Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Yellow Cedar Carvings...

Hideta Kitazawa gifted me the off cuts of yellow cedar from the work shop I attended a few weeks ago.  This wood is really great to work with and I have been playing around with it.  I carved this maple samara because it was one of my favorite forms and one of my favorite words.  I have been carving these little seeds for a few years, but this yellow cedar one came out really well.  I am very grateful to have had the experience to work with another carver like Hideta.  Thank you so much :)

I made this barred owl sculpture as a charm to represent my barred owl neighbors...

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Talk @ the Evergreen State College...

Save the date!  Friday, February 16th @ 2pm I will be speaking at Lecture Room 2 of Purce Hall @ the Evergreen State College.  My friend Scott Morgan invited me to speak for a Sustainability lecture series!  I'm excited to do a public outreach event and talk with other students who are inspired to create.  The talk is entitled : Functional Sculpture and Architecture:  Conceputal design inspired by natural phenomena.  Please come if you're interested and here is a link to the flyer announcement

Bring paper and a pencil to doodle

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Carving Workshop

We had the pleasure of journeying to Snohomish, Washington to visit the Taoist Studies Institute and attend a weekend workshop hosted by Master carver Hideta Kitazawa.  It was really a pleasure to meet him and see his incredible level of design in relief carving using only chisels and gouges.  Pictured above are braces for the "Mountain Gate" project that Hideta worked on two years ago on his first visit to the Taoist Studies Institute sanctuary. 

Hideta designed and collaborated with the Taoist Studies Institute collaborated to build a wooden bell shaped like a fish dragon. 

He carved this little model quickly to help visualize for his final drawing to scale. 

This design was then cut into three pieces and carved on the outside and hollowed on the inside then the three pieces were glued back together to make this ceremonial dinner bell! This was a really terrific piece to see underway and I was so amazed at Master Hideta's skill and ability to see three dimensionally. 

Though I did not work much on this dragon fish, I did get to carve a letter! 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Mother Earth News!

The Leafspring is featured in the newest Mother Earth News magazine, in an article about Lloyd Kahn's new book Small Homes!!   

Sunday, November 19, 2017

red cedar carving...

On a trip to Tofino a few months ago I found a piece of driftwood on the beach and carried it back to my van.  I split out this shake and carved a squiggle with a hook knife a few days ago...  

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Coffee Hut Roof Commission

I saw the coffee trailer (pictured below) on the side of the road and I thought, what this thing needs is a roof!  After a little cajoling it was decided that I would be the lucky compadre for the job.  Around the same time that this particular project was coming to fruition, it just so happened that my Dad was coming to visit for a week...

Note:  This trailer is completely intact underneath of the wood covering.  I am not concerned at all if the wood sheathing leaks a little because there is a sealed metal shell underneath that was a purchased commercial coffee cart before any wood was added.  Another contractor/carpenter was hired and he glued firring strips on to the outside of the trailer walls and then attached cedar siding with screws to the firring strips.  I do not take any kind of ownership or responsibility for the siding or trim on this project.  The client was interested in a sign, and I convinced her that a beautiful architectural line with the roof will be the best sign this little cart could ever receive.  I hope you agree :)  Our part was to build the roof.  Normally I would use the rough sawn cedar as a sheathing that the roof shingling would attach to, but in this case my client liked the exposed boards and since they are not the waterproofing member of this roof set up, I thought, I like them exposed too!

 The first step was to through bolt the supports for the roof to the framing members of the trailer..  You can see the original trailer with siding here.  We made sure not to drill any holes or allow any fasteners to poke through the metal siding.  Aside from the through bolts that hold the supports for the roof, there are no other holes...

My pops drillin'  (pictured above)

We kicked off this whole adventure by taking off for the beach.  We scoured the coast for the right log.  It was just sitting there waiting for us.  We both agreed, in a rare moment of acquiescence, this here is the right log.  So we journeyed home with our treasure, the van filled with the chatter of structural strategies and the 16' log dangling out of the back.  

With the ridge pole up and the top plate cut for the right contrasting curve, the dynamics of the roof line began to take shape... 

We sheathed the end walls with ply and got out the old propane torch.  These things are sold at hardware stores as "weed burners."  A torch is a wonderful thing... We used this big, propane torch to singe the exposed side of the cedar.  This technique is known in Japan as "Shou Sugi Ban".  I have only used this method a few times, but I really enjoy how the fire brings out the grain lines in the material and makes it more weather resistant.  

After burning the boards we were hoping to apply tung oil, but we had to order a gallon of 1/2 and 1/2 mixed tung oil and citrus oil, which took a few days to ship.  In the mean time we got the boards secured in place.  We lapped the big live edge cedar boards and attached them together with small #8 stainless wood screws.  This technique of lapping boards and attaching them closely on edges is how many viking ships were built.  The vikings used copper rivets to hold the lapstrake boards together.  We bent the boards wet, then attached them with stainless screws and let them dry.  With this technique you can bend the thin boards and achieve lines that are sweet... 

I took my pops to the airport and came home to finish shingling the end walls.  I had collected a bunch of blocks of cedar from old stumps and I milled them into shingles on my friend's mill.  I used these shingles on the Leafspring (my hut), but I had a bunch of leftover shingles from that project and it was just enough to finish these end walls.  

With the end walls shingled, Kari wanted to come and see the progress on the cart.  She was really happy with how it was developing and I convinced here to let me add a driftwood sign on the front of the cart.   With the final details in place, I got out my shears and a sheet of brass to make the architectural details pop!  

I got the brass cap on and Dylan Magaster stopped by with a brand new drone!

Next I bent gutters.  I saw how nice the line of the ridge looked glistening with brass, so I decided to create the same effect with the gutters on the outside line of the roof.   The gutters sleeve together and screw to the underside of the roofing.  Once I got them up I filled a bucket with water and dumped it.  The stream coming off the gutter was a wonderful hidden line of the building that was a little bit of a design present.  I can't wait to see it in action in the rain! 

The final step was to complete the driftwood sign.  I stopped by my friend Dana's shop and he was going to forge some knife blanks so I tossed in some 3/4" rod and made some brackets for a really cool piece of driftwood we found when my pops and I went to the beach for the ridge pole.  

The difficult part on this sign was that I had to forge the brackets to fit around the piece of wood and then bolt it to the trailer.  So I had to make them fit close, but not not too close because I had to bolt on the bracket then slide in the piece of wood.  After it was fit I kept the driftwood piece wet, then used my favorite torch (the weed burner) and heated the steel in place.   Once I got the steel up to temp, I shut off the torch and hammered down hot the steel around the driftwood. I much prefer the no fasteners, just thick steel approach... 

I stopped in @ Fishtrap Loop to visit my friends Gina and Eddy and I got a nice piece of Pacific Yew with some figure from Eddy.  After cutting out the brass letters, the sign was hung and wha lah...  the coffee hut roof and sign commissions are complete!    

Come get your first cup from the Bay Coffee hut on Mud Bay Rd in Olympia, Washington. 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Snail Shell Sauna update

My friends Tyler Smith and Lisa Henry stopped by a few weeks ago for a visit and Lisa took some great photos of the Snail Shell Sauna while I was building legs for some outdoor tubs.

I forged the shape of the tubs from a template and then welded old rivets from a water tower that was disassembled and stored in the metal shop long before we arrived there.

Tyler getting ready to watch some magic...


The tub legs!

Rick, Wendy, Jesse Perrine, and I worked together Friday on 3 pebble mosaics!  One on each side of the the tubs as the first step to get in and out...

And a sun at the entrance!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Nonagon Treehouse

I spent the weekend at Mountain View Air B&B building a canted wall nonagon yurt treehouse!  I worked with SunRay Kelley, Bonnie, Bob-O, and Tyler Smith.  This was such a fun project.  I spent one weekend helping assemble the walls for the kit, SunRay and his team did the rest during the week and last weekend we built the platform and erected the nonagon yurt.

You can see we are all loaded and ready to go with one treehouse to deliver! 

SunRay on the log joists getting ready for the 2x6 decking... 

Putting up the walls... 

Nonagon in a tree...   Be sure to check out mountain views air bnb for more photos! Thanks so much Tracy... and at the bottom are two timelapse films of our weekend...  enjoy! and let me know if you want a tree house! 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Yoda The Hutt

Meet YODA THE HUTT, our faithful steed.  I really love this little van and most vans to be truthful.  She is a commuter as well as a shaker.  I have been contemplating vans lately because I see so many cool vans that people are building these days, and all of the days really.  What is especially good about working on a vehicle, or a vessel, is that it's not that big of a space.  So with some good design you can do so much without having to put in too much effort.  Let's just say it's an achievable project to start with.  That's why I wanted to write about converting vans and vehicles in general, it's a fun project and it empowers people to design and build for their own needs.  I also love living on the move so Viva La Van ! and I hope that Yoda The Hutt will inspire other creative concoctions of conceptual construction!

She is a 1999 Toyota Sienna, and on the outside she is stock...

But on the inside, that grocery getter is a hippy hut!

There is a layer of reflectix insulation  below a 1/2" plywood subfloor.  I replaced a water damaged laminate floor for some friends @ South Sound Solar and there were several boards that were still in perfect condition.  I added the laminate boards recently which was a good idea because the plywood did not repel water as well as the laminate.  It makes me smile knowing I have Kirk Hafner's old floor because Kirk is a very dedicated patron of re-use.  Kirk's wife Ceu also set me up on her sewing machine to make the custom pillows.  Special thanks to them for being like family.  

With the pillows stretched out, Py and I have a comfy bed in even the most sterile suburbia that America has to offer. We do peak our heads out of the woods from time to time...

And some live edge western red cedar boards for the interior paneling and cabinetry. The sill is removable and I store camping gear, dog food, wrenches, tarps, ropes and straps in the simple built-ins.  The sills are tentioned in by the old seat belts.  

Py enjoying his portable cabin...

 On our way to work...

Friday, May 19, 2017

Kindred Spirits...

I had the pleasure of cruising the high seas with Edwin Landis aboard the Pterodactyl Saturday.  She is a 42' ferrocement schooner that Eddy built.  He going to start taking her out for charter at Boston Harbor Marina. More info here

photo Cosima Landis
The apple didn't fall far from the tree because both Eddy's kids are bad ass sailors.  Ocean has his Captain's licence and owns his own ferrocement boat.  Check out Eddy's daughter Cosima's instagram page as she prepares to sail in the America's Cup!  I stole this shot of the Dactyl  :)

Inside this boat feels huge. So many small details.  I love the rear galley

This was a cool sewn cover that went over a portal window.  It was made 40 years ago from nylon, possibly old sails?, and it has the warm feel of stained glass... 

A nice door with a great latch to the...

Engine room and workshop!  Every boat/human needs one...

This book is incredible.  So much information and the best line drawings!  Clifford Ashley you rock.  Incredible design ideas on so many levels.  I love finding books like this one.