Community Workshop

Woodworking shop

Have you ever dreamed of having a community shop full of hand and power tools where you can pursue your own project? The Folk School shares this dream and invites you to become a member of our community.

Community Workshop gives you the opportunity to work on your own in the school shop, during hours when the shop is not in use for regular Folk School activities. This option is made available to students (18 and older) who have:

  • completed the 7 session “Beginning Woodworking” program,
  • completed at least two Special Topics in Woodworking courses,
  • undergone a complete operation and safety check for all equipment, and,
  • have the approval of either John Manthei or Scott Holladay.

For students who have been past “Open Shop” users, you will need to take the 3 hour “Open Shop Refresher” class and be signed off by Scott Holladay or John Manthei.

Community Workshop is a monthly membership opportunity. (Membership goes from the first to the last of each month.)

On the first of each month people who are eligible for Community Workshop will get a text and/or email listing times when the workshop will be otherwise in use.

On days when the shop is available, the Community Workshop hours will be 8:00 am to 9:00 pm. (No work can happen in the shop outside of these hours.)

Saturdays and Sundays and from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm and Monday and Wednesday from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm will be set aside specifically for Community Workshop use.

There are two membership opportunities:

  1. Unplugged”: $40 / month
    This option allows the use of the space and all non-motorized tools and equipment. The shop vac can of course be used.
  2. Plugged In”: $75 / month.
    This option allows the use of everything in the shop, both hand and power tools.
    Note: We will require the presence of another responsible person when using the table saw, jointer, and planer.

Open Shop carries a heavier burden of responsibility for the facility and the privilege can be revoked by The Folk School at any time, for any reason.

Our shop provides a safe environment with benches, hand tools, and power tools in a number of configurations. We have vises, shaving horses, chopping blocks, work tables, and an ever-growing selection of hand tools. We also have specialized tools for working bark and leather, as well as other cool treasures you can rummage around for. Although it is usually best to bring in your own materials, we do have a selection of supplies such as fasteners, adhesives, and abrasives that can be purchased.  

We have developed Guidelines for use of the Shop during Community Workshop time that must be agreed to and followed by all participants. Click on that tab on this page to view the guidelines. When you have qualified for the program and are ready to proceed, see the four-step process described on the Registration tab on this page.





Community Workshop Guidelines


1.  Be safe: Pay attention, stay alert, do not become distracted (take out your ear buds and ignore your cell phone). If you feel uncomfortable in a situation then you shouldn’t be doing it. Wear eye and ear protection. If you’re tired, quit for the day.

2.  Take responsibility: Our shop and everything in it are wonderful and valuable assets for all of us. To have use of these assets is a privilege. When working in the shop alone you are responsible for all of it. If you notice something amiss – trouble shoot, fix it if you feel qualified, and notify the school.

3.  Treat tools with the utmost care. If you dull or ding a cutting edge and feel qualified, then sharpen it. If not, put a dollar in the ding can.

4.  Fix or replace what you break.

5. Replace supplies you have used such as glue, sand paper, biscuits, dowels, and fasteners when you feel you have impacted the inventory. If you see that supplies are running low, buy some more.

6.  Considerations for noise: Most power tools make a lot of noise and that noise impacts everyone. Be considerate of not only fellow shop users but even the neighbors. Stay aware of other Folk School activities nearby.

7.  Considerations for sanding: Hand sanding creates a fair amount of fine dust but little of it becomes airborne. Sanding with a power sander without a dust pickup produces a tremendous amount of fine airborne dust. This dust is not only harmful to breath but settles on everything and is later stirred up when retrieving a tool from a shelf or a board from a stack. This dust becomes everyone’s problem from then on. Efficient dust pick up sanders are fairly expensive and the school does not have one at this time. For now, sanding inside the shop should be minimized and subsequent cleaning should be maximized.

8.  Considerations for finishing (oiling or painting): Oil based products are generally toxic and leave a strong smell in the shop. Plan your finishing schedule so it will not impact others or better yet finish your project at home. Oily rags can spontaneously combust: know how to treat them, double check, and then check again. Plan ahead for the drying time so you can remove your project before the next scheduled shop activity and consider other “open shop” users.

9.  Keep your projects small enough that they will not be a burden to others. The Folk School has little room to store ongoing projects. If you have to leave something in clamps while glue is drying be sure to get back to unclamp before the next scheduled shop activity.

10.  Share the space with others – be considerate. Projects cannot be so large that they preclude others from using the space.

11.  Clean up thoroughly and put things away. Do not leave a full shaving/sawdust container. Leave the shop better than you found it.

There are two trash cans, two wood scrap cans, one shaving/sawdust can, and one paper recycling can.

    • Wood scraps are just that, solid wood and plywood. Maximum length: 16″.
    • Wood shavings and sawdust go in the big black trash bahs for re-use, not in trash.
    • Trash includes plywood and particle board. Make sure pieces are small enough that the bag can be tied shut.

12.  When you leave, turn heat down to 55, all lights off, lock up, and make sure that the back door and shed are locked.

13. Keep current. It takes practice and constant honing of skills to be an effective woodworker and to stay safe. So if you stop using the workshop for three months, before you can exercise Community Workshop privileges again you’ll need a workshop refresher. This may mean participation in another Beginning Woodworking session or other arrangements. Talk to one of the Community Workshop instructors to figure out how best to accomplish this.


open shop


Community Workshop Registration

Here is the process to gain the privilege of Community Workshop time:

  1. Gain the necessary skill and knowledge, to the satisfaction of our woodworking instructor. See the information under the Description tab. 
  2. The instructor will let the Operations Director know that you have qualified, and the O.D. will contact you to get the agreements signed. There are two agreements:
    • Community Workshop Liability Policy, where you agree to the assumption of risk of using The Folk School’s tools and equipment, and will use it responsibly.
    • Community Workshop Agreement, where you agree to follow The Folk School’s rules for use of the workshop. 
  3. Once you have signed the agreements, you will be sent a registration link where can purchase monthly memberships.
  4. The Operations Director will then get you set up for access.

The first step may take some time for you to take classes and meet the requirements. The remaining steps generally can happen within a day or two.


Woodworking shop