The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship

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

About the Foundation

In 1997, Sherline's owner, Mr. Joe Martin started a Foundation to encourage excellence in craftsmanship with emphasis on metalworking projects at the small end of the size scale. Mr. Martin's personal contributions plus those of individuals who choose to make charitable donations help fund the projects of the Foundation including the $2000.00 annual award to the Outstanding Metalworking Craftsman of the Year. The Foundation has also funded and created the Internet Craftsmanship Museum to make available examples of fine craftsmanship to a worldwide audience on the Internet. The Foundation, the museum and the award are separate and are not connected with Sherline Products Inc. A trust agreement stipulates that Sherline Products is actually to be owned by the Foundation, thus assuring its future funding. The present and eventual goals of the foundation include the following:

About Joe Martin

Joe Martin with the Sherline lathe and mill. The sale of Sherline tools provides the main funding to support the Foundation and museum. This assures its continued operation into the future.

Joe Martin grew up on the East Coast and started working in the building trades after graduating from High School in Cranston, RI. While employed as an asbestos worker, he found time between jobs to build and fly model airplanes. At this stage in the hobby, radio control was still in its infancy, but the idea of being able to have your airplane take off and land in the same place and fly under your own control at all times was a dream come true for him. He was a good builder and an innovator when it came to making his planes among the most competitive among his peers. He is also one of the founders and early champions of the sport of Formula 1 aircraft racing.

Joe Martin and one of his models on a contest program cover in the 1960's. (Click on image to view larger photo.)

After moving to California, he eventually started making parts for the newly formed radio control industry and soon left the building trades to work full time making parts for the hobby he loved. When his connector company was purchased by radio control giant Kraft Systems, he continued working with them for a while developing new products. Eventually he wanted to get back into a business of his own and left Kraft to begin importing Sherline lathes from Australia to be sold under the Craftsman label in the USA through Sears. This venture led to the purchase of the Sherline name and complete production of the tool line here in the USA. After almost thirty successful years of building the Sherline tool line to be one of the most complete machine tool lines in the world, Joe wished to show his appreciation for the craftsmen who have purchased and used his and other tools to make such fine projects. In 1997 he started the Joe Martin Foundation with a donation from his personal funds with the purpose of encouraging and rewarding craftsmanship with special emphasis on metalworking at the small end of the size scale. To learn more about Joe Martin, read his story in Making a Business Out of a Hobby.

Joe Martin has also written a book on metalworking using small machine tools. It is called Tabletop Machining and can be purchased through Sherline as part number 5301. Anyone operating small machine tools will learn the basics of making precision metal parts. Although the advise and setup photos can be applied to any brand of machine, because Sherline machines are shown in the examples, the book will be especially valuable for Sherline owners.

Tax Deductible Charitable Donations to the Foundation

In May, 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 starting in 2003 are fully deductible from your federal income tax. If you request it, we will be glad to provide our federal tax ID number for your records. In the case of the donation of a project for the museum, you should first obtain an independent appraisal of the value of the project in order to be able to deduct the full value for your contribution. Donations can be made by credit card by contacting the foundation at (760) 727-9492 or (760) 727-5857 or checks can be mailed to: Joe Martin Foundation, 3190 Lionshead Avenue, Carlsbad, CA 92010, USA.

Barry Jordan of England was the Joe Martin Foundation's 2003 Metalworking Craftsman of the year. He is seen here with his 1/5 scale fully functional Bridgeport milling machine. Barry's 1/14 scale version of the Bridgeport was donated by Barry to the Foundation and can now be viewed in person in the Foundation's museum in Vista, CA. (Click on photo for larger portrait of Barry with another of his models, a Clarkson tool and cutter grinder.)

The Internet Craftsmanship On-Line Museum

Started, funded and maintained by the Joe Martin Foundation, the Internet Craftsmanship Museum is a way for the work of craftsmen of all types to be shared with the Internet community worldwide. In order to be selected for display, the craftsman's work must be judged to be among the best of the best.” Being on the Internet allows a great variety of work to be displayed, because the projects need not be in the 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 with the world without having to ship, protect and display the actual projects. We feel this will open up many possibilities to promote craftsmanship in areas that go beyond machining and metalworking. Craftsmanship in many trades and areas of discipline will be rewarded by display there. Though just started in April, 2002, the site is growing and will continue to do so. We are hoping that we can obtain the cooperation and help of many craftsmen around the world to both contribute their own work in photo (digital or film/paper form) and to act as curators to help judge and offer advice on the work of others in their field of expertise. In addition, sponsorship opportunities will be available for individuals or corporations to sponsor individual pages. Income from sponsorship will go to further the goals of the Foundation and help pay for the costs of maintaining this web site. For information contact or see the web site at The Internet Craftsmanship Museum. A submission form is available on the site if you know of a craftsman you feel would be appropriate for consideration.

