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  • Questions about SAW

    Hi everyone. I have a few questions concerning SAW (scrollsaw association of the world). This is directed to both current members and scrollers who are not members. I was elected to the Board Of Directors in Jan. 2006. I am currently trying to find out what the scrolling community knows or thinks about SAW. I have read a few comments on here and realize two things. There are many things about SAW that are evidently not known and there are a few misconceptions about the organization. I know I am opening myself up to a lot of comments , both pro and con, which is ok. I want to see SAW become a more viable part of the scrollsawing community Your impput and questions are important to me as a member. WE have started a few programs that I feel are very worthwhile. To really get them running at full throttle we need to recieve imput from the scrollers. So ask away. I will attempt to answer all questions or will find out the answers. Bob suggested we conduct a poll which might be something I will look at. Toby

  • #2
    For those of you who don't know, SAW is here.

    I've never really seen the need to join SAW. It doesn't seem relevant to scrolling in my part of the world and I can get information I need about scrolling from forums such as this.

    Above all, I don't wish to pay $35 for membership of an organisation when I don't see how I'm going to get $35-worth of benefit.

    Sorry to be so negative, Toby, but you did ask.


    There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is readily adopted.
    (Schopenhauer, Die Kunst Recht zu Behalten)


    • #3

      Gil, thanks for your imput. One of the things we advertise ourself as is OF THE WORLD. I guess one of the prblems I see is we cannot seem to get any imput from our members OR the scrolling community from around the world. That is one of the reasons, I think, we are looked at as a Midwest USA club. I ,for one ,would love to see articles from all around the world. I think SSW site is a wonderful site for scrollers. Now how do we make ourselves, meaning SAW, become important to the rest of you? What is it you would like to see SAW do? I am not trying in any way to replace SSW but to add to it. Any suggestions? Toby


      • #4
        I am not a member of SAW but I have referred the site to many people.
        I think the ACES program is wonderful and I intend to get a copy for a demonstration I do at a fair each year.
        There are lots of great resources on the site.
        I think it is a good way to start a local scrolling club.

        I too, like Gill have to think twice before sending money away to join.
        I think maybe if there were different levels of membership at different rates that may help.

        Or perhaps discounts for people who contribute.
        "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
        Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21


        • #5
          I am on my third year as a member. The price is a little high, my woodworking club is $25.00/year with monthly meetings and a picnic and Christmas Party every year. I have gotten some good information from the website and magazines.

          There's a fine line between woodworking and insanity, I'm just not sure which side of the line I'm on!


          • #6
            I've been giving this some more thought. On browsing the SAW site I notice that clubs are listed in 4 countries: USA, Canada, Australia and Sweden. I clicked on the Swedish link and found an MSN forum which had 28 messages posted. For an organisation that purports to be world-wide, this isn't terribly impressive. The dearth of contacts in other countries is very noticeable.

            Is it possible to identify where the directors of SAW live? I'd have thought that those directors who live outside North America would have an interesting insight into the strengths and shortcomings of the organisation. I hope they don't all live in North America; that would be quite telling for a supposedly international body.

            What is it that SAW's trying to offer scrollers? I've listed the benefits detailed on the website and annotated my own comments in green:

            Collective Representation: Your vote carries more influence as a collective representative vote than it does as an single voice, you can make a difference! Why do we need collective representation? Are we downtrodden and oppressed?

            SAW-DUST, Quarterly Newsletter: Providing you with articles on scrollsaw events, contests, patterns, on-line and web information, and many skill improvement articles. I can get this from SSW for only $28.00. What makes SAW's better?

            SAW Annual Directory: Current list of National By-Laws, elected officers and contact information, membership directory by state and alphabetically, resource list for scrolling supplies, patterns, wood. This isn't of much use to me in England. In fact, it implies there isn't any scrolling activity outside the USA worth mentioning. It is quite an offensive indictment of the international community.

            Referral Award: This program provides you a 1 month membership extension for each new member you recruit into SAW.. I'm not a member of SAW and I don't know anyone who'd be interested in joining, so this is irrelevant.

