Woodworkers are famously good at arithmetic, rooted in the constant use of measure and calculation of yield. But they are not always so good at making a profit. Why do many woodworkers persist in working so hard for what seems like so little? Because there are other satisfactions in the job.

Developing research on owners and managers at woodshops and manufacturing plants in our The Mind of the Woodworker study – initial findings are just released – shows that woodworkers do it for more than the money. That’s true of other careers. But in the wood industry people often meld their hobby, passion and career into a single-minded pursuit.

Millennials Not Buying It?
The study found that woodworkers trust each other be primary sources of information, that they are self-taught, and that they are gregarious. Wood crafting is their favorite pastime (cooking is second, by the way), and most do not anticipate they will stop woodworking as they retire. Numbers for woodworkers skew above national averages in all these aspects.

Next generation millennial woodworkers differ from GenXers and Boomers. They march to a different beat, says Cam Marston, who addressed generational profiles at the 2014 Executive Briefing Conference in April. Millennials seek job satisfaction, but don’t cotton to formal apprenticeships under grouchy old timers. They may be thin-skinned, having been insulated from disappointment in an over-protected upbringing. But these are tomorrow’s workforce.


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