Giving woodworkers the space to hone their craft is Barrie’s Framework Studios’ main objective. The shared workspace allows individuals from Barrie, Innisfil, and local areas to become members of the facility and utilize its machinery, courses, and classes. Established by Sean Livingston and Morrah Jakubiec, Framework Studios has made a name for itself in the community as a business that supports the woodworking industry in Ontario and across Canada. The fully equipped woodworking facility offers business owners, beginners, and hobbyists the opportunity to grow in their field without inhibition.
Between the two of them, Livingston and Jakubiec have about two decades of experience in the woodworking sector. Livingston shared his history and passion for the industry and explained, “I started in the cabinetry world and opened my own cabinetry business in 2014. Since then, I started doing custom furniture too, so this whole venture kind of started from me needing a bigger shop to do my own cabinet furniture. Then, I thought of ways to subsidize the rent cost because I own the building I was in and it just wasn’t big enough.”
Important for the Community
This is what sparked the idea for a collaborative woodworking space. He said, “We came up with this membership woodworking studio idea and doing woodworking classes and then it took over from there. Now, it’s driving in the front seat and my cabinetry thing is in the back seat, which is awesome!”
The success of the studio is due not only to the concept of sharing space and making woodworking more accessible but also because Livingston and Jakubiec understood the need for this studio for the community. Livingston stated, “We need this in town and in the entire province. There just aren’t enough people getting into the trades and I’ve felt that firsthand trying to hire employees over the years and not being able to find suitable people. It’s a struggle to find people who are interested in the craft and who care enough to put a good effort forward and make a career out of it. Hopefully, this pushes people towards the skilled trades career path and this studio makes it fun and interesting for the community.”
Frameworks Studios is a membership-based shop that offers its members access to advanced machinery, courses, and ample facility space. Members register on the company website and book their desired time in the shop. Once that time is blocked off, they’re sent a one-time pin code for that duration. Each person is expected to complete face scam recognition and safety orientation prior to approval. The process is relatively seamless from start to finish.
Open to Beginners and Experts Alike
Livingston and Jakubiec opened a larger facility to accommodate the thriving demand from community members. The interest in woodworking and improving one’s craft is shared regardless of talent, knowledge, and skill set. That’s why Framework Studios is open to beginners and experts alike. “We have full-on cabinet guys who come in and smash out an entire kitchen in three days. We also have people interested in the charcuterie board courses, those that come in after they’re done teaching for the day, and then others who don’t have enough experience to be signed off to use machines and require some support,” said Livingston.
Facility That Has It All
The shop’s courses include the ‘Build a Picture Frame’ which begins on May 25, ‘Live Edge Charcuterie Board’ on June 7, and ‘Build an Outdoor Planter’ on June 12. The picture frame course requires zero experience and often attracts a diverse group of people who are looking to try their hand at woodworking but have not found the right opportunity to do so. “So on the picture frame course, they’ll learn how to use a jointer and planar, a table saw, a mitre saw, how to do complex joinery, and how to apply it. They can then take the frame home with them,” said Livingston. “We also have epoxy work coming up which will be an intermediate course where we do circuity boards with some epoxy in them.”
This is just the beginning for Framework Studios as well. They’ve only been in the new 3,000-square-foot facility for three months and have some exciting programs coming up. “We have a really awesome coffee table course and then we’re going to start introducing the finer joinery stuff like how to build your own toolboxes, dovetail joints, and all that kind of more intricate woodworking skill sets,” he stated.
The new facility is equipped with virtually everything a woodworker needs. Livingston explained, “We have four member area workbenches, drum sander, edge standard drill press, table saw, sliding panel saw and a big edge bander and a number of lockable onsite storage units for members to keep their project parts and small tools. We also have an in-shop store where we sell wood glues, sandpaper, biscuits, and dowels for projects. So, our vision is that a member can come in and get their wood and supplies and start working on their project right away.”
Grand Opening Set for May 27th
Livingston and Jakubiec continue to place great priority on youth exploring the skilled trades sector. Not only does Framework Studios have woodworking classes for adults, but they’ve also added summer camp courses for children to their roster. “With our youth programs, we’ll have assembly kits so that kids aren’t using saws or anything dangerous. Mainly just a hammer, nails, a little bit of wood glue, and some point. Really basic stuff to help them build and learn the basics of construction,” Livingston said.
Framework Studios is celebrating its grand opening on May 27 in Barrie, Ontario. The event will feature shop tours, promotions, and course demonstrations. The collaborative woodworking space is just getting started and is already ready for more.
“My passion is building the woodworking community and what better way to do that than an event where we can all come together, build those connections and learn from one another. In the long term, we would love to include more classes that are all night, on the weekends and focus on our goal of getting more people interested in the craft,” concluded Livingston.
Ellie King is the Editor of Wood Industry / Le monde du bois magazine and weekly E-digest. She has years of experience in B2B writing and editing and is empowered by the opportunity to share the marvels, pitfalls and weekly news of Canada’s secondary wood industry with our readers.