            SAW Member ID Card: This membership card, provided with your paid membership, entitles you to discounts at SAW events and with selected vendors. I like this. When and where is the next SAW event in England?

            SAW Activities: SAW and Major Scrollsaw Magazine sponsorship of scrolling contests at SAW events and Scrollsaw Picnics. I'm not a competitive scroller, but others may be. I'm sure they'll be delighted to participate at the next SAW event in England.

   : A professional web site full of up to date events, galleries, Chapter information, a members only area which will include a teaching syllabus outline for those that would like a guide to develop a scrolling course in your area. This sounds like a glorified forum.

            Without active world-wide chapters, it strikes me as presumptuous that SAW should present itself as an international umbrella for scrollers. It needs to generate a truly international community. Yet this might not be so difficult as it seems. Many people, especially in English-speaking countries, are introduced to scrolling through the books of Patrick Spielman and Judy Gale Roberts. These books, however, are limited because the projects they contain rely on woods that are not available overseas. If SAW could make wood packages available through its chapters for people overseas who wish to tackle these projects, it might be able to expand. It could also raise money which could subsidise membership.

            To my mind, the challenge for SAW is to become a body which is truly representative of all nations. In doing so, it will have to find a way to overcome language problems ( I see the web-site can be translated into different languages - that's good, and I hope it works ), material availability problems and measurement problems (I'm thinking imperial/metric).

            Last edited by Gill; 05-15-2006, 06:01 PM.
            There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is readily adopted.
            (Schopenhauer, Die Kunst Recht zu Behalten)


            • #7
              The price seems high when free forums like this abound and there isn't a local chapter (even being in the US doesn't automatically make it relevant). However, while I am a scroller, I am not scrollsaw centric - I do enjoy the occasional purely scrolled project but mostly I cut parts for instruments and whatnot. This has a side effect of making scrolling resources last longer; I have a list of projects to do that I already have the plans for and techniques I want to practice that I have already seen or have books on, etc. So I amy not be representative of the members you are looking for.

              I got the impression that SAW is a for profit enterprise, BTW. Is that correct?


              • #8
                I was a member of SAW for a couple years, but dropped out because I could not see any real benefits. The "newsletter" contains very little information that is not readily available on this forum (and in better format) and, to be honest, the layout and the editing is something less than professional. The ACEs program is admirable, but the "sponsored" events all seem to be in the same general area. As Gill stated, I don't mean to be negative because I'm sure there are those who have benefitted greatly. Not me.
                Old Mooner


                • #9
                  Maybe I am missing the point here but one does not have to be a paid member of SAW in order to be a member of their scrollsawing forums. They can choose to be (or not to be) a member of the organization at any time whether they want to or not but it is not a requirement .
                  I check out several sites on a regular basis and I quickly scan through them and respond to the topics of most interest. I simply don't have time to respond to all of the topics on all of the sites.
                  I like to learn what I can from all the sites I visit as well as share information from my own experiences when time allows . Different topics come up on all the different sites and what is missed in this one or some other ones will surely appear in SAW or any other site if they are participated in. Just like everything can not be learned by reading just one book.
                  I think the SAW forums are not participated in very much because many are under the false belief that they have to become a paid member of an organization in order to participate in the forums there and that surely is a pity. Every site including this one has it's dozen or so *regulars* and that is why I like to check more sites than one in order to see what the groups of *regulars* in several sites are exchanging ideas about at any given time. The number of members in any particular site does not seem to reflect on how many will become regulars. I go to some sites with 4 or 5 hundred members that have more participating regulars (yes from many countries)than ones with thousands of members. But each group of regulars on those sites are of different names and locations except for a percentage of overlap.
                  I think if more scrollers were to to participate in the SAW forums and see yet another group of *regulars* it would widen everyones chances of catching up with all the latest developments in the wonderfull world of scrolling

                  The task ahead of us is never as great as the power behind us

                  Delta P-20 Scroll Saw, 14" x 43" Craftex Wood Lathe and Jet 10" Mini Lathe .


