The Charlotte Woodworkers Association (CWA) is a non-profit tax-exempt organization formed in 1985. Its purpose is to promote excellence in woodworking through teaching, development of individual skills and fostering interest in our craft. Over the years our membership has grown from low-20s to the current roster of nearly 150 dues-paid members.
CWA became legally incorporated in November of 2010, and is a 501(c)(3) organization. Besides the new member Application, our members sign a Liability Waiver. We also carry our own liability insurance.
Our members, both men and women of varying ages, represent all skill levels in a wide variety of woodworking interests. Some are professionals, some are new- comers to the craft and some have been dedicated hobbyists for many years. All enjoy woodworking regardless of skill level and are willing to share their experiences. Bottom line: We Love what we do, and We Have Fun!
Monthly meetings are structured to present programs on woodworking-related subjects that will further the purpose of the Association. Topics have included: woodturning techniques; shop electricity and dust collection; squaring and milling lumber; dovetailing, tuning your bandsaw; woodworking jigs & fixtures; antique tool collecting; making a drawer; making bowls with a bandsaw rather than a lathe; shop-built router tables, using scrapers/planes, building tables, and building clocks. Programs are presented by professionals, manufacturers’ representatives and members. For meetings, we own our own chairs, and we have audio and video equipment for presentations. Yearly dues are $35 for members, with family and student memberships available. Visitors are welcome at all regular meetings.
CWA meetings and work sessions are held in the wood shop of Jackson Park Ministries, a local Charlotte NC religious charity organization. This shop is located on Airport property. We meet there in exchange for our repairing furniture donated to their program for assisting needy families. We pay no rent or access charges, but we do make a voluntary annual donation.
CWA holds open-shop sessions every Monday evening. Members are welcome to come in for training on tool usage, coaching on their projects, or to use tools and machines they may not have in their home shops. We also conduct periodic how-to classes on Saturdays.
Since many of our members are retirees, we could also provide open-shop time on some weekdays, but since the current shop is not “our own” we are limited on what we can schedule. Also, our current space has no heat or air conditioning, so our shop time has seasonal restrictions.
CWA now enjoys more public exposure than in the past, due to stronger leadership, with participation in the local annual Matthews Alive Festival, and The Woodworking Show, where we have a physical presence and perform demonstrations of woodworking skills, display our work, and answer questions from the public. We also support the annual One Special Christmas (onespecialchristmas.org) auction, founded by one of our original members, where members donate items they’ve made which are auctioned with the proceeds going to fund a life-changing hand-up for underprivileged and deserving families. In 2012 we conducted a project to refurbish 30 easels for the children’s art show segment of Charlotte’s Festival In The Park (http://www.festivalinthepark.org).
In 2014 we worked with hearing-impaired students from Myers Park High School to build cornhole game boards for a class project, and our members built feeding tube holders for the Joe Martin ALS Foundation (http://joemartinalsfoundation.org/).
CWA also conducts “Learn And Build….” instructional series where members learn to build items and challenge their skills. Some of the “Learn To Build” projects over the last three years include: Shaker Table with drawer, Dulcimer, “Floating Top” table, Mantel Clocks, Candle holders, bandsaw boxes, and Lathe-turned spindles and bowls.
CWA also works with the Mecklenburg County Boy Scout organization, conducting programs whereby young scouts can qualify for their merit badges in Woodworking and Carpentry. Several CWA members are registered with BSA as advisors and instructors.
CWA encourages the participation of disabled veterans, and will work with them to extend their former woodworking hobbies, or learn woodworking as a new pastime. We will work with handicapped individuals to make skills and techniques available to them despite their physical challenges. To this end, we waive the first year’s membership dues for disabled veterans.
In 2010, CWA organized and sponsored Explorer (Boy Scout) Post 0408, for older youths to explore woodworking as a potential career or significant lifetime hobby. The Explorer members built several projects involving traditional joinery and use of hand and power tools/machines. By 2012, several Explorers had dropped out of the program, causing CWA to discontinue the Post sponsorship. Still, the remaining Explorers were given free student memberships in CWA, and continue working on projects and participating in club activities.
Some of the past/current/future projects for CWA include:
- Thomas Day Mantel reconstruction (repair of historical item from Thomas Day Museum)
- Learn and Build – Ongoing: tables, dulcimers, turned stool, etc., (specific classes to be determined)
- Woodturning for Woodworkers (lathe instruction)
- Woodworking for Woodturners (joinery skills for wood turners)
- Boy Scout Woodworking Merit Badges
- Eagle Scout woodworking project qualification sessions
- Periodic Shop Equipment Sales