TAMPA, Fla. — Making the perfect cut is like a science for Kate Swann: Each piece needs to fit together perfectly to achieve the finished product.

That's just one of the things she preaches at her school, the Florida School of Woodwork

What You Need To Know

  • Kate Swann runs the Florida School of Woodworking in Tampa 

  • She says she got her start in woodworking when she was living in Portland, Ore.

  • She has since brought her love of the craft to Florida

With decades of experience, Kate got her start in woodworking when she lived in Portland, Ore., where she bought a fixer-upper home and decided to do a lot of the renovations herself. 

“So I started buying tools to do it, and I'm embarrassed to say, this was pre-YouTube, so I started making things that kept falling apart," she said. "So I started going to the Oregon College of Arts and Crafts in their evening program and I eventually started making stuff that didn't fall apart, and people started asking to buy my stuff."

Eventually, she moved from the West Coast to Tampa, where she continued to grow her custom-designed furniture business. She has made pieces for people around the world, and in 2017, she expanded even more by opening her school of woodwork inside a historic building in Tampa Heights. 

Her school offers classes that range from beginner to advanced. A few of the classes include focusing on the art and techniques of box making, introduction to cabinet making and even Japanese hand plane. 

Over the years, she has seen many people come through her shops doors. She said some have even quit their “day jobs” because of their love of woodwork and turned it into a full-time career. 

“We have people that come in that have never picked up a saw or used a table saw before and they come take a class with us, and they end up falling in love with it," Swann said. 

But even for people who don't want to quit everything to take up woodworking, working with wood is something so unique Kate and her instructors highly recommend giving it a shot.

The Florida School of Woodwork is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can find a detailed list of the classes they offer and more information on the school's website.