Can I submit a piece to the annual exhibit?

All members of the Helena Woodworkers' Guild may submit one or more pieces to our annual exhibit, usually held in late fall in Helena, Montana. The exhibit is a great way to get the word out about your work. We encourage you to present your best and newest work for the exhibit, though this is not required.

There is a fee for each piece submitted. This fee covers most costs of mounting the exhibit. We ask that you give us the details and a digital photo of each piece submitted, including title, materials and price (NFS works are accepted, but we encourage you to put prices even on "sold" pieces, in case a viewer wants to commission a similar piece from you.)

Each year, we have so far, been fortunate to have the eleant gallery space of the Myrna Loy Center for the Arts for our exhibits. Each woodworker must give the Myrna 20% of any work sold during the exhibit month, or commissioned as a result of the exhibit. The Myrna staff fields inquiries during the exhibit (on purchases and/or commissions) and passes them on to the relevant woodworker. It is the responsibility of the individual woodworkers to make sure the Myrna Loy receives their percentage of any work you sell as a direct result of the exhibit.

Part of the exhibit promotion is printing a postcard invitation to the show. All members with a piece in the show may have a handful of the invitations which you can mail to your own family, friends and customers. We will also have these postcards (with our website listing) available at the gallery during the exhibit.


What are the benefits of joining the Guild?

Among the benefits of being a Guild member and attending our meetings and events are:

  • Participate in our Annual Art of Wood Exhibit
  • Promote your hobby or business through our website
  • Gain a link on our webpages, to your own external website
  • Keep an online, updated member gallery with photos of your work
  • Share support and encouragement with fellow woodworkers
  • Learn from the experience of other woodworkers
  • Find ways to give your talents, experience and knowledge to others
  • Share techniques and business tips with each other
  • Bounce your ideas off on folks who share the same concerns you do
  • Give back to your community through our service projects
  • Have fun, make friends and enjoy good food along with the company of like-minded woodworkers


Tell me about your meetings

We meet once a month at one of our members' shops or homes. We take turns hosting the meetings. Usually the member hosting the meeting will be in charge of the "program" that night. Programs vary from discussing a bamboo kitchen, to historic preservation techniques, dovetail methods, introductions to new and unusual shop tools, kiln-dried lumber, how to work with exotic hardwoods, wood turning, etc. Topics are limited only by our collective imaginations.

Guild members who host a meeting usually provide something for a casual dinner such as brats, grilled chicken, a pot of soup or chili. Other members bring side dishes and beverages. We have time at the beginning of each meeting to chow down, catch up socially, and get to know new members. After our "meal" we get down to whatever business is at hand, the educational portion then planning for future meetings, exhibits, etc.

As a group we strive to give back to our community by offering our time, expertise and donated tools or handcrafted woodworking to local non-profits, museums, school, etc. We welcome all members ideas for how we can better serve our community as woodworkers, hobbyists and business owners.

Please join us if you are a woodworker, have a related interest or business, or just think you'd like to see what sort of folks woodworkers are! Check the Guild Calendar on our main page sidebar for future meeting dates times and locations.

If you would like to join us, or just check us out, call Tim Carney (449-2730) or Lance Seaman (442-8459) for more information about our meetings and membership.


I would like to find a woodworker in my area

If you are looking for a custom cabinetmaker, a woodturner or maker of handcrafted furniture, you have come to the right place. Any of our members who do woodworking for a living would be delighted to help you and if your project is not a good fit with a particular member of the Guild, they will gladly refer you to someone else who makes the style of woodworking project you are looking for.

We also have members who are not woodworkers at all -- who have businesses related to woodworking, such as tool sharpening, hand tool sales, hardwood sales and other related retail.

Look through our member page links for photos of each woodworker's pieces, as well as for phone numbers, addresses, emails and weblinks to individual woodworker's businesses.

Please be our guest at our annual "Art of Wood" exhibit of woodworking by our members. This exhibit usually takes place in October or November, around the time of the Downtown Helena Fall ArtWalk. Watch our website and the local newspapers for information about dates and locations of our exhibits. We would love to have you join us for our opening receptions during these shows!


Can you guys help me find a specific tool or material?

We can try. If you have a question about a woodworking tool, or specific material used in woodworking, try doing a Google search first. Then, if you still have questions, please email us and we will do our best to point your question in the direction of one or two Guild members who'd know about that sort of thing.

We have Guild members with a wide range of skills and knowledge who would be glad to help you answer your questions. We also have members who are really just starting out -- something we value, since it keeps the old-timers fresh and helps beginners gain more confidence.

If you are interested in learning more about woodworking, consider joining our Guild, or a group of woodworkers in your home town. Vocational-Tech schools, community colleges and woodworking/furniture schools are excellent venues for learning the craft of woodworking.


