Eastern Massachussetts Guild of Woodworkers

Guild Work and Activities

These slides illustrate a variety of work and activities going on within the EMGW. For more information about any picture use the menu at the upper left to follow the link printed on the picture.

Message from the President


I recently had a discussion about form versus function. Being an engineer and having written many functional specifications, function is kind of hard-wired into my thinking. I think the first time I remember being presented with this dialectic was after reading “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”. This book is about many things, but the one takeaway I had was that some people are “form” people and other are “function” people. The form person looks at the motorcycle and sees the form, the shape, the color, the visual design, the aesthetic. The function person looks at the motorcycle and “sees” the pistons, the rods, the crankshaft, the cam, and the gears. He sees how they are integrated into a system that performs a function.

I once went at night to look at a used car. It was a German made Ford Capri with a 3.0 liter engine. After viewing and driving it, I decided to buy it. When I returned home my wife asked what color it was. I said I wasn’t sure – blue, I think. “OK, as long as it’s not red”, she said. “I’m sure it’s not red”, I replied. It was red.

So, when it comes to designing furniture, which are you? Do you start with form? Or do you list the functional requirements? Perhaps it depends on what you’re building. A set of kitchen cabinets must be functional; with form to follow. James Krenov instructed his students to look at the wood, let it speak to you; the form follows from the wood. His cabinets were beautiful works of art. I think that for most of us, as we design, we try to put both tent pegs in: form and function. One or the other may move as the project evolves. As for me, I usually do a rough sketch, look for the form initially. But the function may obviate some design possibilities. So, it is a give and take. And eventually, the form is decided with joinery and other specifics to follow. I think there is an excitement that lives in the tension of resolving the form and the function. Of course, the greatest woodworkers have found the perfect intersection of form and function. Happy woodworking!


Here we are deep into summer, but as we approach the end of July, I know you are all wondering “What does the coming year for the Guild involve”. Well, behind the scenes, folks have been hard at work putting together the events for the coming year. 

Upcoming Guild Events

September 12, 2015 9:00 AM • 74 Apsley St, Hudson, MA
September 21, 2015 7:00 PM • Home of Bruce Wedlock, 102 Brooksby Village Drive, #T03, Peabody, MA
October 10, 2015 9:00 AM • Woodcraft of Walpole,3 Walpole Park South, Walpole, MA
November 14, 2015 9:00 AM • Jack Murphy's shop, 64 Coventry Wood Road, Bolton, MA
December 12, 2015 9:00 AM • Woodcraft of Woburn

Upcoming Non-Guild Events

No upcoming events

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