A Very Inspiring WS Tool Library Story

At the Tool Library BBQ fundraiser last weekend (which was a great success!), I had the pleasure to meet many Tool Library regulars. Many people exclaimed their love of this awesome community resource and described how they use it. I was really blown away when I met Gaston and heard the story of how he and his wife had exclusively used tools from the West Seattle Tool Library to turn their fixer-upper into a lovable, livable home. This is a great example of how to use a Tool Library!

Here is Gaston and his wife’s story: 

The West Seattle Tool Library has been an amazing resource for my wife and I.  Without it, we would not have been able to make such a great home for ourselves.  This is because we had a get a fixer upper and the resources of the Tool Library made it possible to fix it up and make it our home.

We really wanted our own home but were a bit scared by the highly competitive Seattle area housing market.  Even so, after years of saving we managed to get enough for a downpayment for a fixer-upper in an area we liked.  It felt great to finally have a place we owned, but it was not in great condition and we needed some help to fix, furnish, and renovate it so that we could be completely happy with it.  That is when my wife discovered the West Seattle Tool Library.

I consider myself handy-ish and confident enough to attempt renovations, but my toolbox only contains the basics.  The first issue I wanted to tackle was adding insulation to an exterior wall that had none.

Gaston_Insulation

I could easily open the wall and stuff some insulation in there however repairing the wall would be challenging as I had never done any drywall work before.  Thankfully the Tool Library staff knew what I was getting into.  They loaned me the tools I needed and showed me how to use them.

Gaston_Drywall

Now I have a great looking wall that no longer freezes the room in the winter.

Gaston_Drywall2

With now more space than our previous apartment, my wife and I had a mostly empty house that needed furnishing.  Being frugal people, we looked for good furniture that we could refinish rather than just buying new furniture.  This is where Brian of the Tool Library helped us out immensely.  Brian is a woodworker that loves his craft.  He has given us fantastic recommendations for refinishing wood furniture.  With his advice we have restored a deck patio set, cabinets, and even built our own wood pallet table.  This restoration allowed us to put our own personal touches into our furniture without spending a fortune.

Gaston_PalletBefore

Gaston_PalletAfter

Our current, and largest, project is adding wood flooring into two rooms and a small hallway.

Gaston_BeforeHardwoods

We both really like the look and feel of wood floors but haven’t been able to put them in because of the cost.  We could not afford a new wood floor so we began to search for used flooring.  With all the wood restoration knowledge from the Tool Library, we felt confident that we could refinish a used floor.  After a few months of searching, a friend of ours offered us the fir flooring in a house he was demolishing.  So we quickly set out to pull up the floorboards, remove the nails from each board, remove our old carpet, prep the subfloor, and nail the flooring down.  All with the tools and expert advice of the West Seattle Tool Library.  I am currently sanding the floor and its getting close to completion.

Gaston_AfterHardwoods

 

Gaston_BedroomDuring

 

Gaston_BedroomAfter

In addition we have also used tools and advice of the WSTL to help us:

  • Repair an old greenhouse and plant vegetables
  • Gaston_Greenhouse1
  • Clean, repair and refinish our back deck
  • Gaston_PressureWasher
  • Sand, stain, and refinish cabinets
  • Renovated a very outdated old bathroom

 

I feel like I am at the WSTL every weekend picking up a tool for my next project and asking Brian for more advice.  We have used the Tool Library to make a great home.  It has been invaluable to us.

 

We hope you utilize and support the WS Tool Library as well. If you are interested in learning more or perhaps volunteering at the Tool Library please contact us at (206) 659-8313.

Take care!

The SWS Team

Earth Week Barbeque and Fun

WSTL BBQ Poster

Celebrate Earth Week with your neighbors at the West Seattle Tool Library!

Save the Date, Sunday, April 19th from noon to 4pm for fun and food.

Activities for the whole family include,

    Healthy local foods BBQ, including veggies, burgers, brats, and delicious side dishes-Kids seed start and worm farming-Free garden tool sharpening and wheel barrow repairs-Free DIYBIKES.org bicycle repair clinics-Bio Char demonstrations-West Seattle Tool Library membership discounts-and for the current members, LATE TOOL RETURN AMNESTY!

Indoors or Outdoors at the Youngstown Cultural and Arts Center, 4408 Delridge Way SW.

Recommended donations $10 individual or $20 Family family-bbq-md

Start Earth Week off by celebrating the success of the West Seattle Tool Library on Sunday April 19th from noon to 4pm. The West Seattle Tool Library is a project of Sustainable West Seattle and provides tools for DIY projects as well as for community organizations working toward an earth friendly society.

Save the Date!! Tool Library Annual Fundraiser Party – FESTIVUS – Dec. 5

Tool Library Fundraiser Poster_2014_finalThe West Seattle Tool Library announces our second annual fundraiser gala.

