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.


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.


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


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.



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


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.






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