The Woodworking Life

The Woodworking Life

Workshop on Wheels

comments (3) February 5th, 2009 in blogs

GLASTARZA Gerald La Starza, editor
thumbs up 46 users recommend

A vacant trailer soon becomes a fully functioning workshop.
Before renovation.
After renovation, nice looking bench.
A vacant trailer soon becomes a fully functioning workshop. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

A vacant trailer soon becomes a fully functioning workshop.

Woodworkers are resourceful people. They turn planks into chairs, scrap into jigs, and mason jars into nail-holding systems. Take Jose Salazar of Indian Springs, Nev. He took a trailer that was sitting abandoned on a neighboring lot and transformed it into a woodshop.

Jose's story is a typical one: amateur woodworker evolves into a serious woodworker with not enough space. Prior to this point, he had been practicing his craft in a 12-ft. by 12-ft. side room of his house. However, he got squeezed out when his family grew and the shop became a kids' room.

The Salazar family expanded. Jose needed to find a new space to work wood.

But then an opportunity presented itself in the form of a 30-ft. by 8-ft. camper that was left behind next door by a neighbor who moved away. The trailer was on its way to the junkyard, when Jose crossed paths with a town inspector, who let Jose take ownership.

A neighbor moved away and abandoned the camper. But Jose came to the rescue.

But Jose had his work cut out. He says it was "an ugly eyesore to say the least, but if you squinted your eyes and tilted your head 5º off top dead center, you can almost see the potential gleaming beneath that unsightly oxidized exterior.”


A good shop is an organized shop. Jose built the cabinets from MDF.

His positive attitude and grit helped him navigate the bureaucracy of the zoning, health, and DMV departments. In the end, Jose was permitted to keep his trailer if he kept it on wheels, only powered it with extension cords, and shut down the bathroom. However, they allowed him to make the shop level by propping it up on cinder blocks.

With the help of his daughter, Jose created the shop. He had about 78-in. of height to work with, so he first cut the large sheets down to size outside and brought them in. His workbench was the first project he made in this new space. A drill press, bandsaw, lathe, and tablesaw all fit nicely in this space. Jose organized the shop with cull MDF cabinets, using the recycled hardware from the original cabinets.


Looks like there's ample space to work.

If you feel inspired by Jose's story, visit his blog and see his progress. But if you want to take it a step further, visit and read Fine Woodworking's Laying Out a Workshop to make your very own shop on wheels.

posted in: blogs, workshop

Comments (3)

jamiecook674 jamiecook674 writes: Jose you are doing great job man. I am inspired. Good Luck!
Posted: 5:06 am on December 15th

fresco fresco writes: I really like a shop that has everything within reaching distance. You also made do with what was at hand. I love it. Just think in the future if you guys decide to move residence just pick up the wife and kid and move. When you arrive your shop is ready to go sans electric power which with a Xtension chord you can proceed to make saw dust immediately. 100% kool.
Posted: 1:26 am on February 26th

andyfew322 andyfew322 writes: aw man, that turned out awesome, thanks for posting this. I can't believe that you actually got it to work out like that.
Posted: 9:10 pm on February 25th

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