The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship

About the Foundation

A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Donations are deductible from your federal taxes. U.S. Tax ID Number 93-1221845.

In 1997, Sherline’s owner Mr. Joe Martin started The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship. The foundation was established to encourage excellence in craftsmanship, and to place special emphasis on metalworking and woodworking projects at the small end of the size scale. Mr. Martin’s personal contributions, along with individual charitable donations, help fund the projects of the foundation—including the annual award for the Craftsman of the Year. The foundation has also funded and created the Craftsmanship Museum website, which makes examples of fine craftsmanship available to a worldwide audience. The foundation, the museum, and the award are separate from Sherline Products Inc. A trust agreement stipulates that Sherline Products is actually to be owned by the Foundation, thus assuring its future funding.

Tax Deductible Charitable Donations to the Foundation

In May of 2003, the Joe Martin Foundation was accepted by the Internal Revenue Service as a publicly supported non-profit organization under regulation 501(c)(3). This means that any donations to the organization are fully deductible from your federal income tax. If you plan to donate a project to the museum, you should first obtain an independent appraisal of the value of the project in order to deduct the full value of your contribution. Donations can be made by credit card by contacting the foundation at (760) 727-9492 or (760) 727-5857, and checks can be mailed to: Joe Martin Foundation, 3190 Lionshead Avenue, Carlsbad, CA 92010, USA.

The Craftsmanship Museum Website

Started, funded and maintained by the Joe Martin Foundation, the Craftsmanship Museum website is a way for the work of craftsmen of all types to be shared with a worldwide community. In order to be selected for display, a craftsman’s work must be judged to be among the “best of the best.” Our Internet database allows for a greater variety of work to be displayed, as the projects don’t need to be in physical possession of the foundation to be honored. As long as photos can be submitted and posted—along with details about the craftsman’s life, goals, and techniques—a valuable resource can be shared.

We feel that this opens up many possibilities for promoting craftsmanship in areas that go beyond machining and metalworking. Craftsmanship in a range of trades and disciplines is rewarded through web display. Having started in 2002, the site has grown exponentially and will continue to expand. We are hoping to continue to gain the cooperation of craftsmen from around the world in contributing photos and information about their work. We also hope that these craftsmen will act as curators in some capacity, helping to judge and offer advice on work in their field of expertise.

Barry Jordan with his 1/5 scale milling machine

Barry Jordan of England was the Joe Martin Foundation’s Craftsman of the Year for 2003. He is seen here with his 1/5 scale fully functional Bridgeport milling machine. Barry donated his 1/14 scale version of the Bridgeport to the Joe Martin Foundation, and it can now be viewed in person at the Craftsmanship Museum.

Present and Future Goals of the Foundation:

  • To recognize an individual’s exceptional skill by providing monetary prizes through an annual selection by the person’s colleagues. Designers and builders make our society great, not celebrities or athletes. The foundation will shine a spotlight on those who genuinely deserve credit for their contributions.
  • To establish and maintain the Craftsmanship Museum for displaying fine work that has been donated or loaned to the foundation. Our building was purchased in April of 2010, and the museum opened February 7th, 2011.
  • To compile and maintain a database of the great builders of our time as well as their projects. The database is managed on our website, and continually updated with new craftsmen, projects, and award winners. It honors the craftsmen and their work by giving insight into each person’s life, background, training, and attitude toward craftsmanship.
  • To bring public attention to the achievements of craftsmen with the purpose of encouraging future generations to pursue excellence in craftsmanship.
  • To create a special library of books, magazines, and video tapes covering miniature mechanical devices, project plans, personal biographies, and more from the great builders and modelers.
  • To encourage a system that establishes an appropriate monetary value for the projects being created by metalworking craftsmen. We strive to put them on par with other great artists and artisans of the past and present.
  • To encourage craftsmen to take their skill from a hobby to an occupation by offering advice on starting your own small business. A book by Joe Martin called Making Money the Old Fashioned Way is available in PDF form here. Readers who find the book valuable are asked to make a donation to the foundation, and these donations help to fund future projects.

Presented by The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship