Adding Windows

Finally, I’m getting around to adding side windows to the Vardo.  I’ve wavered for a long time as to whether this was what I wanted.  In the end, the ventilation and view won out.  Many decisions needed to be made.  What kind of opening, size, materials, etc.  In the end, I chose reclaimed oak as it is very stable, strong, easy to work with, and looks good.

window03This isn’t a high-tech, double-glazed thermal window.  It is a simple square frame of oak around a Lexan pane with a simple, chromed piano hinge and a nice brass casement window mechanism.

window02The discolored oak is visible here as I didn’t bother to remove the patina from the parts that will be invisible once installed.

I am sometimes criticized here for not giving enough of the remedial steps when building something new… So here it goes:

How to install a window into your Vardo.

window04First, choose where the window will be placed.  I have kept this spot in mind from the beginning and have kept it free of shelves and cubbies.   I decided to center the window on the structural stud.

I knew where the window needed to be located on the inside, but finding the exact placement on the outside wall can be difficult.  In order to find the point on the outside wall, I drilled a small hole where the top center of the window should be.  Why did I need to do this?  Because the cutting from the outside smooth wall is far easier and less messy (keeping the sawdust mostly on the outside).

Using the hole as a marker, a line was created to layout the opening.

A framing square was used to square up the other three sides of the opening.  The circular saw was used, making a plunge cut (using two hands) as deep as possible, following the guide lines.

The nature of the circular blade prevents the saw from cutting into the corner so a hand-saw was used to finish up.

window15After a dry fitting to check the size, silicone caulk was applied to seal out water and the window was inserted.

window14Having a look at the new window.

Checking the functionality.  Interior framing is not yet complete here.

Next step… making the shutter.

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Now, Less Annoying Ads!

Sorry for the annoying ads recently on my blog.  I say mine, but really it is owned by WordPress and I was enticed to offset some costs by cowing to ads.  I decided when I had a serious complaint about these, I would take them off.  I am glad to say, there is now likely to be only one small ad at the bottom of the post or page and I hope this makes the internet experience better for everyone.


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Bamboo Arrow Instructable

I just posted a “how to” for bamboo arrows on Instructables.  It is impossible to teach a complete class in this way but I’ve done what I can.

fletchIf you have an interest in arrowsmithing, have a look by clicking the arrows above.

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Something to keep in mind when learning a new skill.

A Primitive Technology Disclaimer.

I firmly believe that in Preindustrial Societies, the onus of learning was on the pupil.  Anyone who wants to succeed will find a way to learn.  

Real learning is an active endeavor.  We learn best by carefully observing and doing.  There will be failures.  There will be frustration and tears.  Not everything will be obvious nor will the reason for every step be readily apparent.  It is not the duty of the teacher to drag every unwilling pupil along nor argue every point to their satisfaction every step of the way.  Failure is not something to fear but is something to learn from.  If you don’t like the teacher or the methods, either suck it up or find another teacher.

GT Crawford

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Just a note to those wishing to replicate some of the projects here…

I am working up some projects for the Instructables library and hope to continue this.  I find it to be a wonderful site and you can really find almost anything there.  I encourage Makers to post their stuff there as well as it is a great way to pass on knowledge.

My recent Instructables are an 18th Century Possibles or Shooting Bag:

and an overview of the rucksack with the layout sketches included:

Visit Instructables to learn more about making, fixing, hacking, or deconstructing just about anything you can imagine:


Instructables: share what you make

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Revisiting the Enchanted Bike Wagon

I have mentioned this unique little wagon before but it is worth revisiting as a near perfect mini traveller’s wagon.  Günther Lorenz, a maker from Bayern designed and built this bike-towed caravan without a plan or significant financial outlay.

It makes me happy to know that this was built, fueled by beer and a dream, in three weeks worth of evenings.  It weighs in at 55 kilograms empty (120 pounds) so it isn’t exactly light-weight but provides the comforts of a dry bedroom while on the road.

0035The body is 2 meters long by 1.04 meters wide (79 by 41 inches).  The frame is constructed from 20 mm square steel tubing welded together and the 5 bows are made from 8 mm tubing covered with garden hose.  The whole thing runs on 28″ wheels.

0008If you’re looking to build something like this, head over to Günther’s web page for a more complete photo-set.  They’re thumbnailed on his page but can be downloaded and viewed at higher resolution.


Click the image to view the rest of the images.  His website is in German but the photos speak for themselves. 

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Music from my youth.  Just because.

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Whoops – wrong bowls

Originally posted on Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes:

Sunday is the first day of bowl-turning class with Robin Wood – but I have been hewing bowls lately.

row of bowls

I have only ever made these one-at-a-time, and then usually years between versions. Right now, I am working on a batch of about 6 or 8 of them. One thing I miss is having room to really photograph some of the process, and a store of scrap wood to shim, wedge & otherwise cobble stuff in place. Had to use a carved rail to shim the underside of this bowl while I shaved the end grain.


Some of them are the “upside-down” orientation. I have most of these ready for drying, so I plan on finishing them later in June. But by then, my head will be filled with the possibilities of turned bowls and wh0-knows-what-else from my trip to the North House Folk School.  

Exciting times.

upside down

I have known Drew…

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The Lure Of The Mad Men – Part 14

Originally posted on Retrorambling:


If there is one thing the mad men knows works every time, it is telling people that you can get slim and fit without doing a damned thing. People will buy and gulp down absolutely anything based on that promise. Anyone knows deep down inside that Prof. F. J. Kellogg’s crappy “scientific” product is just as useless as the drugs and patent medicines he is warning against. But instead of considering actually slimming, now as back then people get hooked in case this particular product just might work.

But as we all know it doesn’t work of course. Not the ones back when the add above was made or the similar crap they’re pushing today. Had it worked there wouldn’t have been one lazy fat slob left in the overfed self indulging western world – Ted ;-)

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