Monthly Archives: February 2013



A little bit more on the vardo today. I pulled out the sink counter ply wood and fixed the cracked seam, sanded it while the raccoon ate the cat food. I installed the wheel well metal plates after punching holes. I used some 3/4″ sheet metal screws from the RS bins to attach it, still need to secure horizontal sheets but the vertical is in place.

I pulled the hand sink counter out, brought it inside, removed the laser paper and secured the faucet. I attached the copper handmade nipples to the valves wrenched tight, pex elbows in place and secured those to the faucet tubes. I need to ask about sealing the sink to the counter. We can drill some small holes in the aluminum for the 5 screws. Not a lot, but some done.



Another good vardo day. We met in town at Barnes & Nobles (B&N) for Starbuck’s coffee, checked out a cook book, Raven a magazine but bought neither. We took my car to the salvage yard, picked up a 2′ x 4′ sheet of aluminum for the stove counter and a 1/2″ ball valve for the water heater gas line. Headed to Friedman’s for some water base (wb) polyurethane and a nice 2″ sash Purdy brush. A quick stop at TJ’s for almond butter and stuff, headed for home.

TJ’s cheese tortellini with smoked trout al Fredo, better than tuna noodle.

Raven started right up on finishing the P counter front with the new WB varnish. Nice stuff, goes on milky but dries clear, and quickly. I served the lunch as she finished the first coat.

After lunch Raven did more coats as I prepped a 1 1/2″ PVC tube for the counter as we need a through hole to feed the refrigerator electric line. The hole saws don’t fit that size pipe OD, at Rave’s suggestion I cut it under size and ground it out to fit the tube with a rotary router.

Before that I glued the two fake drawer fronts to the sink side. Precarious that, it slipped off the saw horses with the clamp weight, a small crack I’ll need to glue. Raven moved inside and removed the table and benches, laid a tarp on the floor and varnished the front wall. It really brings out the color of the luan, in the following pic, the ceiling and wall are the same wood. And best the WB has no fumes.


Meanwhile I prepped the P side counter for the Formica. As the birch was dry I moved it to the upright benches and laid out the Formica on the door bench with a couple spring clamps to hold it.  I sprayed the Formica and plywood with the 777 3M glue. When it was dry to tacky I laid out a bunch of slat wood to hold them apart as Darin suggested. I called on Raven for help as she was just finishing the front wall. We moved the sheet over to the ply and lined it up. I pulled the center slat and stuck it down, moving out from the center one slat at a time to fit. Rave went back to finishing. I pulled all the slats and got it stuck down, pressed in, then used the router flush cut bit to trim it all mostly flush.  A little trimming with the sanding block and it’s looking good. Ready to remove the plastic cover.

Raven says No, leave the cover on, just peal a corner. She’s right, but it would be nice to see.


The pic shows the Formica counter, also the cabinet face finish as opposed to the unfinished drawers, it’s going to look good. Here’s a shot of the bared Formica.


It’s going to look good, quarter round in the edges to cover any gaps, tight.

Rave finished the sink side less the crack I’l fix tomorrow. A good day, though I need to get to plumbing. We have a Formica serving counter with a cutout for refrigerator power, finished front wall and cabinet faces, that’s a good day.


I talked to Darin today about gluing Formica, he said spray the glue and let it dry tacky, lay the separating slats out on the wood, position the Formica over it, line it all up, then pull the CENTER slat. “Ah” says I. Start in the middle and work out. Good plan.
I didn’t get a chance to check on the codes this evening but I did get a chance to cut the wheel well vertical pieces on the shear in the model shop. It’s too dark to fit them but it should be close, a bit of sealant or a grind on the lapidary should fit it in. We’ll see on Saturday. I can punch holes for screws as necessary here.


I didn’t do a lot, but a little got done. I started pulling the service counter out and cutting a piece of Formica. Need more space, got the out back saw horses and fixed the one with a piece of treated 2×4 off the pile, now we have 2 sets. I laid the door on one, the counter on the other, clamped the Formica to the door. This is not going to work, I can’t do this alone. It will wait for next weekend. I’m thinking we do a dry run before spraying the contact cement so we know what to do. I have enough slats collected from saw scraps. I put away the Formica and returned the counter to the vardo.
I clamped the counter down near the door and glued the two small face boards to the frame with clamps. I laid out the hand sink on the saw horses and door, put slats down and fitted them, set aside. Glue time, sprayed the aluminum and plywood down, waited for it to dry to tacky on the green bin.
I found my metal shears, tightened the screw, brought out the roll of galvanized metal and laid it open on the door bench. Went in and brought out the wheel well card stock patterns, laid them out with pen. I tried the shears on the rough edge, not good enough, but OK for a straight cut, mostly. As the two wells fit across on the same sheet, I rough cut it from the roll to take to work and use the big shear in the model shop, tied a wire and put it in the car.
As the two counter sheets were dry enough, I set the slats on the plywood and centered the aluminum to it, tight to the back stove corner. I pulled the slats one by one and dropped the metal into place, nice fit, rubbed it down hard with my hand. I set the screws for the stove back block out enough to mark the aluminum divider plate, held it in place and tapped it with the plastic mallet to mark the hole positions. I punched them deeper with the snap punch, then drilled them, secured the block and fit the back stove shelf. We’ll need another screw or two up front to secure the divider plate.
Down under the sink, there is the main gas shutoff valve. The insulation is exposed, not good. I measured the depth with the slide square ruler, transferred it to card stock. Dug out the paper cutter for a true cut. Fitted and folded it to the right length, transferred it to some thin roof aluminum flashing scrap, cut it on the paper cutter. As the gas pipe runs through, I transferred the size to the sheet and cut it with scissors. The electric is back there too, cut a relief and fitted it. It fits well. I tried the shut off valve , hmm wouldn’t move.
Note, this is important: PUSH the gas shut off valve with your finger. That’s how it works, in an emergency you need to know that. I’ll make a label.
So that’s about it, a good day, a few small things.