                  • #10
                    I have been a member of SAW for probably 4 years or so now. I value the directory very much. Often I grab this directory to look up someone I have met at an event, or for a supplier of a certain thing,(there are 11 pages of wood suppliers, including suppliers in germany, south america,australia). Its a valueable resource for me as far as thats concerned.Also, the listing of books is great as well.The listing of members DOES show what gill is saying, it is mainly usa members,onlyone listed in england. 22 from outside the usa in the 2005 directory. I enjoy getting SAWDust as well, but partly because I have met so many that put that together, and its a nice way to see the familiar faces again. I will say this.. if it wasnt for SAW, I would NOT have won one of my Dewalt scrollsaws, it was because of SAW that I had the oppertunity to win that, and it has really opened up a whole new world to me.I think SAws participation in the events, like the upcoming tradeshow in WI is not really a necessity, but it sure makes the event a lot more fun (and for those that havent been to a scrollsaw picnic/trade show, ANYONE can enter in the contests, not just members, but members do get a discount on entering, which i think is fair and just.)
                    My thoughts on the local clubs becoming affiliates, or 'chapters' is that I see no reason for a club to have to follow the guidelines SAW expects of them in order to call theirselves a chapter. A local scrolling club is just that, a bunch of folks wanting to relax, share ideas, and have a good time learning new ideas, not a group of folks that want to get neck deep in rules and guidelines to be a chapter. Theres enough politics in everything else, nobody wants that in their leisure scrolling club.
                    I was asked by a former board member to contribute an artical to SAWDust regarding my working with 4H kids here . I told him yes, I would gladly contribute an artical, after all it was the least I could do for a club that helped me to get a nice saw, and helped so much to make the events so enjoyable.Anyways, shortly arter saying I would write the artical, something happened within the BOD, and a few board members resigned, one of them was the guy that inquired about the artical.I am friends with both past board members, as well as present ones. I wish to remain that way, and the one thing I can say is that the past board members do not discuss exactly why they are no longer members, and I think thats honorable of them.
                    As for benefits like the scholarship fund, I think its great, I hope it gets used . The website...I do frequent it for bits of info, but most of what I'm looking for I can locate here in SSW site, or a few others i frequent. I never make it to the chat in SAW much, as I generally hang out in the chatroom , which, by the way, is actually where I first learned about SAW.
                    I think Pat does an outstanding job keeping track of everything for SAW , but I do think its a bit to political.As for international membership, it is sad. Maybe Gill raises some good ideas . I know there has got to be more then two scrollers in england. What is in it for them? The events in the usa are scattered pretty well over the country now, and I know that SAW isnt represented at all of them, which is understandable with the costs of fuel, and the time needed to to attend them all.
                    My questions to you Toby is this....What was your main driving factor to become a board member,and how will it benefit you, and what ideas do you bring to the table???
                    [email protected]

                    PS : I dont think the SAW forum will ever find the diversity and friendly bonding as you find within this SSW forum. Thanks to everyone here (even you Bob) for making this a great forum!

