In a room full of power tools, table saws, and drill presses, you don't expect to find a Girl Scout troop making birdhouses, a group of girlfriends creating decorative mosaics, or a grandmother gluing wooden toys.
But that's a typical scene at Beth's D.I.Y. Workshop in Lauraville, which owner Beth Dellow started so there could be an all-inclusive space for woodworking.
"I wanted to open this place so that everyone can learn to work with their hands," she says. "This is a non-intimidating space where people can learn all new skill sets."
Dellow, who has 35 years of construction experience, first opened the shop in the basement of a rowhome in 2008. But, last December, she relocated to a much larger space on Harford Road.
The first floor of the shop is a hardware store featuring tools that Dellow, 58, has collected throughout her contracting and rehabbing career. The basement is a full-fledged woodshop where, for an hourly fee, people can come work on projects.
"In a city where people don't have the space for all this stuff," she says, "you can come here where the tools already are, make a mess, and not worry about cleaning it up."
In addition to working on projects, Dellow offers several classes, including basic plumbing, electrical, window repair, anatomy of walls, and power tools for women. Dellow says that her shop definitely sees more women than men.
"Because I'm a woman, I create an atmosphere for other women to be empowered to learn new skills," she says. "This is definitely a softer space than other shops."
But, she points out, the workshop is not exclusive. She says she's found that a lot of men today don't have the same DIY mentality that she grew up with.
"I find that many men didn't get a chance to work with their dads in the garage. They were more into video games," she says. "But they can come here and learn."
Dellow says that, eventually, she'd like the space to also include community gatherings, electronic repairs, and a lending tool bank for people in the area, because, she says, "Why should everyone have to own a lawnmower?"
But her ultimate goal is to make people put value back in blue-collar work, something that she feels has gotten lost over the years.
"It's like teaching kids that food grows out of the ground," she says. "I want people to realize that hands built the houses we live in."