Visit the Foundation's Actual Museum and Shop in Carlsbad, California

Starting in 2006 the first home of the Joe Martin Foundation's museum was located in a special facility within the Sherline factory building at 3235 Executive Ridge, Vista, CA 92081. On February 7, 2011 an new museum building was opened to the public at 3190 Lionshead Avenue, Carlsbad, CA 92010, about 1 mile west of the previous location. The new 16,000 square foot building now houses the museum displays, library, conference room and offices of the Joe Martin Foundation.  To learn more about what you can see when you visit the museum CLICK HERE. For a 6-1/2 minute video tour of the facility CLICK HERE.


The Foundation's Award for Metalworking Craftsman of the Year

Each year, an individual is selected who has made an outstanding lifetime contribution to machining, with emphasis on the small end of the size scale. It is not to be a popularity contest, but rather to reward genuine achievement. The winner will be one who stands head and shoulders above all others in his area of specialty, and one whom all in his field could easily agree is "the best". The winner should be a person who has not only taken his skill to the highest level, but has also shared his knowledge, passed it along and encouraged others to improve the level of their work as well. Check out the Awards page for more details and a list of past award winners.


Special Recognition Awards

The Joe Martin Foundation periodically offers special recognition awards to honor a particular achievement or lifetime of achievement in craftsmanship. Following is a list of the awards presented to date. (Click on photo for larger image.)

(Click on photos for larger image.)

The first lifetime achievement award in the area of model building was awarded in April, 2002 to Philip Mattson of La Jolla, California. A certificate of achievement and a check for $500.00 were presented to Mr. Mattson for his contribution to craftsmanship specifically in the area of ship modeling. Details of Mr. Mattson's life and work can be seen in the museum in the section for model builders.

The second lifetime achievement award was presented to Rudy Kouhoupt in April, 2003 for his work in the field of model engineering. After a full career as a chemist, Rudy turned to building model engines. He documented his designs, drew plans made videos and wrote construction articles, making it possible for many others to build his engines and learn about engine design and machining. His articles have appeared in magazines like Popular Mechanics and The Home Shop Machinist. Details of his life and work can be seen in the museum in the section for model engineers.

It is with sincere regret we announce that Rudy Kouhoupt passed away in October, 2004. His presence will be greatly missed in the world of model engineering.

The third lifetime achievement award was presented to Bob Shores on May 14, 2004. Bob has written a book on "Ignition Coils and Magnetos in Miniature" that is well respected among model engine builders. He has also developed and sold many plans and kits for engines that have allowed many people to enjoy the fun of building a running engine. Some of his designs include the popular "Little Angel," "Silver Angel" and "Silver Bullet." We regret that Bob was in ill health when notified of the award and passed away soon thereafter, but we were glad that we were able to show this sign of our appreciation for all the people he helped before he passed away.
The fourth lifetime achievement award was presented to Kozo Hiraoka of Japan in March, 2005. Mr. Hiraoka is known to all who build small live steam locomotives for the books he has written on the subject. His books on gear driven Shay's like the Climax and his latest on the Pennsylvania A3 Switcher are lavishly illustrated with hand-drawn technical art and clear photographs. Kozo also took on the daunting task of learning English so that he could write the technical instructions for an American audience rather than producing them in his native Japanese. Mr. Hiraoka's books are published by Village Press in Michigan and can be found at

Mr. Hiraoka was presented with an award plaque and a special gold medallion to honor his acheivements.

Joe Vicars sent in a video of a small automatic tool changer he had developed in his own garage shop that fit on a Sherline or other small milling machine. Joe Martin was very impressed with the design and inventiveness of the project and awarded Mr. Vicars a Special Award for Innovation and Craftsmanship. The award certificate and a check for $50 was presented at the North American Model Engineering Society Show in Detroit April 27, 2003.

2003 Young Park Youth Award winners

2002 Craftsman of the Year winner Young C. Park donated his $1000.00 winner's check back to the foundation to encourage and support craftsmanship among young people. The Foundation will use the money to award $500.00 each year to the entrants in a new YOUTH DIVISION of the Sherline Machinist's Challenge contest each year. After the original amount is awarded, the Foundation will continue to fund the Young C. Park Award in Mr. Park's name each year to encourage more young people to become interested in making projects that exhibit outstanding craftsmanship.

Augie Hiscano, 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award, shown here with his wife Carol.

