I discovered "Dink" of Dinkles Woodshop about three years ago, while absent-mindedly scrolling through Tiktok. I was first taken aback by seeing another female woodworker: which, if i’m being honest, is always a moment for me. What drew me, though, was the incredible level of production of her videos: the editing, humor, and way she teaches and communicates information was better than most woodworking content I had seen across social media.
She has a straightforward, safety-oriented approach to teaching and communicating that is also warm and light, and the exact energy I would hope for while taking any woodworking class. She often presents information in RPG, interactive, style videos that are equally impressive and entertaining. Dinkle has a variety of characters and personalities: my personal favorite is “Big Denny”, a Mr. Potato Head shirt clad, self-described “god of Home Depot” who wreaks havoc in the lumber aisle, while gracing his followers with 20% off paint coupons.
Her builds are no less on brand: her bed-frames are most notable, while her keyboard and numpad builds are equally fun to watch. I think the most impressive part of all of her work is her transparency: she is a self-described hobbyist woodworker. All of her builds are made with limited and accessible tooling in her basement shop, and she shares both her wins and learning opportunities as a teaching tool . I find it so inspiring to see someone willing to be vulnerable on social media, especially when it comes to the limits that come with entering the craft of woodworking. Her ability to make the craft something attainable, relatable, and even lighthearted is so unique and motivating to me. I look forward to learning more about her and sharing her story with you.
Dink, in a very on brand move, was also kind enough to put a skillfully edited video on a conversation we had about woodworking and holding space in craft:
1. What was your initial draw/inspiration to woodworking specifically?
I’ve always been a tinkerer and I love working with my hands. My grandma and grandpa owned a men’s clothing store, and sewed extensively, and my mom is a top level seamstress as well. And that functioned as my introduction to the value of handmade items and the joy of making things yourself. We had a giant room in our unfinished basement that had like 4 sewing machines, 2 sergers, an arsenal of threads, buttons, zippers, clothing scraps, you name it. Along with other craft supplies like paints, stamps, construction paper, funky scissors, popsicle sticks, etc. I have very few photos of anything I made in my childhood which I regret, but there were some real gems that the Young Dinkle created. Like one time I made a purse with a giant hand-embroidered image of Skeletor from He-Man on the front. And I used to send pieces of thin cotton through our home printer, print out photos of my favorite anime characters onto the fabric and then sew it onto the purses I made HAHA.
I even tried to use a utility knife once to make my own bow and arrow from a branch in my backyard (it didn’t succeed).
95% of the things I made in my youth were borderline abominations, but my craft journey as a child helped me develop two things:
A scrappiness when it comes to building stuff. I can do alot with a little, because all my projects from childhood were made with a whopping budget of $0.
A terrifying amount of tenacity and passion for trying new things, and a relative lack of care about whether it succeeds or not. Obviously I want to make nice things, but I’m okay with failure, and I’m at peace with sharing my failures publicly.
My first introduction to wood as a medium was in highschool when I volunteered to build sets for my local community theater. That experience taught me the basics: power drill, miter saw, router. And it helped dispel any fear in me that power tools were wholly too dangerous and out of my depth to use. I felt so confident after that experience becuase I knew how to use a miter saw and change the bit on a power drill.
I didn’t get into furniture making until college however. I went to engineering school and was on my school’s robotics team and we worked in a warehouse on campus. We would often be there at all hours of the night, so I decided to buy a hammock for taking naps while pulling all-nighters. I’m not sure what possessed me to do this, but I decided to make my own hammock stand out of 2x4s. I followed a youtube tutorial and it came out decent.
It was after that I fell into the youtube rabbit hole of DIY and home improvement. I first started with an interest in all things DIY: shower remodels, deck builds, metal work, but then I slowly started to funnel more and more into furniture making specifically. I just fell in love with fine woodworking. It was meant to be!
2. How does woodworking parallel your day to day life? Do you find similarities or use woodworking as a way to get away from the “daily grind”?
I would say that my day job and woodworking practice are fairly separate. My day job is all about efficiency and spending as little money as possible. I work 40 hours a week in an office and it’s a pretty steady stream of medium intensity, but long form, projects.
My woodshop is the Clown Boy’s Hangout™. I never track what I spend on materials in my shop (and I understand I’m privileged to be able to do this) but I spend all day at my job budgeting materials and products, I don’t want to do that for my hobbies as well. Woodworking is my fun time, so I spend what is necessary on the products and tools I need, without feeling too guilty about it.
And there is no efficiency in my shop. I rarely do anything twice while woodworking. For example: I’ve built one dresser, one desk, one night stand, two keyboards, one hexagonal mitered stool, one dovetailed box, four bed frames… Each project is a new adventure with failures and successes up and down. I’m not a business, so my goal isn’t to perfect a certain process and maintain maximum efficiency in time and in cost. And that’s a big difference between woodworking as a profession and doing it as a hobby.
But note: I would love to develop a more chill and peaceful woodworking practice in the future, when I have a “forever shop” But I’m still so young in my hobbyist woodworking (5.5 years) that I’m okay with the chaos and experimentation for now.
3. As someone who creates very dynamic content, Do you feel your builds are dictated by your content, or vice versa? Where do you start?
When I film my builds I set up my camera in the corner and I just go. My camera functions as this kind of all-seeing eye
in the corner of the room, capturing every moment of the build, and almost all of my video production happens in post. There’s alot of woodworkers who film videos in the style where they’re talking to the camera during the build, and giving narration throughout. I can’t do that, because often my builds take various twists and turns which I can’t predict, and I don’t have the forethought or time to narrate throughout.
