On a muggy June night, the sounds of gentle sawing and pounded mallets ring through a white-walled workspace lined with handsaws, chisels, jack planes and planks of wood — cherry, oak, poplar.
Mumford and Sons’ first electric album, Wilder Mind, spins on a record player as amateur woodworkers hunch over their workspaces, carefully measuring and chiseling out joints for their Unplugged Woodshop class project — a basic box.
In this Wednesday night class, half of the six participants are millennial city-dwellers. It’s a demographic increasingly drawn to maker culture — and woodworking, specifically — as a way to escape mundane desk jobs and feel the satisfaction of working with their hands, say local woodworkers. Retired suburbanites are out, it seems, and young downtowners are in.
Max Lantz, 29, is among that younger cohort taking the box-making class at Unplugged Workshop, an eight-week course costing $450. He works in advertising right now — it’s “extremely unfulfilling,” he says — and wants to shift gears into woodworking for a career. The craft is more tactile, he notes, while he saws out the dovetail joints that will later join together to secure the sides of his oak box.
“The work that you do is of great practical value, either to yourself or someone else,” Lantz adds. “And I don’t get that sense when I spend 40 hours a week staring at a two-dimensional computer screen.”