How to Do It (Mostly) Yourself at ADX

Tinker your ideas into existence at Portland’s “gym for making stuff.”

By Katie Vaughan September 21, 2016 Published in the Design Annual: Fall 2016 issue of Portland Monthly

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Five years after Kelley Roy, a firestarter for the “maker movement,” founded the communal Southeast Portland workshop ADX, the 14,000-square-foot industrial clubhouse is a haven for a new generation of artisans. Members share hulking, often expensive tools, pool their insider knowledge, and can collectively chip in on just about any handmade project, from welding to screen printing. But ADX can also help noobs who don’t know a planer from a joiner. The facility boasts a slate of classes open to nonmembers, opportunities to connect with experts for one-on-one instruction, and an on-site fabrication team that can be hired to craft a project for you.

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Image: Courtesy ADX

1. Let There Be Light

Fabricator Josh Mabry teaches wiring basics in his Edison Lamp Class, which will send proud students home with a trendy handmade light fixture and the skills to rewire that antique lamp long abandoned in the garage. Too hands-on? Instead, ante up for one of the former bartender’s own modernist Made By Mabry lighting fixtures, which employ wood and acrylic to mimic skyscrapers with narrow “windows” of light. Class $75–100; lighting $110 and up at Made Here PDX

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2. Table, Topped

ADX’s intensive Live-Edge Shaker Tables Class Series requires zero prior experience. You’ll craft your own chic, rough-edged conversation starter over the course of seven classes, while also learning shop safety and how to handle woodworking tools, from table saws to mortisers to biscuit joiners. $545–695

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3. This One’s Just Right

Having a Goldilocks moment? Commission a one-of-a-kind chair from an ADX pro: Bill Wessinger of Wessinger Woodworks uses his ADX shop space to make furniture in a midcentury–inspired Danish Modern style, including seemingly weightless three-legged chairs. Studiomoe crafts Nordic-inspired pieces with woods like salvaged Oregon walnut. Prices vary.

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4. Heavy (Pretty) Metal

The fabrication team at ADX can create just about anything in its metal shop, an excellent resource for custom metal work from industrial-chic shelving and hand-cut signage to steel beer taps. If they’re good enough for Hood River’s acclaimed brewery pFriem, they’re good enough for your kegerator. Prices vary.

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5. Cover Up

From picking the right fabric to sewing and stuffing basics, it’s all covered in Upholstery 101. In these classes, an upholsterer at ADX will show you how to give an old couch new life or modernize an outdated chair. $68–97

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