Knowledge is power in HRRC's Home How-To classes

Marian Guinta assembles a wooden tool box as part of HRRC’s Home How-To program.

It was messy, sawdust everywhere. It was noisy, with saws, drills, and routers all running at the same time. It was exciting, with eyes sparkling behind safety glasses. On June 5, at Home Repair Resource Center’s (HRRC) Teaching Center, 13 women met to make basic tool boxes during the first carpentry class in HRRC’s women’s repair course.

The class was taught by volunteer instructor John Turner, assisted by his wife Sarah Spengler. From his years of experience, Turner imparted practical tips on working with wood and using hand and power tools. Although many of the women had never before used these tools and techniques, they quickly became comfortable with where to stand, how to hold the tool, where to look to control the cut, and how to make sure the screw goes in straight.

As the tool boxes took shape, the women continued to help each other, and shared what they were learning about measuring, cutting and connecting the pieces. They talked about how they would show off their finished box to families, friends and co-workers. They anticipated upcoming sessions on plaster and drywall repair, ceramic tile and window repair. They talked about how much more comfortable they felt using power tools. “Working with the tools was great, “said one program participant. “I know what all the power tools are from watching others use them, but never had an opportunity to use them myself. Now, I feel confident that I can do the job.”

HRRC’s “Home How-To for Women” series consists of four modules, with eight classes in each. The course is designed to make women feel more comfortable with tools and repair techniques, and empower them to handle their home maintenance needs. The carpentry module will be followed by modules on electrical repairs, plumbing repairs and home maintenance. Women can take the modules in sequence or individually. For more information, visit or call Becky Stager at 216-381-6100, ext. 16.

Rebecca Stager

Becky Stager has been HRRC's education coordinator since 1989. Visit or call 216-381-6100 for more information on programs and services.

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Volume 6, Issue 8, Posted 11:34 AM, 07.21.2013