After I’ve completed a project, I analyze the timeline of how I built it, write a script, and narrate after the fact.
It’s usually quite a long time before I get to editing a video after finishing a project, and in that time I daydream about silly bits I wanna add, or various ways I want to explain the processes.
4.What have been the biggest challenges or barriers in both woodworking and creating content?
My biggest challenge is finding the time to both build furniture and edit videos about what I create. It’s always really upsetting to me when I come home from a day at work and don’t have the physical or mental energy to get in my shop and woodwork.
I would say 40% of my joy of woodworking is creating media about my work and sharing it with people. I absolutely love creating videos. Sometimes I think “it’s crazy how I’ve gotten so hardcore into video editing, I never would’ve expected such a path for myself?” And then I remember the hours I spent in my basement in 7th grade making stop motions with Hamtaro figurines, a digital camera, and windows movie maker.
I’m very driven to create visual media. I’m inspired by retro video games, early 2000s educational computer games (like Freddie Fish, Jumpstart, Nancy Drew, Reader Rabbit, Oregon Trail…), old tvs and computers.
5. Mission and Goals
I really enjoy bringing levity to woodworking, especially because it’s such a somber, long-held tradition. Not to say that there is no place to respect and honor the years long traditions, that stuff is very important! But a lot of people use gaps in skills, education, and craftsmanship to make newbies feel unwelcomed and ashamed.
I think the only time you should be really hard on someone for their craftsmanship is if they are selling their work. I never sell anything because I have no professional training, I still have much to learn, and I simply don’t have the time. And also out of respect for the people who have gone through the apprenticeships and the schooling, people who have dedicated their whole life to their craft and taken the jump to do it full time.
But if you’re just someone who wants to beautify your home or make something for your mom? Heck yes. Come to the Dinkle Clown Party, have some fun, and don’t take yourself too seriously.
I’m not a master craftsman, but I still try to share as much education as I can so people can come to understand what does make a fine piece of furniture, and why we should value quality hand-crafted items.
Reaching out to people who don't have a "woodworking grandpa"
I think it’s very common for people who woodwork to talk about how they grew up with a grandpa or dad who had an entire woodshop and that’s how they were introduced to the hobby. But no one in my family woodworked so I knew nothing about building furniture. When I started out, I truly couldn’t tell the difference between plastic laminate, quarter sawn oak, and MDF. I was hilariously clueless and it caused me to do some pretty silly things when I started out.
I don’t ever want anyone to feel stupid for not knowing something about furniture or wood. And I want people to know that even if you know no tools and live in an apartment, you can make it work.
I remember I made a TikTok about how to change the bit on a power drill and I got a slew of comments saying: “Come on! Who doesn’t know how to do this? This is the most basic thing.”
AHEM. LOTS of people don’t know how to do this. Someone along the way taught you how to change a power drill. Maybe you were 7, 15, or 21 years old. But someone taught you at one point. You did not come into this world with that knowledge downloaded into your cranium.
I like to give alternatives for beginner woodworkers on how to make do with very few tools. My recommendation to beginners is always a power drill and circular saw. I think my most proud build lately was my new workbench, simply because of how accessible the process was. It has drawbored pinned mortise and tenons, but they were made with only a circular saw and power drill. I was excited that my workbench was so securely built, but with simple and available tooling. (And you don’t need any bar clamps for this style of joinery! Major cost savings for the Dinkle Crew and Associates.)
Maybe this is just from where I’m standing, but I’ve always felt the furniture making scene on Youtube is very homogenous: in processes, tools available, and shop spaces. It’s often a dedicated two car garage, full size table saw, high quality band saw, planer, jointer, router table, domino, drum sander, spindle sander, and a CNC machine. And seeing that formula over and over when I started out really made me feel like I wasn’t gonna make it in woodworking. The same concept applies to the fact that I drove a sedan (and still do!) and I thought I was going to fail in my woodworking journey because I didn’t have access to a truck or large van.
I do think there’s alot more shop-style diversity amongst woodworkers on Instagram. I’ve met several people who don’t own a table saw, someone who works with hand tools and a bandsaw out of a Brooklyn apartment, hobbyists who can build an entire piece without any electricity, if they needed to.
Maintaining positive self talk and developing a circle of supportive friends
I’ve noticed that women, especially in male dominated fields, will infantilize themselves and pretend to know less than they actually do to seem less threatening. I used to do it all the time without even realizing. My goal these days is to appropriately represent my skills. Do I make alot of woodworking mistakes? Yes. Can I also make good furniture? Also yes. I never pretend to know more than I do, and I don’t pretend to be less competent than I actually am.
I’ve only been able to start saying kind things about my own work within the past year because of you and others who have complimented my work and lifted me up. I want to pay that forward as well and lift up fellow woodworkers who might be stuck in a loop of constant self-depreciation.
From being in mechanical engineering for years now, I’ve noticed that women are less likely to make certain risky jumps. There’s so much pressure to not sound too pushy, not sound too aggressive, not to come across as too arrogant or cocky, and most importantly not to take up space. There’s an air in public spaces applied to women that sounds a bit like “Where do you get off on sharing your ideas so confidently?”
I hope that my support of women can help them feel more confident about boldly sharing their stories and their art. And I hope my weirdness does that as well! Not saying that my mission is to get every woman in the tri-state area to go out and buy a Dracula costume. But I hope my lack of inhibitions will give other women the determination to publicize their work. Whether it’s sharing an art piece, getting the courage to film a video where your face is on camera, or teaching a woodworking class.
Dinkles Woodshop can be found on both Youtube and Instagram: