Canada's first hand tool-only woodworking school opens in Leslieville

Photo:  The Unplugged Workshop

Photo: The Unplugged Workshop

The Unplugged Woodshop has opened as Toronto’s newest — as well as claiming to be Canada’s first — hand tool-only woodworking school. 

Located at Dundas and Carlaw, in the old Carlaw Industrial Building, the studio offers classes and courses for the aspiring urban wood worker, as well as the proper tools, supplies and materials necessary in the art of wood working.

Why in this day and age of portable power saws and high-tech gadgets like 3D printers is there a hand tool-only wood working school in downtown Toronto?

"Hand tools afford the modern wood worker a quieter, safer, healthier, and arguably better way to work wood," says Tom Fidgen who runs The Unplugged Workshop. "For the condo dweller who doesn’t have room for a work shop, to the hand tool enthusiast who wants to learn more about the fine art of furniture making, The Unplugged Woodshop has something for everyone at every level."

Fidgen is an accomplished wood worker, who has been designing and building custom furniture for the past 10 years. He's got a notable track record in the wood working world having published two books on furniture making (Made by Hand - Furniture Projects from the Unplugged Woodshop, and The Unplugged Woodshop - Hand Crafted Projects for the Home and Workshop), as well as teaching wood working sessions with hand tools in Australia, Germany, the UK, the U.S. and, of course, here in Canada.

When benches aren’t in use through the school's classes and courses, the shop is dedicated as a maker space. Times vary and hourly bench rentails are on a first-come first-serve basis. Bench rentals are $15/hour or $25/hour for a bench and a tool kit.

For more information on The Unplugged Woodshop, and to view the various classes and courses on offer, visit