Interview: Aimé Ontario Fraser


Making Things Work

The first woman I was ever aware of in the realm of woodworking publications is Aimé Ontario Fraser. It was the early 1990s when I began to notice her name, and occasionally her picture, in the pages of Fine Woodworking. By then, I had spent a decade in custom furniture and cabinet shops in England and the States. One of the shops where I’d worked had three women, along with about ten men. But in the pages of the woodworking magazines I read, women rarely made an appearance.

The last article I remember seeing with Fraser’s byline was in 2005. After that, she slipped from my notice. Every so often I wondered what had become of this woman who was among the first to normalize images of women in woodworking – to get our eyeballs so used to seeing women (of all ages, sizes, etc., just as we do…

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7 Responses to Interview: Aimé Ontario Fraser

  1. Keith says:

    I was lucky enough to have three daughters. All spent time in the shop with me in their elementary school years and made many projects that they still have today (in their late 30s and early 40s). While none pursued woodworking as a hobby, I always felt it gave them a “can do” spirit, sense of accomplishment,value of delayed gratification, and one of them even ended up being an industrial engineer.


  2. Lane Carter says:

    I read you article with great enjoyment including the bit about laying down of planes. I have attended untold numbers of woodworking shows and retail shops. I have been told “Alway lay a plane face down so that …” I have been told “Always lay a plane on its side so that…” I’m convinced it’s like “pins then tails” and “tails then pins”. Now I’m much smarter. Whatever works for you is correct.


  3. mike says:

    I need to take a class on mansplaining. Honestly I don’t know if I do it. In general I try to avoid giving people unsolicited advice or opining on things that are matters of personal preference. So maybe that saves me
    from a lot of mansplaining. But I tend to be more polite to women….

    I really enjoyed this interview/profile. “With Wakened Hands” is my favorite of the Krenov series, and his (her) commentary on the students’ works were perfect.


  4. WOODSKILLS says:

    Fascinating story! Love the twists and turns. Aimé Ontario Fraser was obviously a pioneer and paved the path for many other woodworkers. She has so much accumulated expertise to offer. The bit about laying a plane down. I lay them down on the sole BUT have the front of the sole resting on a thin scrap of wood. How is that for a compromise 🙂

    Norman @woodskillsmag


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