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Do you ever get the need to do something creative, to get your hands dirty and build something imaginative of your own? Or would you just like your kids to get off their digital devices and spend more time using their brain for a more practical use! Or do you have a business idea which you want to develop in the workshop using professional tools and machinery that you can’t afford yourself?

If so, Knock on Wood may be just what you need! Launched two years ago by three entrepreneurs with a passion for woodworking, the organization has now delivered more than 170 workshops to individuals and businesses located in and around Geneva.  Co-founder, Zsuzsanna Varga, told knowitall.ch,

“Originally from Hungary, I have lived and worked in many countries throughout my life, employed mainly in adult education and training, either as a solo entrepreneur or as a co-founder of other businesses. When I arrived in Geneva I started looking for an urban workshop so that I could have access to tools and machinery for my latest project. Although I wasn’t able to find one, I discovered a lot of interest in the idea on social media, so in 2016 I decide to create a new urban workshop, with the support of my two co-founders, Sebastien Vigny and Sanna Takala!”

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Sebastien added, “Our goal is to promote manual fabrication, and repurpose unwanted furniture or recycle old wood in the Geneva area by giving our customers the knowledge, space and tools to create their own masterpieces. We also want to foster a sense of community by giving people a place to build, collaborate and learn together.”

4 main workshop activities

Knock on Wood’s services can be divided into 4 main activities:

  • Open workshops for the general public, which promote manual fabrication, digital detox, upscaling and design thinking
  • Finnish woodworking workshops for kids designed to bridge the gap between academia and the physical world around by us using manual skills.
  • Company training sessions, organized in collaboration with professional training companies, which encourage design thinking and problem solving. These include team workshops, product modeling and prototyping, and new service launches.
  • Collaborative activities or public events with other organizations offering similar initiatives, including fablabs and individuals.

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Knock on Wood has a special page on their website dedicated to current activities, so you can see, at a glance, the kind of activity in which you would like to get involved.  They use the Meetup platform to schedule new events so you can browse through the options to see what is available in your area.  At the time of writing the following activities had been scheduled for the upcoming week:

  • Knock on Wood at a local exhibition
  • Finnish woodworking for kids
  • Monday evening workshop with Seb
  • Tuesday problem solving, digital designing vs manual building, repair etc
  • Open wood workshop for beginners and creativists

The range of projects in which you can get involved is huge. Click here to see photos of some suggestions, which include wine racks, drinks bars, garden tables, shoe racks, place mats, plant holders, lamps, chairs, napkin rings, and all kinds of different sized coffee tables!

You can also click here to see some of the previous participants at work on a variety of different activities.

Prices vary from workshop to workshop, but a typical adults session of 3 hours will cost in the region of € 60 per person.  

Children’s weekly workshops are cheaper and cost around € 300 for 8 classes.

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Workshop location

While you can expect to see the Knock on Wood team in many different locations throughout Geneva, most of their weekly workshops for adults and kids are held in a beautiful old villa on Chemin de la Chevillarde.  Located within the collaborative working space offered by Seedspace, the workshops are fully equipped with all the tools and machinery you are likely to need to complete your woodwork projects.

Workshop assistance is provided in a variety of different languages including English, French, Spanish, German, Finnish, Swedish, Hungarian, and Russian. Just let the organizers know what language you speak before you sign up so they can make sure to have someone on hand to help you if needed!

Why Knock on Wood?

So what makes Knock on Wood special compared to other organizations offering woodwork activities?  Seb told us,

“We listen to our clients and try to cater for their needs, which in our case means working when everybody else rests. People can only dedicate time and energy to making things outside working hours.”

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He added, “When people come with utterly ambitious project ideas, we never say NO to them. We explain the level of difficulty and amount of time they need to commit to realising it and we guide every individual on their journey until they walk out of the door with their creation. The learning curve we go through together is priceless.”

Who is it for?

Knock on Wood currently works in the Geneva region but they are in negotiations with potential collaborators to expand to Zurich and Basel.

Although the organization was initially set up to target professionals who needed an urban open workshop, the options available have now been expanded to include children and adults, as well as companies. A new project they have in the pipeline includes the creation of a workshop syllabus for young adults with special needs.  

As a Finnish-certified woodworking teacher for children, Sanna likes to use the Finns' famous methodology to connect academics to real life practical skills. She's an advocate of developing fine-motor skills as well as the use of tools, and told us, "Creativity is the only language we use in our workshops with kids. We encourage them to bring their untapped ideas to their projects wherever possible."

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But as Zsuzsanna concluded, “Woodworking is a fantastic tool that serves many purposes - so it really is for everybody!”

Knock on Wood
Zsuzsanna: (+41) 79 109 54 86
Sanna : (+41) 78 822 95 73
Seb: (+33) 6 77 09 95 94
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