Carpentry (157)

Bruno's Hand-Hewn Froe Mallet

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Bruno Atkey, one of the major builders in Builders of the Pacific Coast, has been splitting cedar shakes for most of his life. He split the shakes for my 6-sided tower roof from driftwood logs (and his girlfriend Mecea drove them down here in a van). He’s split cedar shakes, and even siding, in British Columbia for numerous homes over the years.

Godfrey Stephens sent us this photo of Bruno’s latest mallet. (I use an old bowling pin.) In the background is one of Godfrey’s paintings.
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Pairoducks Meets SunRay Kelley

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…SunRay returned my online inquiry with a brief email and a phone number, so after a short chat we made plans for a visit. When I arrived he gave a brief introduction and skeptical inquiry of my east coast upbringing, then informed me he had to do a dump run and pick up firewood. I tied down piles of garbage to the rack of his Toyota and off we went, only to return with an equally disproportionate load of firewood, Fir and Madrone. We walked around the homestead and delivered tractor bucket-loads of wood to hungry wood stoves and fireplaces. It’s constant work to keep the buildings warm during the downpours and gusty blows of Northwest winters. The guy burns a lot of wood…

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Earth Dome by SunRay Kelley and Sierra Sander-Hewitt

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From August to October of 2015, I worked with a team of five people to build a 200 sq. ft. off-the-grid earth dome in the forest of Northwest Washington. The structure was designed by SunRay Kelley and built for our client Ranger. The building of the dome was filmed by Sharp Entertainment and the episode, Building off the Grid: Mudmen aired on DIY Network on January 19, 2016…

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Lloyd Kahn Talks Shelter in Kirkcaldy

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I have been looking forward to this for a while and it was not a disappointment! Lloyd Kahn is in the back of many self-builders’ cerebral toolboxes for his seminal works as Editor-in-Chief of Shelter Publications, California. His 1973 book Shelter is an incredibly detailed catalogue of building techniques through the ages, illustrated with the personal stories and evocative photos of small houses and cabins collected on his travels throughout the USA and Canada as well as Ireland and the UK…

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Cyrus Sutton's Van Life (Part 1)

I met Cyrus while we were working on our book Tiny Homes on the Move. He is a talented filmmaker, surfer, traveler, van hacker and an all-around awesome person. He is in the midst of a new van build using a dually diesel Dodge Sprinter van and chronicling the journey for Reef.

I first moved into a van 10 years ago. It was a practical decision. I’d been commissioned to make a 16mm surf documentary and failed to negotiate a living wage for myself during the three years it took to make it. This oversight had me surviving on cans of kidney beans and needing a rent-free place to sleep while I traveled between Australia and Los Angeles shooting and editing…

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Low-cost, Off-grid, Low-impact Living in Southwest UK

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Hi, Lloyd,

I thought you might be interested in a photo story I created from a visit to an amazing off-grid community in southwest UK called Tinkers Bubble. It’s the most inspiring example of low-impact living I’ve seen here (and I’ve visited a lot!). Hope you enjoy.Š

Best wishes,
–The Bimbler

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