Javi’s Workshop

I have wanted a workshop in our house for a long time, but I haven’t found the right space.  Our house in Louisville has a garage, but it is not in the kind of condition I’d need for a permanent wood shop. There are several holes on the walls, it is not insulated, and there is no good lighting. Our plan is to eventually renovate the garage, and we have several ideas for what to do with the space, but realistically we don’t know when we will be able to make it all happen. In the meantime I need a space where I can work on projects.  My initial plan for a workshop included several power tools, but power tools require space that I don’t currently have, and they also tend to be very expensive.  So, given my limited space and budget, I decided to start a workshop without power tools. Everything is going to be done with hand tools, which means less dust, less noise, less space, and less chance of losing a finger in the blink of an eye.


The location of my meanwhile workshop will be a small area in our basement that was the dog’s room until a couple of weeks ago. Now it’s my workshop and the dog’s room (they don’t mind sharing)!  I removed the old carpet, which looked terrible and was filthy and stinky. I moved the dog crates from one side of the room to the other, and a couple of shelves from one wall to another wall just to open up as much space as possible. Unlike every HGTV show, when I removed the carpet I did not find pristine hardwood floors…instead I found OSB subfloor, which works just fine for the shop. It is not a huge space but it is enough for my needs right now. A bit of organization and creativity will go a long way in this type of space.  My first project is to build a traditional Moravian bench. I purchased a DVD from the Wood and Shop website and I am following their instructions. The great thing about this bench is that it is portable and it requires different types of joints that will serve as practice before I get into more delicate projects. The bench is heavy and solid but can be broken down into several parts to transport it if needed (ideally when we refinish the garage!). The whole building process will be done with hand tools (I will make another post about the tools I am using later) and to keep cost as low as possible I will be using 2 x 4s from the local home store as my main material.


With so many resources online (youtube, websites, forums, blogs, etc…) I have been able to gather plenty of woodworking instruction, and now I need to put into practice. A while ago I took a woodworking class here in Louisville where I built a small shaker style coffee table, and that class was the perfect place to learn some hands on basic woodworking skills. Now it is up to me to try things out and figure out ways to complete my projects successfully. More posts detailing my woodworking adventures coming up!  If you have recommendations for websites, books, or personal stories please share in the comments below.

The shaker table in our room


8 responses to “Javi’s Workshop”

  1. Felicitaciones! El tener un sitio para perseguir a la obra es divino. Yo construí un estudio para mi música en el zotano nuestro y ya casi cumplo los 20 años en tener un lugar que es mío. El taller en mi colegio en Bogotá era también completamente manual ( con un taladro electrico) y me enseñó el no tener afán. Lo importante es la calidad de la herramienta. Bendiciones!

  2. Wow. What a cool space to work in. The tools are incredible. Woodworking is a difficult, but inspiring thing to do. The next time you’re in town, we’ll have to go to the big woodworking cooperative here in Nashville where they share tools, space, larger machines, etc.

  3. Make sure you have enough light overhead. Also a good table saw for straight cuts on large pieces when you get that far . Keep that one in the garage for sure with a lot of space in front and back and sides for long and wide cuts. Very useful.put planes on their side so you don’t hurt the blades. A bandsaw is also very useful. Make sure it has enough horsepower. Pegboard the walls so you can hang all your chisels and other tools visible. Just some suggestions. Looks like a great project and always a nice thing to do. Good luck and may you keep your handsaws straight.

  4. I think that mastering the art of working with hand tools is awesome, but I doubt it would really take much money to get your garage up to par as a functional workshop. I was in a similar situation at my previous house and believe it or not I actually made a decent workshop out of an old soccer goal that was given to me and scrap sheets of corrugated metal that I hustled from trash piles. I wish that I had a picture of it, it was not beautiful, but it served me very well. Good luck!

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