Julie Schlutz took a woodworking class at Palomar College, and discovered a passion for making fine wood pieces that changed her life.

Schlutz had always enjoyed do-it-yourself and crafting projects, but she didn’t discover how much she enjoyed working with wood until she took an entry level Cabinet and Furniture Technology class in 2018 at her husband’s suggestion.

“He said, ‘You would love this,’” Schlutz said. “I took it and said, ‘Woodworking and fine woodworking are a thing and I love it.’”

Before starting her business, Schlutz had worked as a real estate agent in addition to raising her children: Jennifer, now 7, and Charles, now 5. Since that class at Palomar College, Schlutz started a business called Woodworking Momma creating a variety of pieces from wood, including custom furniture, signs, and décor pieces.

“I did not love real estate as much as I hoped I would,” she said. “Woodworking is my passion and I’m putting all my eggs in that basket.”

Schlutz said she was fascinated to learn the ways she could work with wood. She still has the wooden clock, she created from her first class (pictured above).

“It was the hands-on of building something from scratch and learning all the traditional techniques,” she said. “I had never used a table saw and a band saw before. The new things really interested me.”

Schlutz has taken several woodworking classes each semester, and she said she has been impressed with the instructors.

“The instructors are all so knowledgeable in the field,” she said. “They are so different in their approach. Some can be focused on custom fine furniture and another segment is the industry side of cabinet making and the bigger projects. It’s nice to see the balance and to have both perspectives.”

Next spring Schlutz will be earning an associate degree in cabinet making and millwork. She plans to get a job with a cabinet maker so she can obtain a contractor’s license for cabinet making, which is required for installing larger pieces of furniture.

She credits Palomar College with introducing her to the world of woodworking.

“I never would have known where to go if Palomar wasn’t offering these classes,” she said.