Hand Tools (35)


Young Woman Builds Beautiful Recycled Tiny House for $19,000

For many, the idea of building a tiny house on wheels is a wonderful pipe dream, however young kiwi furniture maker Annelies Zwaan has turned that dream into reality by building her very own cottage-in-the-woods style tiny home. Despite having gained many skills working with timber as a furniture maker, the learning curve when it came to building her own home was still steep. With the help of YouTube and some instruction videos, she was able to follow each step to completion…

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Foot-Powered Washing Machine Available for Purchase

yirego_drumi_washerThe Drumi is designed for campers, students, off-gridders or anyone else who would rather use their foot to power their wash loads than electricity. At only 22 inches tall, the Drumi can handle 6 or 7 individual garments (about 5 lbs of clothes) at once, but only one pair of jeans. (If you’ve ever hand-washed a pair of jeans, this makes perfect sense to you.) Ideal for delicate items or baby clothes, the Drumi uses only five liters or just over a gallon of water to clean a load of clothes.

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Bruno's Hand-Hewn Froe Mallet


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.
Read More …

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Expandable Lightweight Camper Built by Jergen Jas


…Unable to find a camper that he liked, Dutch tinkerer Jurgen Jas built this impressive micro-camper himself…

Apparently this camper, which weighs less than 500 kilograms (1,100 lbs), gets 37.16 miles per gallon when towed. Jas’ website provides more photos of the DIY build. Using a USD $54 trailer base found in a rummage sale, Jas installed a thick plywood floor with insulation. He then installed wooden ribs for the framing, with insulated plywood for walls, and aluminum sheet for the exterior cladding…

The interior looks incredibly well-made. There’s a small stove, sink, toaster, refrigerator and built-in cabinets for storage, above and along the walls. There is a speaker system installed among the cabinets overhead. The dining table is a drop-down leaf type, which can be put away when not needed…


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North Dakota Vernacular Building



Dear Shelter Blog,

Attached, please find the photos I took of a German-Russian farmhouse ruin in SW North Dakota last September. It was most likely built in the early 20th century by German-Russian immigrants using local materials and deploying techniques they learned prior to their arrival in the U.S. Note the fieldstone covered with earthen stucco, wood shake roof, and straw insulation. Sadly, the generation that built these structures is long gone and there is no evidence they passed their building knowledge on. Even in its ruined state, this structure is still beautiful, owing to its natural materials and modest proportions.

To learn more about the efforts to restore the remaining examples of German-Russian structures in North Dakota, visit the Prairie Earth group on Facebook or Google Dr. Tom Isern, a historian at North Dakota State University in Fargo.

–Susan Nicholas

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