Two women sharpen their skills in EWC woodworking class

Katie Schardt clamps together two goat-shaped pieces of wood during the Eastern Wyoming College Women's Woodworking class on Tuesday in the Torrington High School wood shop. She planned on cutting out the center of the goat and replacing it with a mirror.

Brenda Lindquist squinted at the hole she’d just drilled, looking a little frustrated.

“It takes a lot of patience,” Cindy Wright, who was standing next to a sander several feet away, told her. Her next sentence was lost in the sound of a saw whirring across the shop.

Both women were in the midst of projects for their beginning woodworking class, offered through Eastern Wyoming Community College. Although there have been similar classes in the past, this one is a little different.

“This is the first class we’ve had that is women only,” instructor Charles Richter said.

For several weeks, the women have been spending their Tuesday evenings at the Torrington High School wood shop. The final class will be Tuesday.

Lindquist was working on a tea box made of weathered cedar.

“I came to class because I wanted to learn to do finger joints,” said Lindquist as she pointed out the joints she had successfully cut into her box.

Lindquist had some woodworking experience prior to the class, but it was limited.

“I had goofed around a little,” she said. “A friend and I made some coffee tables out of old barn wood.”

Lindquist wanted to get more in-depth with the designs of her projects and expand her skill set to use more tools.

She held up the lid to her box. There was a floral design etched around the edges.

“We used the laser printer to do the design on the lid,” Lindquist said. “I want one of those things so bad.”

For Wright, the class was an opportunity to continue a long-standing family tradition.

“My father-in-law used to make ornaments for everybody in the family,” she saidt, as she carefully sanded the edge of a small wooden ice skate. “When he died, my husband started making them. He’s passed away and I wanted to continue the tradition.”

Jan Voltmer took the class because she wanted to make some Christmas gifts. One project was a monogrammed cutting board for her son that Voltmer had created by gluing together various strips of wood.

The other was a board game board.

“It’s called Crokinole,” said Voltmer. “It’s a Canadian board came.”

The boards can be tough to find, and when you do, they’re hundreds of dollars. The game would be a Christmas gift for her daughter.

“My dad did a lot of woodworking, but I never really had,” she said. “It’s fun.”

She was joined by Katie Schardt, a full time student at EWC who was no stranger to woodworking.

“Jan wanted to come,” said Schardt, who was clamping together two pieces of wood shaped like a goat. She would be cutting out the center and turning it in to a mirror.

“Oh, Katie got excited about it too,” Voltmer said, laughing.

Although the skill wasn’t a new one for Schardt, she said Richter had taught her a few different ways to do things.

Despite the class being women only, there was a young man in attendance.

“This was supposed to be ladies only,”  Sandy Stephenson, who was at the class with her grandson Devon Bauman, said. “I called to see if I could bring him. It’s something we can do together — it’s a chance to learn and for him to see tools we don’t have at home.”

The pair were working on painting pieces of wood that would eventually become a hatchery.

“He has chickens,” said Stephenson.

“I need somewhere to put them,” said Bauman.

He’s done woodworking in 4H but was still excited about the class.

“The other night on the way home he was chattering all about what he wanted to be when he grew up,” said Stephenson. “He said he’s going to be a woodworker.”

It’s going to be a bit before he’s old enough to make a career out of the craft, though.

“I’m turning 12 in a little bit,” said Bauman, looking up from his project. “I’m sick of being 11. I’ve been 11 for a whole year.”

As the class comes to a close, Richter hopes that the women who attended (and Bauman) will have left with a new hobby — or at the very list, a useful new skill set.

The women have also taught Richter a thing or two.

“They bring in different ideas and they challenge me — I’d never even heard of that Crokinole thing,” said Richter.

Every woman in attendance said they were enjoying the class, with several adding that as soon as Richter announces another one, they’ll be signing up.

“Oh, I can’t wait to do it again,” Voltmer said. “I’ve got so many cool things I want to make.”

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Kamie Stephen is a reporter with the Star-Herald. She can be reached at 308-632-9041 or via email at kamie.stephen@starherald.com.

Kamie Stephen is a reporter with the Star-Herald. She can be reached at 308-632-9041 or via email at kamie.stephen@starherald.com.

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