A local organization is taking the hobby of woodworking to a whole new level.
The Hickory Hills Woodworking Club is made up of 75 active members who hold a passion for the art of woodworking. The club, which began in 1995, was originally named for its meeting place in Hickory Hills. The club switched locations to the Oak View Community Center, 4625 W. 110th St., Oak Lawn, seven years ago.
Along with stone, clay and animal parts, wood was one of the first materials worked on by early humans. Woodworking is the activity or skill of making items from wood, and includes cabinet and furniture making, wood carving, joinery, carpentry, and more.
“It’s a really nice and diversified club,” said Don Hunter, of Palos Heights. “We share ideas with one another, hold a show and tell of our latest projects at our monthly meetings, and gain advice on woodworking.”
Hunter has been a member of the club for 18 years. However, his passion for woodworking began 25 years ago when he started building furniture, cabinetry and more in his free time. He still enjoys making furniture and wooden toys for his three children and five grandchildren.
Guest speakers also feature the monthly meetings on the second Thursday of the month at 7 p.m., speaking on a variety of woodworking topics, including carpentry, wood finishes, products and tools.
Each meeting gathers an estimated 40 members at each session, according to Hunter, and the club is currently looking for new members.
“Not only new, but younger members,” Hunter said. “We want the club to be able to carry on after some of its original members are gone. We had a lot of ambition when the club first began, but as time goes on, it is difficult to keep up your energy level, and we want to keep the club new and exciting.”
The club is not only for men. Currently, there are three female members.
The club does not provide any woodworking training or tools. This can be a downfall for interested members, Hunter said.
“We all have our own woodworking tools and our own shops,” Hunter said. “A lot of younger people want hands-on training. However, that is not what our club is. We are a group with a common hobby, sharing ideas and projects with one another.”
A lack of training in today’s society is what results in young people lacking beneficial skills, according to the Hickory Hills Woodworking Club.
“There are no longer schools just for woodworking,” Hunter said. “Not everyone is made for college. There are people who would really benefit from these types of schools and training and turn it into a career.”
Anyone interested in joining the Hickory Hills Woodworking Club can attend a monthly meeting on the second Thursday of the month at the Oak View Community Center free of charge. Upon deciding to remain an active member, the new member must pay a $30 membership fee -- a fee which is only collected yearly.
“I really like the commodity of the club,” Hunter said. “Everyone gets along really well and takes the time to talk and really get to know each other.”
The club also holds shop tours of each other’s woodworking shops.
“It gives you a chance to show off your shop and projects,” Hunter said. “It also makes my wife happy because it gives me a reason to clean up my shop.”