Getting Hands-On with Hands-On Halifax

You probably don’t know this, but I’m a pretty handy gal. I’ve moved around a fair amount and thus refined my skills with an Allen key. (Really though, as long as you have a rubber mallet, an Allen key, and live near an Ikea, you can be a furniture assembly expert.)

I do know the basics about hanging curtains, installing shelves, and painting, but I have virtually no experience with more complicated power tools.

Enter Hands-On Halifax. Among some other, more advanced, workshops, they offer a standard Power Tools 101 class. They provide an opportunity to get hands-on with some equipment that, while useful, is generally expensive and intimidating — they aren’t the kind of tools that you pick up at the hardware store on a whim. When my friend Heather shared the workshop opportunity, I jumped at the chance. For only $50 for the afternoon, I left feeling like I was on my way to being the next Bob Vila!

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I arrived early, just bouncing with excitement to start learning some skillz with the array of tools. Our instructor, Russell, started the class with a brief outline of the tools we planned to cover.

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Russell was so patient and knowledgeable. He did a great job of reviewing all the basics of each tool before giving each student a turn to use it. Fortunately, our class was small with only 5 of us so my impatient side was appeased and there was plenty of time to get my hands dirty.

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Look at me go! It was intimidating at first. I’m generally accident-prone so having something so dangerous and powerful was a bit scary. Fortunately, Russell provided very clear guidance as to how to hold the tool, how to move with it, where to stand to see clearly, etc. It was great.

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Not to toot my own horn, but I basically made a perfect cut with the circular saw. NBD. (Just kidding. I was so excited that I kept this piece for a souvenir!)

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The table saw is terrifying – even with all the safety measures in place. I’m thankful for the opportunity to try it but I’m not sure it’s going to be my go-to piece of equipment anytime soon.

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I was most excited to try a scroll saw and so happy that Russell was open to accommodating the addition to the lesson plan. It ended up being my favourite tool and I am keen to learn more and practice with it again soon.

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My first scroll saw heart! I’m super proud of it.

Overall, I left the class feeling super empowered to be able to take on some (small, for now) wood working endeavours. I’m itching to return to Hands-On soon to take advantage of their community times.  Plus, you know how I feel about community building.

On a feminist note, power tools and workshops are not traditionally associated with women but Hands-On does a great job of creating a space where all participants feel welcome, regardless of gender. So, be brave, gals! There’s space for you in the world of power tools!

Krista

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