Welcome to the East Tennessee Woodworkers’ Guild
The East Tennessee Woodworkers' Guild was founded in 1983 by five area woodworkers. These original members formed a nonprofit organization to:
- encourage the development and appreciation of fine woodworking, primarily through educational and informational programs.
- In addition, the founding members were very interested in maintaining high standards within the craft, through a Jurying process,
- and in presenting member's woodworking skills to the public through participation in area shows, exhibitions, demonstrations or similar activities.
The founding members were both enthusiastic about their craft and highly skilled in its practice. This, coupled with their willingness to share their knowledge, soon attracted many others to their new organization. Today's Guild numbers about 100 individuals from across East Tennessee. The Guild continues to reflect the original purpose of our founders. We encourage all members, whatever their current abilities within the craft, to learn more and further improve upon their skills.
Our members come from all walks of life and arrive at the Guild with woodworking skills ranging from the rank novice to accomplished master. A love of woodworking and desire to learn more about the craft are really the only requirements for membership. However, the Guild maintains a Jurying process for those members who wish to be recognized as having reached a high level of wood-working skill. Members aspiring to this level must submit three or more examples to the Standards Committee, who will then carefully examine the work to determine "if the candidate deserves to be acknowledged as a Juried Member. All members are encouraged to improve their skills and eventually reach this level of ability.
In addition to the opportunity to attend regularly scheduled meetings, members receive a bimonthly newsletter as well as a Directory of the membership, listing the name, address, and telephone number of fellow members. This Directory facilitates communication with others of like interest, an important benefit to all members.
There are also other activities available throughout the year, such as the annual picnic, open shops, where we gather at a fellow member's workshop, or an occasional field trip where members travel to a place of woodworking interest. The Guild sponsors woodworking exhibits and symposiums.
2020 Board of Directors and Special Advisors
- Director and President Stephen Shankles (term ends December 2020)
- Director and Vice-President Ralph Gonzalez (term ends December 2019)
- Director and Treasurer Charlie Cutler (term ends December 2020)
- Director and Secretary Tom Ehrnschwender (term ends December 2021)
- Director and Education Chair Bill Key (term ends December 2019)
- Director Lou Mansur term ends December 2021)
- Special Advisor to the Board Al Hudson
2020 Committee Chairs and Project Coordinators
- Education Committee Chair Bill Key
- Programs Committee Chair Open
- Standards Committee Chair Lou Mansur
- Membership Committee Chair Ralph Gonzalez
- Door Prizes Coordinator Hal Flynt &Tom Wallin
- Library Coordinator Tom Ehrnschwender
- Nametags Coordinator Ralph Gonzalez
- Newsletter Editor Tom Ehrnschwender
- Photographer Tom Zachmann
- Web Master Jim Vogelsang
History of the East Tennessee Woodworkers' Guild
The following text is from a Knoxville News-Sentinel article of January 18, 1984.
Woodworkers Build an Image by Linda Felts Fields
A maple rolltop desk, Mahogany card table, white oak rocking chair, walnut coffee table with inlaid chessboard, Hepplewhite-style sewing table – five pieces of furniture – all works of art – one each from the founding members of the East Tennessee Woodworkers Guild.
Five skilled East Tennessee woodworkers have formed a guild with the intention of showcasing their craft and raising the standards of woodworking as a profession.
“We were tired of going into places (where crafts were being shown) and seeing furniture of inferior quality. There are a lot of fine craftsmen who are not being showcased,” says James Hooper, secretary and spokesman for the East Tennessee Woodworkers Guild. Shows where their products can be exhibited are one of the main objectives of the group.
Standards are another objective – the rules for the standards committee have been written into the bylaws. Woodworkers wishing to apply for (juried) membership must apply to the standards committee and will be judged on a point system. Failing the first time, a would–be (juried) guild member may try again a year later.
Education is also a goal. UT is lending the group the use of the cabinetmaking shop and a classroom on Volunteer Boulevard where meetings will be held every other month. The guild hopes to give seminars in every phase of woodworking, bringing in experts to lecture.
Several of the founding members of the guild are students or close associates of the late Robert Emmett, a noted local woodworker who died in 1983. All of them speak of their love for woodworking as fervently as other people do of their children or their exercise programs.
Several of them make their living at the craft, often doing restoration work to keep roofs over their heads. Those who do restoration work are usually booked months in advance.
Each of the five founding guild members are as individual and unique as the pieces of furniture which then build.’
‘(James) Hooper builds 18th century reproductions and contemporary furniture and has even done the woodwork for show cars.’
‘Mike (Perrin) makes his living building furniture reproductions and doing restoration work.’
‘Larry (Blount) builds chairs in a style which he calls “country woodworking” .’
‘Rick (Walker) is an accomplished woodworker but has made his living for 24 years as a musician.’
‘Grover (Buddy) Floyd II, president of the East Tennessee Woodworkers Guild, …… served an apprenticeship with Danish craftsman Jesper Petersen … and worked for six and a half years with Robert Emmett.’