Monthly Archives: April 2013



Saturday vardoing. I set up the saw horses before Raven showed up. I pulled out the steps into the driveway, unclamped the A braces and took them in to scrape and sand them down to bare wood. They were back on clamped as Raven showed up. She started painting the front wall burgundy before the sun hit it.  It was pretty sun faded and the flat scuffs, the new semigloss is much better.


I found the screw pilot been sitting around, new in the package and size 10, perfect, set the drill to length to fit the new 1 3/4″ screws. I drilled the premarked centers then screwed them, three per side per step. I loosened the clamps on the uprights and moved them down a bit so the top step could settle into the rabbet, drilled and screwed. I readjusted the uprights to fit the top step, back enough to match the angle and clamped. One screw each on the side, then two each from the top. I adjusted the A braces flush to the uprights and under the lower step clamped, drilled and screwed  two on each end.  I had to reduce the depth, use the battery countersink drill on the upright/A connection with the shorter 1 1/4″ screws. Clamps off, it’s a step up.


 Chicken taco lunch with shredded carrots and arugula from the garden at table in the vardo, yum.

I stopped up town to Harry’s place for some mahogany putty, covered the screw holes and dings in the steps as Raven sanded and painted the cabinet doors.


I sanded the steps, Raven the doors, to metal music, an odd meditation.  Pictures taken and processed, the final shot, Step on in. The door closes and the top step just meets, perfect.


Another great day.



Another good vardo day, Raven got a lot done, I worked on the steps.  Raven finished lining the overhead seams with the 1″ wide slats, tacked them all up and varnished. I added the lower 3/4″ additions to the bench wings and put them in place, yet to be fastened after paint.


A partition from the kitchen to the table area curtained and to be painted cool.

Broiled BBQed chicken, rice, and mixed veggies with cheese sauce for lunch, checked out the computer pads we both got new, Apple’s better but mine is sufficient at a 1/4 the price. Garage band is neat.

Raven worked on the cabinet doors, painting them with the sample jar of light yellow. I sanded all the mahogany parts for the steps with the belt sander, dusty that.  I found a decent piece of wood for the ladder uprights, turns out to be pine, but good wood, with a mahogany ‘A’ brace to be sanded to match. After cutting a 1/2″ off the bottom, it just clears the door closing by a breath. I need 18 screws 2″ long  to secure the steps together to be purchased, plus a few I have to secure the supports, next week stuff.


Raven glued in the P side pillar parts with yellow alphetic resin wood glue. She’s catching up. Mind the exterior in semi gloss burgundy will give me an edge. But plenty more to do. Then she washed the dishes and painted the P inner shelf with  polyurethane, passed me by. Mind that coffee urn is cool, but I have some catching up to do. They’ll be nice stairs and cabinet doors. A good day.


 I stopped at Sally’s, that bent crooked silver coffee urn they had was still there and marked down to half price, couldn’t resist at $17.50. There was also a lid for something else that could work not marked. The guy let me have both same price. I brought them home, cut the lid smaller with my jeweler’s saw (took three blades) to fit the top. I sanded it on the lapidary to true it up using course and fine grits. It fits nice. I banged out the worst of the bend with a cardboard tube, then dome polished the long tapered punch wide end and tapped it true with the ball peen. It still could use a fancy nut on the handle to be made but it looks good.
It looks gypsy, would be good as an outdoor water or tea jug. It’s big, 20 1/2″ to the top of the new lid. I just measured it, 32 cups comfortably (33 really), that’s 2 gallons. It has a Sterno burner beneath. Looked online, rents for $26 a day or $350 to buy for a less elaborate model. Good deal, Ha.
I also worked with the ladder, cut a piece of 3/4″ x 7″ mahogany ply to fit the top step, cut one solid step in half to use on the two lower steps, it works. I also cut mahogany inserts to fit the 1/4″ gap. We should cut about a half inch off the bottom to fit the door closing.
More to do tomorrow.



Yesterday I cut the bottom two 3/4″ x 1/2″ slats for the bench sides. Then I cut up some luan slats for Raven to fix the ceiling, I cut them 1″ wide as that seemed right, seven of them (we’ll need 5 plus ends) full 8′. They’ll need trimming to length.

I drove up the hill this morning to pick her up and back, stopping in Healdsburg for paint and some new garden herbs.  Planted the herbs when we got home and cooked up a batch of grass fed beef and roots stew. lunch in the vardo at the table. Discussions of cabinet door handles over lunch. Rave got the dishes.

We started on the ceiling slats,  cut one slat just a bit long, put masking tape on the end and marked the correct length on the tape, then cut another one to match. Lay up the next one and move the tape or mark as necessary. Raven took that on. She got all cut and the first three attached. The first one on the door end weeped sealant a lot, took a while to clean up, looks good. The lamp posed a problem, Raven worked it out with angle cuts to fit.



I started working on the stairs, cut one of the disassembled steps from the pirate booty, wow, it’s mahogany, excellent wood. I cut it to fit in the old notches as we need a 45 degree stair and these are too steep, glued in the pieces, left in the sun to dry awhile, then cut the new notches on the table saw. I had trouble with the cross slide as its not the right one and wouldn’t keep a decent angle, figured it out. Not perfect but it’ll work. Here’s a pic but it needs to have upright support and a cross for triangular strength.  The upper wood above the step will be trimmed, but it would be nice to have a wider top step, TBD, a work in progress.


Another good day.




I pulled the clamps off this evening, it stuck well. I really trust Titebond glue, I made harps with it and had to soak it more than overnight to get it apart. I took a couple pics, one of the cabinet handles to show the patina on the odd one and one of the glued in P side cabinet face.




Once the shelf is in, side attached and the doors are on it’ll look great. Plus that little angle set of tiny shelves, three I think.


Did a little more on the vardo. Jayden, the 7 year old next door hung out most of the day and the power went out for a few hours, but still.
I forgot to mention yesterday, “I did finish gluing the serve counter, its under the clamps. Thinking to glue the serve face tomorrow when the clamps are freed up. I put gun bluing on that cabinet pull handle, worked great, do you want me to do the other 6?”
Today I put the benches and table back in, though it still needs the sides, faces and hinges.
I glued up the P side cabinet face using the yellow Titebond wood glue and all the clamps I could find including the little colored plastic ones. I cleaned the floor of drips using the wet sponge. I took apart the pirate booty ladder, good thing as half the screws were rotted in half, not very safe. Looking at it, I think we could cut new step notches by turning it over so the old notches run vertical. We only need 2 steps up, there are 4, so we could rip one and fill the old notches, then cut the new notches less steep and cut the bottom to match. I sanded one rung bottom on the belt to see the wood, seems to be redwood not mahogany as I thought, still good. I have more of that to use as an upright in front and an ‘A’ brace to make it free standing. I want your opinion on the stair angle.  Painted should look good.
That’s about it, though Jayden practiced hammering and pulling nails, straightening the bent ones. I told him about the table saw, never stand behind it and use push sticks and safety glasses, sent him outside and cut the P side shelf a little smaller to fit better as it spat chunks into my beard and everywhere, a good example. He made an airplane and stuff, preferring the glue. He gradually went home when the power came on.
A good day.