Wood Shop Governance

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Woodshop Governance

See Woodshop Safety for primary policy information.

Charter of the Woodworkers Guild of Artisan's Asylum

AAWG is the governing body of the Artisan's Asylum Woodshop.

Membership: To join the AAWG, you must be a monthly member and you must show up to an AAWG meeting.

Voting: Any AAWG member can vote in-person at AAWG meetings on policy proposals or for AAWG Leadership Board elections.

Absentee Voting: Absentee voting will be allowed by email within 24 hours of an AAWG meeting. Any AAWG member can vote absentee on any policy proposal so long as that AAWG member has attended at least one (1) of the prior two (2) AAWG meetings. (For example, you attend meeting 1, you can vote absentee at meeting 2 and meeting 3, but you will not be able to vote absentee at meeting 4). Members must request to vote absentee on policy proposals prior to an AAWG meeting. If a member fails to request to vote absentee prior to a scheduled AAWG meeting, then that member has forfeited their right to vote absentee.

Meetings: The Woodshop Manager will schedule AAWG meetings, social events and volunteer nights. Meetings will be announced by email to the Artisan's Asylum Woodworking email list AND posted in the woodshop at least 1 week in advance.

Notification: All Policy Proposals must be announced on an AAWG meeting agenda at least 3 days prior to any scheduled AAWG meeting. Any Volunteer Facilitator may add a Policy Proposal to the AAWG meeting agenda. The AAWG meeting agenda will be announced by email to the woodworking email list. Voting will only be allowed on Policy Proposals included on a meeting agenda. AAWG members may move during an AAWG meeting to have a Policy Proposal added to the next meeting agenda. If the motion is seconded by a Volutneer Facilitator and receives majority vote, it will be added to the next meeting agenda.

Meeting Agenda: An announced meeting agenda shall mention all Policy Proposals to be voted on at an AAWG meeting. The Policy Proposal need not be a specific policy proposal, but may be a general policy area. Precise language and content may be changed during any AAWG meeting prior to a vote being called. For example, a policy to prohibit pressure treated lumber may be announced by stating "Proposal to modify allowed materials in woodshop."

Motions for Vote: All motions for vote on Policy Subject Matter must be made in-person during an AAWG meeting. All motions must be seconded for a vote to be called. Only policy proposals that have satisfied the Notification requirement may be moved for a vote. All motions for vote at AAWG meetings must either (1) originate from a member of the leadership board, or (2) be seconded by a member of the leadership board.

Leadership Board: AAWG members will elect a group of 6 individuals to function as Volunteer Facilitators for woodshop management tasks. At the initial AAWG meeting, an election will be held for all six positions. Every six months thereafter, the AAWG will hold a new election for all six positions.

Candidacy: To be eligible to run for the leadership board, you must be a monthly member of the Artisan's Asylum in good standing and declare your candidacy either (1) by email to the woodworking email list, or (2) by declaring your candidacy in-person at the AAWG election meeting.

Quorum: No Policy Proposal Vote shall take place without a quorum. A quorum will be reached if one half (1/2) of the leadership board is present, or in the case of new leadership board elections, at least six individuals are present at the AAWG meeting.

Shop Manager: The leadership board will select one member of the leadership board as Shop Manager. The shop manager will be responsible for scheduling meetings and coordinating with staff in addition to their primary management area.

Volunteer Facilitators: The leadership board members will be called Volunteer Facilitators. Each facilitator will select a primary and a secondary woodshop management area. The facilitators will be responsible for encouraging woodshop users to volunteer time toward necessary tasks, researching policy proposals, communicating policy proposals to users, and bringing policy proposals over their respective areas for vote at AAWG meetings. They are expected to coordinate with other shop volunteers to ensure that management tasks are completed. The initial management areas will be: safety/cleanliness, education, maintenance, testing, communication/community outreach, budget/purchasing.

Leadership Board Authority: The leadership board will have authority over non-policy management decisions without having to move for AAWG vote. Non-policy Management Decisions includes, but is not limited to, budget decisions, maintenance decisions, shop organization, education curriculum, class scheduling, tool sales and acquisitions. Non-policy management decisions can be made either (1) by the volunteer facilitator with primary management area responsibility, or (2) simple majority leadership board vote by email. All management decisions are subject to Artisan's Asylum staff oversight.