                    (wow, did i type THAT much??????????)
                    Dale w/ yella saws


                    • #11

                      lThank you all for your responses. I will attempt to answer each concern in the order posted.
                      Canadian Scroller: I would like to hear from you after presenting the ACES program at the fair. Any imput will enable us to make the next program better still. As for different levels of membership, I think that would create more problems that it might solve. How would you suggest we break it down? Discounts for people that contribute? Do you mean patterns you create or articles that are written?
                      Woodbutcher68; Two of the main reasons for the increase in membership fees are: The cost of postage has gone sky high , and $3 of each membership is allotted for the Scholarship Fund and the Opportunity Grant Program. We spend approx $25 for oversees memberships in mailing costs alone. I hope you continue to receive valuable information from the wesite and magazines. Is there anything you would like to see published there?
                      Gill: We have members in 11 Countries, currently. We receive 80-90 hits alone from other countries each month on our website. From my point of view, I think that is very impressive. As for the dearth of contacts from other countries, that is simply not so. AS for where the members of the Board of Directors live. Each year three positions come open for election to the Board. All members are encouraged to place their name on the ballot. After serving two terms each officer must step down for a period of one year, then they are eligible to run again. I repeat, each member is eligible to run for a seat on the Board. At ;the present time, the current Board is spread across 9 states in the USA. A ha you say , see not International at all. If they don't run they can't get elected. Perhaps you have a suggestion on how we can make this SHORTCOMING better. We can only offer the chance, we cannot control the response.
                      Website responses:
                      1. Collective Representation: downtrodden and oppressed. I don't understand that statement. We have quite a few businesses that offer discounts to SAW members. Also maufacturers are more willing to address problems with equipment failure when contacted by a organization than an individual.
                      2. SAWDUST; I guess I did not make myself clear at the top, WE are not in competition with SSW. Better? not trying to be better or worse. JUst trying to add to the scrolling hobby. I for one feel there are many avenues for the scroller to pursue, SAW is just trying to be one also. I really enjoy my issues of SSW and have had the occasion, more than once, to meet and talk to both Shannon and Bob. I commend the work they do and am certainly not trying to compete with them.
                      3. Annual Directory: Just curious, If you are not a member then how can you say what is in the directory and how can you find it offensive? If the information listed does not HELP you in England then maybe you could send us the addresses that you deal with over there. We would be more than happy to include them in our Directory. We can only list helpful information that our membership provides for us. That is one of the main reasons for this post in the first place. What do you need and how can we help you get the information you need. That is what constructive comments are all about/
                      4. Referral Program. not worth responding to.
                      5. ID Card: I would guess the next SAW event in England depends on when someone over there plans it. Mis-conception: SAW does not plan or put on the picnics and events that are held each year. Those are done by local clubs. When local clubs or Chapters contact us to make their event a SAW sponsered event, SAW provides the awards and ribbons for the Competition.
                      We do this with no money coming back to us, but as something we provide to our members. We are not in charge of who the demonstrators are or how the picnic is run. With 5-8 picnics each year this amounts to considerable expense, paid for out of the Membership Funds.
                      6. refer to 5.
             interesting choce of words.

                      Patrick Spielman and Judy GAle Roberts Books; Knowing both Judy and Jerry I am sure they did not intend for their patterns to be made solely out of the wood they use. If fact, I have seen many works using their pattens that are really beautiful. Also, that is why our Directory lists many many wood suppliers so the scrollers of the world have access to all the products available.
                      Gill, I thak you for your responses, now I would like to see helpful suggestions. That is why I wrote this. thanks for your time and imput.

                      Arbarnhart: I am glad you asked about Profit or Non-Profit. SAW is a Non-Profit organization listed with a 501c3 status. That does limit us somewhat in our ability to advertise. All functions by Board Members are out of pocket. We are not reimbursed in anyway by funds collected from our members. When any of us attend a function such as a picnic, that is our own expense. The Home office usually takes about 40-50 hours a month to maintain all the mailings and membership updates. This is free gratis by our Secretary. A truly wonderful person. Our SAWDUST Editor again puts in many many hours getting the various mailings ready for print. Again this is free gratis. I guess that covers the COMPLAINT about the newletters not being professional. Professional , I think, means getting paid. She does not, but I fell she does a terrific job and would not hesitate to have her put together a mailing for me personnaly.

                      Mooner: Benifits improve with each passing year SAW has been in existence. Thanks for you coments about the ACES program. That was also done free gratis by Ric AS for the events and where they are held. Again we do not control that. That is done by each local club. We are just there to help them if they so desire.

                      William Young, Thank you for your imput. You are right, you do not have to be a member to participate inSAW's forum. I think you have the concept I am trying to say here. Every site has something to offer. My main premise was to ask: what are people looking for from SAW. If we don't know, we cannot provide it so speak up everyone.

