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Second Week of Wagon Building
February 27, 2012

Big progress on the wagon front these past days. As I’ve mentioning in recent weeks, there’s another mule wagon trip on mule Polly and my horizon. It cheers me to announce that I’m a cotton blanket and tarp away from a roof that’ll keep the whole thing dry.

Where it’s all taking place. Here’s the barn where I’m building my wagon. A chestnut tree throws a wintery shadow over the scrap heap where I’ve gotten quite a bit of building material.
The inside scene. A look inside the barn where I’m building the wagon. In the foreground is the jointer I use to clean up salvage lumber. The outfeed table is visible at the bottom of the picture. In the background is Art, my dad and sailing partner. We’ve spent so much time together on the water he wonders how this thing is going to float….

First, a little voyaging philosophy. Calm down, we’ll get to the photos in a second.

One of the reasons I’ve gotten so much done on my wagon in the past two weeks (my last one took 6 months to build) is that I’ve slashed my online time. While most evenings, yes, I’m often sorely tempted to curl up on the couch and browse “Canadian mule wagon voyage”, I don’t. Rather, I put on my coveralls, stroll out to the barn, and do a few hours of wagon construction.

It’s working. In scant days, I turned a pile of lumber, much of it salvaged, into a hearty expedition machine. As to the time off-line, it’s done my brain wonders. Nothing like peace and quiet in an old oak barn to get the long brain wave functions flowing. Besides, there aren’t any plans online for a tiny wagon stove. Better to step into a barn, spark up the welder and build your own. Yep, photos of that creation are coming.

As to finding out more about my final Canadian destination, that, too, is on hold. You see nothing kills the spirit of a trip like saying, “I’m going to sail around the world”, or “I’m going to ride my bike to Cape Horn.” After the rush of the grand announcement wears off, doing what you bragged you’d do quickly turns into a drudge. Adventuring, by its very nature, means generally aiming the gun and pulling the trigger – more a shotgun than rifle proposition.

Suffice to say I want to visit the north-east with my wagon.

Okay, okay, now some photos.

Last time we spoke, all I had to show was this wall. This is the front wall to the wagon. Here, it’s perched on the porch overlooking the hayfield. It was so foggy this morning, I decided….
….that actually the damn thing was part of a boat I didn’t know I was building. See, upside down, you see where the keel goes (at the bottom). You don’t have to be a naval architect to see that’s a watertight door on the starboard side. Just kidding, this really is going to be a wagon.
Now we’re getting somewhere. Here, the front and back walls are installed. The floor (western cedar for lightweight construction) has also been install as has the low side walls that will serve as storage.
Man, this thing is looking more ship-like than ever. Here, the roof beams have been installed. They’re salvaged oak siding. My dad sawed it over a decade ago. I ripped the wide boards into strips then hit-and-miss dressed them on my jointer. This allows saw marks and weather stains show through the grain. Don’t want to clean up the lumber too much or folks will think I bought it at the big box home improvement store.
Wagon side detail. The shiny stuff visible at bottom is copper sheathing. The triangular pieces of wood are black locust salvaged from a porch. This part of the shelf, once covered with canvas, will make for some fine storage.
And check it out! Two weeks offline is powerful stuff. Here, a blanket’s been thrown over the wagon to show what it’ll look like when its done. Covered with a tarp and canvas cover, this sucker will be cozy and dry. Plus, when I get home, I can rip off the roof and have a blanket with a hell of story to throw on my bed.

Cheers! Now it’s time to get back to the barn. Gotta build my berth. Spring’s coming.

Posted Monday February 27, 2012 by Bernie
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