Policy Proposals: Any member originated policy proposal must receive an AAWG vote to become binding. All Policy Proposals may be overridden by Artisan's Asylum management for any or no reason. A proposal will be considered a Policy Proposal if it constitutes a binding limit on allowed use of the shop, such as prohibiting certain materials allowed in the shop, prohibiting certain tool use, mandating sign-in sheets, mandating email list participation, or mandating participating in volunteer efforts.

Shop Leads

  • Matt Thomas
  • Drew Hatzung


In general training requests should follow the standard procedure on the website of course. These are some folks who have traditionally done some testing and you can talk to for more information.

  • Michael Goulde
  • Simon C
  • Jimmie Rodgers
  • John Houghton
  • David Elentukh
  • Tam S-P
  • Brian Larkin
  • Jason Rossitto
  • Mike Dawson

Instructors (partial)

For an up to date list of instructors consult the website.

  • Phil Wolfson
  • Tam S-P
  • Matt Thomas
  • Josh Beckmann
  • Jason Rossitto
  • Chris Fitzhugh

Repair and Maintenance Team

  • Woody
  • Rob Masek
  • Puppy
  • Awesomenauts (in season)
  • All above!

People Authorized to Intervene for Safety or Policy Concerns

  • Every single member of the Aritsan's Asylum, as per policy in every shop!

Meeting notes

13 December 2015

11 members signed in attendance.

Matt Thomas explained the structure of the Woodworkers Guild and it's relationship to Asylum staff. Drew Hatzung and Michael Goulde discussed how the Woodworkers Guild will operate and help the community.

The leadership board was discussed and all members in attendance were given an opportunity to announce their candidacy to the leadership board.

  • Mike Dawson announced his candidacy.
  • Aaron Levy announced his candidacy.
  • Matt Thomas discussed his previously announced candidacy.
  • Michael Goulde discussed his previously announced candidacy.
  • Drew Hatzung discussed his previously announced candidacy.

A vote was called.

  • Mike Dawson: 9 in favor, 0 opposed
  • Matt Thomas: 9 in favor, 0 opposed
  • Michael Goulde: 9 in favor, 0 opposed
  • Drew Hatzung: 9 in favor, 0 opposed
  • Aaron Levy: 9 in favor, 0 opposed

One board position remains open and will be called for election at the following meeting.

Policy proposals previously announced were discussed.

Mandatory woodworking email list participation was discussed. A concern that non-email users would be excluded was raised. The mandatory participation was described as a "no brainer".

A vote was called on the following proposal:

"All users who have and use personal email accounts must subscribe to woodworking at artisansasylum.com. Trainers will instruct new users on how to subscribe."

Vote was 10 in favor, 0 opposed.

A mandatory sign-in sheet was discussed. It was noted that no information exists regarding shop usage, high traffic times, and identity of users. Sign-in sheet was regarded as a potential tool to address these issues. Concern was raised that people would not sign-in even if it is mandatory. Electronic sign-in was considered a best-option, but not possible at the moment. A concern was raised that asylum members would not want to sign in with their name.

A vote was called on the following proposal:

"All users are required to sign in with date and time in/out with option first and last name."

Vote was 9 in favor, 0 opposed.

Voting rights in the Woodworkers Guild was discussed. The option of allowing teachers to vote was raised. As a membership run organization, guild members discussed the merits to limiting voting rights to those members who control the organization. It was discussed that voting should be more open than voting rights at the Artisan's Asylum, but not totally open.

No vote was called. Voting rights and guild membership remain unchanged in the charter.

Scrap bin policy was discussed. Current scrap bin policy is that any wood scrap, useable or not, should be placed in the scrap bin if it does not fit into a small trash can. Any scrap that does not fit should be cut down to fit.

No new policy was proposed. It was decided that the woodshop would replace the large scrap bin with a smaller scrap bin that is easier to empty. Scrap shelving will be added above the scrap bin. The shelving will consist of three supports spaced three feet apart each. Any scrap smaller than 3 feet should be placed in the bin. Any unusable scrap should be cut down and placed into the bin. Any scrap that will fit in a trash can should continue to be disposed of in the trash can.

