Women, Power Tools, and Axes

My Dad taught me how to use power tools—chain saw, sander, drill, table saw, etc. He taught me how to handle a hammer so that the nails go in straight and how to swing an axe to chop wood. He taught me how to cut down trees. I have fond memories of my Dad explaining the proper placement of cuts to fell a tree and yelling “TIMBER” from behind him.

Once upon a time, a school curriculum included home economics and industrial arts courses to teach students how to sew, prepare simple meals, cut metal and wood, and assemble simple wood and metal projects. I liked both classes. I was hell bent on taking industrial arts exactly because the girls were not taking the class and were not actively encouraged to take the class.

Women can and should know how to use power tools

I was stoked to make a candleholder out of punched metal. Who knows what happened to that candleholder but I learned how to bend metal and solder. I was equally stoked to make a tote bag. I think that regardless of gender that we all could use some of these skills in real life! I sew now because of that home economics class, I can make clothing, repair and alter clothes, and fix things. I am not afraid of power tools and putting them to work because of the industrial arts classes and my Dad. I am not the most skilled with a drill, but I will get the job done.

This year we, including my 23-year-old daughter, carved our pumpkins with power tools. She can use the drill, isn’t afraid of it, and puts it to work. Albeit drilling holes in a pumpkin isn’t exactly construction work but one never knows when a skill will need to be brought to bear.

Last weekend Dale and I rented a chainsaw and cut down two trees.  It was a good weekend of work and it was much easier with both of us able to use the chainsaw!


  • Ask a friend or neighbor to teach you how to use a power tool