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Get to Know Joanie Sprague

A lifelong interest in “figuring things out,” led to a career pivot into construction and carpentry. Read on for more about Joanie’s trajectory and her tips for getting into DIY.

When did you know that you wanted to become a carpenter?

I started doing construction first in 2008 but I knew I preferred to work alone a couple years after that.

What was your education process?

I was always exposed to construction as a child, tools, and our family was poor so we were always fixing broken things because we couldn’t afford new things. I carried that mindset into adulthood and always fixed things instead of buying new. Construction is very similar. I learned as I went, job by job. And I had mentors.

When did you feel like you mastered being a carpenter?

There is sooo much I don’t know. I feel like even as an old woman I will still be learning. Even if you have all the cool tools you can always be learning a new skill or how to do something else in your craft.

What are you most proud of accomplishing in your career thus far?

I’m proud of getting to a point where I was able to have women’s wood working classes and teach at my home.

What are some tips for folks looking into becoming a carpenter or DIYer?

Take a class if you can find one, or ask a handy friend to make something with you. Invest in a few basic tools. (Buy holiday sale packs that have a bunch of tools in them) miter saw, orbital sander, drill and impact driver, tape measure, utility knife, and pencil. Ryobi has the best prices for starting out.

How do you spend your time when you’re not on the job?

Snuggling with my dog, cooking, camping and binging Netflix

Who do you want to shout out? Another woman in the trade!

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