More of The Beautiful Japanese Vardo

This is a follow-up to the previous post.

I say Vardo because that’s really what it is.  You can sense that the presenter of this show isn’t too familiar with true rolling homes, caravans, vardos, or whatever you want to label them but his enthusiasm is real.  I like this home a lot but there is too much gymnastic restructuring for my taste.  I’m probably just lazy.  I’m not knocking his aesthetic or design though; they are spot-on.  Mr. Tagami fit a lot of useful ideas together to create a wonderful living space.  Several of these innovations are being integrated into my future plans.

If you haven’t seen this yet, here’s a video detailing one of his creations and the happy owners who inhabit it.

Let me know what you think…

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Tiny House Japan; who knew?

The original link was sent to me by Chris Beneke.  Thanks Chris.

TINY HOUSE JAPAN: Some serious innovation at work.

I do not read or speak Japanese so I’m at a loss over many details but the photos and videos exhibit a world of real innovation in design and construction.  The builder, Haruhiko Tagami (製作担当 田上晴彦) has a spectacular web page highlighting some of his designs that are already giving me much food for thought for future constructions.

One of the first things that really caught my attention was the pop-up mollycroft which adds and enormous amount of light and circulation but folds flat for travel.

He has designs from the truly tiny (on par with my original design space-wise) to a very substantial house on wheels with pop-out rooms that are incredible works of engineering.

The smallest Baske-T.

Roll down canvas curtains block the large windows for the night.

Roll down canvas curtains block the large windows for the night.

One of the problems with covering the extended space is having roll-up roofs along the lines of an old roll-top desk.

rolluproofThis allows for the modest-sized trailer to become a spacious palace; a big advantage when sharing with others.

metamophasisThis more than triples the available living space and in some of the photos there is even a third room extended as well.  This would suit a lot of people as a truly long-term living solution that could be pulled by a relatively small vehicle; not the enormous white aluminum fifth-wheel monsters that haunt the freeways.

Enjoy this small overview of the design and please check out more of his work by clicking the LINKS.

Many more photos of his work are available on his Instagram Page as well.  There is much to explore for the budding builder so be prepared to take notes!

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Ana White and Some Truly Brilliant Ideas

Someone recently shared this house with me and I’ve seen her (Ana White’s) work popping up all over the Internet lately.  Ana White uses readily available materials to create some genius storage and living solutions for small homes.  These could easily be applied in many other situations in order to make the most of any space.  It rings well with me because it is all-purpose made to fit the space and needs of the occupant; not just an off-the-shelf one-size-fits-most approach.  Here is a tour of her recent work and I suggest visiting her website for a load of other great ideas, including many plans.

Ana White

The table versatility is particularly smart and functional.  This would be handy in an office or bedroom as well.  The video has a lot of good ideas for builders.

And finally, on her Brag Board, she has many other interesting projects to check out as well including a lot furniture ideas like this clever storage bed shown below.

https://i1.wp.com/www.ana-white.com/sites/default/files/IMG_2360.JPG

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Butaco Plegable (Folding Stool)

Thanks to Ronel Silva for passing this on.  It’s a good video showing the construction of a Pea Picker style of folding stool.  I posted a page about their design I use several years ago.  The video is in Spanish, but if you do not speak it, I think the visuals should give you plenty of guidance.

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Mayhem Shoes for the Dystopian Survivalists

“The first rule of Project Mayhem is that you do not ask questions…”

this may be my new teaching mantra

I am considering calling my custom footwear “Mayhem Shoes” (at least until Chuck Palahniuk’s space monkey lawyers make me stop).

I teach a couple classes about low-tech shoemaking a few times per year in the primitive survival skills community.  The designs I focus on are styles that can be made by one person in one day; a popular theme in early historic examples.  Some require a lot of cutting, some require sewing.  There is an off-grid, neo-Luddite attitude about making your own shoes.  In fact, I think I will register the name Dystopian Leather Works as my new business.  I’m considering a small business venture to go into custom production of the shoes I teach people to make as well as expanding the custom leather work I currently produce.

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The author at work.

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A dedicated student finishes in a day.

The kinds of people that take these classes are from all walks of life, not just survivalists, historical nerds, or experimental archaeologists, but folks who want to make things for themselves for whatever reason.  I’m finding that there are others who might just want the handmade product without the labor of making them. In a day, an attentive student can produce a wearable (and good-looking) pair of serviceable shoes like the carbatina (ghillies) above.

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An experienced craftsman creating some new sandals in the class.

Another finished pair.

For those looking for a more modern look a fine pair of sandals can be made with just a few hours, cutting and sewing.  These are easily re-solable and should last the better part of a lifetime.  Look familiar?  Chaco and Teva didn’t exactly re-invent the wheel; just updated the materials and outsourced the work overseas.  Even in the wilds of Canada, traditional ghillies can be a useful part of the wardrobe.  Mike made these two years ago and they still protect his sturdy peasant feet.

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As long as you can stick with it while safely using a knife, the class is a cinch.

There is something very satisfying about taking a piece of nondescript, vegetable tanned leather and creating a lasting and useful object with your own hands.

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Attention to detail makes a fine finished product.

The beauty is truly in the details.  Serious students often bevel and burnish edges to give their shoes a “finished” look, suitable for public wear.

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A pair of saintly sandals nearing completion.

Above, a student trial fits the uppers before attaching the outsole.  In my classes, the outermost sole on any of these shoes may be a durable Vibram material, a softer but grippy Soleflex, or natural leather.  The latter option is popular with those who are interested in treading lightly on the earth or those who are concerned with earthing or grounding.

DSC_0089Learning as community.  It is always a very social event to teach these courses.  No matter the variety of backgrounds, we are sharing an ancient craft in common.

DSC_0087As in all leatherwork, neatness counts.  A good hand with a knife is a great asset for shoemaking.

DSC_0086Test fitting the straps for buckle placement and strap length.

DSC_0084This style sandal may be tied or buckled but I have found that a 3/4″ center bar buckle is about the easiest to work with and adjust.

DSC_0104Bowing to modern convenience.  For the classes, we use contact cement to adhere the insole, mid-sole, and outsole.  This insures a good connection and will hold up even if the stitching doesn’t last forever.

DSC_0119The author demonstrates the wrong way to rough out a pattern.  Cutting out oversize pieces for the sake of time-savings.

DSC_0118Tough rubber soles will make these sandals last years and are easily replaced.

DSC_0137Trial fitting a ghillie after soaking in water.  They feel ridiculously thick and stiff for the first hour or two but tend to suddenly relax an become a part of the foot after a soak in neatsfoot oil.

DSC_0136Ready for taking part in the highland games or dancing at a cèilidh

DSC_0134Sometimes it helps in shaping to take a hammer to the leather when it is stiff and wet.

DSC_0130It is important to leave the channels free of glue so that the straps may be adjusted in future.  You never know when you might need to wear some black socks with those sandals.

DSC_0131 DSC_0133Helping a student skive out some particularly stiff areas.

DSC_0154Mom tries on her new shoes before going home to make some for the whole family.  DSC_0139Even an old shoemaker is interested in this ancient design.

DSC_0180  DSC_0178 Happy and diligent students show off their newest creations.  These could be directly from the shoe store.  But without the satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself.

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Above are few photos from previous classes.  Thanks to all who come and make!

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