Do I have to be a Pro?

Nope! Our group is made up of all kinds of woodworkers, even some members who aren't specifically woodworkers, though they do something related to wood (tool sharpening, retail power tool sales, hardwood sales, hardware, etc.)

Some of our members -- young and young-at-heart, are hobby woodworkers, or folks who have come to the craft late in life, say ... after they have retired from a desk job. Other members have been earning a living crafting fine furniture or custom cabinetry, for many years, most for a lifetime. Some work with wood for relaxation and fun, others do it for all those reasons and to make a living. Some of us are self-taught. Others have apprenticed with older craftsmen, learned from a relativ or taken courses in college.

Our mix of inexperienced or beginning woodcrafters, associated business owners, and seasoned professional furniture makers, keeps the Guild meetings fun, interesting and challenging. We like to share our questions, wonderings, musings and knowledge freely amongst our members. It really is a great group.


What else does the Guild do besides meet together?

We give back to our community in various ways. Most of our members do this on their own, with groups such as churches, community organizations, charities, schools, or Habitat for Humanity.

One of our goals as a Guild is to do community service projects together. This year most of our guild members are donating services, furniture or woodworking tools to the new Exploration Works Children's Museum in downtown Helena (The Great Northern Town Center.) We are always open to ideas from our members, as well as other Helena folks, on ways we can serve our community. If you would like to suggest a project we might become involved in, please contact one of our members, or email us: helenawoodworkers (at)

Our Guild also mounts an annual fine handcrafted woodworking exhibit in late fall. This usually takes place during and around the time of the Downtown Helena Fall ArtWalk, with a fun and elegant reception during on the evening of the ArtWalk. Any guild member is welcome to submit pieces to the show.

And of course, our meetings aren't just the usual meetings! We always have an educational "program" usually coordinated by whoever is hosting that month's meeting. Topics are limited only by our imaginations, so we encourage all of our members to contribute ideas.


What do I have to do to join?

Guild members annual dues of $25 helps pay for mailings, costs of our annual exhibit, and other associated costs of the group. You must be a member to submit work for the exhibit and to have a link to your web page, and/or have a member gallery on our website.

We ask our members to participate by attending and/or hosting a monthly meeting at their shops, working on an planning committee as they are capable and willing, and helping to plan meeting programs and community service projects. You can participate in Guild activities as much or as little as you care to. We mostly just want to have fun and learn from each other.


How can I get a link on the Guild's webpages?

If you would like to join the Helena Woodworkers' Guild, and if you do not have your own webpage already, we can work with you (for a minimal fee in addition to the annual dues) to make you a webpage for your business and/or a photo gallery of your woodworking. Even if you pursue woodworking solely as a hobby, you might want to have a web page to show off your work to family and friends. You will have to provide digital photos to our webmaster so we can build a photo gallery for you.

After you have a web presence of some sort (photo gallery, business website, etc) we will give you a link in the Guild Members Directory as well as on the main Guild website, Sawdust and Shavings.

It is up to you, as a member of the Guild, to provide updated photos of your latest woodworking, and of yourself and your shop, so we can keep our member galleries current.

Do you serve food at your meetings?

Yep! good stuff, too! Guild members who host a meeting usually provide something for a casual dinner such as brats, grilled chicken, a pot of soup or chili. Other members attend the meeting bringing snacks, side dishes and beverages. We have time at the beginning of each meeting to chow down, catch up socially, and get to know new members. After our "meal" we get down to whatever business is at hand, usually an educational portion and often planning for future meetings, our exhibits, etc.

Check the Guild Calendar on our main page sidebar for future meeting dates times and locations.

Please join us if you are a woodworker, have a related interest or business, or just think you'd like to see what sort of folks woodworkers are!

What if I'm just a hobby woodworker?

We welcome anyone to join the Helena Woodworkers' Guild -- if you have an interest in woodworking and in increasing your skills, whether you have a lifetime of experience or are just getting starting in a woodworking hobby, we would like to have you as a member of our Guild.

If you are a seasoned woodworker, consider joining to share your knowledge with younger or more inexperienced woodworkers. There's really something to the idea of passing on your knowledge to younger generations.

If you are new to woodworking, or even just thinking about (or wishing about) getting into woodworking, we have many members who are willing to share stories and tips with you.

Rather than competing with each other for what some might perceive as a finite (aka scarce) market for our services, we prefer to build local demand for fine, custom, handcrafted furniture, cabinetry and art objects of wood, through cooperation with each other, education of the general public about the benefits of fine woodworking, and promotion of the craft of custom woodworking, in general.

If you feel the same, please give us a look: attend one of our meetings as our guest and after you've enjoyed the comraderie and fun, consider joining the Guild.