Vardo day, a productive one. As I forgot to glue up the ply for the false drawers to the main sink, I did that first with all the clamps I could find.

I drove to town, Shenton’s for chicken root soup supplies (cup of coffee) and Garrett’s for some plumbing gaskets. Raven left a message, on her way,  here.

I worked on the new aluminum divider for the hand sink, sanding it with the 0rbital sander, gave up on that and just did it by hand with a coarser grit, removing the paint while sitting in the sun, perfect day.  Raven sanding on the bench plywood near by.

I finished the divider, washed up and cooked the soup. A stew really, chicken, potatoes, carrots, a parsnip, onion, herbs from the garden and a half bottle of cheap wine, bit of flour to thicken it. Rice crackers re-baked in the oven to crisp them up. Tasty lunch in the vardo with a Tiny Houses book to check out from the library.

After lunch I cut out the plywood counter to match the new aluminum hand sink piece with a 1 1/2″ hole saw for the faucet, half way through, then from the other side to prevent splintering the wood.  Again for the sink hole starter, then around with the jig saw. I’ll leave the laser paper on to protect it for now.


Looking good with the sink bowl and faucet loosely installed. The drain hoses should work well as this one is just a little above the main drain.

Raven worked on the cabinet doors, sanding and varnishing the scraped wood. She’s thinking to get some same color light yellow paint for the inner parts and do a ‘shabby sheik’ effect with wood trim around.


It’s looking good, doors all over the outdoor living room.

Meanwhile, I marked the P side counter underneath at the door end where the extension needs to be secured.  I cut a piece of the scrap 3/4 plywood to fit, glued and screwed it to the short piece then secured it outside on the saw horses with glue, clamps and screws. Fitting it inside the seams didn’t line up, took it out, released the screws one side, clamped it flat with relief boards and re-screwed it, then the other side, good. It fits flush now with a bit of belt sanding.

I puttied up the joint, trued with the belt and spray glued the first Formica to the end. I’ll need the router and it’s in drawer mode. I cut the false drawers on the table saw then routered them, they’ll be fine. I changed the router bit to flush cut, trimmed the end Formica, works though a bit excess, the belt sander fixes it.  Next the front including the inner curve, Rave helped keep it flush. The router won’t cut the inner curve, used the belt sander, then the last outer edge routered to fit.  There’s not enough light to finish the top, next week or maybe Monday as I’m off Presidents day.  May sail tomorrow.




Well I cut the hand sink counter out tonight. There wasn’t enough stock to fold all the upper parts and the area isn’t square, so I just trimmed it flush with a down bend up front. We can add wood trim or that floor stuff, silicone goop, it’ll be fine. I also cut a piece for the divider but it needs fine sanding and trimming to fit the back wall angle. I cut the 1 1/2″ faucet hole with the Rotex punch, then set it to 1/2″ and cut the main sink to 10.5″ a chunk at a time. Once the part was loose I switched to the max 2″ punch and trimmed the points flush to make a good circle for the sink. Then I folded the front edge up on the brake. I sanded it all down this evening when I got home to deburr it. The sink fits, the counter fits, the splash guard needs a trim in back to fit the wall. I can cut the holes in the counter plywood tomorrow, make the hand sink station. That’s the hold up on the plumbing, git’er done. Well that and the PEX connectors need to get here as ordered.



I didn’t cut any metal yet. I went to the machine shop and measured the large hole punches, the number I have written is 1 3/8, the punches are 1 1/4 or 1 1/2. I just measured, 1 1/2 will work on your new faucet. Also just remeasured the hand sink counter, 19 3/8 wide X 19 deep (x 3/4). It’s a good thing I rechecked as my numbers at work are an 1/8″ short. I also need to borrow a nibbler, a hand tool that takes out an eighth inch square each squeeze, for the sink hole, 10 1/2″ dia. I just cut a card stock template using my homemade large wooden compass, easier here than at work. Mostly ready to cut now.

The walls aren’t really square so there will be some fudge factoring here. I just measured again, I’m thinking cut it to 19 1/2 wide but not bend it then sand, no we want that bend to keep the water in. Maybe an 1/8″ less and add a wooden spacer, I don’t know, I’ll talk to Darin about it before cutting.



