Posts by Lloyd Kahn (239)

Six Gambrel Roof Barns in Oregon

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These are barns I photographed in the Willamette Valley in Oregon in September, 2014. The gambrel is a distinctive and common barn roof shape in this part of the world, as is the curved roof barn (See blog.shelterpub.com/?s=curved+roof posted last month.)

The word gambrel “Šderives from the hock (bent part) of a horse’s leg, also called a gambrel. The lower part of the roof is a steep slope, the upper part shallower. The break-in roofline allows head room in the loft space, and is useful in barns for hay storageŠ as well as in homes for rooms above plate level.” –From Shelter II, p. 98.

There are also plans for a 24′ × 32′ gambrel-roofed barn on pages 102-103 of Shelter II.

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SunRay Kelley's New Treehouse

SunRay Kelley is a master natural builder whose work has been featured in Builders of the Pacific Coast, Tiny Homes, and Tiny Homes on the Move. Here’s some recent news.

Hi Lloyd,

SunRay is working on a two-story, one-bedroom tree house. The attached picture will give you an idea but I need to get some updated photos soon it is a lot farther along these days. I hope she’ll be done in time to make this next book. Below are links to photos and text on a few of the small homes SunRay has done.

Sounds like you have another great project to keep you busy and out of trouble this rainy season.

Love and Light,
Bonnie and SunRay

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Heritage Salvage: Reclaimed Stories, New Book by Michael "Bug" Deakin

www.lloydkahn-ongoing.blogspot.com:2014:11:heritage-salvage-reclaimed-stories-new.htmlMichael “Bug” Deakin grew up in British Columbia, one of 10 kids in the family. He built his first house in 1970 out of used materials and these days runs Heritage Salvage, a large yard in Petaluma, Calif., filled with hand-hewed beams, flooring, barn doors, and all kinds of salvaged building materials. I love roaming around his yard. There are treasures there, as there are in this book.

He’s an irrepressibly dynamic, cheerful, funny guy (disclaimer: I know him) and this is a scrapbook of his colorful world and history. There are stories: building homes, gardens, furniture and movie sets (including for McCabe and Mrs. Miller), planting trees, tearing down old buildings all over America, a touching (and happy) tale of first meeting his daughter when she was 40 and their immediate rapport, of hanging out with Tom Waits.

He’s a dynamo for all good things and this a charming introduction to Bug’s World.

Links:

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Lloyd's Camping Vehicles, Part 3

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In 1988 I bought a 4-cylinder, 5-speed Tacoma 4×4 with the Xtra cab (meaning a 6′ bed). Then in 2003, I got a new one, same model. The engine is a bit gutless going up long hills, but will run forever.

By this time I knew exactly what I wanted:

A metal camper shell made by Tradesman in Winters, Calif. It opened on all three sides, was way stronger than plastic shells. I bought an aluminum rack from Hauler Racks. It came disassembled via UPS and I bolted it together and mounted it. It rests on the truckbed sides, not on the camper roof.

At Campway’s in Santa Rosa, Calif., I got the inside of the bed sprayed with a waterproof membrane to protect the metal. Also a “carpet kit,” with storage boxes along the sides and sliding middle panels inside the bed.

You can see the pull-out drawer and side storage boxes. I shot this photo on Hornby Island, BC on one of my four trips to Canada shooting photos for Builders of the Pacific Coast. I remember one afternoon collecting oysters way out on a reef (beyond the commercial guys and cooking them for dinner on a beach fire with aluminum-foil-clad potatoes, red wine, AND blackberries with …(ahem)… heavy cream and brown sugar.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI never mounted the rooftop tent. I bought a used pull-out canopy which is great for Baja surfing, sets up in a few minutes as opposed to 45 min. for the flea market tarp. On camper roof: Yakima Rocket Box, surfboard rack. I slept inside when it was raining or really cold, otherwise outside.

This is a fantastic setup for desert travel; the 4×4 will get you just about anywhere. A 4×4 van is another option, but costs about twice as much.

I can take the camper shell off (four quick-release clamps) to haul straw, topsoil, gravel, etc.

(Interesting factoid: The Toyota Hi-Lux trucks, beefed-up Tacomas, and mounted with machine guns, were used in the Iran-Iraq war and more recently by Afghani rebels.)

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Our Next Book: Small Homes

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Our book Tiny Homes has sold over 60,000 copies and with a recent surge of interest in the subject, is selling over 1,000 copies per month. We are getting a lot of inquiries from reporters and film makers about the subject; they want to contact people living in (or building) tiny homes.

I’ve taken to telling people I’m not the tiny homes guy, I’m the build-it-yourself guy, and that the important thing about the tiny home “movement” is not that all people should be living in tiny homes, but that the size of new homes should be getting smaller, rather than continuing to grow in size.

To wit: our next book will be Small Homes, and we’re starting to gather information. Size: 400-1200 sq. ft. or thereabouts (the maximum size in the Tiny Homes book was 500 sq. ft.). A small home is a lot more realistic for the majority of people than a tiny home.

We are asking people (you) to send us photos and details of small homes. Or leads to people living in or building small homes. In the near future we’ll do blog posts with this material, and down the line (1-2 years from now), we’ll publish the new book. Read More …

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Lloyd's Camping Vehicles, Part 2

Camping setup

1983 Toyota 4×4 Pickup Truck

I bought it used from a builder friend. It didn’t have the “Xtra cab,” so the bed was 8′ long.

Tarp for Shade:  I had a Yakima Rocket Box on racks on the camper roof, with a flea market tarp (12’×14′) folded up inside. The frame was 1″ electrical conduit, with special connectors tightenable with wingscrews. The tarp was aluminized fabric. It was weighted down with canvas bags filled with sand and hung from each corner (ingenious!). Took maybe 45 minutes to set up. I’d place it butting up to the truck bed.

BA-03A-copy-lo-resRoof-Top Tent:  This was the star of the camping show. It folded up to about 4′ by 4′, 20″ thick, with a waterproof cover. At night I’d remove the cover and fold it out. The tent popped up when this was done, and the mattress and bedding were already there. The outer cantilivered side was held up by a telescoping ladder (more ingeniousness). It was real canvas, had a raincover, mosquito net. On beaches, I’d park with the open end facing the water and sunrise. It was luxurious sleeping up there. This unit was called AirCamping and was made in Italy; they’re no longer in business, but there are a number of truck- (or car-) top campers.

Cooking:  I had a sliding drawer in the bed with my cooking stuff. Table made from plywood with ¾” galvanized pipe legs that screwed into the four corners.

Other Stuff:  Surfboard, chairs, ice chest, blah blah…

The Baja locals liked this model because it did NOT have independent suspension in the front. The straight axle could take more of a beating.

Articles, photos of my travels in Baja California Sur here: www.shelterpub.com/_baja/baja.html

To be continued…

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Lloyd's Camping Vehicles, Part 1

At my Vancouver presentation of Tiny Homes on the Move, someone asked what kind of camping rig I had. Bearing in mind that most of my camping was in the desert or on beaches in Baja California, I had a VW bug modified for desert travel; then three different trucks, a 1983 4×4 Tacoma (not with the “Xtra Cab”), a 1987 Toyota Tacoma 4×4 with Xtra Cab, finally a 2008 Tacoma with Xtra Cab. I’ll describe these vehicles in that order.

Baja Bug

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I bought this in the early ’90s from a guy who raced cars in the Baja 1000. It was called a pre-runner, so named because it was used to scout out the race in advance. Read More …

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New Book of Godfrey Stephens' Art Just Published

5A37BBA4-A68D-4B97-9186-C73FFDB0B3FBAt long last a book documenting the art of Godfrey Stephens has been published, and it’s stunning. Godfrey has been painting, drawing, carving, and assembling all his life (he’s now 70), and his niece Gurdeep Stephens has performed a Herculean task of sifting through a blizzard of Godfrey’s art to assemble this collection. Oh yes, he’s also built over a dozen sailboats.

I’m hardly an objective observer: I’ve known Godfrey and his art since meeting him on a Mexican beach in 1964, and he’s a dear friend. I’ve never been able to figure out why he isn’t world-famous. The quantity and quality of his output is staggering. And his energy: there are almost 800 emails in my “Stephens” mailbox, over 600 photos in my “Stephens” photo folder. How Gurdeep ever prevailed to assemble this excellent collection is beyond me. High five! Read More …

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Oregon Timber Frame Barn 2014

The owners of this magnificent new barn still under construction wish to remain anonymous, so I won’t be specific about location.

timber frame barn in oregon under construction

interior of timber frame barn in oregon under constructionpost detail of timber frame barn in oregon under constructionIt was one of those serendipitous finds: I ran into a cabinet maker while out photographing barns and he asked if I’d like to see a large timber frame barn. Did I! I followed him for about 20 miles into the hills until we arrived at the barn.

It was starting to get dark when I was there, so I had about 20 minutes to shoot these photos.

It is 70′ by 100′.

The timbers were cut by Collin Beggs Timber Framing in Northern Idaho. The posts and beams were salvaged from Douglas Fir trees that had been killed by timber beetles in Idaho and Montana. The curved wind braces were not cut out of dimensional lumber, but follow the natural curves of timber (from a certified forest) not suitable for milling.

Read More …

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Silent Spaces: The Last of the Great Aisled Barns by Malcolm Kirk

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DSC00920-lo-res DSC00919-lo-resA barn lover in Oregon told me about this book. and what a find! Timber frame lovers and barn lovers, this is a rare and beautiful book, now out of print, but available used from Abe Books. Photographer Malcolm Kirk documents this unique form of construction, often called “aisle and bay divided,” from pre-medieval Europe to Colonial America. (See pp. 30-32 of Shelter.) Terrific photos.
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SunRay Kelley's Hybrid Recumbent Bike

Sunray Kelley's Bike“SunRay Kelley’s human-electric hybrid SunRayzor bike is ready to ride. SunRay electrified his made-in-the-USA recumbent Catrike with a 72-volt Crystalyte hub motor and lithium-ion batteries. A custom-built rain shield and interchangeable windshield round out the package.”

Lots of SunRay’s creations — cob, straw bale, timber frameworks, stoves, saunas, yurts, and multiple inventions can be seen on his website: www.sunraykelley.com.

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A Magic Vancouver Morning

Tugboat in Vancouver

More pics at www.lloydkahn.com/…

It’s a glittering Sunday morning in Vancouver. I SO lucked out in the hotel department. The 901 Beach Hotel, I found on internet, sounded good, turned out to be a few hundred yards from the water in this section of Vancouver (West End, Yaletown, Gastown) that is almost an island; 90% of the perimeter of this area water-surrounded. Totally kayakable (and SUP-able).

Yesterday afternoon I took a ferry across to Granville Island, a thriving public market, 100s of vendors, great food, fruit, nuts, wine, oysters, crabs, smoked salmon, craft beers, art, music, restaurants, food stalls, outdoor wear, kayaks — crowded, lots of tourists, yes, but vital and fun nonetheless. Going back with grown-up camera today. Read More …

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Septic System Scams — Homeowners, Beware!

Screen shot 2014-09-05 at 8.10.38 AMI got a robot phone call last night (around dinner time, of course): “Hello, this is not a solicitation, this is about your septic system…”

The object was to sell homeowners on additives that will “…improve septic tank digestion of solids.”

Don’t fall for this scam. Below is what we wrote in Septic Systems Owner’s Manual (There are 5 complete chapters from the book reprinted here, along with other septic info.).

ssom2-648HSeptic system additives, especially enzymes. (You don’t need to add enzymes; they’re naturally present in the sewage.) Beware of telemarketers or ads hawking additives claiming to avoid tank pumping. They actually break down the scum and sludge into small particles, which are then readily flushed out into the drainfield, increasing possibility of premature drainfield failure. The State of Washington has banned septic tank additives. In Tiburon, California, a homeowner recently added enzymes to a septic system that had been working perfectly well. Soon after, sludge moved out into the drainfield and the system failed.

I wrote an article that appeared in The Mother Earth News in 2008 about the sorry state of septic systems engineering and regulations in the U.S.: www.motherearthnews.com/….

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Jonny Briggs' Timber Frame Buildings in UK

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I did 3 posts on Jonny Briggs’ timber framing on my blog here: www.lloydkahn.com/?s=briggs

Jonny is a 26-year-old carpenter from North Yorkshire who learned his craft at the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community (that’s Prince of Wales — traditional carpentry is just one of Charlie’s many earth-sensitive endeavors).

“…The building craft apprenticeship allows students who have a genuine interest in traditional building, sustainability and design to learn from master craftspeople around the UK.

Jonny now specializes in the design and build of traditional timber frames, structural timber work and bespoke furniture.”

Jonny wrote us today:

Hi Lloyd,

I have finally got a website together which shows the larger structures I have built over the last few years. It’s www.jonny-briggs.com

Thanks,
Jonny

I tell ya, the 20-year-olds these days are really something! A whole new octave.

See also:

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