The fifth lifetime achievement award was presented posthumously to Augie Hiscano for both the incredible achievement of producing "Best of Show" winning model automobiles over a span of four decades, and also for the tireless effort he put into helping all those interested in learning about modeling. Augie won the biggest car modeling contest ever held--the first Revelle National Contest in 1964, beating out over 500,000 entries. From there he went on to build real hotrods and eventually got back into modeling as manager of Orange Blossom Hobbies in Miami, Fl. In 1989 he was invited back to the big Salt Lake City contest as a judge and was inspired to get back into modeling. He went on to produce several more winners that to this day set the standards for customized plastic car models.

Augie passed away unexpectedly in 2005 at the height of his mastery as a model maker and as one of the greatest ambassadors for the hobby.

Ron Chernich, Brisbane, Australia

2007 Lifetime Achievement Award

Ron Chernich of Australia has been selected as winner of the 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award. Ron is a long time engine modeler who has shared details of the hobby with many around the world through his ever-expanding web site at Producing this site and keeping it updated is a massive undertaking, and Ron has mastered this new form of communication to bring model engine builders from around the world into a single community where they can share their passion. Ron has also shared his skills as a machinist by making the pistons and rings for the Seal Engine Project hosted by the Foundation.

Ron is being presented a gold medallion and a check for $500 with our thanks for his contribution to quality modeling.

Robert and Frances Washburn, Kent, Washington

 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award

This second 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award is to honor both Robert and Frances Washburn, the team responsible for publication of Strictly IC magazine. Starting in February,1984 and continuing through Volume 14, #84 in January 2002, they split the chores with Robert contributing the illustration, technical writing and production while Frances contributed the photography and administrative (distribution and subscription) duties—a true team effort. The magazine was one of the few that catered only to builders of miniature internal combustion engines, and it was eventually to boast subscribers in many countries around the world. The information contributed by Frances and Robert was instrumental in helping many MICE builders to complete engines of all configurations, and the back issues they still distribute continue that tradition to this day.

To read more about Robert, Frances and the magazine, CLICK HERE.

Louis Chenot, Carl Junction, MO

2009 Lifetime Achievement Award

Louis Chenot caught our eye years ago at the North American Model Engineering Society Expo in the Detroit area with a very ambitious project. When we first saw it, he only had completed the engine and frame of a 1936 Duesenberg, but it was done to a high degree of perfection, and his plan was to build the complete car. Each year more progress could be seen on the car to the point where it is now almost complete. Lou is now working on getting the engine running before going ahead with the final step, the paint job. We felt this project, along with other fine models Lou has built deserved some special recognition and encouragement.

Lou was presented with a certificate of achievement, an engraved gold medallion and a check from the Foundation for $500.00 at the 2009 NAMES show in Toledo, Ohio on April 18, 2009. In 2011, Lou was also selected as Metalworking Craftsman of the Decade when he was able to complete the Duesenberg model and get the totally scale engine to run.

Szymon Klimek, Poznań, Poland

2009 Special Achievement Award

Szymon Klimek has taken elements of metalworking, model engineering, jewelry and art and combined them into the production of pieces that defy firm categorization. The detailed, polished brass pieces model articles including things as different as locomotives and hatboxes. Starting in 2004 this craftsman, who is trained as an engineer, has created over 100 miniature metal sculptures. They are often displayed within the protection of a glass wine goblet and feature inlaid jewels. Model engines run inside the goblet, hooked to tiny solar panels for power. A model of an antique bicycle has a brass hat and pair of gloves on the seat. His vision of these objects is uniquely his own, yet three is something to please each viewer.

For his unique vision of model making, Szymon received a certificate of achievement, an engraved gold medallion and a check from the Foundation for $500.00 in September, 2009.

Ron Chernich, 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award

Ron Chernich of Australia has been selected as winner of the 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award. Ron is a long time engine modeler who has shared details of the hobby with many around the world through his ever-expanding web site at Producing this site and keeping it updated is a massive undertaking, and Ron has mastered this new form of communication to bring model engine builders from around the world into a single community where they can share their passion. Ron has also shared his skills as a machinist by making the pistons and rings for the Seal Engine Project hosted by the Foundation.

Ron is being presented a gold medallion and a check for $500 with our thanks for his contribution to quality modeling.

Louis Chenot, 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award

Louis Chenot was honored in 2008 for his lifetime of fine model making and the progress on his Duesenberg model in 1/6 scale. At this time the model was not yet finished, but recognition was deserved for the quality of the progress to date. Lou was to go on to be selected as the Metalworking Craftsman of the Decade in 2011—the first time the craftsman of the year was given the "Decade" award.

 Return to the Craftsmanship Museum Home Page

Copyright 2017, The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship. All rights reserved.
 No part of this web site, including the text, photos or illustrations, may be reproduced or transmitted in any other form
or by any means (electronic, photocopying, recording or otherwise) for commercial use without the prior written permission of
The Joe Martin Foundation. Reproduction or reuse for educational and non-commercial use is permitted.