Imagine a 400 square foot room containing a monstrous 102-year old radiator, 4-foot tall fan, broken windows, and ugly green paint. You might think: nightmare. But for a small group of woodworking enthusiasts, they thought: community woodshop!
It all started with the vision of two neighborhood friends (their kids played on the same soccer team) who wanted to create a community woodshop that would provide a place for all to create. “I had been looking for a community and space to support my love for building things and a place that is accessible for people like me and my family,” says Emily Li, one of the founding members of the Community Wood Shop.
That vision is coming to fruition through a pilot program* at the PNA with help of volunteers like Mark Schiller, founding Community Wood Shop member, longtime PNA member, and past board member who says “The PNA is a very unique organization that builds community relationships of all kinds in a grassroots manner and is largely self-funded/sustained.”
Renovation of the 400-square foot space affectionately called the “Clubhouse” (north end of the PNA brick building) began in May 2019 with the removal of the radiator, fan, old ducting, and broken windows.
With the help of a committed and talented team of volunteers, the space is now uncluttered, freshly painted, and filled with lots of natural light from the restored windows.
Although the shop is not ready to open its doors to the public, it already feels warm, welcoming, and inspiring. Our next steps involve acquiring necessary shop tools and equipment, recruiting volunteers to become Shop Stewards, and sourcing community members to teach classes.
There is a place for everyone at the Community Woodshop, from experts to people who have no experience. It is our intent to create a space that builds and supports a broad community of fabrication and woodworking members who are enthusiastic about learning, teaching, sharing, and inspiring one another with creativity, skill, and community service.
How it will work
All first-time users must attend a shop orientation and safety training regardless of prior woodworking experience. Shop Orientation & Safety Training classes will be offered once a month.
To work independently in the shop, users must meet the following criteria:
- Attend Shop Orientation & Safety Training
- Successfully complete and pass a competency test
- Sign waiver agreement
- Sign code of conduct agreement
For users with little to no woodworking experience (welcome!), we will offer basic woodworking classes throughout the year as well as project-based classes.
To facilitate a safe and collaborative environment, the shop will always be staffed with a volunteer Shop Steward.
What’s happening now
We are in the process of recruiting and training volunteers to help us safely train folks who have little to no woodworking skills. If you have solid experience with woodworking tools, enjoy getting to know new people and want to help us create a welcoming space for all, we need you! Please contact Krissie Dillin at [email protected] to learn more about the shop and our open volunteer positions. When we have enough volunteers to staff the shop on a regular basis, we will be able to open our doors to the public.
- Shop Steward: Supervise shop users during open hours with a focus on safety and correct use of equipment and tools
- Shop Renovator: Short-term shop projects such as building workbenches, painting walls, repairing tools
- Class Instructor: Share your knowledge and creativity with shop users
To sign up to volunteer or get more information, contact Krissie Dillin, Program Director at [email protected] or 206.784.2244
Our dedicated Community Woodshop Planning Committee members
Emily Li, Frank Martin, Mark Schiller, Kevin Kane, Bill Fenimore, Eric Jusino, Krissie Dillin