Peter Debelak was an attorney. Jim McNaughton was a serial entrepreneur. Both were self-taught woodworkers and old buddies who’d known each other for years. For all intents and purposes, they led relatively normal lives.
That changed when both Peter and Jim quit their jobs — on the same day. Destiny is funny like that sometimes.
So, the two spent the summer bonding over the construction of a 40x40 cherry and birch library they’d promised to build a school. That’s when they got the idea to combine passion with purpose.
The result: Soulcraft Cleveland, a community access workshop that’s opening doors for and providing educating to budding craftsmen (and women) all over The Land.
You’ll find Soulcraft on the second floor of the Hamilton Building located in the St. Clair Superior neighborhood. It’s a part of the Hamilton Collaborative, a creative community of innovators who collaboratively share a former manufacturing plant on the east side of Cleveland.
Leave your Louboutins at home. The sawdust coats the floor like snow in some parts. But, it’s the fragrance of the fresh-cut lumber that’ll hit you long before you enter the 18,000-square-foot shop.
Take your time meandering between ominous-looking table saws, heavy-duty sanders, drills, welders and more wood than you can shake a … well … you get it. Much of its been reclaimed from schools that were shutting down shop classes.
Make your own cheeseboard. Build a coffee table. There’s nothing to be scared of. Half the battle is getting over your fear of using all the woodworking equipment in the first place. Anyone can do it — they’ll even show you how.
Soulcraft has instructors and they’re not afraid to use them. They’ll periodically offer classes, events and workshops throughout the week — open to the general public. Mustached hipsters. Retired baby boomers. Soccer moms.
And, don’t be surprised if you’re elbowed up against an eighth grader. Kids and saws [pearl clutch]?
Soulcraft is keeping shop class alive. They invite classes from local school districts into the workshop to teach them how to use tools, work with their hands and lead their own learning experiences.
And, yes, the kids learn how to use the table saws, too.
Think the nightclub is the only place you’ll spot a bachelorette party? Think again.
Soulcraft offers private events and classes for groups ranging in size from 5-30. So, whether it’s the department holiday party or a milestone celebration, pack the sauvignon blanc and safety goggles. Then, get building.
Experience Soulcraft CLE
Start creating with Soulcraft. Click here to learn more.