hobby for woodworking at UPenn’s professional-grade woodshop that, with graduation, joining the work force and living in a small Center City house, ground to a disappointing halt. Even if he’d had the space to set up a home shop, the cost of equipment, maintenance and the absence of knowledgeable woodworkers around him all kept Michael from creating his own shop. And without any furniture-grade communal woodshops in the area, there really was no place that Michael could pursue his passion for woodworking. That was until he left a 10-year career in the business world to create one.
Michael explains his concept this way: “Your work, your projects, our shop – just imagine what you can build! We are part of the collaborative economy that is providing consumers unique ways to share and co-op products and services, save money and enhance their lifestyles by offering members what they could otherwise not afford or maintain on their own. Many people dream of a hobby in woodworking but can’t realize that dream because of the financial commitment for even basic equipment, much of which goes unused for the bulk of its life. We have invested in the highest quality and safest equipment available, put it all under one roof with supervision and guidance, and then opened it to shared users—people who appreciate fine craftsmanship and want to master it for themselves. Our members’ primary responsibilities are to have fun, to be creative and to be safe.”
Grand Opening and Press Day
The Grand Opening will be held on Sunday, April 22, 2012 starting at 2pm. Activities will include woodworking demonstrations from renowned local furniture makers and artists, drawings and prizes, tours of the shop and full access to Michael and his staff for questions. A reception will follow at 5pm. Sponsors of the event are all local and include The Center for Art in Wood, Paul Downs Cabinet Makers, Woodcraft of Downingtown, Penn State Industries and The Independence Seaport Museum.
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