Now in its 5th year of providing free tools, advice and workshop space to the community on a donation basis, the West Seattle Tool Library is holding its second annual fundraiser.

The fundraiser, which will also serve as Sustainable West Seattle’s annual winter holiday party, will be held Friday, December 5, from 5:00 to 9:00 pm at the SoDo MakerSpace, 1914 Occidental Ave SAll net proceeds will go to the maintenance of tool library operations, as well as potential enhancements such as extended hours and more classes. 

The fundraiser, continuing with last year’s theme of a “Festivus” party, will be a gala with a dinner buffet, beer, wine, soft drinks, music, an environmental poetry slam, a raffle, kid activities, and a tool sale. In addition, discounts will be offered on tool library lifetime memberships, and members who have tool library items they’ve been meaning to return will be offered amnesty for any returned tools. No fines and no questions asked!

Everyone is welcome. No cover charge except for a voluntary suggested donation for food. 

You Can Help Too!

Donations and volunteer help, including day-of setup help for the fundraiser, are still needed. If you are an individual or business with an item you’d like to donate for the raffle or are interested in volunteering, please contact us at library@wstoollibrary.org. Food and beverage donations are also welcome. Donors will be recognized at the event. 

Tool Library Facts

Since opening in the summer of 2010, the West Seattle Tool Library has built an inventory of more than 2,500 tools, signed up more than 2,000 members, facilitated over 13,000 loans,offered many classes and served as the home of the Fixer’s Collective and Ask an Expert night. It has been a model to many other tool libraries that have opened in the Puget Sound region and beyond, and received positive media attention as an example of the type of sharing economy projects needed to make the world more sustainable. It is a nonprofit project of Sustainable West Seattle. You can learn more and check out our inventory at wstoollibrary.org.

Saturday, November 8, is Green Seattle Day: Help Here in West Seattle!

Green Seattle Partnership logoWest Seattle is near many wonderful green natural spaces.  Some of these include areas with urban forests.  Did you know that urban forests are an intricate and vital part of Seattle’s natural space?  Urban parks and forests also contribute to the health of communities and neighborhoods as a common space shared by all kinds of people.  But, did you also know that your Local Urban Forests need you?

Join the Green Seattle Partnership on Saturday, November 8th, as we kick off planting season and celebrate Seattle’s urban forests and all they do for us with a day of volunteerism in 21 parks throughout the City.

The 9th Annual Green Seattle Day is a perfect time to roll up your sleeves and have a lasting impact on your community that you will be able to watch grow. This volunteer opportunity is a great way to see a physical difference in your community.  Seola parkthe Orchard Street Ravine, and Westcrest Park will all have volunteers out to help restore and conserve our urban forested areas.

This event is Green Seattle’s biggest event of the year.  Green Seattle Day is a great chance for first-time and long-time volunteers to help grow the forest in their own city by planting trees and other plants in city parks.

This year our main site will meet at the Rainier Beach Community Center (lunch included after planting), but there are 17 other locations around the city that need volunteers, so check out the full list here, pick your lucky park, and sign sign up now so that we can plan the best event for everyone.

To join us at the main site, sign up to volunteer at the East Duwamish GreenbeltKubota GardensLakeridge Park, or Rainier Beach Urban Farm & Wetlands, and meet at the Rainier Beach Community Center at 9am.

Green Seattle Day is great for all ages. We’ll bring the gloves, tools, and all of the plants, you bring the helping hands! Coffee and snacks provided at all sites, so register early so that we can have enough for everyone. Please dress for the weather, and wear sturdy shoes that can get wet and a little dirty. This is our biggest party of the year and we want you there! More information available at www.greenseattle.org. Please contact Norah Kates at info@greenseattle.org, or call 206-905-6943 with any questions.

 

SoDo MakerSpace Opens August 9; Drop by Any Saturday to Preview Space & Tools

SoDoMakerSpaceLogoOn August 9 a new local resource will open in SoDo.  Eric Renn, Founder of the “Make It Locally” Educational Campaign, says their  15,000 square foot facility, SoDo MakerSpace, will be a community workshop with rapid prototyping tools and a place to make (just about) anything. The vision for the 15,000 square foot facility includes a community classroom and event space, a certified commercial kitchen, a co-working area, and a fabrication and entrepreneur incubator space in Seattle’s light industrial neighborhood.  Address fro SoDo MakerSpace is 1914 Occidental Ave South.  This is immediately east of the Krispy Kreme donut shop on First Avenue and is the long structure adjacent

A growing number of dedicated volunteers and generous donations have helped to build out the community maker space over the last three months with materials, machines and resources that would have otherwise headed to a neighboring landfill. Eric says they’ve never experienced such serendipitous encounters and happenstance from incubating an idea into reality.

