Feature Story: Woodworking for Women Inspires Growth, an Interview with Yarrow Rotskoff

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Our Woodworking program is incredibly popular, largely due to our partnership with Seattle Central's Wood Technology Center.

Continuing Education students can learn how to use professional-grade tools and equipment, receive guidance on selecting the right type of wood for the job, and have the opportunity to create a class project that they can take home with them.

We offer Woodworking I, II and III, as well as Woodworking for Women, which offers the same curriculum and experience as Woodworking I in a more supportive and low-pressure atmosphere. And, once you get the basics, you can easily create fun projects like these.

Woodworking Instructor Yarrow Rotskoff has been teaching Woodworking for Women most recently, so we asked her to share more about her insights into what makes this class so successful.

What inspired you to teach this class?

I really enjoy woodworking and look for ways to be more involved in it.

I am still learning and teaching an introductory class seemed like a wonderful way to share what I've learned and practice the trade.

Teaching Continuing Education Students was a great opportunity as this group of students is generally enthusiastic about learning, making the whole experience rich for both learning and teaching.

What do you enjoy most about teaching this class?

The students are so excited to learn how to use tools and how wood behaves (or doesn't).

Each person learns differently and it has been both fascinating and challenging to identify new ways to explain the same thing. You can see students' mental gears turning with each demo, lecture and training session.

Woodworking is a combination of physical and mental exercises, with each task challenging both. Students leave class smiling and excited with a feeling of accomplishment.

Who would benefit the most from taking this class?

This class is great for people who want to either want to try out woodworking just to expand their experiences generally or to learn enough about tools, safety, and processes to jump into additional classes.

There is a strong emphasis on safety to create a solid foundation for current and additional classes. Because each class builds on the last, attendance is very important.

Key Takeaways

  1. Students learn how to use equipment in this class that is the same equipment used in professional shops, which is rare for an intro class of this size, frequency, and price-point.
  2. Students can successfully operate professional-grade table saws, jointers, and planers as well as more common equipment for basic tasks. Students have been individually trained how to SAFELY use each piece of equipment.
  3. Students leave with a general understanding of how characteristics of wood affect woodworking projects, what to look out for, account for and how to buy/select lumber.