I’m happy to report that there is a bright future for woodworking. A short while ago, we had a chance to catch up with Jaida Waggoner. She stopped by our shop to show us a couple of chairs she’d recently completed and the staff was duly impressed. In fact, Jaida is part of an accomplished woodworking family – her older brother is an impressive woodworker too. If these young woodworkers can find the love of the craft then I know we’re part of something that will last forever.
I remember some twenty years ago when there was a conclave of sorts among woodworking publications and woodworking tool manufacturers. The topic was the future of the industry, with most of our demographics reflecting older (my age!) woodworkers, as well as the decline of woodworking – or industrial arts – as a course taught in fewer schools. The hue and cry was, “what will we do as our woodworkers age?!” A fair amount of conversation and planning was dedicated to reaching out to the next generation, but I’d be lying if I said we ended up with a real working plan. We all went out separate ways and each did our best to reach out.
I’m happy to say something worked. We do see stronger demographics now from a twenty-to-thirty something crowd, and an active crowd they are. Woodworking education has actually seen a resurgence from multiple areas, and (as you’ll see from the video below) the next generation of woodworkers is alive and well!