Eric also says that they need your help! Please join them on any Saturday from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm for a tour and to volunteer with weekly projects. Simply show up – you’ll feel welcome as SoDo MakerSpace works to build out the community classroom. If you have something that you are passionate about and would like to teach to the local community, SoDo MakerSpace would love to hear about it. They can also discuss your next project idea and put it on the calendar!

Grand Opening of SoDo MakerSpace

So, drop by on August 9 for the opening.  Eric says that SoDo MakerSpace is excited to open their doors to the public on August 9th! Their main goal at SoDo MakerSpace is to empower a community of consumers to be
transformed into producers through the exposure and education of today’s fabrication technology. We are starting by building onto the foundation that has been established for STE(A)M education reform in a few of Seattle and South King county schools.  The West Seattle Tool Library is also collaborating with SoDo MakerSpace to have some of the oversize tools made available in SoDo.

Help Is Needed To Finish the MakerSpace Build-out

Each day SoDo MakerSpace is encouraged at the support they get to help get the workshop/entrepreneur incubator venture up and running. They also need help with administrative tasks, spreading the word through marketing efforts, making financial connections and teaming up with individuals and corporations that will continue to allow SoDo MakerSpace to move from concept to reality unusually fast. Eric says they would like to expand their space from the current 2,000 square foot classroom to the entire 15,000sqft warehouse in this Fall/Winter!

The SoDo MakerSpace group is highly motivated and has a diverse set of skills spread among the participants and volunteers. They are hoping to continue this collaboration of like-minded individuals. They are asking folks to reach out to their social and professional networks and to collaborate so this evolution can continue to thrive in Seattle’s many burgeoning neighborhoods.

If you can’t make it on the open-house Saturdays, contact Eric Renn directly at 206-423-9253 to schedule a tour, or contact Eric by email at eric@sodo.ms  Eric can further explain the vision and identify the many opportunities for collaboration.

[mappress mapid=”537″]

Get Your Bike Tuned Under WS Bridge Thursday During Evening Commute

bike under ws bridgeBicycle commuters coming home from work this Thursday evening August 7th may find a surprise under the West Seattle Bridge.

The West Seattle Tool Library’s Fixers Collective and DIY Bikes will be doing their monthly workshop under the West Seattle Bridge.

“It’s been a long summer so far and many of our daily bicycle commuters have not found the time to work on their bicycles or take them into a local shop. We are coming to the riders to make ourselves more available,” Stu Hennessey said. Stu is owner of Alki Bike and Board, founder of DIY Bikes, and a Sustainable West Seattle board member.

The West Seattle Tool Library and DIY Bikes are projects of Sustainable West Seattle.

Help Kick Off Volunteer Weekend: May Day in Garden, DIY Bike Repair in High Gear

Get ready for a long and prosperous growing season. Start by building your soil. This week at COWS, (Community Orchard of West Seattle) we will be showing how to build rich and lasting soil beds using the lasagna garden method. The lasagna garden method is a layered approach to soil building using stuff you already have. This May Day edition of our usual Thursday Health and Harvest starts at 5:00 pm with the soil building class between 5 and 6:00 pm. 
The Community Orchard of West Seattle is located at the north end of the South Seattle College campus, 6000 16th Ave. S.W.  For more information, contact Stu at alkistu@hotmail.com, or visit the website  at www.fruitinwestseattle.org.

And, to continue through the weekend, DIY Bikes will be starting their non profit repair facility at the West Seattle Tool Library this Sunday May 4th from noon to 4:00 pm. This schedule will continue each Sunday through out the summer months.

DIY Bikes continues to teach anyone how to keep their bicycles running smooth and safe by using hands-on repair sessions. The tools, materials, facility and knowledge are all free. Major parts replacement for a particular bike may have a necessary pricing element,  and, as always donations are accepted.

Learn-Fix-Ride. See more at www.diybikes.org

DIY Bikes also will be doing bike repair and bike repair teaching at Alki Summer Streets, May 18th.

Seattle Parks Month-Long Earth Day Celebration: Help Clean, Restore and Improve City Parks – Pick A Park, Sign Up

EarthDayEverydayCelebrate Earth Month with Seattle Parks and Recreation.

Seattle Parks and Recreation, works toward improving the quality of life for Seattle residents every day. Because open spaces and greenspaces provide tremendous educational and recreational opportunities, it is vital to maintain them.

For example, our own Camp Long spent 2013 training the next generation of environmental stewards, helping 2,500 participants enhance their teamwork and leadership skills at the ropes challenge course, training 32 teens and 36 adults to teach outdoor experiential learning and hosting 22 immigrant families for a camping immersion weekend.

Parks and Recreation is choosing to celebrate not just April 22 as Earth Day, but all of April as Earth Month. Join Seattle Parks and Recreation in giving back to our parks and helping sustain and celebrate the City’s outdoor classrooms. Events kick off this Friday, April 4.

