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Monday, July 4, 2016

Hands-On Halifax is building on a dream

Halifax's community woodworking workshop makes room for hobbyist carpenters of all kinds

Posted By on Mon, Jul 4, 2016 at 12:36 PM

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Halifax’s first community woodworking workshop has found itself a home. Hands-On Halifax, a proposed place for at-home carpenters of all levels to work on their craft, will be moving into 6070 Almon Street (across from the behemoth Rona) in mid-July, doing some work, and opening to the public and its members a few weeks later.

Hands-On is the brainchild of Russell Zwicker, a newbie carpenter who after searching for classes and courses to help improve upon his own skills, decided to build exactly what he was looking for.

“I bought an old house a few years ago and really wanted to learn how to fix it myself. For the last four-ish years was looking for a way to get into that as a hobbyist and there just wasn’t anything available. There were no options for a drop-in or short class,” says Zwicker. “In the fall I ended up going to NSCC for their carpentry program, and I really enjoyed it, and wanted there to be a space that did something similar but was a lot less commitment.”

He reached out to the Halifax Makerspace, Halifax Tool Library and Bike Again, community workshops with similar goals, to talk about why such a place didn’t exist, or whether he just hadn’t found it. And everyone seemed to echo his sentiment—Halifax would be all the better for having a welcoming, accessible place to build. The soon-to-be Hands-On will offer its members a workshop space for people who don’t have the room at home to hammer away, tools you may not have access too (or have room to own (like saws, sanders, power tools and more basic hand tools), and will also offer classes of all kinds. And its in a spot ripe for collaboration— both the Tool Library and Bike Again have spaces in the Almon Street location, as well.

“It can just be a fun amusement for yourself. I have lots of friends that take like a pottery class, for six weeks or whatever, it can be the same sort of thing for woodworking,” says Zwicker. “My hope is to keep it very accessible for newbies. I know what I would have wanted years ago when i had no skills, and i know what i want now with some basic skills but a lot to learn.

If you're interested in teaching a workshop, or want more information on what’s to come, check out

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