No space? No tools? No problem!

I love looking at sites like Pinterest and the YouTube channels spearheading the “makers revolution”: seeing the incredible creativity of some humans – especially when they are transforming things that might otherwise be destined for landfill. But I hate feeling like a bystander, having neither the space or the tools, and possibly lacking the confidence to become a maker myself.

Looking around one of our workshops on any given day is a bit like checking out a maker’s social media feed too. There’s so much skill and imagination going into the projects our trainees are working on. Recently a trainee who was looking forward to moving into one of our properties after months of sofa surfing decided they wanted to make a coffee table for their new home. They took inspiration from a design they’d spotted online for a cassette-shaped table. Using a pallet and some plywood that we’d reclaimed from a packing case, and with some help from our team, she reclaimed this material into a quirky, bespoke piece of furniture in in just a week.

Kirsty isn’t old enough to have the fond memories of mix tapes that I have, so I asked her why she picked it as a project. ‘I just liked it,’ she said.

I got a bad case of ‘maker’s envy’. I started wondering what I could have a go at making … I mean all the space and tools I’d need were right there. I wanted something I would use, something which I could make out of discarded materials – and so, after the best part of 30 years making a nuisance of myself on stage trying to play bass, the ‘reclaimed wood bass guitar’ idea was born.

The body was fashioned entirely from wood salvaged from abandoned pallets. Once the planks had been crow-barred off and the nails removed, they were ripped to approximate thickness using Handcrafted’s industrial table saw. These were then glued and clamped into a block which was big enough to get more than one body cut from. At this stage I nearly abandoned the bass idea and used the block as a coffee table top.

Nevertheless, using my favourite labour-saving tool in the workshop, ‘the thicknesser’, the block was dressed to a smooth finish. It was then ready for sanding, routing and then assembly. I saved myself some trouble by using a neck from a cheap bass that had been lying round unplayed in a teenagers bedroom for years. Other parts from this ‘donor bass’ halved the cost of the parts I needed to buy new.

A couple of times during the ‘make’, I felt I’d bitten off more than I could chew, but having other folks around in the workshop – who weren’t shy in offering help and advice – meant that I got there in the end.

It was an unbeatable thrill to plug that bass in and feel the rumble!

So here’s where I’m going with this: There must be others, just like me, who would love to have a go at making something unique but who don’t have the space, tools or, perhaps, confidence to make the dream happen. I was blessed to have access to the handcrafted workshop. I wondered if we could find a way to give others that opportunity.

So, starting on the 10th of March, we’ll be opening the workshop up on Tuesday evenings for our ‘Makers Nights’. You can sign up for a spot on one of our taster evenings in March – there’s a small charge to cover wood and materials – but there’ll also be tea coffee and freshly baked treats from our kitchen project!

Take a big step towards your maker’s dream by reserving your place on our first ‘Handcrafted Makers Evening“.

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