Hand Tools (108)

Lloyd House's Leaf House

…It seemed like a light roof was needed to compensate for the heaviness of the forest. Built the roof first; then the floor, and last the walls. To me roofs have become umbrellas that say anything can happen under them. When the roof is finished, you can stand it — feel the space, be in touch with the house — love it…

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Handmade/Homemade: The Half-Acre Homestead

When I start working on a book, it’s like setting out on an ocean voyage without a map. I get a theme, an idea, some kind of coherence on a subject, then start.

When I built my first house in Mill Valley in the early ’60s, my friend Bob Whiteley and I laid out the foundation lines in chalk on the ground. “What do we do now, Bob,” I asked.

Bob said “This,” and took pick and shovel and started digging the foundation trench.

It’s been my M.O. all my life. When I don’t know what to do, I start. Things (usually) sort themselves out in the process. (I know, I know, I’ve said all this before…)

This book is about the tools and techniques Lesley and I have evolved in building a home and growing food (and creating a bunch of things) on a small piece of land over a 40+-year period.

I started by writing it in chapters: The House / The Kitchen / Kitchen Tools / The Garden / Garden Tools / Chickens / Food / Foraging / Fishing / The Shop / Shop Tools / Roadkill / Critters … What we’ve learned; what’s worked, what hasn’t…
Read More …

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Rose's Small Farmhouse in North Carolina

My small house is a labor of love. It belonged to my mother’s parents who bought it in 1969, when I was 4 years old. My dad was renovating it when he passed away in 2006. I inherited it in 2012 and my journey began. I spent the first few years cleaning up the yard, mowing grass and dreaming about living in this little old house. It is 864 square feet, was built in the 1930s and sits on five acres of farmland in Castle Hayne, North Carolina…

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Long House by Bruno Atkey

Bruno built this 30′×50′ building on a remote beach belonging to the Hesquiat tribe in British Columbia in 1999. It’s used in a “rediscovery” program, and now run by Hooksum Outdoor School, which educates young First Nations people about their history and heritage.

The entire building was framed with beach­combed logs — posts, beams, and purlins. Roofing is 3′-long split-cedar shakes; siding is also split cedar — 1×12’s and 1×15’s six to twelve feet long(!). His crew was mostly from the Hesquiat tribe…

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The Homes Kate Dodd Built

Kate Dodd built two off-the-grid houses in the Northern California woods in the early ’70s. She and her partner started the house in spring of 1972 and moved in that winter (with one wall covered with plastic sheeting).

The foundation was concrete piers. The pole frame was spiked to the piers with a vertical piece of 1″ galvanized pipe. For the attached greenhouse she poured a perimeter foundation…

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Garden Furniture with Tenon Cutter

I’ve had this tenon cutter attachment for years, just started using it. I just cut down an old wild plum tree and am going to make a garden chair out of plum wood. Fun! I got this from Lee Valley, a great source of carpentry tools.

I recently got the Makita drill — not battery driven, but with cord — from Jackson’s Hardware in San Rafael. It would have been cheaper from Amazon, but at Jackson’s, I get expert human advice. I use Amazon a lot, but also skirt them often. There are other factors to consider when buying stuff other than what’s cheapest.

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Montana Mobile Cabins by Kip and Dawndi Keim

Montana Mobile Cabins is a family-owned-and-operated family business located in Whitehall, Montana. The cabins we produce are not kits. We build your cabin on our site and transport the completed cabin to your site.

Each cabin we build is as unique as its owner, because the owner actually helps design the cabin. Individual preferences and the unique coloring of our hand peeled logs make for a truly “one-of-a-kind” cabin…

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