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Men make space in Vernon wood shop for She Shed

‘When we went to school we had to take dressmaking and cooking, we were never allowed in the wood shop’

It’s a welcome change for many of the women trying their hand at woodworking in the Men’s Shed.

That’s because woodworking hasn’t traditionally been offered to the ladies.

“We’re all in our later years, so when we went to school we had to take dressmaking and cooking, we were never allowed in the wood shop,” said Donna Harms, president of the newly established Vernon She Shed Society.

Most of the She Shed members to date are in their 40s, 50s and 60s.

Harms said she thinks the ladies get even more enjoyment learning to woodwork than the boys at Men’s Shed, because “it’s never been offered to us.”

And now the ladies have made their presence official, being certified as a registered society.

That means the group of female woodworkers that’s been around for just over a year can now access funding opportunities and is in a better position to expand and get to work on more community projects.

“More than anything we wanted to move forward with that because we can get funding to help pay for our rent, to help pay for our insurance and for wood products that we can use to build things to give back to the community,” said Harms on the group’s successful effort to become a registered society.

The She Shed is proof that it isn’t just men who are interested in working with their hands, and in Vernon, the men and women are working together. The She Shed has rented a space from Men’s Shed Vernon, and they’re currently using it to build 40 birdhouses for the Vernon Girl Guides to paint and decorate.

“Fortunately the Men’s Shed have been most generous with us and given us some cedar that we can use however we want,” Harms said.

She added the wood has been donated and the birdhouses the women will create out of it will be given to the Guides free of charge.

Harms says it’s been heartwarming to watch the She Shed grow over the past year.

“It has been so exciting because there’s so many ladies who really would like to do woodwork – and who’d have thought?”

Harms highlighted some of the “amazing” projects the gals have worked on, including coat racks, planter boxes, benches and mantles. The She Shed has about 40 women who have expressed interest in joining the club, but as Harms said, “We need more girls to help us out.”

For those who would like to join the She Shed, an information session will be held Jan. 9, from 6-9 p.m., at the Men’s Shed, 7158 Meadowlark Rd.

She Shed membership is $25 a year and members are offered 10 training sessions of three hours each for a total of $150.

“We’ll show them how to use the saws and how to put together one project, and then they can come with their own project and as long as they supply their own wood, then we’re good,” Harms said.

Rent and insurance are adding up for the club and donations to help cover their costs are welcome.

The ladies are also always looking for community projects to undertake. To get in touch email

READ MORE: Now in a bigger space, Men’s Shed Vernon opens door to women

READ MORE: Retired Vernon man getting on wife’s nerves keeps busy at Men’s Shed

Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started at the Morning Star as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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