Logo 2 #topThe Poor Man's Fix-it shop.[not for the proficient craftsman] . . . .Logo 2


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canopy parking



   How, you may ask, can there be so much room under a canopy that houses a wide van? Good question. In order to have a lot of room on the side that I enter the back portion of the van I have to park the van so it's very close to the driver's side of the van. In other words, the driver's door is barely under the canopy, yet still easy to access.

    Where I live there's a lot of rain and high winds. I want to keep my mikes and the trailer out of the rain. Yet even with all the cover I afford my vehicles they still get wet when the rains come. As a for-instance, the beginning of this Autumn season brought an unexpected storm that dropped over 8 inches in just a few days, leaving everything drenched. And the rainy season is still far in the immediate future.

     Lots of stuff to store and no place to put it? I know the feeling. Here's a few ideas that helped me overcome the problem. Getting rid of a ton of stuff helped, but there's always more junk I just can't let go of.
    Click the image to go to the page about storage.

canopy risers


    Canopies were not designed to fit a bubble-top van. In order to raise the canopy to the height needed I used cement blocks like the ones seen in this picture. They already have a hole in the middle that allows for a piece of PVC pipe that I cemented into the hole. Then I set the canopy pipe over this cemented pipe, drilled a hole through both pipes, and inserted a pin that keeps the wind from lifting the assembly. This setup has weathered several storms where my neighbors have lost their canopy, changing them into a tangled mess.

    The extended pillars in the picture are built in a similar arrangement, however these blocks came with metal brackets that I built 2x6 planks onto. This was used to extend the canopy that covered the trailer I used to live in.





    When I moved to my home in this civilized wilderness there was an ugly fence in front of the trailer concealing a huge, rusty propane tank. I had the tank removed (I don't use propane anyway, if for no other reason than it's too expensive, and I don't trust the old system to work properly), took the fence apart for use on other projects, and set up this portion of a decorative fence that conceals the awkward positioning of the trailer. My trailer sits on a very steep hill, so although the back of the trailer sits on the ground, the front is over 3 feet from the ground, under which I store my lumber and framing stock (picture framing).

    I live near the ocean and between two rivers and where lakes abound. So fishing is a lively sport in this local. As you can see I used what was already laying around the place to decorate the front of the fence, bought a couple ceramic seagulls (something else, along with crows, that also abound) and added it to the decaying stump (yet more abounding). Everything is moss covered now, adding to the natural appearance of the scene..


shutters    A distant shot of the scene.
   I wasn't pleased with the bland appearance of the white trailer sitting in this woodsy environment. So I st out to make the trailer look more like a rustic cabin than an out-of-place poor-man's trailer. First I painted the front part, up to the barrier behind the door, a natural wood color. I tried for cedar, but missed the hue by a tad. Then I took some lengths of 2" lathe material and constructed a window effect with shutters and installed that assembly over the window frame (after removing the window cover intended as a travel protector and awning). The lamp was something I brought with me from the former house, used near the pallet shop I built (described here).
   To add to the effect of the cabin I used some pieces of plastic lattice and made a gate and matching step decorations, which I painted a complimentary color. All in all I'm pleased with the effect, simple yet effective. It's my nature to over-do anything I attempt, I had to keep that nature in check, and I still do after almost 11 years of living here.

frame storage


    This is what it looks like behind the fence, however there's been a lot of changes since this picture was taken. For instance I cut off the tongue of the trailer that interfered with storing my bikes under the tarp cover built in this area, and there's a board covering this space painted to match the trailer.




    Because of the steep hill I live on drainage is not a problem. However, where the water drains can be. For instance water from the hill behind this shed tends to drain under the shed (my office) where I don't want it. So I used this redirect piping system to run the water from the roof to the wooded area, out of the way. I've had to do this in several locations.




    The storage shed, which I converted to an office, is built on a very steep hill, the tip of the porch resting on gravel while the remainder of the building floats (floated) on two simple pieces of withered railroad ties. I was certain that if a raccoon was to lean against the building it would collapse into the property below me. Using lumber I tore out of the porch  next door (explained in another area) I set out to reinforce the shed. I used large stones to build up the front as best I could, then I built some steps leading to the bottom of the shed, which also served to reduce the natural erosion of what little support the building rested on. Using quick-dry cement I covered everything but the surface of the steps so everything remained in place. You can see in the picture where I constructed a base for the building from 2x6's, attaching them (as I did every other connection) with lag bolts. The porch is the only part of the building setting on the ground, this partially I suppose because of erosion over the years. By attaching the porch to the building by way of the 2x6's I hoped to give more support to the building itself. I have expectations of one day placing metal anchors in the ground to which I will attach the porch so it doesn't move.

    This picture is worth at least 2,000 words. The other side had even less of the building on the ground.



    To give the shed a pleasant appearance I constructed this cover from a piece of lattice, which I lined (inside) with an old tarp. The tarp serves to keep moisture away from what I have stored below the building.



   A view of the shelf I built under the shed. No need wasting this valuable space.
    Before I built the shelf I lined the bottom of the shed with thick fiberglass insulation. A good idea, wouldn't you say? I thought so, and the squirrels loved it. I was forever pulling out ripped out pieces of fiberglass where the squirrels had used it to make their home in this hide-a-way space. I then tore out the fiberglass (after several years of combating the squirrels, who were winning the war) and haven't had any problem with them since, not here at least.



    A parting shot of the area. Just 8 feet away, on the other side of the shed, the building is only a foot or less from the ground. Like I said, it's built on a steep hill.



   When I moved here this section, behind the trailer, was open space with a bar-b-cue pit setting in front of this shed. The shed is the same one I built when building the work shop out of pallets. I brought it here and set it up as a tool shed, it's original intent. Now there's a 4x4 building in front of this tool shed where I store my flute-making equipment as well as the flutes in process and completed.



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