5 Oct 2015 Meeting


  • Matt Thomas
  • Tam Sicay-Perrow
  • Michael Goulde
  • Simon C
  • Bill Zimmer
  • Paul Kassebaum

Action Items

  • Pull in the Asylum’s management team. Owned by Paul and Matt.
  • Distribute the job descriptions designed by Woody and those designed by Derek. Owned by Bill and Matt.
  • Schedule regular formal meetings. Probably on a Sunday evenings. Owned by woodshop board.
  • Schedule informal meetings that are more frequent than formal meetings. Owned by woodshop board.
  • Set up a mailing list for the woodshop board. Owned by woodshop board.
  • Create a social event to get to know the shop members. Owned by woodshop board.


  • Ways to create a sense of community and a shared culture of the woodshop for existing and incoming members.
    • Designing a woodshop orientation course
    • Social events such as a showcase of works, master classes, a woodshop version of circuit hacking night, etc.
    • Physically posting tasks, course calendar, whom to contact for help, procedural checklists, etc.
  • Organizing the budgeting and procurement process to utilize the Asylum’s non-profit status and the many eyes and minds of the woodshop.
  • Board procedures and practices

17 Sep 2015 ED Feedback on Paul and Matt Meeting


Questions on who has what authority where should go to facilities as Rob oversees this. To the specifics, - To my knowledge we have never really had a situation where anyone has more official authority in any of the shops. I see lots of folks like Tam, Irene and Josh Beckman exercise 'quasi-authority' to intervene when they saw an issue. From a responsibility perspective it all falls on the facilities manager and then the ED. Rob certainly invests trust in some folks more than others as he feels is safe and effective but there isn't anyone officially granted authority and thus responsibility/liability. - Every member has the authority to intervene in a safety situation. No one has the authority to remove a lockout on a machine unless they are certain why it was locked out and they have addressed that issue. When in doubt this should be discussed on maint@ or with Rob directly


Questions on compensation and invoicing should go to member services as Jess executes on them. In this case she was able to quickly address the issue.

Instructor Coordination

The woodshop instructors have worked with the education manager and coordinated their offerings to a greater extent than any other shop. They have been working for some time to address concerns around safety, testing, availability etc. Clearly some additional communication with the shop monitors could be of benefit however.

15 Sep 2015 Meeting


  • Matt Thomas
  • Paul Kassebaum

Action Items

  • Paul will talk with Derek about Matt's status
  • Schedule follow up meeting in two weeks


There’s no clear understanding of the authority structure in the wood shop. The following people have unofficial quasi-authority: Matt Thomas, Woody, Drew Hatzung, Michael Goulde, Jon Mosca, Dille.

Rob Masek and Jason Rossito approached Matt Thomas to be shop monitor, but the deal was never fully sealed. Matt’s not clear what his responsibilities are, was compensated for April and June, but hasn’t been compensated since.

Access is controlled in the following ways:

  • Woody restricts access to broken tools by locking them up. This causes problems when the tools get fixed but are still locked up, especially for courses.
  • There are no policies restricting individual access to the shop during courses, which is a big problem to the shop community
  • Tool access is ostensibly controlled by testers, who decide whether someone has ‘tested out’. However, no one feels they have the authority to check another person’s status at will.
  • Tool access is temporarily restricted by people with quasi-authority if they witness unsafe use.
  • After witnessing unsafe use, quasi-authorities don’t feel they can rescind a person’s ‘tested out’ status or prevent them from accessing the tool in the future until deemed safe. This is perceived as Rob’s call.

Shop maintenance tasks are coordinated with a task board, but it has had limited success as tool for social change. Matt struggles to hit the task deadlines, often doing the bulk of the work.

There is no coordination between wood shop instructors. Matt is not plugged in to their needs as this didn’t seem like a shop monitor responsibility.

Shop users do not coordinate their requests for resources. Each shop user individually makes requests to Rob.

The wood shop saw a recent investment in the acquisition of a joiner. Matt draws a direct line connecting his initial outreach tool manufactures to the successful fundraiser for the new joiner, done with Rob’s help. Matt spoke with some other shop users about which tools were worth getting.

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