Blind Woodcrafters Wood Shop resumes with a little support

Student shows off a frame she made using pocket joinery.

Photo By Washington State School for the Blind

PETALUMA, Calif. — After being dormant for several years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and staff shortages, the Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB) has resumed its Blind Woodcrafters Wood Shop. 

The WSSB is located in Vancouver, Washington, and has been in operation for over 125 years. Its core purpose is to empower blind and low-vision individuals to reach their full potential and its philosophy is that by teaching various aspects of woodworking, visually impaired students will experience the joys of working with a renewable product(wood) and making items with their own hands. The program is made possible with the help of volunteers, grants, and donations from companies willing to invest in vocational life skills for blind and low-vision students. Castle USA has donated a pocket-cutting machine, technical consultation, and communications support.

The Blind Woodcrafters Workshop.

“We are making sawdust again and the students are loving it,” said Alex Zimmerman, program volunteer and part-time staff member. “Castle’s donation allows students to become familiar with production wood joinery equipment that’s used in many manufacturing facilities, which increases their potential future employment opportunities. Just as important, is that students are learning how to safely operate any tool, which enhances their skills while overcoming challenges.”

Mathias Forsman, Castle CEO said, “We heard about the Blind Woodcrafters Shop and immediately got involved. It’s such a fantastic program and we’re amazed at what the students are accomplishing.”

A student learning how to assemble a frame using pocket joinery.



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Larry Adams | Editor

Larry Adams is a Chicago-based writer and editor who writes about how things get done. A former wire service and community newspaper reporter, Larry is an award-winning writer with more than three decades of experience. In addition to writing about woodworking, he has covered science, metrology, metalworking, industrial design, quality control, imaging, Swiss and micromanufacturing . He was previously a Tabbie Award winner for his coverage of nano-based coatings technology for the automotive industry. Larry volunteers for the historic preservation group, the Kalo Foundation/Ianelli Studios, and the science-based group, Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST).