Dado blades

Why Can’t I Just Drop In?

We’ve been getting this question a lot lately: Can I just drop in to use the workshop from time to time?

Unfortunately, a community workshop can’t operate that way. And here’s why you don’t want it to.

  1. Safety
  2. Also safety
  3. And finally, safety

Allow us to elaborate.

Project AssemblyWe sure do like to tell everyone how much fun woodworking is. But the fact is, a fully outfitted wood shop like Dovetail is an industrial workshop — not a craft room. It’s got heavy machinery, loud noise, dust in the air, and other people to watch out for. So it’s critical that we have checked out everyone who sets foot in the shop to make sure they understand basic safety practices and our own house rules.

That’s why we use a membership model and punch cards. It allows us to train everyone consistently and accountably. (Membership is not required for stand-alone classes; safety training is incorporated into class curriculum.)

The required Shop Orientation course has been designed by an experienced trainer. Here’s a preview of what’s covered:

  • Students will be given a task or object to complete that will require them to use several basic pieces of equipment. They will be evaluated on the safe and correct completion of the task, which will also require dust collection, correct disposal of scrap wood, work flow practice (such as waiting for a piece of equipment to become available), and correct use of provided safety gear.
  • Students will learn to identify different pieces of equipment and locate on / off switches, safety features, and building exits. They will also learn fire and first aid procedures.
  • Students will be observed in practice using safety gear; starting, stopping and operating tools; and assisting others.

In about two hours, you’ll come to understand how important all of these factors are, especially in a shop you’re sharing with other users. When safety practices are followed correctly, it’s a very safe place to be.

If you’ve already got woodshop experience, that’s great! We’re developing an express orientation for the more advanced user, to get you in the door quickly. But we will still be checking that you know what you say you know.

With all that said, we’ll be happy to give you a tour if you visit during shop hours (beginning mid-February). We’re excited to see what you can do. Please join us soon!

Erin O’Donnell, Founder
Dovetail Community Workshop LLC
hello@dovetailworkshop.com