No Boys Allowed

Val demonstrating how to use a flat file: hold at a 45 and file in an upward motion.
Our tool kits and work instructions.

Monday was the first of two Women’s Intro to Building workshops that our contributing editor, Louise, helps put on. “This is a space for women who may not feel comfortable with men hovering over them,” she said, urging four or five men to leave the forum. Some were with their young daughters, an understandable encroachment. They were welcome to sit in the back, if needed. But of course, one single man made the inevitable, “You’re sexist!” joke—he found himself oh so amusing, chuckling on his way out. I’ll say what we were all thinking: Go work on new material, we’ve got rivets to set!

Val Westedt started the workshop with a slideshow presentation, covering all of the techniques and tools we’d be using to build our aluminum binders, courtesy of Zenith. She’s built a Zenith Zodiac 650B. Like Louise and Val, all of the volunteers are experienced builders, who were eager and happy to help. The space definitely felt comfortable, especially for someone like me who has little to no experience building.

Riveting the hinges together (left), and my completed binder (right)!

We broke into teams of two in an effort to share tools and got to work deburring the edges of both the front and back cover using a flat file and also rounded the corners of the hinges. Following the work instruction, I proceeded to overlap the two hinges and place the three-ring spine between the barrels, fastening all three parts together with the two Clecos on either end. We followed the instructions to the end and asked our neighbors for advice along the way.

Victoria, age 19, from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Sydney, age 21, from Columbia, Maryland.

Aside from learning to deburr with both a file and deburring tool, I fumbled with Cleco pliers, enlarged holes with a drill and pulled rivets. I had a fantastic time (itchy forearms aside), I highly recommend it! For women, of course.

Volunteers walked the inside of the work table and offered guidance.


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