Women Mentors

Woodworking, electronics, mechatronics, robotics and physics are not areas that abound in women hobbyists. However, there are some that have informative Youtube channels.

I have used the term mentor to refer to a person who teaches by showing, as in: “Do what I do, not what I say.” At the moment, I am suffering from Reader’s Block. That means that I am finding it increasingly difficult to read long books, because they just aren’t rewarding. I find it better to spend my time watching videos that show how to do something. In contrast to many (but not all) men, women are better able to explain why they are doing particular things.

Mentor: Dianna Cowern

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/physicswoman

Physics Girl is a channel about physics, astronomy and science-related topics. The show features fun DIY demos, unusual and cutting-edge research, space and expert interviews.

Mentor: Simone Giertz

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3KEoMzNz8eYnwBC34RaKCQ

Simone’s specialty is robotics, especially those that work badly. She is more concerned about operational issues, than constructing robots. Simone is Swedish.

Mentor: Laura Kampf

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRix1GJvSBNDpEFY561eSzw Website: http://laurakampf.com

Laura lives in Köln, Germany. She works with wood, metal and other materials. She has just completed a series about making a tiny house on wheels.

Mentor: Linn Orvar

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/darbinorvar Website: http://www.darbinorvar.com

The channel name is Darbin Orvar, but it is named after a dog, Darwin. The human is Linn, who is a Swede living in Oregon. This is a basic woodworking youtube channel.

Mentor: Danielle Thé

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheDanslo

This channel will never replace Explaining Computers, but it does have provide a young, female perspective on the broader issues of computing.

Mentor: April Wilkerson

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/AprilWilkersonDIY Website: https://wilkerdos.com/

April is more of a DIYer than a woodworker. In some projects she welds, or is out in the garden.

Mentors too

Today’s group of mentors, are more diverse than yesterday’s. These are mainly home automation and mechatronics (electronics, machining and computing) people. I have included some others here who have useful channels for learning elementary computing skills, many  based on Arduino. Embedded computing is also included.

One of the differences between woodworkers and mechatronians is the latter’s inability to use their names. There are exceptions, but many do not seem to want to use their own names. I think I’ve managed to spell both Ben and Dave correctly, but I am not so sure about Ashe. I’m using that spelling because that is what comes up on the closed captions.

Mentor: Wayne Campbell (1947-2016)

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ScienceOnline/videos  Website: http://hilaroad.com/

I will remember Wayne Campbell for his geodesic dome video, that inspired their construction in cardboard at Verdal prison, and elsewhere. The Hila Outdoor Centre is not far from Pakenham, Ontario, which is not far from Ottawa.

Mentor: Chris Barnat

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbiGcwDWZjz05njNPrJU7jA Website: http://www.explainingcomputers.com/

ExplainingComputers uploads weekly computing videos. Chris spent 25 years teaching computing and future studies in the University of Nottingham, and has written thirteen books including “Digital Genesis: The Future of Computing, Robots and AI”, “3D Printing E3” and “The Next Big Thing”. I particularly like him because of his interest in single board computers.

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/explainingthefuture website:

This is Chris’ alternative channel, not nearly as popular and not always computer related.

Mentor: Dejan Nedelkovski

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmkP178NasnhR3TWQyyP4Gw Website: http://howtomechatronics.com/

This is mainly an educational channel and website in mechatronics. In addition there are Arduino projects and tutorials, DIY projects, explanations about how (electronic) things work, basic electronics.

Mentor:  Ben Bruh

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLecVrux63S6aYiErxdiy4w website: http://www.bruhautomation.com/ (coming soon); Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bruhautomation/

This is my first choice as a DIY home automation channel.

Mentor: Jonathan Oxer

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC75HTMhqVZs0sPOMTMQqI9g Website: https://www.superhouse.tv/

Jonathan also does DIY home automation. Sometimes, I feel that his solutions are not optimal. For example, he uses  OpenHAB rather than Home Assistant. He is also disproportionate amount of time promoting his own webshop.

Mentor: Ashe HealMyTech

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCN6jhE-nqsfmp1GYazd2wA

Ashe is my go-to man, when it comes to fixing common computer problems. He is probably not at the cutting edge of anything except keeping a computer running, but that is probably an advantage.

Mentor: Jeremy Blum

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/sciguy14 Website: https://www.jeremyblum.com/

Jeremy is an electrical engineer most noted for his Arduino tutorial videos. He promotes sustainability, entrepreneurship and education especially related to engineering and science.

