First night in The Van

Sushi bed

Except for giving you a headache, this GIF more or less demonstrate how the bed is working in single mode. The fold-up-double-deluxe-special is soon to come. And yes: I have a bed. And yes: I slept in it last night. And yes: It was raining and I was smiling all the time.

Frustrating enough, the gas kitchen I got was not functioning as planned. The tube for that old model was hard to come by, so I decided to change it for one I found with the tube included. The composit gas I got was therefore not compatible with the new version, so I had to do the classic “one step forward two steps back” but thanks to friendly shop-keepers support and garage full of equipment I now only need to wait for the new stove to arrive.

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For the first time the engine is giving me a hard time, but also a reason to get familiar with all the bits and peices. These last weeks I have been avoiding going short distances to not put too much stain on the battery. I have also noticed un-friendly scream from the clutches and a few stains under the engine, something I want to check up before i head anywhere. During parking I lost all my gears, but after crawling around on the ground I detected that one of the metal rings had broken. Study, Oil and a little spare part fixed the problem.

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All things are bit by bit finding its place in the van. The clutter is overwhelming and the inevitable act of giving away half of my stuff is taking place. The pages of “Ronja Rövardotter” is now covering the spare parts of the wall, making it possible to pick up a quote from the story at any time. Every part needs its very special place to make sense, every object needs a function. Making storage by screwing old jars to the bottom of shelfs, hooks on the walls, pockets and hide aways. There are still much to improve, and things to repair as I move along.

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Part from working on my van I have spent the days foarging springs abundance, chewing my way through nettle crackers and the creations of Haruki Murakami and running around at the wood-academy exploring the fantastic material that is wood. One day turned out to be a day to make a ukulele, that day turned out to be a week. Another day was spent climbing trees in the woods to phograph Johanna Metsalos fashionable second-hand creations. Making a fold-up table for the van and a few wood sculptures, but after watching “Alone in the Wilderness”, documentary of Dick Proenneke who built his own cabin at the base of the Aleutian Peninsula made all my efforts seem like crumbles. One day though, I will learn. Until then the Pearl will be just fine.

In a few days I finally head south. Next stop will be Orsa, visting some nature reserves on the way. Hopefully the engine is not hiding to many surpises and I will make my route to Oslo- Västra Ämtervik – Jönköping as I plan.

Please take your shoes off

It is fascinating, how the simple action of taking your shoes off transformes a place from a construction site to a home. Roof is finally done, ledges are covering the worst errors and gaps and there is a striking difference from the initial, dark grey fake-leather, the wood it makes the van feel roomy and bright. Still not sure to paint it white or to make a mixture of linseed-oil and pigment to prevent the pine from going yellow.

The largest window was removed, the bottom part of the frame was rotten and covered with mold, so it was replaced and so was parts of the plywood. I discoverd that neither of the windows was actually sealed (No wonder there was moisture coming in) so I all windows are now blessed fresh wood to make a tighter grip and silicon all around the edges to prevent leaking.

For the floor flat pine boards was purchased, I have bought 8 m²  pine boards costing me about 600 KR. The part close to the door was broken and removed, will later have straw carpet for shoes and easy cleaning. The frame of the bed was made with solid, new wood and covered with plywood. The design of the bed had several dilemmas and designs. As the main “furniture” it will work as a single bed, double bed, office chair and storage. With the support of several genious students from the Wood-academy we finally settled in a solution that was seemed superior in material cost and flexibility.

Kitchen sink is cut out from an old oak table, Installing the gas is still to come and a delicate mission. (I would prefer not blowing up my new home.).DSC_0604 DSC_0605 DSC_0625 DSC_0631 DSC_0632 DSC_0607

Bad news and good news

Just as the warm spring sun was licking the snow off the ground, waking the buds on the trees from their long sleep, the usual (but mean) winter peek-a-boo kicks in.

With a snowstorm making out-door work dull, days have been spent with illustrations and writing. A saturday of sunshine turned into work exchange with new friends building verandas, tearing out the roof of the cooking up a tapas fiest and waching my first ever northen light.

Bad news are that after ripping out the wall-paper, I found some mold. And as I ripped out more, I found more. Pearls live on the bottom of the sea, right?

I was prepared to do some restoration of the parts around the window, but I will probably have to replace a large part of the plywood in the back wall as well and do a good seal from the inside. The weak point is in the edge were the roof has been built on, strenghting and sealing will hopafully fix the problem.

The good news is that the LED-lights are now installed, making it possible for the sun to shine even during night. Incredible technology. The uselss TV-antenna is out together with some of the 10W lamps that  was there from the start. 0,8W spots have been wired in together with a 1W Bed-light and cigarette chargers. The roof has been frustrating, realizing that there is not a straight angle in there, but turnes out real fancy. I will see if I can get rid of the “sauna-feeling” as I move along.

Over all, this is probably the part of anyone renvating an old van to discover a never ending chain of projects and repairs. But this far, the van has offerd me new skills, knowlage and meetings. Curious visitors getting dreamy eyes as I speak of my project to live on the road. But it takes hard work. Sticking with budget, and finding materal is a challange, but I belive the outcome will be an real adventure.

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Designing a tiny Home

Roughly 6m2 wood (pine) for the roof and floor is purchased together with linseed-oil and glue for the wallpapers. This weekend will be intense carpentry, and I discoverd the local second hand with a universe of recourses. Stainless-steel sink for 35 KR and a gas-stove that I did a final bid at for 335 KR on the online auction-site “Tradera”. Designprocess is getting started and using the principles of permaculture when trying to fullfill my needs on a 3m2 space that is “The pearl”. LED-spotligts are going up in the roof and the hysterical wallpapers with flowers are ready to decorate the walls as a substitute for that fact that I will be missing a real-life garden.

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Demolition

232 screws later and the large bed, the little bed/storage, shelfs and kitchenbench is out. My goal was to get all the synthetic materials out, I even started cutting up the fake leather above the drivers seat and discoverd some boards. Good idea? Dont know. Vision is starting to clear up as I move along: A little cabin on weels. Lets see how it goes. Simple “low tech” solutions, flexible design, rustic, natural materials.

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From Jönköping to Kramfors

First roadtrip was launched in the most wonderful spring weather. Egg-sandwiches by a lake, trying out the casett-player with an old recorded band from when my mother was sailing the mediterranean, visit old villages and spooky campingsites. Engine was loud due to lack of inslation and the window slide down every now and then, but she carried me all the 75 miles up north without a doubt. Thursday I arrive to Kramfors, a small odd little town, were I will stay with my dear friend Carl that studies furniture carpentry at the wood academy. I introduced myself to my home for the future weeks with the usual rituals. Spouts are set to soak, sourdough started, bread baked, eggs boiled. Finally time to start building.

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