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Thread: "Teaching" woodworking??

  1. #1

    "Teaching" woodworking??

    I have someone who is asking me to apprentice to me in order to learn. Not apprentice in the normal way but probably just on an occasional basis.
    I wouldn't mind sharing some knowledge but I don't want to develop a "course". So wondering if anyone else has been in a similar situation and how did you proceed.
    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Give them something to build and mentor them along the way. start small and have each project focus on a couple of new techniques.
    Chuck

  3. #3
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    I'd check with your insurance agent. When I taught at Woodcraft, they insisted that I carry a million dollar liability policy, It was no problem since I was in business and had one anyway. But in this litigious society, having an apprentice who cut off a finger under your tutelage on your machinery could get real expensive. If he says he will sign a waiver, your lawyer will tell you there is no contract that can't be broken in court. Some critique or knowledge sharing in his shop would be the way to go. Once he would be on your machinery, that's when the trouble would start!

  4. #4
    Agree with Richard on liability. Better check on that.

    Agree with Chuck - start small. Do a couple small boxes. There are several good things to learn there. You could also do picture frames or a decorative frame for aound their bathroom mirror. There are also some very simple step stools.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  5. #5
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    Informally giving advice and maybe observing them in their own shop isn't likely to be an issue...a mentor type relationship. Letting them work in your shop is a whole different thing and that's where the liability thing comes into play as has been mentioned. I actually did a few sessions with folks around turning years ago as part of a program that the local woodturning club setup and while I thoroughly enjoyed it, when I think back to what I was potentially exposing myself to if the "student' got hurt while working in my shop on my equipment with my tools. Scary. And one of them was a pre-teen kid, too. So if the scenario you are considering includes your shop, etc., talk with your insurance representative and be sure you know that your coverage, including an umbrella, will cover this activity. And that's whether or not you're a hobbyist or if you have a formal business setup. For the latter, the liability insurance has to include that kind of activity over what you have covered the business under presently.
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 10-27-2020 at 2:40 PM.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #6
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    Teaching can be great or terrible, depending on you and the student, so your call. But...

    On liability, don't assume this "person won't sue me" so I'm OK.

    Our daughter was injured playing soccer (at 11? 12? She she lost sight in one eye and had to be taken by ambulance to the ER. ER doc's evaluation was detached retina, maybe worse, see a specialist Monday. So not minor and not an overreaction in the moment. Turns out she/we were lucky and it wasn't that severe an injury and it healed on it's own. However...)

    We spent the next 6-8 weeks filling out forms, having affidavits notarized, and talking to our insurance company on the phone as they searched for someone to sue. (Field was fine, nothing illegal had been done, you expect 11/12 year olds to occasionally shank the ball and it clearly wasn't intentional, everybody had the required & recommended safety gear, etc. So they couldn't go after the league, the field owner, the refs, the opponent, or us. They tried each and every one, plus a few I'm forgetting I bet. Oh, the EMTs for transporting my daughter,instead of just treating her at the field. That didn't fly since the ER doc thought she was blinded....)

    Anyway, my point is that the reasonable person you're dealing with isn't the person that will decide whether or not you get sued!

  7. #7
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    As an electrical contractor, I hire apprentices from time to time. An apprenticeship involves hands on site work as well as a classroom component. When we have apprentices, they are paid a reduced hourly rate and work along side certified electricians to learn from then, but also to make money for the company. I'd treat a woodworking "apprentice" the same way. Pay a fair, but reduced rate and work them like an employee. Everything needs to be legal & above board. If something unfortunate happens, you'll be glad you did.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Pratt View Post
    As an electrical contractor, I hire apprentices from time to time. An apprenticeship involves hands on site work as well as a classroom component. When we have apprentices, they are paid a reduced hourly rate and work along side certified electricians to learn from then, but also to make money for the company. I'd treat a woodworking "apprentice" the same way. Pay a fair, but reduced rate and work them like an employee. Everything needs to be legal & above board. If something unfortunate happens, you'll be glad you did.
    I like that idea. I have some interest from friends as well and I'm on the fence of how below board vs above board to go. OTH, I definitely need some shop projects to get done and have started to think of paying them to get projects done. Are these apprentices of yours 1099 or W2?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by andrew whicker View Post
    Are these apprentices of yours 1099 or W2?
    Canadian, don't have a clue what that means. In Alberta, apprentice wages are legislated, eg: for electrician, 1st year is 50%, 2nd is 60%, 3rd is 70%, and 4th is 80% of whatever the company is paying a certified electrician. The percentages differ some from trade to trade, but they're all in that neighborhood. They are paid just like any other employee, with vacation pay and deductions for employment insurance, taxes, pension, health plan, etc.