                      AS for the politics of forming a club. All of our suggestions are just that , suggestions. When I formed the two clubs in Ohio, I pretty much rewrote the By-Laws to fit our needs.
                      Yes the Scholarship fund will be awarded this year. Watch your SAWDUST for particulars. Next year we expect or hope for many more applications.
                      As for Gils questions, I whole heartedly agree. That is why I am here. What do they need from SAW. Telling what is wrong is ok but I want to have concrete suggestions on how to make this better for all.
                      AS for your article about the 4H kids. WE would love to have it for an issue. As we all know, kids are the future of scrolling. Youo may contact any board member about the article.
                      Now to answer your questions:
                      In 2005 I was asked to run for the board by then 3 current members. I had met them at various functions in scrolling. I thought about it and asked many questions. I made the decision that I thought that would be something I could contribute to. AS for benefiting me, I am not sure I thought of it that way. Having retired in 1999 at an early age, i got envolved with scroll-sawing. Saw one being demonstrated at a woodworking show and just fell in love with the concept of doing art without being an artist. After working for the Government and being a Coach at the highest level I needed something to help me relax in my retirement years. Scrolling has done that. What do I bring to the table. Organizational skills. Fresh ways to look at old problems. Freedom from some of the POLITICAL problems that have confronted SAW. Most of all I made a promise to the current board that I wanted to see at the very least double their membership before my term runs out. That is why I have asked the question I have asked on here. WHAT do the current, former, and non-members want from SAW. If I can get enough constructive answers then that gives us something to run with. Any Suggestions?
                      sorry this took so long folks, Toby
                      P.S. my former players always accused me of being windy lol lol


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ZooZoo1
                        concept of doing art without being an artist.
                        You may have just stepped on a few toes there.

                        So SAW is not a for profit enterprise after all? I guess I got the wrong impression. I would not be at all surprised if I am not the only one. One of the things that made me think that might not be so was the concept of paying for your membership by referring others. The "pyramid marketing alarm" goes off when I see that type of offer. Anyway, you might want to think about making sure it is clearer to people that it is an all volunteer organization without paid staff.


                        • #13
                          I agree. That seems to be one of the areas we need to work on. Even some of our membership thinks we are paid. Sigh, One of the reasons we have really cut back on attending the Picnics is because of the travel expense. All of us would love to go to all of them, but that just is not practical. And it is also not practical for the members. That is one of the reasons I think that more and more regional picnics are popping up. Gas prices are hurting us all. But ouor economy is great, just read the news lol. thanks for your post, Toby


                          • #14
                            I think it is great to get more people involved, and as far as I can see that is SAWs main objective.
                            I did get a sample copy of Sawdust once and I did like it.

                            The cost of the membership is what holds me back, that and the fact that I spend so much time on here. I love this forum and love writing for Fox Chapel.

                            I also understand that it is not possible to lower the costs. There is a great deal of cost and effort when running a program of this magnitude.

                            If people are starting out and are looking for instruction on the basics, I recommend they check out the ACES program.

                            How do we cross oceans to expand SAW? The fact that you are asking questions in forums like this is one of the keys. Gill is an active member of several forums and offers some great points.

                            I said once before that different levels of membership may help. Perhaps there could be a free membership, one that does not carry a vote or a subscription to Sawdust. Something like this forum. That would expand the resources for both paid and non paid memberships.
                            Last edited by CanadianScroller; 05-18-2006, 09:55 AM.
                            CAЯL HIRD-RUTTEЯ
                            "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
                            Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21


                            • #15
                              About Saw

                              I have to make a couple of comments here. ACES was not designed for the new scroller to learn to saw. The video was designed for a person that wants to put on a seminar about scrollsawing to a group. The video covers the very basics of what is involved in scrolling, it was not designed to teach you how to do it. With this 20 minute video anyone can go to a group and introduce themself, play the video, and answer questions, making an easy 30 minute program. It was held to 30 minutes because that is about the attention span of the groups the program was mainly aimed at. It was made to show how easy and inexpensive scrolling can be to get started in. This was designed to make more people aware of the scrolling hobby, and hoping to get them involved into scrolling too. The more the merrier.

                              A side note, on the free membership, if you can't vote, don't get the newsletter or the directory, not eligable for the insurance, not elgible for the schollarship, or the opportunity grant, not issued an ID card, then what would you expect to get from SAW. Would SAW have any expense to have a person as a free member. The idea has some merit, I just need more details to take to the BOD of SAW.
                              Last edited by Rick-H; 05-18-2006, 11:36 AM.
                              Rick Hutcheson


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