These organizations are all about girl power! Sign up for a carpentry 101 class or send your daughter to a girls-only woodworking summer camp.

By Emily VanSchmus
July 11, 2019

We love a good DIY project, and we’re all about encouraging women to break out the power tools and create something they love. After all, carpentry and woodworking are skills anyone can master, even if the field is historically male-dominated. According to a study published by the Boston Globe, there are approximately 359,000 working carpenters in America⁠—and only two percent are female. 

Organizations across the country are offering female-only classes to teach ladies the basics of woodworking. By learning how to use a saw, handle power tools safely, and operate a drill, women are becoming more confident in their abilities to make something from scratch and can even use these skills to support themselves and their families. 

These organizations are all about empowering women, and we are, too! Sign up for a class near you and then take on one of our beginner projects like this farmhouse coffee table or a DIY toy box. These summer classes, camps, and workshops are a great place to start if you're interested in learning more about the trade.

Image courtesy of Girls at Work, Inc.

Girls at Work Inc. 

Girls At Work is a New Hampshire-based non-profit that’s focused on empowering young girls to learn how to use power tools safely. The organization offers classes, workshops, and summer camps where girls can learn to make tables, bookcases, birdhouses, and more. They provide scholarships for at-risk girls and partner with youth organizations to make sure girls are exposed to the job opportunities woodworking skills could provide. They have a full schedule of camps and events this summer, but they’ll also work with you to build a custom workshop as long as you have a minimum of 10 ladies—and all proceeds go toward getting more inner-city girls involved in programming. 

What to sign up for: Girls at Work’s Build Me Up Girls Summer Camp is a four-day program for school-age girls in Manchester, New Hampshire. While each session is different, girls may spend days building picnic tables for non-profits, building garden trellises for the camp garden, and designing Adirondack chairs to bring home. The upcoming session is Aug. 5-9 and is $225.

Women’s Woodshop 

The Women’s Woodshop in Minneapolis, Minnesota is all about empowering ladies to tap into their strength and creativity through woodworking. They have a variety of classes that allow women and non-binary individuals to learn specific skills—like making dovetail or butterfly joints—as well as courses like cabinet making and spoon carving. They also have a shop where members can sell their products and earn equal wages. 

What to sign up for: Take the Build a Medicine Cabinet course for the opportunity to build with a variety of tools and materials. Use a table saw, miter saw, drills and hand tools to craft a gorgeous medicine cabinet you can take home. The first day of the $210 course is on August 7, followed by a second session on August 14.

Image courtesy of The Carpenter's Boatshop.

The Carpenter’s Boatshop 

This organization in Bristol, Maine sits on 25 acres of land and is a gorgeous setting to learn the fundamentals of carpentry. The Carpenter’s Boatshop focuses on teaching and helping individuals in transitional stages of life, and offers female-only courses with a focus on sustainable practices and personal faith. 

What to sign up for: The Women’s Wood Working class is a five-day course taught by Gillian Davis, a female carpenter with more than 15 years of experience. During the course, women will receive an introduction to woodworking techniques, like handling hand and power tools, as well as creating at least one project to take home. The next session runs from July 29 through August 2, and costs $550.

A Workshop of Our Own 

This Baltimore-based non-profit organization strives to create a professional woodworking environment that helps women and gender non-conforming individuals make a career out of carpentry. A Workshop of Our Own offers workshops, apprenticeship opportunities, and regularly hold free woodshop safety classes for all members. 

What to sign up for: The Spoon Carving class teaches basic carving techniques to help you design and create a wooden utensil for your home. The course is open to all skill levels. The next course is July 17, and costs $75 for non-members. 

Image courtesy of Hammerstone School.

Hammerstone School 

The Hammerstone School in Trumansburg, New York focuses on empowering women and girls to strengthen their physical bodies as well as their creative skills through woodworking and carpentry. Their goal is to increase the number of females working in the trade by offering specific courses, group classes, and even a bachelorette party event where the party works together to cut and build a picnic table the bride can take home. 

What to sign up for: The Basic Carpentry Skills 101 class is open to all skill levels and teaches students basic carpentry skills. Members will build a pair of sawhorses to take home for future use and can use this course as a foundation for higher-level courses later on. The next session is offered August 9 and 10, and starts at $340.

Wild Abundance 

With the ease and accessibility of smartphones and tablets, a large part of society has become out of touch with nature. Wild Abundance, an organization based in Asheville, North Carolina, is focused on natural building, organic gardening, and more. They offer classes and workshops at their 7-acre eco-homestead, where students can learn the basics of carpentry with a focus on sustainable building techniques. They offer a variety of female-focused carpentry classes, permaculture design, and even a tiny house-building session. 

What to sign up for: The Women’s Basic Carpentry course is a female-only class that will teach you how to safely master tools and build small projects. This four-day class all the carpentry skills you’ll need for further building-related sessions. The latest summer session is August 8-11 and classes are priced on a sliding scale, based on what participants can afford.

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