By: Amanda Garratt

Last week at Natural Building School we had a lesson on power tools, specifically the circular saw, table saw and electric drill. As Steveo was explaining how to use them, and all of the dangers attached to them, a feeling of dread began to well up inside of me. They looked intimidating, large and dangerous – and I didn’t feel the slightest need to learn how to use them. I kept thinking, this is “natural” building and these tools seem so “unnatural”.

First, I just observed. One thing that I couldn’t help but notice was the contrast between the male and female participants’ reactions to the tools. The men dove right in, seemingly fearless — all of them had used power tools several times in the past, and did not seem at all phased by the experience. Some of the women had used power tools before, but others of us (me included) had never felt that cold, pulsing metal between our hands.

Very soon, and without any planning, all of the women ended up together in a group. We passed the power drill to each other, giving each other turns using the tool. We learned how it felt in our hands, coached each other, gave each other tips, and cheered each other on. It was a very feminine way of dealing with a very “masculine” seeming device.

This way of learning felt very comfortable and natural to me, and my fear soon fell away as I explored the other tools with my female classmates. By the time I got to the circular saw, I felt like a pro.

We started joking that women with power tools are hot, and I must say, even in clothes resembling pajamas and highly unattractive eye wear, I did feel hot as I pushed that circular saw through that 2 x 4.

I went home that day feeling very good about myself.

Mud Love!

Kleiwerks International and Ashevillage Institute will be offering a 9-Day Natural Building Extravaganza this summer from August 9-18. There is still space available, so sign up today, and take advantage of the Early-Bird Special! 

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