Open 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.

We offer two opportunities to work on your own in the school shop:

Option 1: Open shop during regular Principles of Woodworking class time. This option is available to any Folk School member enrolled in Principles of Woodworking and it provides an opportunity to work independently on projects or skill building at half the regular class cost. Students receiving instruction will have priority for space and equipment so open shop folks will have to be flexible. To arrange Open Shop use during Principles of Woodworking class time, please speak to the Principles of Woodworking instructor.

Option 2: Open shop during hours when the shop is not in use for regular Folk School activities. This option is made available to Folk School members who have:

  • completed at least one 5-session unit of Principles of Woodworking or equivalent,
  • undergone a complete operation and safety check for all equipment, and,
  • have the approval of the instructor.

*This option 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.

The rate for this privilege is $12 per hour and an 8 hour punch card for $96 must be purchased ahead of time. (Click on the “Registration” tab above.) Option 2 is currently unavailable. We are preparing the new workshop for this option.

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, abrasives, bone, antler, bark, leather, wire, cord and thread that can be purchased.  

We have developed Guidelines for use of the Shop during Open Shop time that must be agreed to and followed by all participants. Click on the next tab to view the guidelines.



Open Shop Guidelines


Hours available for Open Shop: Seven days per week from 8 AM to 9 PM when the shop is not otherwise scheduled.
Check the Folk School calendar before you plan to use the shop.


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, and fasteners when you feel you have impacted the inventory.

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.  Take your project with you when you leave. 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. Power tools should be rolled back out of the way. Do not leave a full shaving/sawdust container. Leave the shop better than you found it.

12.  When you leave, turn the heat down to 55, turn all lights off, lock up and replace the key.


Open Shop Registration

If you have approval from a shop instructor to utilize the shop when it is not being used for regular Folk School activities, you may then use the registration process below:

To Register: After planning Open Shop time with your instructor, please click on the REGISTER button below to purchase 8 hours of Open Shop time. 

Registration for Open Shop will be available soon. We are preparing the new workshop for this option.