The Miller Goodwood Society is a not-for-profit woodworking co-operative. Our aim is to promote and enable safe and rewarding woodworking in a congenial environment.
The co-op began in 1994 when a handful of hobbyists taking night school shop courses and working in cramped garages coalesced to develop a shop to support their passion. We now have 40 hobbyists and two professional members and, over the years, members have created beds, tables, chairs, cabinets, bureaus, bowls, lamps, tables, marimbas, guitars, motorcycle parts, entertainment centres, benches, storage units, cutting boards, picture frames …. to name just a few projects.
In Feb 2014 we moved into a custom-outfitted space near the south end of the Second Narrows Bridge, in Vancouver. We plan to be there beyond 2024.
Our new shop has 3000 sq ft of floor space. It looks like this. Each member has a personal locker with personal storage above it. Shared areas and facilities include work benches, sheet- and long-storage racks, carts for projects in progress, a project assembly area, a finishing room, washrooms, security and parking. There are compressed air and power ports throughout.
Our equipment includes two table saws with sliders, a 20” planer, an edge jointer and edge sander, a chop saw, small and large band saws, two lathes and tools, a drill press, various small tools (mortiser, scroll saw, spindle sander etc.) and various hand tools. Large equipment is connected to an automated dust collection system and small equipment to a portable dust collection unit.
The shop is accessible (24/7/365) and members can use all equipment and tools for which they are competent. Basic instruction is available for safety purposes but we do not teach woodworking and new members must have woodworking experience.
You will have read at the outset that we’re a co-op. We’re registered as such with the Province of British Columbia, and it’s how we manage ourselves and get everything done. We’re all participants and all volunteers in the ongoing operations and success of the co-op. Every member is responsible for keeping their space tidy, the shop safe and clean, maintaining equipment in good running order, and, when needed, pitching in for a work parties to tackle larger projects such as installing new equipment, fixing a door, replacing lights, or whatever.
Our executive is also voluntary and it’s elected from the membership. They provide guidance, look after finances and administration, spearhead initiatives, and keep the co-op running smoothly. Co-op members are expected to assist the executive whenever and however they can and, eventually, to serve on the executive.
It’s important to emphasize that Miller Goodwood is a co-op of hobbyists (95% of our members), not professionals. We work on projects for our own pleasure and use, not for business, clients or compensation. If a member wants to make a small project as, say, a gift, or for barter or sale, the project’s scope, duration and shop-impact must be limited, and a portion of the assessed value is payable to the co-op.
We do have two professional members and they provide invaluable shop support and control. Their fees, duties and responsibilities are very different from hobbyists, and their membership is subject to Board approval.
Membership fees for hobbyists consist of an entry fee of $400 which acknowledges the vast cost and effort that current and past members have invested in the shop, and a monthly fee of $75 that pays the rent and other bills. We hold an AGM yearly and surplus revenue, if any, can go towards new shop equipment/tools items, to in-house social events and woodworking demos (free to all members), or to any activity that will foster our community, creativity and better woodworking.
At 44 members, we’ve reached our maximum comfortable community size. Our annual turn-over is approximately 4-5 members and we replace them from a waiting list of candidates. For us, an ideal member is someone who is enthusiastic about woodworking, has woodworking experience, can and does work safely, is respectful and considerate of people and equipment, understands how a co-op works and wants to contribute to our success, and will enrich our community through skills, knowledge, attitude and other means.
If you see these traits in yourself and would like to join us then please send me (Bob) an email (email@example.com) with your name, tel # and a short description of your woodworking/co-op interests/experience. Please note that our waiting list is, unfortunately, fairly long at the moment but we hope that your interest in woodworking and Miller Goodwood is considerably longer. (If you email me I’ll respond with the current queue length).
Use the email address above, too, if you have questions. Short questions are best because I’d rather spend my time woodworking, not emailing. I’ll try to respond promptly.