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!


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.


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.


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.


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!)


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.


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.


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!