Guild of Oregon Woodworkers

7634 SW 34th Avenue Portland, OR 97219

Community Build Projects

The Guild performs a number of community projects each year.  Organizations may contact the Guild requesting assistance in building some type of furniture.  Members donate their time to create the items requested.  It's a great way to learn more about woodworking, get to know your fellow members, and help some needy organization.


A major function of Guild life is teaching each other how to do woodworking.  A few years ago, a member had the idea to use the assembled students as a work crew, building items for deserving recipients.  Thus was born the Group Project: a nearly annual happening where several members, led by a professional, build their skills and pick up tips of the craft, while creating excellent works in wood for local non-profit organizations. Cumulatively, we’ve donated thousands of hours through these works, and the rewards are the very best kind you can receive: camaraderie, heightened skills and grateful customers.

Selection Criteria

Projects are done only for non-profit organizations.  The customer pays for all material; the guild donates the labor.  All requests are submitted to the, board for approval,   Please contact any board member with  opportunities to help the community by building furniture.

The History of Community Projects

George DuBois moved to Oregon, a woodworker in his own right.  Through trails lost in antiquity, he came to know the Guild of that time.  It was an small organization of mostly professional members.  He saw oppprtunites to expand and grow the Guild. Under his leadership, most of the popular elements of the Guild as we know it today were begun. Topmost was the acceptance of amateurs, hobbyists. New people were interested in learning the craft, as they continue to be today. Those first efforts were organized under mentorship agreements, fostered by the guild, but held in handshake agreements between folks who knew stuff and folks who wanted to learn. That lasted for a while but eventually, it just didn’t reach enough folks. And so was born the Education Committee.

I was privileged to be a member of that early group. Led by Roger Tuck, that committee managed to present the Guild about 6 to 8 seminars on an annual basis.  They were very well-received and everyone saw real progress being made. All the early offerings were demonstration only affairs. It wasn’t long before there became a need to do something beyond holding demonstration seminars. Folks wanted to do meaningful work. About that same time, DuBois asked for some decent trappings for our display at the art shows we were getting into. There were born our first two group projects; the Guild Workbench and the Shoji Screens.  We had a hit! Everyone had a blast and, being led by professionals, a lot of knowledge was passed on. This was obviously the right path.  We had one more hurdle to overcome before the first true “community project” saw the light of day.

While most of our members were eager participants, wanting to learn as much as they could, most were already into their later decades in life, when few people are looking to acquire more furniture for themselves. The obvious answer came to Roger: let’s do this for folks who can use the help! And so the Board made the decision to seek out non-profits in need. We didn’t have to look far.  The result has been a beautiful merging of teaching, learning & altruism.

With literally thousands of hours from our volunteers, our Group projects have provided services for the likes of the German-American School , the auxiliary services division of the Salem Police Department, the Peninsula Children’s Center, toy drives, a flag case project for fallen vets and the current effort in support of the Open House Ministries (OHM), a homeless shelter in Vancouver . That’s eleven separate projects in the last 10 years.

The vast majority of this work (8 of the 11 projects)) has been done in the home shops of our gallant and generous members. Clearly, we have no shortage of the right stuff among us, folks willing and able to step up and help others. They would stop me occasionally and comment that it’s been a helluva lotta fun. And they would be right. It is fun. And rewarding. And educational.

And yet, although successful, we’ve been butting our heads into walls over the last three or four projects dealing with issues of growth. Quite frankly, we’re topped out in productivity due to lack of places to work. Our volunteers are certainly there and willing.  We had over 20 people step up to help with the OHM project but we were forced to turn away all but four bodies, due to the limitations of working in a home shop. The accompanying lack of efficiency in doing production work in a home shop is, quite frankly, a squandering of our talents. With a proper work space we could do so much more, serve so many others and give more members the opportunity to give back to this great community.

And the news is, as of today September 16, 2013, we are now leasing a shop in Multnomah Village.  It officially opened for member use September 1.  It was christened in the two weeks prior by building a few more dressers for the Open House Ministries.  We're off and running.  Where will it lead? 

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