Tuesday, June 30, 2015

scribed timber framing class--we built this

An earlier Heartwood class built the earth oven.  We built the structure supporting a future roof over the oven.  We learned how to incorporate natural timbers, including one piece that was a cherry tree one morning and went into the frame in the afternoon.

I'll be back at Heartwood next week for comprehensive homebuilding.  We are building a tiny home.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

van pictures

I'm in Massachusetts now for my scribed timber framing class.  But right now I have some van pictures.

After the sink area and the shelf for crates, the third built-in item is a box/seat with a hinged lid.  It  contains the wheel well bump so is convenient for storing the bedding, hammock, and curtains.  

I may eventually add some cushions here.  It's almost big enough to be a bed, but I am sleeping in the hammock so I don't really need a bed. 

Next up:  My solar recharging lamp.  It looks like a large glass jar but the top is a small solar panel and under the lid are 4 LED lights.  If I charge it long enough in the direct sun during the day I can get a few hours of light each night.  It's great and I have positioned a few eye hook screws in the ceiling for hanging.

Finally, my little kitchen is in use!  As you can see the water dispenser is positioned for its job as a faucet.  I located powdered milk (whole, not skim) before leaving NJ.  That's my coffee creamer.

So here's the all-important coffee set up.  Boil water on camp stove (have good ventilation).

Not pictured:  coffee sock.  Scoop in some grounds, add boiled water.  Let steep, then lift the sock.  Here's coffee.  Just add sugar and powdered milk.  Not bad!

I purchased a safe for storing valuables like my computer.  So far it hasn't been necessary but maybe I'll be glad I had it.  It's secured to the floor.

And because I ran out of time, this is my tool storage set up.  Just totes sitting on the floor, sliding back and forth a little as I drive.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

kitchen area

My computer time lately has been dominated by craigslist posts, selling many things in preparation for moving.  Hence my camera is full of photos of furniture and household goods, and I've been on a hiatus from van thinking.  

Today I managed to get out there to work on the third built in item.  But for now here are photos of the kitchen area.  Countertop is completed!

I LOVED carving the countertop edge with my chisel.  I need to get a good detail shot of what the effect is. 

I also used the chisel to carve the opening for the sink.  That was the fun part.

The not fun part was removing paint from the middle board.  In an effort to use up my various collected scraps of wood--I've been making do with all sorts of wood in various conditions.  The rough surface reveals a mighty struggle against a painted surface that we scraped off in what turned into a battle of the wills.

I think the final result is unconventional but wonderful.

Securing the countertop to the structure was another wild ride.  I worked my way underneath, grateful I don't have man-sized shoulders.  Then I drilled straight up, with wood particles raining down on my safety-glass protected eyes, into my clothes and hair.

I have new respect for plumbers, and people who do things underneath things.  Mechanics.

The counter and sink are secure.  I had envisioned lots of built-in storage above the sink but the two crates below will do for now.

Thanks for reading!  It's fun to know people are following along.  I was hanging out in the van tonight, resting in the hammock.  I have a little solar light that casts a lovely glow on the wooden walls.  The hammock swings gently.  I am growing to love my little home.  It's amazing how different it feels in there now that the surfaces are wood instead of metal.

Sunday, June 14, 2015


I am starting to really like how the van is looking.  

Beautiful wood curls.  Sort of an annoying reason why I have to chisel away at the floor.  

I bought 1/2 inch thick planks for the floor but chose to use 3/4 inch thick scraps of wood that I already had for the edges where I'd have to scribe around the wheel wells.  Hence 3/4 - 1/2 = 1/4 inch ledge that becomes annoying when you try to slide a crate into a shelf unit.  So I did penance for my mistake, as I have done so many times in this project.  I am learning.

Next up:  kitchen countertop.  I'll save it for the next post.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

things I'm learning

1.  Don't assume the van is a rectangular box.  It is not!

2.  Things that don't look impressive to others look amazing to me.  Because it was so hard to achieve?  Or because I have a vision and the vision is part of what I'm seeing.

3.  I learn well when working on my own.  If I was doing this alongside a more experienced person I'd just defer to them and ask them for help.  I can ask Adam for input but being in charge of this project myself is the best way for me to learn.

4.  I am ridiculously excited about the lap joints in this kitchen unit.  (See to either side of the top of the lower crate.)  Simpler than a mortise & tenon.  Achieved with a japanese hand saw and a chisel.  Then glued & nailed.

5.  I am discovering that this is really hard, but that I LOVE doing this.  And that no one can tell me how to be the type of woodworker that I am.  I have to uncover my unique identity through much suffering, anxiety, discouragement, self-criticism, followed by euphoric thrilled feeling when my idea FINALLY works!

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

van update

I got the van back from the body shop.  The floor has been patched & repaired.  I have painted the floor too so it looks a LOT better.

I am going to keep an eye on this to make sure no more rust develops.

Then I got to work installing paneling on the walls and ceiling.

I am loving how it looks.

The guy who patched the floor installed a ceiling vent for me also.  It has a small screen and hatch that can open & close.

Here's a detail showing insulation around the wheel well.

Foam board was my choice as it won't hold moisture.  Notice my classy patching together of scraps.