The Build Up Initiative: Let’s Make Woodworking Accessible to All

The Build Up Initiative: Let’s Make Woodworking Accessible to All

Woodworking changes lives for the better — and that’s no exaggeration.

I receive messages all the time from woodworkers with disabilities telling me how their time in the shop has such a positive impact on their lives.

But it’s not always easy.

Heavy tools, unwieldy boards — these are just a few of the challenges woodworkers with disabilities face.

To help improve accessibility to woodworking, the Katz-Moses Woodworkers with Disabilities Fund (KMWDF) is launching a new project.

We’re calling it The Build Up Initiative — and we’d love for you to join.

Are you a woodworker with a disability, or know someone who is?

Click the button below to apply as a recipient of the Build Up Initiative, or email our charity director to nominate someone.


Real change starts in a community.

And for the Build Up Initiative, we need support from the woodworking community at large.

We’ve developed plans for three devices that help with workholding and moving heavy items around the shop…

A low combination-workhorse, a gantry crane with an electric hoist, and a micro-workbench with a one-handed vise.

Volunteers can build one or more of these projects, then get them to woodworkers with disabilities who would benefit from their use.


There are three ways to get involved in The Build Up Initiative:


The bulk of the materials for these builds can be found at your local lumber yard or big-box store.

But the gantry crane and micro-workbench with one-handed vise require special hardware and machinery.

Your donations let us purchase the electric hoists and one-handed vise hardware needed for this initiative to succeed.

All donations go directly to supporting woodworkers with disabilities, and you’ll receive a tax deductible receipt for the value of the project upon successful completion and delivery.

Your contributions will also help us develop future initiatives to support woodworkers with disabilities.


If you’re a woodworker who'd love to build for a cause — be a volunteer builder.

Choose one or more projects you’d like to build, then purchase the digital plans in the Katz-Moses Tools store.

*For the micro-workbench with one-handed vise, you can also purchase the physical jaw templates which include a set of digital plans.

Once you buy a set of plans (all proceeds go to supporting the KMWDF), we’ll send you an email with an application form and follow-up instructions.

We’ll use your application to connect you with a recipient, so you know exactly who you’re building your project for.

After completing the build, you can deliver it to the recipient. Smaller projects may be shipped. If you’re unable to deliver it yourself, we’ll connect you to a volunteer in your area to help with delivery and installation.

You’ll also receive a tax-deductible receipt for a predetermined value of the project, which includes materials and time.

As a volunteer builder, your time in the shop helps a woodworker with a disability pursue their creative passion.

Want to make a project that makes a difference? Start by purchasing a set of plans.


If you’re unable to donate or build a project, help us as a volunteer.

We need people to get these devices across the finish line to their new homes — and for a whole lot more.

Fill out an application to volunteer with the KMWDF and we’ll work with you to find the best organizational fit.


We developed these projects to address two of the biggest challenges woodworkers with disabilities face in the shop — workholding and moving heavy objects.

If you’d like to build one of these projects to be donated, purchase the plans and we’ll send you an email with follow up instructions.


This micro-bench with one-handed vise helps makers with compromised grip/hands secure a workpiece with one hand.

Its portable design allows it to be placed on any work surface around the shop, and the added dog holes provide even more functionality with holdfasts or bench dogs.

*If you purchase the physical jaw templates, you’ll also receive a set of plans.


The gantry crane aids in lifting heavy objects and moving them around the shop.

With a lifting capacity of up to 500 pounds (with the recommended hoist), this can prove invaluable for moving tools and assemblies, flipping table tops, transporting lumber, and more.


The low combination work horse provides a lower work surface suitable for makers in wheelchairs and with other disabilities — or for those wanting a more comfortable over-the-workpiece user experience.

Based on a traditional saw bench, it includes dog holes for securing work with bench dogs or holdfasts, and a bird’s mouth on one side for rip or cross cutting boards. Optional plane stops can be used as well for planing on the push or pull stroke. As the bench can be sat on as well, the ever effective “butt clamp” can hold pieces while sawing, chiseling, or planing.


Whatever your level of involvement, we want you to be part of the Build Up Initiative.

Monetary donations, building skills, time — they’ll all improve the lives of woodworkers with disabilities.

You already know the joy and sense of purpose creating objects from wood brings.

Help us support every woodworker so they can better pursue their passions, careers, and happiness.


Let’s get the word out there.

Tag #buildupinitiative on social media with photos of how you’re supporting the project.

Make sure to also include our social handles (@kmwwdf and @kmtools on Instagram, @katzmoseswoodworking on TikTok)...

And together we’ll make sure the entire woodworking community knows about our mission.


The Katz-Moses Woodworkers with Disabilities Fund (KMWDF) is a California-based non-profit that proudly supports woodworkers who have physical and mental disabilities by providing the resources they need to grow their hobby, craft or business.

And no story encapsulates our mission better than Vlad Johnson — a.k.a. Vlad the Woodworker.

I first read about Vlad in the woodworking subreddit two years ago. He was born with Apert Syndrome, but hasn’t let that stop him from building.

His story is beyond inspiring — not to mention the amazing work his parents Jed and Kim do with Wide Awake International.

The first initiative of KMWDF was to support Vlad’s passion for woodworking. We sent a massive shipment of tools and gear to his home in the Ukraine.

Little did we know his homeland would be invaded by Russian military forces two years later.

Thanks to the support and empathy of the woodworking community, KMWDF was able to raise over $40,000 to help evacuate Vlad and 33 other people at Jed and Kim’s home to safety.

And still, Vlad’s passion for woodworking has gone undeterred (in fact, he’s gone professional).

That’s what KMWDF is all about: Supporting woodworkers with disabilities so they can pursue the passion or career that gives them purpose, pride, joy.

If you believe woodworking should be accessible to all — let’s make it happen.

We truly appreciate your support...

And as always, STAY SAFE IN THE SHOP!

1 comment



I think this is a great idea similar to rob cosman teaching woodworking for veterans with ptsd. I’m interested in where to get an electric hoist that you recommend. Thanks

I think this is a great idea similar to rob cosman teaching woodworking for veterans with ptsd. I’m interested in where to get an electric hoist that you recommend. Thanks

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.