Planter Box Workshop at ADX

Today I taught my second workshop at ADX, this time solo! The topic was designing and building planter boxes, a workshop I had put together as my AmeriCorps individual development project a few years ago. I thought it would be a great class to teach at ADX so I pitched the idea to them, they proposed the idea to their network and found interest. Shortly after listing the workshop on their event page, the 5 open spots filled up in what I am told was record time. People must be getting excited to start spring planting!

We began the morning with introductions, shop safety talk and then a discussion about wood and fastener selection and the pros and cons of different options. I also talked about the importance of distinguishing the difference between nominal and actual lumber dimensions when designing and purchasing wood. Then we moved into the shop and talked about the tools needed to build a planter box and I did a tool demo. 

ADX wanted to have this first planter box workshop taught as an assembly only class so they had working members pre-cut all of the wood to the dimensions of the cut list I provided. I had each pre-cut kit of materials separated out on shop table space so everyone could pick a spot and get to work. Soon the planter box walls and floors were taking shape and then it was time to connect everything with the corner pieces. This took a bit of teamwork and by the end of the class everyone had successfully built a sturdy box to take home!

Next time I will be teaching a longer class where participants will get to cut and rip wood to length and width and then assemble the pieces into a box. They will also be encouraged to bring some of their own tools to learn more about how to use them. The class will be held again at ADX on a Sunday in March so check in with their calendar to sign up when it gets posted because spaces may fill up quickly!


Tiny Chairs, Houses and a Mixer

Last Saturday I taught my first class at ADX! ADX is a space where designers and builders have access to wood and metal shops, design software programs and classes in related topics. Portland Alternative Dwellings (PAD) hosted a Tiny Chair Workshop co-led by Lina Menard and me. We discussed shop and tool safety, introduced tools and demonstrated how to use them, practiced measuring and cutting on scrap wood, and then dove into the chair. We had an already built chair as an example which was helpful for measurement references and for understanding how all of the pieces in the plans went together. Since we had a small class of four and two instructors, the instructor to student ratio was very low and we were readily able to answer questions. I enjoyed seeing everyone learning how to read plans and use new tools. We stopped for a lunch break and at the end of the day, everyone had successfully crafted a tiny chair! Everyone enjoyed the class and I will be solo teaching the next one on Sunday, February 9th. You can sign up here. I hope to see you!

On Sunday afternoon, Caravan Tiny House Hotel hosted an open house with hundreds of people in attendance. This was due in part to recent publicity and people interested in smaller, space efficient and affordable housing options. The sunny weather also helped draw a crowd. Luckily, I had a previous opportunity to explore three of the tiny houses with a friend in absence of a crowd. However, I had not seen the new Caboose so I joined the others in line eagerly awaiting entry. My favorite part was the loft which was very spacious and light-filled. I spent the remainder of the afternoon talking tiny houses with people and took a quick look around the other three houses as the last of the people trickled out.

This past Thursday, I attended another tiny house mixer at ADX where over 50 people attended and mingled. I gave a short shout out about myself and the next tiny chair workshop in addition to other updates from people in the tiny house world. I'm looking forward to the next one this month!