Mentor: Dave Notesandvolts

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/NotesAndVolts

Dave says his Youtube channel is about electronics, guitars and geekery. For me, this channel is interesting despite its emphasis on music, not because of it. Musicians have to work in unconventional spaces, and their sound equipment has to work. It has to be robust. That is the key word. Much of the information found here deals with the challenges of robusticity, which can be transferred over to other areas of life.


I have passed the age when I am assigned an advisor to help and guide me. Indeed, I’m probably too old to be anyone’s tutor. Any guidance I might offer younger people would be regarded as outdated or, worse, unfashionable.

Rather than fret over life’s iniquities, I have found a bevy of  mentors who are helping me, every day, to become a more proficient woodworker. If you have similar interests, they would also be willing to help you, all free of charge. Well, they might want you to become a Patreon, or send money their way to buy equipment, or sell you some plans.

In this post, I’d like to introduce you to ten of them. I am now trying to add channels where projects, problems, challenges, equipment, materials and even measurement units mirror mine.

I have not listed everyone I have watched, nor all those I subscribe to on Youtube. Rather, I am just listing those that I find inspiring, helpful and able to help me improve my woodworking skills. Certain names may also be missing because I put them into a non-woodworking category; Others because they are no longer inspiring.

Mentors are grouped by age: old fogy, middle fogy and young fogy.

The Old Fogies

Mentor: John Heisz

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/IBuildItHome/ Website: https://ibuildit.ca/

I believe that my first Youtube woodworking subscription was to this channel run by Ontario, Carpenter John Heisz. It covers home improvements, especially the renovation of a 1953 Bungalow.

I was especially impressed with his advice on how to build kitchen drawers: Make the bottoms solid!

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzGbp-rRVNwyFhn9gHoZr5g

This is John’s maker channel. A lot of the stuff he makes are wooden components that can be used in a workshop. “This is a splinter off my main woodworking channel where I’ll post videos on a wider range of topics, but all closely related to DIY. These videos will usually be longer and more informal, with more detail than the full build videos on my main channel.”

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaJsEh2_YxWHMcjASs4cJcA

This is John’s third channel. To quote him, “On this channel there are NO RULES!!! I’ll be posting whatever I want, whenever I want and you can like that, OR HIT THE ROAD!!! :D”

Mentor: Paul Robinson

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/pauly1060  Website: http://geo-dome.co.uk/

Information about building geodesic domes. Yes, there are other subjects, usually filed under alternative. Avoid these.

The Middle Fogies

Mentor: Matthias Wandel

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/Matthiaswandel/featured Website: http://woodgears.ca/

Matthias is one of those people who almost didn’t make it onto this list. He makes a lot of wooden equipment, some of which actually solve real world problems. He likes engineering challenges, but his design sense, especially his use of colour, differs from mine.

Mentor: Jeremy Fielding

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_SLthyNX_ivd-dmsFgmJVg Website: http://www.jeremyfielding.com/

When I look at Jeremy’s shop, I realize how lucky I am to have so much space available. I like him because he shows people how to make equipment out of recycled, and inexpensive materials.

Mentor: Anonymous

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/bellevuesnekkeri Website: http://bellevuewoodshop.com/

Channel mainly about shop built tools and machinery. Anonymous is an automation electrician by trade.

Aside: Everyone knows my geographical prowess. When I first watched one of Anonymous’s videos, I was convinced that he must be living in Bellevue, Washington. Even at that point in the video where one can read a sign “Ikke gå under hengende last”, I said to myself, this guy has Norwegian ancestry. Well, I was certainly right about that. He writes: “I am located in a small city (pop aprox 7500) in the southern part of Norway.” My guess at location is now Lyngdal, in Vest Agder, Norway.

Mentor: Andreas Kalt

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTomKrWlaNa1YVVWwjpbZpA

Andreas is a biology teacher and a hobby woodworker. He seems to enjoy making things out of wood and learning new skills in the process. In each of his newer videos he has a section called “What I learned” in which he shares his insights.

The Young Fogies

Mentor: Jeremy Schmidt

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0T7tvy44mlQCjaTtparOZw

Jeremy also makes a lot of tools, workbenches, cabinets in addition to video production equipment.

Mentor: Marius Hornberger

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCn7lavsPdVGV0qmEEBT6NyA

Videos about woodworking, homemade machines, wood-turning, making jigs and more stuff from a small basement workshop.

Mentor: Cosmas Bauer

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/Alukuchen1992

Cosmas is a woodworker and tool maker. He presents a lot of interesting ideas about what can be made, rather than purchased.

Mentor: Jay Bates

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/Jayscustomcreations/

Jay does more woodworking than making tools for woodworking.

Has someone important been missed?