From a 200 year old ruin to a workshop, a 3 year journey... #15: Finally a floor in the workshop and some more...

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Blog entry by Serradura posted 10-06-2013 11:51 AM 3763 reads 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 14: Doors and Windows Part 15 of From a 200 year old ruin to a workshop, a 3 year journey... series Part 16: Not much happened lately.. »

It’s all because of a lovely lady that the floor became a reality in our workshop. Yes, she raised me and gave me my motto in life.. “Doing things for free, doesn’t mean doing them for nothing. Appreciating all work that was done, she decided, while spending a 3 months holiday in Portugal, that she could only leave after being sure that her son would finally had a finished workshop in which he could work on a brighter future.

We started with the concrete beam beneath the front doors. Because the workshop is a bit underneath street level, it had to keep the majority of water out. Yes, it works! It took a lot of concrete, but than, that by far is the cheapest building material in the country.

Way back, we decided that we wouldn’t have a concrete floor in the workshop. Extremely long periods of heavy rainfall made us realize that in the worst circumstances the water should be able to sink in the ground.
This also means that we have to put as many things as we can on wheels or legs. Now, maybe it will never happen, but when water would flow in the workshop it won’t do any damage.

So we got 4 pallets of bricks and 2 pickup trucks full of sand and made ourselves a (more or less) leveled floor….

Now we did get more bricks donated than we needed for the workshop. The thought on that was being able to get to the door without going thru the mud. Just in two days we finished all the pavement in the back garden, making it also accessible and useful for a wheel barrel etc. The garden itself will be a project on it’s own (in the future), but still we enjoy the olives every year that our three trees provide us with.

Re-using old materials and giving secondhand objects a new life is all about being flexible and anticipating early in the project on the possibilities that lay ahead. Our old miter saw back fence was broken (by some hard dry walnut piece that got stuck because it broke) and needed replacement. It was the reason for making a miter saw station and incorporate that missing fence in to it.

I found some old doors from a hotel kitchen, an old audio cabinet and, when coming for a holiday, some family members brought two pieces of 70×70x7mm. aluminium. These were the ingredients, together with the 15 year old miter saw that runs on selfmade brushes, to make a usable tool. The cheapest way to make the base was brickwork. These big brick (50×20x10 cm.) come at just 35 cents a piece and they make a strong and waterrisistend base. Nice thing next to that is the way we could reinforce the wall behind it by poring in some concrete.

It took some effort to get everything lined up and calibrated into 90 and 180 degrees all the way, but in the end it works! Now, nothing is finished at this point.

There’s a lot of things to be recycled and to be made to size of the workshop. Sometime somebody gave me a tip about an old hotel that was renovating and was having a lot of old furniture left over. I did what I alway do and took the opportunity to get free cabinets and workbenches. I repaired some of the cabinets and sold them, leaving me with all the storage space, tables and wood that I need, for free!

Next time: interior design and workshop layout….

-- Não só Serradura, Tomar, Portugal

9 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30678 posts in 3799 days

#1 posted 10-06-2013 12:02 PM

You will have the classiest workshop in the world. It’s looking beautiful.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Oldtool's profile


3512 posts in 3651 days

#2 posted 10-06-2013 12:12 PM

I envy you, going to the workshop will be like going on holiday. That is becoming one very fantastic place to spend your time, beautiful and comforting. This shop exudes with the love and thought put into it. Enjoy.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5342 days

#3 posted 10-06-2013 12:24 PM

This is such a fun blog to watch.
You are truly a craftsman.
My back hurts just looking at the pictures.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 3467 days

#4 posted 10-06-2013 01:37 PM

Thanks so much for doing this blog. Watching your shop come to fruition has been a pleasure (and like Steve said , My back also hurts just LOOKING at these pictures!)

And I absolutely LOVE the paver floor. I may look at something similar when I finally get to build my new shop. It “MIGHT” just be cheaper than a poured concrete floor and allow any water that gets in to seep away thru it. Interesting concept!

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View DocSavage45's profile


9071 posts in 4303 days

#5 posted 10-06-2013 02:19 PM

As well as being a creative person, you are practical, and waste nothing. You have used the Wabi-Sabi mindset well. Great that you have loving and supportive people to make your karma and dogma work in sync.

Saw your video’s, enjoy your blog. You have worked hard but you have shown that it pays off.

“I do what I always do.” Some people would not even think to do what you do!

did you provide drainage tile? Or is the soil sandy and drainage is natural?

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 3651 days

#6 posted 10-06-2013 02:41 PM

the shop is coming along nicely.great save on the hotel furniture,hard to beat free stuff.your shop is beautiful and you’ve done some amazing work.

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View weav's profile


133 posts in 3828 days

#7 posted 10-06-2013 03:52 PM

Amazing. I love reading the progress and completion of workshops. They give me ideas and encouragement to improve my own which is just a few tools in my garage/storage barn. Your shop is amazing. And we’re just seeing the outer walls. I think a better word than workshop would be “enjoyment center” because when someone is walking toward the door your not thinking your going to be seeing sawdust and hearing saws and hammers. It’s a WOW

-- jerry

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4795 days

#8 posted 10-06-2013 04:23 PM

An amazing transformation inside and out. Your miter saw set up looks great and you will surely never regret having made it so well. The cabinets were a real find. I like the glass doors that let you see what is in the shelves. Very handy. The floor was an excellent idea too. Interlocking tiles are used a lot here in Norway for driveways and also sometimes in the garages. I know they use them a lot in Holland too. A good choice for your shop floor, but you might want some resilient mats place around to save your legs.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View NormG's profile


6576 posts in 4464 days

#9 posted 10-06-2013 06:02 PM

Wow, great job, congrats

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

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