Just a few steps outside the back door of his family’s house stands Luca’s 8×5' workshop. 
Photo of Luca's shop

Sixteen-year-old Luca Saroyan found a way to mash up his two passions: baseball and woodworking. The baseball bug bit him when he joined his first Little League team at the age of five with his dad as coach. The latter began when Luca's parents bought him a small wood vise, a handsaw, and a box of nails to introduce woodworking as part of his homeschool curriculum. One of his first projects was a workbench. "It was pretty much just an unstable pile of boards," he says. Later, his grandpa helped him build the sturdy bench he now uses in his shop. (See Luca and his granddad with their matching workbenches in issue 257, [November 2018].)

Building his first workshop on a limited budget at the age of 12 gave Luca the dedicated space he needed to work and develop his skills. He fabricated the 8×5' shop using materials he could afford. He admits that if he were to build a new one now, he would design it differently because he's much taller and barely fits through the door. Plus, he has learned a lot about construction since then.

Drawing of Luca's shop
Photo of the shop storage
Efficient storage keeps this super compact shop organized.
Photo of storage between studs
Luca utilizes the space between wall studs for tool storage.

He sheathed the wood-framed walls with OSB that he plans to cover with painted siding as his budget allows. Fortunately, the dry California climate helps avoid problems from excess moisture.

Luca tapped an outside receptacle at the house for his shop's power, routing the wiring through conduit under the concrete and into his shop. His tools don't require much amperage, so a couple of GFCI-protected receptacles and a light switch serve him just fine. 

Looking at the tools and materials crammed into every nook and cranny of his shop, you would think that Luca is a master of the game of Tetris. Shelves and tool racks fill the cavities between wall studs. Magnetic tool racks along the top wall plate hold his turning tools and files. Even the eaves hold other tools, turning blanks, and supplies.

In nice weather, Luca rolls his caster-mounted tools and workbench outside. Being outdoors also makes cleanup easier.

Luca eventually fell in love with woodturning by closely watching his grandpa at the lathe. As an avid baseball player with his eyes on the major leagues, he naturally started turning bats. Swinging one of his own bats during games, Luca bats .750, including a memorable double off the outfield wall (about 300 feet). 

A natural extension of his woodturning interests lies in turning pens and bowls,  some from recycled skateboards. He looks forward to purchasing a full-size lathe someday so he can turn larger bowls.

Photo showing clamp rack and drill press
Turning blanks and a clamp rack line one wall of the workshop. The vintage benchtop drill press tucks into a corner.
Photo of a baseball bat made by Luca
Luca hits it out of the park by making, selling, and using his custom, regulation baseball bats.

Luca imparts wisdom beyond his years. When asked for advice on starting woodworking in a small space, he advises, "Figure out what your passion is and buy tools specifically for that. And don't buy tools you don't need." He also recommends building space-saving jigs like the flip-top tool cart for his mitersaw and grinder—anything to save space.

Luca has gained the attention of tool companies that sponsor him and he earns a little money from affiliate relationships with online vendors. 

Photo of Luca's Hammer Time logo
Photo of Luca Saroyan
Luca Saroyan exudes confidence, is eager to learn new things, and isn't afraid to make mistakes. He loves inspiring others by sharing his projects and ideas.

Follow Luca on social media at Hammertime Woodworks on YouTube, hammertimewoodworks on Instagram, and his website: hammertime-woodworks.square.site