  10. #10
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    Frank, in the US, folks who are employees of the business get W2 forms that detail income and tax withholding information at the end of the year. Independent contractors (non-employees) get a 1099 form that shows what the business paid them for their services. One is an employee; one is not relative to their official relationship to the business, what benefits they can expect and are entitled to such as unemployment and compensation if they are injured, etc.. I cannot imagine there isn't a parallel thing in Canada.

    (This is at the heart of the situation with Uber, Lyft and similar in the US state of California right now...are the workers employees or are the independent contractors)
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  11. #11
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    Tom, is there a woodworkers guild or club where you live? I'd send them there. People who aren't getting paid sometimes grumble about doing things they don't want to learn.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by andrew whicker View Post
    I like that idea. I have some interest from friends as well and I'm on the fence of how below board vs above board to go. OTH, I definitely need some shop projects to get done and have started to think of paying them to get projects done. Are these apprentices of yours 1099 or W2?
    They'll have to have their own business cards, insurance, and in some states, their own license to be a contractor.

  13. #13
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    I am currently doing it. I have been helping a friend build a house for some time now. Both of us know or way around tools. He is more of a gear head which I am not. Both of us have the combined knowledge to get it done. Both of us always bounce ideals off of each other for different things. He wants to learn how to make furniture and stuff. We are currently building the cabinets, trim, and anything else needed. I am basically doing the woodworking and he is observing and helping with what he is comfortable with. It is his shop and his tools mostly. I have brought out tools and equipment that he doesn't have to get job done. There isn't anything planned. We discuss tools, tool setup, wood, techniques, multiple ways of doing things. I give him options and ask him how he wants to proceed and then we move forward. Mistakes by each of us are teachable moments on how to correct issues. I think picking a project and just rolling with it as things come up is the best way. I know 1000% that he wouldn't sue me if he gets hurt and and the same with me. I have known him for close to 20 years. No money is exchanging hands. Just 2 friends hanging out a couple of weekends a month and getting stuff done.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Frank, in the US, folks who are employees of the business get W2 forms that detail income and tax withholding information at the end of the year. Independent contractors (non-employees) get a 1099 form that shows what the business paid them for their services. One is an employee; one is not relative to their official relationship to the business, what benefits they can expect and are entitled to such as unemployment and compensation if they are injured, etc.. I cannot imagine there isn't a parallel thing in Canada.
    Okay, the W2 would be your equivalent of our T4. I can't remember the name of the contract employee form, but it isn't very common for an apprentice or a trades person to be a contract employee. Revenue Canada pays very close attention to contract employment because it's a huge underground economy thing that they're trying to keep under control.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Norton View Post
    I have someone who is asking me to apprentice to me in order to learn. Not apprentice in the normal way but probably just on an occasional basis.
    I wouldn't mind sharing some knowledge but I don't want to develop a "course". So wondering if anyone else has been in a similar situation and how did you proceed.
    Thanks!
    Kudos to you considering this. It's the single best way for an enthusiastic newbie to progress; with someone looking over their shoulder.

    Regarding liabilities and lawsuits, a "Blameless and Harmless" liability waiver may be enough, if your not getting paid.

    https://formswift.com/hold-harmless-agreement

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