Aug 22, 2022 - Business

Dykes with Drills can teach you how to build a tiny home

A person on a ladder works on a tiny house painted grey.
Dykes with Drills participants build a tiny house. Photo courtesy of Dykes with Drills

Dykes with Drills, a woodworking nonprofit, wants to empower people with the tools to build anything from serving trays to tiny homes, its founder Julie Peri tells Axios.

Why it matters: Do-it-yourself projects are an attractive option for homeowners in San Francisco, where a perfect storm of inflation, labor shortages and supply chain issues has helped make it the most expensive city in the world for construction.

  • Women are also underrepresented in the construction industry, with those over 16 years or older accounting for just 3.9% of construction workers in the U.S.

Details: Dykes with Drills hosts workshops that teach participants how to build a variety of objects. The organization also hosts retreats and happy hours.

  • Dykes with Drills' first project was a skate ramp for a community park in San Francisco in 2018.
  • The organization has since expanded to other cities, hosting workshops in Oakland, Chicago, New Orleans and New York.
  • Despite the name, you don't have to identify as a lesbian or a woman to participate in Dykes with Drills' workshops or tiny house builds. The retreats, however, are not open to cisgender men.
  • Since launching, about 3,500 people have participated in Dykes with Drills, Peri says.

What she's saying: "Having a space that is queer-focused, queer-centered and giving people that opportunity to make new friendships is really important and really needed," Peri says.

My thought bubble: I've never considered myself to be a handy person, but becoming a homeowner inspired me to try to learn literally anything about building.

  • In May, I went to Dykes with Drills' intro to woodworking workshop in the inner Richmond, where I learned how to use a drill, chop saw and jigsaw. I left feeling like I could take on some small carpentry projects at home.
  • Check out this sweet bench I helped build: We used the chop saw to cut the wood and the jigsaw to make the heart.
A bench with a heart attached the seat.
Photo credit: Megan Rose Dickey/Axios

What's next: Dykes with Drills is unsure whether it will continue hosting workshops in SF because its current space, the Tinkering School, requires Peri to teach every workshop, rather than allowing other instructors to lead them. And beyond the Tinkering School, "there's really no affordable place to host a workshop" in the city, Peri says.

  • Regardless of what happens in SF, Dykes with Drills will continue to host workshops in the Bay Area.
  • The next is Sept. 10 at the Ace Makerspace in Oakland.
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