Maker kits promote therapeutic benefits of woodworking

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Knocking on roll-a-doors around Australia would certainly be the way to confirm the psychological benefits of woodworking, however the Melbourne makerspace FAB9 has put paid to any doubt by commissioning a research study by Danish neuroscientists to tell us what we know is true

Last year Footscray-based FAB9 gained plaudits when it dedicated its sophisticated CNC routers and laser cutters to the production of face shields for local medical personnel. However, protracted lockdowns and social distancing over the past 12 months have meant that much of FAB9’s equipment has been left unused by the community.

‘While COVID almost put us out of business, it also gave us this amazing realisation of the power that we had to do good in people’s lives,’ says Hans Chang, who launched FAB9 in 2019 with funding from LaunchVic. ‘We realised that, with online connections, we could help people develop new hobbies that would bring them a genuine sense of purpose – and it’s long been recognised that woodworking is particularly good for helping people to overcome anxiety, and develop a deeper sense of fulfilment.’

From the findings of the research study, FAB9 teamed up with furniture maker Liam Thomas to create various projects that combine traditional hand tools with simple joinery and other techniques suitable for beginners.

The result is a line of Maker Kits which offer pre-cut hardwood components with jigs, sandpaper, wax, glue, and easy-to-follow instructions. The first kit off the line is a side table made of Tasmanian oak with others in the pipeline.

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