  • April 4: Remember the Earth at Ravenna Park, 10:00 am to 12:00 noon
    • Celebrate Earth Month by removing invasive plants at Ravenna Park with EarthCorps. Tools, gloves, light refreshments and education about local ecology provided. Register by April 1 at http://www.earthcorps.org/volunteer.php
  • April 5 and April 19: Earth Month at Seward Park, 10:00 am to 12:00 noon
    • Bring your family and friends to celebrate Earth Month at Seward Park and restore shoreline habitat with Friends of the Cedar River Watershed through the Green Seattle Partnership! For details, call Amy Kaeser at 206-297-8141.
  • April 5 and April 25: Earth Month at Camp Long, 10 am to 2:00 pm
  • April 6: Celebrate the Earth at Little Brook Natural Area, 10 am to 1:00 pm
  • April 12: Celebrate the Earth at Kingfisher Natural Area, 10 am to 1:00 pm
  • April 16: Specialized Programs Starlight Social at Miller Community Center, 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm
    • This is a fun weekly social program for special needs individuals 18 years and older at Miller Community Center. The theme for April 16 is Earth Day Cleanup and Craft. To register, call Specialized Programs at 206-684-4950.
  • April 17: Plant Exchange at Miller Community Center, 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm
    • Celebrate springtime in Seattle with fellow gardeners at Miller Community Center. Share plants, seeds, tools, supplies, yard art and knowledge. Everyone is welcome, especially new gardeners. You don’t need to bring anything, but recyclable containers will help carry away your treasures. For details, call the community center at 206-684-4753.
  • April 19: Earth Gay 2014 at Cheasty Greenspace, 9:30 am to 2:30 pm
  • April 19: Earth Day Celebration at Me-Kwa-Mooks Park, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
  • April 19: Earth Day Service Project at Seward Park, 10:00 to 2:00 pm
  • April 19: Beach Cleanup at Discovery Park and Lincoln Park, 10:00 am to 12:30 pm
    • Celebrate the Earth by making a difference in the health of Puget Sound. Puget Sound beaches get trashed (literally) during the winter months and need cleaning. All needed supplies and safety instructions provided. All children must be accompanied by an adult. To register, call the Discovery Park Visitors Center at 206-386-4236.
  • April 19Are You Bloomin’ Mad? at Discovery Park,  1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
    • Celebrate the Earth by learning about Pacific Northwest forests at Discovery Park. Enjoy the beauty and wonder of spring wildflowers and learn some of the local plants that make our habitats healthy. This program designed for ages 5 and older. All children must be accompanied by an adult. To register, call the Discovery Park Visitors Center at 206-386-4236.
  • April 21 through 27: Earth Week with Friends of the Burke-Gilman, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
    • Celebrate Earth Week on the Burke-Gilman Trail digging out blackberries with your neighbors. For details, email Jim Corson at jim.corson@comcast.net.
  • April 22: Earth Day Service Project for Youth at Rainier Beach Community Center
    • Join Rainier Beach Community Center in giving back. All youth ages 12-17 are encouraged to attend. This project may qualify for school service learning hours. For details, call the community center at 206-386-1925.
  • April 26: Earth Month at Westcrest Park, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
  • April 26: 34th Annual Carkeek Park Earth Day, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
    • Looking for ways to get involved at your favorite park? Visit Carkeek Park to learn about short-term and long-term opportunities to keep the area thriving. For more information, call Bill Malatinsky at 206-684-5999 or email Bill.Malatinsky@seattle.gov.

For more work party events, please visit http://www.seattle.gov/parks/calendar/volunteer.htm.

SWS Volunteer Orientation and Appreciation Party May 3 – Celebrating Past and Current Volunteers – Recruiting New Volunteers!

New Volunteer Event Poster-page-0Please come join Sustainable West Seattle at the Cross Fit Gym in Admiral for our first Volunteer Orientation and Volunteer Appreciation Party. Our new date is May 3 from 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm.

Our exciting and informative agenda will include: orientation for new volunteers including a description of what Sustainable West Seattle volunteers do and where new volunteers can help with the many opportunities we offer.

SWS volunteers work at the Tool Library, the Community Orchard, the Tox-Ick wastewater awareness program, the multiple bicycle activities including Spokespeople, West Seattle Bike Connections, DIY – teaching youth to repair bikes, and many more activities where our volunteers are the essential ingredient.

Later in the day, we will host our Volunteer Appreciation Party that will include a pot-luck. SWS will provide some of the more essential food and drink elements.

For additional information contact Kimberly Leeper at kimberly@sustainablewestseattle.org

Contact: Kimberly Leeper  Kimberly@sustainablewestseattle.org