I cruised up the hill today and picked up Raven as her truck is acting up, that’s one windy road. On the way home we stopped in Healdsburg for gas and gold paint.

On returning I loosened the clamps on the doubled 1/4″ birch plywood I glued up last night for the drawer fronts,  a good tight fit. I trimmed the first edge smooth on the table saw with the fence maxed out.  The measurement on the widest drawer including a 1/2″ overlap each side is 13 1/4″, set the fence and cut that. I checked with Raven (she’s practicing gold paint) on the height of the drawers, a 1/4″ overlap each side shall do.  Set the fence at 4″ and cut three, then trimmed the other two at 13 1/8″ and 13″ even with the miter. I brought out the router, router table and quarter round bit, hooked it all up.  I checked with Rave, if I raise the bit a little we’ll get a square edge then the round, yea lets do that. A test board looked good on the second adjustment.  The short ends are tricky, i stopped and built a square miter jig to fit the slot on the table, much better.  I finished the cuts, clamped one in place to admire for lunch.

Raven cooked up some green beans and leftover butternut squash casserole. We ate at the table in the vardo, yum.

Raven had finished doubling up the Nordic template and painted a test piece in gold, then transferred the pattern to the corners.  It’ll look good.

corner detail


She also worked on a test cabinet door, trying to make it look like wood with varnish and stain.

Before and after

Before and after

It looks good though maybe a lighter can of stain, good experimenting.

I trimmed the front drawer notches on the table saw, sanded then attached the drawer fronts to the drawers with a couple screws each. The handles should give extra support.



Next I cut some notches in the bench to fit the bench backs, this was a challenge as the notches need to be angled, each kerf cut adjusted for depth to make a square angled cut.  I went through it twice, it still needs another pass.


It’s looking good. Raven asked for a couple more fake drawer fronts on the sink side. I located the right size blank scrap, but it’s picture time then back up the hill. The router table is set up for next week. I’ll glue it up some evening this week. I also need to cut and fold the aluminum for the hand sink this week evenings at work in the model shop.

A good day, much done.


I got a few things done. Yesterday I went to RS at lunch, somebody bought out the pex connectors, shucks. I did find a large 1 1/2″ valve for the grey water drain. After work I stopped at Friedman’s hoping they’d have Flair-it connectors, nope. I did pick up 2 half inch nipples for the check valves and a short 2″ nipple for the drain valve.
This morning I went to Mud’s for coffee and Bosworth’s for screws for the water heater shield and a 6″ piece of 1 1/2″ PVC for the grey drain, the PVC was free scrap, thanks Harry. I chucked the 2″ nipple on the lathe and bored it out to fit the PVC pipe, cut the pipe to length, it fits, we have a drain valve, need a hose yet, oh and an air escape on top. It still needs to be glued, it’s here somewhere.
I started on the water heater wind shield when you called, broke down, I’ll get you tomorrow. I used the punch to install the hinges and latch on the shield, though the last hole on the latch wouldn’t fit the punch depth, drilled it instead. The shield is in place in the last batten bay 3′ below the eve.
L5 Shield

L5 Shield

I put a screw in to hold the heater in place, but needs a 2″ spacer from the wall to meet the specs. I installed the hot out quick connects, grabbed the loose parts and headed for Garret’s.
I found a valved hose splitter for the hot out and a 1/2″ adapter so we can run the hot in or attach the shower connector. I also found a couple (M/F) hose to 1/2″ barbs to connect the inside system to the heater. And a 1/2 FPT to barb that fits the pump intake replacing one of the pex connects for better use.
I came home and fitted things together, it’ll work nicely, though we still need a few more 1/2″ pex connections for the check valves. I glued and heavily clamped two of the cabinet door cut outs together in preparation for the drawer fronts tomorrow. Also added the pump E-connects.
Above is a pic of the heater with (right to left) quick connect cold in and 1/2″ barb, hot water out quick connect, valved splitter, 1/2″ adapter with shower attached and 1/2″ barb hot in, then the gas in and batteries. I have to keep it inside as it’s freezing nights.

2/3/2013 Superbowl Sunday

I did a little on the vardo, but more experimenting than done. Worked on the P side cabinet angle and aft face. I fitted the top and bottom angles, they’ll be fine and the lower flat base is good. I tried a few things with the pillar, tried to make a mitered cover, too difficult, went with a square edge but still not sure about the fridge side. I need to put the fridge in place to figure. I cut a good piece for the aft face to the P side door, but it extends into the 30″ limit. I’m thinking to trim it way down, almost a veneer, but I’ll need to make a flush plate on the table saw to do that as that thin a cut will fall through the table otherwise. It would be a good tool to have anyway. I also removed the main P fascia and cut the last drawer hole complete with the jig saw where the angle was in the way for the router. Put it back up and took a measurement to trim the drawer notches to be flush using the small sliding square. I’ll need to transfer that to the table saw, but the game starts soon, time to go. The drawer fronts will need to be cut double, glued, routered round and attached.
 (later, Ravens won)
I just checked the mailbox, a package from Amazon, a Shurflo filter for the pump and 2 Nelson water quick connects for the water heater. It’s coming together.