Traditionally, home woodwork has been man’s province. Today, using modern materials and tools, this need no longer be so. Some of the very best fitted furniture has been made entirely by women.
The most important difficulty that seems to face a woman who is tempted to tackle the job appears to be a lack of confidence. Perhaps this is the legacy of centuries of men declaiming about the hardness of their lot and the skill they have to display at these practical crafts! In fact, there is nothing at all mysterious about running up a cupboard or two. Women are equally capable of handwork skill and can turn out furniture that any man would be proud to own.
At first, due to lack of practice in handling woodworking tools, these may feel cumbersome and difficult to control. A few hours gives confidence, though, and the amount of strength needed is not great. You could almost say that if great strength is called for, then the tool or job is being handled wrongly.
Above: Woodworking For Women Author Pat Gregory
It is of first importance that the tools be of good quality and really sharp. Blunt tools are heavy to use and many common home tools have been lying about in cupboards, virtually neglected, for years so if you start working with these you may be disappointed. Buy new, if you can, and at the very least get your old tools sharpened professionally, a job that costs only pence. Then keep them sharp by putting them away clean, and lightly greased, after use.
The heaviest work you are likely to face includes hammer-drilling or twist drilling into stone or brick walls. Certainly you will find a small, lightweight power drill a great help here. But percussion drilling is only a matter of patience, slow, steady tapping, and twist drilling means steady turning. Great heavy blows or heavy pressures are not needed.
Sawing is one job where arm aches may become prominent, at least on the first few jobs. Fortunately there are, in our projects, few places where long spells of sawing are called for. In any case, you should always find it possible to spread the work over a period. And if you read and act on our advice on sawing technique, you will find the job not so hard as you thought.
In all our work we have borne in mind the possibility of women doing the jobs, and we say in all honesty that any one of our fitments could be made unaided, by a woman. But of course, it may help to have a tame man about the house to help with the more boring jobs… .