Highland Woodworking Wood News Online, No. 183, November 2020Welcome to Highland Woodworking - Fine Tools & Education Learn more about Highland Woodworking View our current woodworking classes and seminars Woodworking articles and solutions Subscribe to Wood News
Women in Woodworking - Meet Annette Amadin
By Char Miller-King
Atlanta, GA

When I met Annette Amadin I learned, right away, the importance of a never ending cycle of organizing, cleaning, decorating, and improving dust collection in the shop. She jokingly shared that, "Being a woodworker basically involves reorganizing your workspace until you die, so my space is a continuous work in progress." Situated in Cincinnati, Ohio, an engineer by day and a hobbyist by night, Annette of 513 Woodworks is the epitome of a lover of the craft of making. Woodworking is strictly her creative outlet and she is very serious about her tool game.

Annette Amadin is a world traveler. Born in Nigeria, she has visited all seven continents. Her understanding of culture and diversity has spilled over into her thoughts about appreciating power tools and respecting the process of creating. Leaning on the knowledge of others to get going in her craft, Annette enrolled in the Marc Adams School of Woodworking, where she regularly attends classes to hone her skills, and today, her skills and knowledge will blow you away!

After purchasing her home in the Spring of 2017, Annette noticed her garden soil needed something more. Raised garden beds would be the solution. With the high prices of such a simple design, she set out to build her own, and there was no turning back after that. It all started with a miter saw and with one project after the next, she continued to challenge herself to build something bigger and better, including a workbench and outdoor furniture to accompany her firepit. With each new project she added more tools to her collection and got more social media shares. In January 2020, she decided to create a dedicated Instagram account, 513woodworks, to display all of her her projects and discovered there was a large, tight-knit maker community online. The name is a nod to her area code in Cincinnati.

Her two-car garage is a fully dedicated workshop and home to some heavy-duty machinery: A SawStop table saw, Delta miter saw, Laguna bandsaw, Dewalt scroll saw, mini lathe, and Shapeoko CNC, just to name a few. She is a self proclaimed, full-fledged tool addict, and hopes to add a laser and welder to her arsenal soon. "As my own personal maker space/sanctuary, I now park my car in my driveway, so my workspace is the entire detached 2-car garage. In the past year, I put in foam insulation panels in the roof and batting insulation in the garage door panels. The quarantine period in the early days of COVID-19 really proved exactly how important having this space is to me and my well-being. To fully make it my own space, I painted the cinder block walls a few months ago."

One of the largest projects she has taken on in her 100-year-old home is remodeling her closet: "During the process I discovered the floors were uneven along with a host of other issues. After I started framing out the closets, I realized that the space would be too crowded if I were to stick with the original plan, so midway through, I had to change what was to be floor to ceiling hanging space into a waist high set of drawers. Even though I'd laid out painters tape on the floor to get used to the footprint of the closet, I had to reduce the depths of most of the built-ins after I'd started framing out the closet because it would have been just too crowded. Long story short, I overcame the different challenges by staying flexible and adapting my plans as new issues came up. Sometimes, I had to step away and do something else to clear my head before returning to create a new game plan, but, in the end, I ended up with a master bedroom closet that I absolutely love!"

As a practical builder, Annette does not reievent the wheel, though there are times when she joins together parts of several different plans: "I have no problems using available plans (free or purchased) because I strongly believe in reapplying and optimizing/adapting to suit my particular needs. This is fun! Not work! If I don't find a plan that I like or need to make significant modifications to a plan, I'll do a rough sketch on paper to make sure I have the key dimensions that I want and then I tend to make the rest up as I go along." The spontaneity of her work produces some epic projects such as 3D printed lithopanes, acrylic pens, and massive trestle base tables.

For now, Annette doesn't do commissions as she wants to keep her hobby fun and stress free. She celebrates the fact that being a woman of color and a woodworker is unexpected and often underestimated. She loves when she is able to change someone else's perspective of what a woodworker should look like.

With a calm outlook on the horizon for her making journey, Annette can be an inspiration to all of us. She says woodworking is "an amazing skill set to have with so much room for growth, diversification and continuous development and something that could truly be a lifelong passion. I'm still astonished when I create something – it's such a powerful feeling. I love the variety of projects that woodworking allows me to make as well. From one day to the next, I can choose to turn a pen, build a planter, make a cutting board, build a table, make a sign, carve a spoon, make a box, or build a shop cart – the list is endless."

Her advice to fellow woodworkers is especially geared toward those who are intimidated by some of the machinery we use in woodworking...she says "invest time to understand the safety requirements of the machines, but then embrace using the tools! Watch videos, take classes, connect with others who have the skills you want to build, then just do it!"

You can join Annette on her journey on Instagram.

You can find out more about Char and her woodworking by visiting her website and by following her on Instagram.

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