Highland Woodworking Wood News Online, No. 185, February 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 Sarah Lynn
By Char Miller-King
Atlanta, GA

Some of the best makers are the humble ones, like the self-proclaimed "when I have time for it" woodworker, Sarah Lynn, from the small town of Mackenzie, BC. When you live in Canada one of the privileges is the beauty of the snow topped mountains and breathtaking winter wonderland views. The majestic scenery can invoke inspiration into each one of Sarah's pieces.

As a snowmobile owner and snowboarder Sarah and her family spend a lot of their time outdoors. Bringing the outdoors into her craft by creating beautiful mountain art, whether through a perfectly fit miter cut or aligned bevel, she knows how to infuse nature into making. Through multi-peak mountains built as headboards or custom toy chests, you can see the love she pours into each piece. Literally, she even has a tattoo of mountains with a saw blade as a border. With a bit of pine and her expertise in interior painting, her business, "Ain't Nobody Got Time For That" has evolved and is taking off.

Sarah began her journey by renovating a small fixer upper property. Once you realize that you can do most things around your home, you begin to build the confidence to take on more and pursue avenues you did not know existed. Transitioning from being a heavy equipment operator at a pulp mill has led her to thrive into her new role as a creative business owner.

There is always one project that spawns ones love for this hobby we call woodworking. For Sarah it was a loft bed she made for her daughter. Unless you have an infinite amount of living space, searching for ways to maximize your floorspace is at the top of the list. In her basement, with only a small miter saw and a borrowed drill, she created something special to her and her family. An area for work, play, and rest are essential and what better way to create it than with your own plans. Sarah rarely uses others plans to create her work. She builds as she goes and there the magic happens. Once her friends caught wind of a maker in the midst, she began building beds for them as well. Making kids furniture is her favorite type of project although she has become a master at so much more.

These days you can find Sarah in her garage, which she has slowly but fully claimed as her domain now. Her tools consist of a Dewalt planer, Rigid table saw and jointer along with a plethora of cordless Ryobi tools. If she had to choose a favorite tool, it is the Ryobi pin nailer, which she says is "so handy for finishing touches." It is essential to secure her chevron style, mountain art to a backer board with adhesive, but equally as important to use pin nails. Often, makers question which tool is right for the job, a brad nailer or pin nailer. A pin nailer is primarily used with thinner wood such as veneer to hold wood in place until the glue dries. Pin nail fasteners are headless, meaning they will not leave a noticeable hole that needs to be filled. The pins are usually 23-gauge compared with the smaller 15 or 18 gauge fasteners (the smaller the gauge, the larger the nail) used in brad nailers. Pin nailers are best used for light clamping pressure and brad nailers are typically used for strength and a more permanent hold that you do not necessarily have to use wood glue with. Unfortunately, we do not have time to delve into pneumatic versus battery powered that's another article for another day.

Her self-taught nature has empowered her to learn as she goes and be a voice in her community, sharing her talents through career day at her son's school and having her daughters compare her to strong female characters, such as Mulan and Moana. Admittedly, she says her first ten projects did not go as planned. However, knowing who to call and when, advances her workflow in a much better way.

Currently, Sarah is working on a dog kennel. Her kennels involve interior shiplap designs and metal rails, which her welder friend handles. For those projects that challenge her in new ways and tend to skyrocket her anxiety about its outcome, she manages by using those emotions to fuel her fire. It is something about the challenge of completing something difficult that taps into the chemical receptors and powers up the dopamine rush, reminding you to do that again, take on the harder project, and make something you have never made before. Taking a note from Sarah's playbook, "Once it's done you just look at it and think ‘yeah, I just built that!"'

It is not uncommon to see lumber drying in her living room to avoid warping from the summer humidity or to see her signature method of aging wood. Many of the bedroom sets and farmhouse style furniture she creates has a rustic hand painted vibe, leaning on her days as an interior painter. Sarah is constantly growing her project offerings and efficiency and plans to scale up with a website in the coming months. One look at her photos and learning about her humble nature you will know that you are dealing with one fierce determined Woman in Wood. She wants you to know that if you have any doubt about a project or a tool to, "Just do it!" "Just start...Practice, practice, and more practice, and always cut the factory end of your lumber before you use it, it's never square."

Among all the gems and ideas that Sarah shared with me, one of my favorites has to be her creative thought to "flip my shop door knob so my kids won't enter while I'm working."

To learn more about Sarah Lynn and her journey in the mountains of Canada, follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

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

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