By Shawn Chitnis

LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS4) – A do-it-yourself enthusiast in Colorado saw the need to create a space for people to take on projects with the equipment and expertise they require but can’t make room for in their own homes, so he launched My Own 2 Hands. The space welcomes anyone looking for some extra help on DIY projects.

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“You don’t have to be a master woodworker to explore a place like this,” said Jeff Hahn, the owner of My Own 2 Hands.

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Hahn remembers trying to complete a DIY project on his own but lacking the space and tools he needed to complete custom doors. He believed others could also use a place to give them room to work on projects and access industrial size tools they may not be able to afford or store in their own homes. The business also helps to ensure safety for all users and give them a clean work environment they can keep out of their house. His staff of seven also includes experts that can serve as mentors to help complete a project.

“After I did that first table, I was like, ‘Oh this is something I really think I want to do,’” said Michelle Medina, an artist who plans to bring projects to the business each month.

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She had always loved making items but did not have much experience with woodworking before her first DIY project. Medina made a table two years ago in a friend’s backyard. She was grateful for the space but still has to borrow or rent tools. Living in an apartment makes it impossible to attempt projects at her own home.

“It was kind of a long process just to get everything compiled so I could start working,” she explained.

Last year she took the maker’s orientation so she can begin using equipment and bring projects to My Own 2 Hands.

“Since then it’s kind of been a place, a go-to place for any of my projects moving forward,” Medina said. “There’s so many tools I have access to here so it’s just easier to come here and do everything.”

The orientation covers safety guidelines and the basics of the equipment you can use. Participants also make coasters during the session. While some customers will come in once a month, others are already visiting three times a week.

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“I hadn’t touched a piece of wood since 7th grade shop glass,” said Lee Moroz, another customer and business owner.

He also found himself taking on his first DIY project two years ago and realizing he enjoyed the experience. He replaced the top of a table that would have been too expensive if they went through the original retailer. What was just a way to take care of a need at home and save money quickly became a hobby.

“Totally caught the bug and wanted to do more and more projects and that’s what I’m doing now,” he said.

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Moroz started using his garage with tools he purchased to build more items. It got to the point where the cars would be pulled out during the day so he could assemble a workstation and complete projects.

“Then I found out about this place and it’s been a complete game changer for me,” he said of My Own 2 Hands.

Not only was the equipment better but he enjoyed having access to classes and experts inside the facility. The passion for DIY projects turned into a side business for him. Now he makes cutting boards along with cheese and steak boards, plus bottle openers. He sells the items and had plenty of orders during the holidays. He was at the business every day for more than a month completing projects.

Moroz compares it to a gym membership, highlighting the equipment he can use at the shop that he would never bring home. In some cases the tools can be ten times more expensive than what he might buy for his own garage.

He and Medina both benefit from working around others in a shared space. It is a flip on the traditional image of woodworking, a shop class in school or a family member’s shed behind the house. Neither were as much of a social setting as what My Own 2 Hands hopes to provide as a new business.

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“They want those type of social experiences and the kind of collaboration you get from those kind of experiences is invaluable,” Hahn said.

Beyond members helping each other on how to use tools or even advise them on how to create the best possible product, the chance to build an item yourself creates an experience in addition to obtaining an item for your home.

“I think it’s a growing appeal,” Hahn said. “This is something that people want to pursue and consume they just might not know how to go about doing it.”

He says at a time when everyone can hire a service for all their needs, DIY projects remain popular. Hahn says some of his customers include a husband and wife making salt and pepper shakers together. They can tell their dinner guests about it when anyone spots the items on their dining table.

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“It’s not just a salt and pepper shaker anymore, it’s an experience that goes right along with it.”

While most of the work is with wood, there is also sowing classes and glass work happening on site. Other small businesses also use the space to connect with clients. It’s creating an environment for many they could never achieve at home with a DIY project.

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“The thing I like about it too is it’s really setup to be a community so you get to meet like minded people,” said Medina. “You get to discuss your projects, get ideas on new things you want to do.”

Shawn Chitnis