Weekend Watch: Making in Small Spaces with One Car Workshop

Woodworking Workshop
Weekend Watch: Making in Small Spaces with One Car Workshop


This weekend, be sure to check out Bill Livolsi’s YouTube Channel, One Car Workshop. It’s all about using space efficiently to create cool stuff out of a single car garage. Despite his space constraints, he’s been able to make some very cool stuff, including his walnut and steel workshop stool seen in the video below.

YouTube player

When asked what was the most important thing to remember when working in a limited space, his reply was to, “Get creative. I learned very quickly that I don’t have the space needed to do everything the ‘right’ way. I want to work with every material I can get my hands on, but I don’t even have the space for a fully equipped wood shop. So you have to learn how to be flexible and versatile about your tools and what they can do, even if they weren’t designed for it.”

I suppose if you’re able to work well in a small space, if later you are able to obtain, say, a “three car workshop,” you’d hopefully know how to still park a car or two in it. On the other hand, as most makers, and stretching things a bit, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, could tell us, workspaces tend to go from order to disorder and expand to the space allotted them. Perhaps the clear storage cabinet he makes in the video below could help keep things constrained.

YouTube player

Livolsi put his first video online in December 2015, and went full-time making content for his channel and other outlets (including Make:) soon thereafter. According to him, “It’s going better than we expected.” He didn’t grow up in a family of makers, but learned about how to make stuff from YouTube and mentions Jimmy DiResta, Steve Ramsey, Matt Cremona, and Braxton Wirthlin as influences.

As he puts it, “Once I started making things, I caught the video bug and wanted to share my work with others.” Livolsi, who worked as a full-time writer for 10 years before striking out on his own, got to meet one of his influences, Jimmy DiResta at Maker Faire Bay Area 2016. He’s now working on a book with him about his life, career, and philosophy, and is naturally excited about the project.

Besides his YouTube channel, you can check out Livolsi’s work on the One Car Workshop website, which features further commentary about what he’s been working on.

As seen in one of his “Shop Journal” videos below, Livolsi sees mistakes as part of the learning process. He says that, “When I started making stuff, I was scared of mistakes. When I began to make videos, I was scared of rejection. When I went full-time, I was scared of failure. It took me a long time to realize this, but fear is a waste of time. If you try something and it doesn’t work, so what? You can learn from the experience and move on with your life. It’s not the end of the world. Just try stuff. Half of my project videos are just experiments that turned out better than I expected.”

YouTube player

So after you check out his videos, be sure to keep making stuff (and mistakes) of your own!

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

Jeremy is an engineer with 10 years experience at his full-time profession, and has a BSME from Clemson University. Outside of work he’s an avid maker and experimenter, building anything that comes into his mind!

View more articles by Jeremy S Cook