Power Tools 101 Workshop at Austin Live|Work, Nov. 7 2015

Hi! I’m Michelle Ashley, of Mighty Tiny House, LLC located at Austin Live|Work, and I build tiny houses out of salvaged material!

This workshop is designed for those who have never used power tools, but would like to learn how. It’s specifically tailored to women, but is open to anyone who may feel intimidated by the deft moves of those “tool jockeys” (you know who you are!) Or anyone who wants to learn the proper way to handle salvaged wood and power tools.

There will be no egos or braggadocio! This is an intimidation-free zone, and there are no silly questions! We were all beginners at some point, and this workshop will help you become familiar with wood, design and tools and hopefully give you the confidence to try your hand at these on your own.

Here’s the syllabus of what we’ll cover:


Measuring – How to read a tape and accurately measure a space.

Materials selection – Determining what type of material will fit in the space, the style, and the budget you have to work with.

Design – Choosing a pattern or application that best utilizes the dimensions of the materials and the space. And most importantly, a pattern you like!

Doing the math – I know, yuk! But it’s pretty easy math. Learn how to factor in things like kerfs and angles so you can take an accurate list to the saw.


COMPOUND MITER SAW:Learn how to make safe, accurate cuts on a compound miter saw and what the difference is between it and a chop saw. Everyone will get a chance to actually use this workshop must-have and chop some wood! We’ll learn how to square a board, save time by gang-cutting and we’ll touch on angles and bevels too. (In-depth angles & bevels for trim is a whole other workshop by itself!)

TABLE SAW:You’ll learn how to safely set up a table saw; adjusting the fence, the blade height and angle, and what the difference is between cutting and ripping and when to use each.

RANDOM ORBITAL SANDER:We’ll use this little handheld sander to soften the edges, smooth the surface and remove some paint. Learn when to use different grits and to select the appropriate speed for the wood and the finish you want.

PNEUMATIC FINISH NAILER:Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to nail big pieces of wood in a single trigger-squeeze! Okay, maybe not the locomotive part, but it’s definitely more useful than a train if you’re building a house. Learn the difference between straight and angled nailers, how to choose the right gauge and length of nail for the job, and how to safely use this powerful tool that will save your thumbs and enable you to nail boards using only 2 hands instead of 4!


ALL builders make mistakes, NOT just newbies! We’ve all precisely cut a beautiful, perfect mitered edge…on the wrong side of the board. We’ve nailed a board in the wrong place, and some of us have even nailed an entire wall to a floor. (Laying on the floor, mind you, not standing, as it should be!)

We’ll learn what to do with those inevitable flubs, how to get the board off the wall without damaging it, de-nail it and “salvage” it for future use. Or if all else fails, how to make a flub a new, cool part of your design!

If we have time, we’ll use the pneumatic de-nailer and show you how to get even the most stubborn nails out of wood. And how and when to use a Wonder Bar, rocking pliers and a good, old-fashioned hammer.

We’ll be using salvaged wood to create some really cool patterns on the interior walls and loft ceiling of an 8’x20′ custom tiny house. These patterns are easy and you can use them to create exciting, beautiful finishes in your own tiny house! You’ll also get to see the difference in salvaged wood and wood from a managed forest, and why reclaiming this wood that was harvested years ago not only keeps it out of our landfills, but creates a better, stronger home than you could imagine. All for the price of just a little human effort. What my Gramma Ruby used to call “elbow grease!”


1. Eye protection: Safety glasses rated for construction work are a must. These are cheap and available at any hardware store or on Amazon.

2. Gloves: I highly recommend full-grain, leather gloves for handling wood. There are others available, but I’ve found the basic yellow ones keep the most splinters out of your hands, and provide some cutting and abrasion protection.

3. Closed-toed, hard-soled shoes:Steel toes are NOT necessary, in fact, I don’t recommend them, as they’re heavy. But hard soles are a must. I’ve put a couple of nails through even my thick, lug-soled work boots, so anything less is just asking for it!

4. A signed liability waiver. (We’ll provide them on-site.) We will be working with tools that can be dangerous if not handled with care. Everyone takes the workshop at their own risk, and for this reason, attendance is limited to those 18 and up.

If you have things like a tape measure, small crowbar or other tools you’d like to bring, feel free. But if you don’t, not to worry; we’ll have plenty of tools here for you to use.

Class will be from 1-4 on Saturday, November 7, 2015, and is only $25 per person. We’ll be outside a lot (remember to bring your sunscreen), so please dress accordingly, and in work clothes you won’t mind getting a little sawdust on! Coffee, tea, water and snacks will be provided.

Location is Austin Live|Work, 7300 Kellam Road, Del Valle, TX 78617

It’s about 6 miles south of the Austin airport and 1/2 mile from COTA (Circuit of the Americas). Look for the gate with the “Austin Live|Work” banner. Follow the gravel road to the back of the property. Feel free to call for directions or more information.

Call (310) 903-6057 before the workshop class starts. If you are running late, call (512) 710-7007, during the event.

Class will be limited to 13 (not counting the organizers) so we can all see, hear and get time on the tools. If your plans change, please let us know so we can let someone else take your spot. I look forward to meeting you!

Please join our meetup and RSVP here:

Power Tools 101

Saturday, Nov 7, 2015, 1:00 PM

Austin Live|Work
7300 Kellam Rd Del Valle, TX

5 Tiny House Community Members Attending

Hi! I’m Michelle Ashley, of Mighty Tiny House, LLC, and I build tiny houses out of salvaged material!This workshop is designed for those who have never used power tools, but would like to learn how. It’s specifically tailored to women, but is open to anyone who may feel intimidated by the deft moves of those “tool jockeys” (you know who you are!) …

Check out this Meetup →

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